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Deeside Orienteering Club


Barry's Big Bike Ride

Final Report

I see the ride as having taken 16 days (an evening start and a half day finish) averaging 63 miles a day; the longest day was the 90 miles from Ludlow to home, and the shortest full day 48, Bankfoot to the Pass of Drumochter. Over the 1003 total miles I maintained an average pace of 11.8 mph in a total 84.5 hours of riding, all of which falls somewhat short of my hoped for 70 miles a day, 12.5 mph average but I have my excuses ready.

I think I was unlucky with the weather, having rain on 9 out of the 16 days, all day on a couple of them, and powerful head winds for most of the Scottish end (though a very strong tail wind for the first 6 days or so). While far from being unsupported a solo ride is definitely demanding of mental as well as physical energy, but having comfortable accommodation to head for each day helped to keep me going; that was due to Jill spending a lot of time at home working out the optimum route and climb for me and then booking the B&Bs.

My route was worked out using the Anquet OS map database and my life would have been much harder but for Jill spending hours measuring every possible option for me and providing me with map sections of varying scales, including town plans where needed and detailed notes for guidance. In places I used marked cycle routes to link sections of the ride but found it necessary to be cautious of the Sustrans route marking, which often seems more concerned with scenery than destination.

My bike was bought in 2007 from Deeside Cycles and is an alloy frame with carbon fibre forks. It is therefore very stiff and, partly because of the small frame my small frame requires (I had trouble finding one of the right size), has a short wheelbase. It is therefore not an ideal touring bike but is very light and stood up well to carrying a load. I had not thought seriously about an End-to-End when I specified the bike, thinking more in terms of Audax style long rides, and had it equipped with a Shimano 105 groupset. Great for most purposes, but when I wanted a lower bottom gear when preparing for the E-to-E I found that it could go no lower than the existing 30x28, about 30". Consequently, I struggled on the steeper climbs and was galled to see other loaded E-to-Eers on heavy looking Scott and Trek hybrids pedalling steadily up inclines that beat me. But, I had no mechanical problems and no punctures despite some lengths of rough track here and there, so I have no complaints about the gear.

Does having completed give me an urge to do more? Well, I understand the Trans Pennine cycle track ultimately goes to Istanbul...

A final thanks to those who turned out to ride with me, and those as well who sent messages of encouragement at times when I really needed a boost; I even worked out how to get messages off the mobile. Thanks also to those who have contributed so generously to the Jacob Marsland Appeal and a hope that now I have completed others may do so. A particular thanks to Jill who spent more time on all the support tasks she took on for me than I spent doing the ride.

Barry's schedule

Barry's schedule for Land's End to John o'Groats
Date Destination Distance
26 June Penzance 10 234 12
27 June Wadebridge 55 1427 61
28 June Great Torrington 57 1407 59
29 June Meare Green (Taunton) 60 1490 66
30 June Alvington
(Forest of Dean)
72 973 77.5
1 July Brimfield (Ludlow) 54 1310 59
2 July Delamere 82 1095 90
3 July Potters Brook
70 743 81
4 July Kirkoswald 68 1800 62
5 July Beattock 60 1032 58
6 July Maddiston (Falkirk) 62 1369 61.5
7 July Bankfoot 57 879 63
8 July Pass of Drumochter 47 1513 49
9 July Inverness 62 1056 64
10 July Golspie 58 873 51
11 July Reay (Melvich) 61 1162 60
12 July John o'Groats
(by Dunnet Head)
40 645 30
Total 975 19008 1004

Setting Out

DEE Fixtures Secretary Barry Barnes is cycling from Land's End to John o'Groats, starting on 26th June 2008. He tells us about his plans...

Well - I'm off! As a lifelong cyclist I've been thinking about doing a solo End-to-End (around 1000 miles Land's End to John o'Groats) for the last couple of years, but without doing any specific planning. Commitments made it unlikely I'd be doing it in 2008 either - until in early June ago I had some sudden swaps to my weekly work shifts which left me clear from late June until late July. Booking a one-way ticket to Penzance for 26 June quite literally set the wheels in motion.

Anyone familiar with my navigational skills - or lack of them - will understand why Jill wanted to make sure I'd got detailed maps and route notes for every section of the journey. She's spent the last week preparing for the first third of the route, back to Delamere, while I've been concentrating on getting my bike, equipment and clothing sorted. That done, coping with two train changes and a taxi ride to Land's End should see me at the start, ready to go.

I'm not out to break any records (44 hours on a 'normal' bike in 1996, 41 hours on a recumbent in 2001), just hoping to put in an average of around 65 miles a day. There are a large number of suggested routes, none ideal, and accommodation is a big constraint, so the brief has been to find the shortest, flattest route on mainly minor roads with a comfortable bed and a hot meal available at suitable intervals. The trip is usually done south to north, to take advantage of prevailing westerly winds, and the schedule I'm likely to be following is given below. Jill will be transporting my panniers for the three days I'm in the North-West, so she can give a lift to anyone who wants to join me for a day or two; Andrew Williams will be riding the Ludlow to Delamere stretch.

Finally, anyone I've mentioned this to has assumed I will be doing it for charity, so I'm taking advantage of people's generosity to use the ride to raise funds for the Jacob Marsland Appeal.


Latest news about Barry's progress

  • 14/07/2008: Home

    How Barry got home.


  • 12/07/2008: Day 17

    He's finished!


  • 11/07/2008: Day 16

    Golspie to Reay - 6mph downhill in bottom gear.


  • 10/07/2008: Day 15

    Inverness to Golspie - the Black Isle Blues.

    Barry Niggotiates a crossing.


  • 09/07/2008: Day 14

    Pass of Drumochter to Inverness.


  • 08/07/2008: Day 13

    Bankfoot to Pass of Drumochter.


  • 07/07/2008: Day 12

    Falkirk to Bankfoot (Perth).


  • 06/07/2008: Day 11

    Beattock to Falkirk. Jill succumbs to "sumptuous" B&B and stays on.


  • 05/07/2008: Day 10

    Kirkoswald to Beattock in blustery conditions.


  • 05/07/2008: Can't get enough of it?

    Cycling news, that is. You might like to know that another event starts today.

  • 04/07/2008: Day 9

    Caton to Kirkoswald - The Reality.


  • 04/07/2008: Day 9

    Caton to Kirkoswald - The Plan.


  • 03/07/2008: Day 8

    Delamere to Caton (Lancaster), with Jill providing support from the team car.


  • 02/07/2008: Day 7

    Ludlow to Delamere with Andrew Williams.

    Barry's report...

    on the road...

  • 01/07/2008: Day 6

    Forest of Dean to Ludlow.


  • 30/06/2008: Day 5

    Meare Green to Forest of Dean - a day of bridges.


  • 29/06/2008: Day 4

    Great Torrington to Meare Green.


  • 28/06/2008: Day 3

    Wadebridge to Great Torrington.


  • 27/06/2008: Day 2

    Penzance to Wadebridge in mixed weather.


  • 26/06/2008: Day 1

    Land's End to Penzance.