Their story, in their words….
Testing our nerve: Day 1 Edinburgh to Wooler 110km
Our bikes were very heavy! Mine containing the doctors kit, Joe and Isaac. – our team leader, carrying the hefty weight of tents, leaving Jack’s filled with a range of sports nutrition energy and Isotonic bars. The weight and volume were so unexpected. We realised we had our work cut out.
Half an hour in to our ride. we had our first fall. Isaac lost control for a second and luckily leaped from his bike onto the grass, made a few dramatic rolls, fortunately avoiding traffic. He was unscathed. Soon after my brakes became dislodged and the brake fell off and was lost forever. We made a 20 km detour to find the nearest bike shop. It was shut when we arrived! We were left hungry and a little disheartened. We quickly learnt that food was very important on and energy gels and bars should be eaten every hour to help with hunger and keep us going.
No turning back: Day 2 Wooler to Newcastle – 115km
A good morning, real smooth and easy contrasting with yesterday. Joe decided to bomb it down a hill only run over a huge pot hole which, in his own words seemed to be a “Crater!” We then came across a mountain of a hill with an average elevation of 12% and a maximum elevation of 18%, but we powered up and over it and finally made our way to the next campsite.
A day for taking pictures: Day 3 Newcastle to Yorkshire-96km
A very cold start. Joe woke up to find his clothes were soaked with dew (bring them inside the tent next time?). We ate porridge for breakfast and got moving as quickly as possible. We could then enjoy the very beautiful scenery ahead of us, North York Moors. We powered on to cafe in a little Yorkshire village where the locals were particularly friendly. One man even quizzed us about our journey, warned us of the hills juts ahead and generously made a cash donation to our cause. The hills appeared: we had to grind our way over a 12% average elevation Nature Park, where we set camp. Good repartee today and we learnt humour keeps the motivation going.
When the pain hit: Day 4 Yorkshire to Doncaster – 120km
A Horrible start! All of us were forced to take some form of pain relief just to get going. We pumped up a few deflated tyres and hit the road again reaching York in good time. Treating ourselves to a lovely Yorkshire pudding sandwich to pick up energy.
A test of our willpower! Day 5 Doncaster to Derby- 123km
One of the hardest days so far. Our quest to find a bike shop for Joe took us down a dirt trail that was rough, narrow and bumpy. The bike fixed and we were back on the road. Endurance and encouragement was our learning today.
Soaked to the bone! Day 6. Saturday 11th August: Derby to Bletchley – 129km
This was meant to be our longest day and the impending downpour hit us. Joe and I hadn’t managed to put our jackets on in time unlike Jack and Isi so we were quickly soaked through after 5 minutes. Our Strava navigation also took us on 40-minute detour so our morale hit rock bottom. Nonetheless, Isi did a great job navigating over the whole week and with Joe’s help we didn’t miss any of our stops. We gritted our teeth. It was dark when we arrived at the camp site. The very nice lady owner donated to our cause and even offered to cook us breakfast which we had to turn down unfortunately because we had deadlines. Less chat today, more quiet resilience.
Coming home! Day 7 Bletchley to London-92km
We got off to a late start knowing that it was our last day. . The Chiltern Hills were scenic and not too steep. After crossing the M25 and, passing all the Arsenal fans in Highbury we knew we were nearly home. Mission accomplished! Quick photo stop at Dulwich College and then on to Isi’s home for a lovely big pork shoulder to fill us up.
It’s been a great challenge, we definitely found our independence on this trip and we worked well as a team. We realised that we are very fit and we can laugh through most situations and keep our spirits up. Proudly we have raised £4000 for UK Stem Cell Foundation.