My Believe is that there is seldom any physical problem in cycling a great distance, as long as you take it easy at the start and build up the daily amount gradually. The biggest barrier is your own perception about what is possible. Obviously age and physical fitness have some bearing, but in reality far less than most people think (Mark Swain ,Who cycled 10.000 miles to Japan)


Its not always easy.......

As we watched the weather ahead unfold ...Our first day is the Wednesday

29th April

30th April

1st May (this one please)


Billy.....I only started to take it seriously about 4 months before the planned departure, having previously been cycling about 1300 miles a year this was stepped up and a 1000 miles covered in the first 10 weeks of the year.

My plan had been to do one long ride a week followed by 3 shorter rides. The long ride steadily increased until I had reached 70 miles by March, this ride follow by a cold bath. I found it helped but make your your mind up. Along with the miles I also managed 4 spin sessions at the local gym every week.

I was finding eating at regular intervals was also helping along with the right product.(TorQ was my choice, I loved the chewy fruit bars)

This ride to Consett was my first over 50 miles at 60.5 miles...getting used to a hill.

Then it was 70 Mile to Hexham (21st March) ...followed by the cold bath

Tony's been busy riding round the Lakes gathering height.

This is Tony's 25th March loop around the lakes average 12mph

The big one was a 3 day back to back ride in the beginning of April.........This was a god test both of us riding together and a change to test our bodies day after day. It went well , not easy but a good lesson at what it would be like.
I have noted in peoples reports that day 3 is the toughest and you hit a block, well this did happen after lunch and thankfully after a few carbs and a protein bar the legs fired back into gear.

Day 1 - Drop off at Ravenglass and return to Keswick via Whinlatter


Day 2 - Keswick to Brampton via Hardside pass

Day 3 - Return to Keswick via Longtown, Carlisle and all the hills on route


The big debate would be the route, Tony favoured the A30, M5, M6..anything as long as it was short and flat, I wanted a balance and not to excited about main roads especially the A30 and the top half of the A9 from Inverness. Initially I had fancied West Scotland on the A82 from Glasgow but eventually swung to the old road and paths alongside the A9. One option I would like to hang onto is the route from Inverness taking in the road to Altnaharra avoiding the A9 to Wick.

From the start my favoured route is A30 for 15 miles then northwards and avoiding the A30 as much as possible taking in Camleford, then across to Witheridge and to Weston Super Mare. The next debate would be Severn Bridge and Ross on Wye to Shrewsbury and North to Warrington and Carnforth or Skirt round and go through Tewkesbury to head North.

Once passed the big conurbations after Kendal Tony favours Shap and myself I would go through Keswick before both routes converge again at Moffat crossing to Edinburgh up the tracks and paths beside the A9 to reach Dingwall.

Then we back to the debate to save miles and height or enjoy the beauty on route to Altnaharra and the north coast to John O'Groats.

We have 14/15 days and our luggage is being carried for us, but we have to bear in mind Tony's age at 81 , and my total state of being unfit and sleepless nights worrying about this ride.

Tony Rathbone

Bike: Ribble

Clothing : As long as it was over 25 years old it was allowed to go, he was persuaded in the end to take an waterproof suit which he sometimes wore in the rain. The orange jackets were Berghaus pertex (windproof).Tony rode with cleated shoes and on most days overshoes.

Food : The day was always started on porridge (very good porridge) Tony then fuelled himself on Fruitcake and Flapjack, supplemented with dried fruit. The only modern update to his diet was a protein drink on finishing his days ride.

Equipment : Rear light on all the time and a rear bar bag with extra clothing and a handlebar bag with food and 2/3 inner tubes and the basic toils for fixing a puncture.

Not forgetting the Garmin Touring plus and RidewithGps website loaded routes.


Billy Skipper - Woodrup Chimera BD

Bike: Woodrup Chimera BD , which is a 14 speed speed Rolhoff hub connected to a Gates certre trackbelt drive.see pictures above. Its a touring bike, has a brooks saddle (wonderful), V-Brakes (I can fix them) I done this trip on 700x28 panaracer tourguard tyres (4 puntures) but prefer my bike on 35s Schwalbe Dureme tyres even if its a little slower.

Clothing : A waterproof suit (walking style)which I wore in the rain and as an extra layer early morning, always under my orange Berghaus pertex (windproof) jacket. I rode with cleated shoes and agu overshoes on the wet days.

Food : The day was always started on porridge (very good porridge) I then fuelled on Torq moist bars and gels when required this was supplemented with Fruitcake and Flapjack, and a variety of nuts and dried fruit. I also added added Torq power to my water bottle. Then a protein drink on finishing his days ride. I could also manage a chocolate protein drink for lunch if I had taken one along.

Equipment : Rear light on all the time and a rear bar bag with and a handlebar bag with food and 2 inner tubes and the basic tools

Not forgetting the Garmin Touring plus and RidewithGps website loaded routes.



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