Riding from John O’Groats all the way to Lands End is one of those incredible bucket list adventures that many of us dream of embarking upon. As thrilling and exciting – even life changing – as the journey sounds, only an intrepid few actually set off to cycle from one landmark to the other.
Obstacles always seem to get in the way: I’m not very good at navigation, I wouldn’t want to go it alone, I don’t want to carry ALL of my kit on a ride that’s going to be physically tough enough on an unloaded bike. But those concerns don’t have to stop you.
Action for Charity offer the chance to ride around 1,000 miles End to End with a group of other women over 12 days. Distances vary from 65 to 100 miles each day – so there’s no mincing around the fact it’s going to be a tough two weeks. However, the charity work with ‘Dream Challenges’ to provide a more catered experience – your luggage will be transported between hotels and accomodation, food, guides, mechanical and medical support are all covered for you.
If the full challenge is just too great a stretch you can still take part in the experience by riding one or three days, joining in with the group along the way.
The 2017 event takes place from 8 September to 20 September and will raise money for Breast Cancer Care, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, Ovarian Cancer Action – and here are a few reasons we think it’s an amazing challenge to take on…
You’ll get the Miles in: Supported
The journey covers around 1,000 miles, and your days will vary from 65 to 100 miles. Though the UK isn’t famed for alpine ascents, we’ve got plenty of steep and short ramps on our doorsteps and you’ll need your climbing legs with you.
That might sound intimidating – and it is a huge distance – but it’s always amazing to note how much easier it is to ride long distances every day when the rest of ‘life’ is looked after for you.
Food, accomodation, mechanical issues will all be off your shoulders: you just need to think about turning the pedals.
Ride with other women
We don’t mind riding with men, we’ve really got nothing against them… but riding with other women is just that little bit more enjoyable sometimes.
We can be more open; talk about the stomach aches making cycling hard when they happen, or be honest about the struggles of being a mum, the total fear or simple lack of desire to become one. It might sound cliche but those are all conversations many of us have had on female only bike rides that we just keep quiet about when the ride mainly consists of male participants.
Spending almost two solid weeks of riding with a group of equally cycling obsessed women, you could well make some friends for life – and there will be plenty of time to learn more about each others reasons for riding, and future plans. You might even find yourselves planning future adventures…
Sense of Achievement
For most of us who work, taking two weeks off is quite a massive chunk of our holiday entitlement – but then what will be more memorable to you: two weeks on the beach in the South of France, or riding the length of the country?
TWC’s second ever editor Kirsty rode LEJOG in 2011, and it’s fair (we think?!) to say it changed her life – prompting a 4,000 mile coastal ride and a total career change. A journey like this is one you certainly won’t forget.
Explore the Country
Sure, we moan about the British weather, and the irritating habit British people have of queuing for everything whilst apologising profusely for doing so. But actually, our country is quite stunning – and with your route planned for you by experts you know it’ll take in the best landscapes. And you’ll be with a group of riders who you can share the experience with.
You’ll ride through craggy Fort William and Dumfries in Scotland, through Lancaster, touring Cheshire and Shropshire with all of their quaint market towns and villages. You’ll follow the River Wye from Hereford to Bridgewater and pass through Somerset, Devon and into Cornwall. Put simply: you’ll see the length of the country.
If you’d like to get a better idea of where each day will take you, see the itinerary (with some pretty stunning pictures!) here.
Finally – but far from leastly – your ride will be all about raising money fro three incredible charities that touch the lives of so many women: Breast Cancer Care, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and Ovarian Cancer Action.
Here’s a short run down on each, so you know where the money goes and how many people it helps…
Breast Cancer Care
Every year, 55,000 women and men receive the devastating news that they have breast cancer. Breast Cancer Care wants to be there for every one of them, providing expert information and skilled emotional and practical support, informed by our clinical expertise and our understanding of people’s experience.
Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust
Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is the only UK charity dedicated to women affected by cervical abnormalities and cervical cancer. Nearly three women die every day in the UK from cervical cancer with eight being diagnosed and facing an uncertain future. After breast cancer, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women aged 35 and under.
Ovarian Cancer Action
Ovarian cancer is the biggest gynecological killer of women in the UK. 12 women die each day from the disease and the UK has one of the lowest survival rates of the developed world. Ovarian Cancer Action is dedicated to improving women’s chances of survival by funding research at the Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre; raising awareness of the disease; and giving a voice to women affected by it.
What costs are involved?
Of course, riding fully supported doesn’t come for free and the charity organise these events to raise money so there are costs involved. Riding the full event, you’ll pay £299 to register and need to raise £3,000 for the Women V Cancer charities – the charity then pays £1,500 to Dream Challenges. Three day riders pay £99 at registration and raise £699 – with £349 going to the tour company and one day riders pay £39 up-front and must raise £199.
Interested? Read more here.