Tuesday, 18 October 2011


Now a few weeks on from finishing i can reflect better on the experience we had during the trip. After quite a few days of disappointment at having to finish early i look back and appreciate what we actually achieved. Dave and I had very little road biking experience before starting this, we planned the route ourselves, we organised the hotels, and we looked for various forms of sponsorship along with Cham Willey (Dave's Mum). A lot of people complete this in a large group as part of an organised trip (i can't say i blame them) but for 2 amateurs to plan this all and then bike it took some doing.

A year ago if someone had said i would cycle 800 miles in just over 9 days i would have called them mad. However, i did find on the ride that once you get going it's surprising how much your body gets used to pedaling for a long period of time and its proved to me how much more we can all achieve if we put our minds to it. We also experienced extremes of the British weather, from glorious sunshine and a heat wave in England to torrential rain and high winds in Scotland. I will honestly never forget us cycling in the pouring rain and winds approaching Fort William whilst being passed by lorries and other traffic, its an experience in itself!! Also when i was down and out on the way to Kilmarnock somehow finding the energy to hammer it to Irvine in the pouring rain (Pete yelling "go on you crazy b******* out of the car window), drenched and half naked arriving at the reception of the Premier Inn we were staying at.

I'd personally like to thank Dave for approaching me with the idea and for putting up with some of my moaning. Also a big thanks to Cham Willey for all the effort put in collecting money at Northamptonshire Cricket Club and to Barry Goudriaan (physio at NCC) for kindly looking at my knee issues after the trip.

Pete Willey, what can i say, such a big thanks for all your support during the trip. For always making us laugh at night with Pete's advice and funny one liners, for sorting the food, drinks, washing, without your help we would have really struggled. My favourite and most memorable quote was when Dave and I had finished our climb up Shap Fell in the Lake District and Pete announced we should both "be awarded the Victoria Cross for getting up there". Brilliant!!

Thanks to everyone who has sponsored us during this time it really is appreciated.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Day 10 - The End

We started Day 10 in high hopes that the weather would hold out after experiencing heavy rain and strong side winds the previous day. We managed to cycle 11 or so miles during which time I had been side swiped twice on my bike from cross winds. We gathered our thoughts and tried to continue but the cross winds were just too strong for us to continue in a safe manner. After some thought we sat a bit of the day out and the winds only got worse. We made the decision for our safety to stop the cycle ride. This was so disappointing as we had cycled 800 miles to this point (shortest distance to John O'Groats is 870 miles). 

We decided to get in the car with Pete and travel to John O'Groats for some pictures. The wind on route was 30 odd mph. Today the winds were predicted up to 45mph so we decided to be safe and drive back today.

I'll update further tomorrow my thoughts on the ride, it was an amazing experience in short.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Day 9

Fortunately the weather held out for the first part of the day so we were able to make some early progress. About 1.30 hours from Fort William the rain and wind really picked up. The wind was projected at 25mph and the rain was awful. We carried on for the duration up to Fort William absolutely drenched. At times the side winds were pretty bad so we stopped at Morrisons for some lunch to wait it out. We arrived in Invergarry where we stayed at the GlenAlbynLodge where Pete and Dave signed an England Lions cricket top for Dennis who owned the lodge and who had a large collection of cricket memorabilia.

We enjoyed a nice meal in a nearby hotel where the drinks were rather expensive. The lodge was absolutely superb however and we enjoyed a good nights sleep.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Day 8

We left the hotel this morning in poor conditions and headed back on to the A78. It had rained heavily all night but we risked the weather and set off at a slow pace. Fortunately the weather cleared up when we hit the west coast. We crossed by ferry to Dunoon and set off again but this time with our skins on, it made a drastic difference to our legs and we got our pace on.

In the early afternoon we headed through the Forest of Argyle which was spectacular. We made good progress from here and finished the last 50 miles in 3 hours which included some steady climbs.

We're stopping in Inveraray tonight and Pete has treated us to a splendid meal. Dave and Pete had the venison which was awesome and I had a home made burger which was also good from The George. If you're ever here we highly recommend it.

Pete and I will be enjoying an episode of Spooks tonight and are thoroughly looking forward to it.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Day 7

Thank god! Feels more like day 14! Carlisle to Irvine (near Glasgow) totalling 104 miles taking 5 hours 50 minutes. Both Richard and myself woke up in a more positive mood, quite surprising after yet another poor nights sleep! Anyway, we set off like rockets notching up 50 miles inside 3 hours which took its toll after lunch where we slowed up but when we hit the rolling hills of Scotland and the heavens opened we soon found our second wind and nailed the last 2 hours. First real outing in the rain it was not enjoyable! Couldn't see a thing through our glasses and with no waterproofs we were drenched as well as being freezing cold, not enjoyable! Peter was on top form once again with everything we needed on hand and some aggressive words of encouragement, if you can call it that!

A big thankyou to Phil Clever, 108 Harley Street and Whitworths for their sponsorship which has been greatfully received.

To support our bike ride please visit www.justgiving.com and search for David Willey or Richard Cockayne or write cheques to Cancer Research UK and send to:

C/o David Willey
Northants Cricket
The county ground
Abington Avenue

Thank you

Friday, 30 September 2011

Day 6

Today after taking it easy with my knees I decided to change riding style and just hammer it. Bored of taking it easy and thinking it can't get any harder we set off on good speed. We managed to get to Kendall within 2 or so hours and then on to Penrith and finally arriving in Carlisle in under 6 hours. Top speed today clocked at 38mph.

Now it wasn't all plain sailing after Kendall we had some really hard climbs. Shap Fell was a killer and i was glad to see Pete at the top to replenish our stocks and laugh at the state of me. Dave was flying today and must have been pleased that for the first time in a few days we could race up some hills. It's been a good day and yet again Pete has been a legend.

Tomorrow is mentally a good day as we hit Scotland and for me today has been a big lift. Thanks to everyone for your words of encouragement they really do help.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Day 5

Harmer Hill, Shrewsbury to Preston. Only 600 meters climbing which suited myself so I could power along the flat! Richard, still troubled with knee pain and pumped with pain killers, still managed to complete the day notching up just over 80 miles. It took us just over 6 hours cycling time to complete our mileage navigating through Warrington and Wigan along the way. Our chosen route kept us on main roads which meant no nice views unfortunately! Peter once again providing food and drink along the way and once again provided some good entertainment throughout! We are getting to know the Premier Inn menu pretty well now and Peter is sharing a room with two tired bikes! Off to Carlisle tomorrow before our big push into Scotland.