Phil & Danny took part in three Cycle Challenges to raised funds for Kidneys for Life and St Johns Hospice earlier this year raising over £3,000 for each charity. Big thanks from all at Kidneys for Life.
This is Phil’s tale of their challenges which we hope you will enjoy.
“My Brother, Danny, an avid cyclist, tri-athlete and iron man competitor had in the past talked of our desire to do some longer distance cycle rides, before you know it we are embarking on three! It seemed a shame to let it pass without working for some good charity causes, having always been in awe of everything that St Johns Hospice provide for the local community this was an easy choice, the second charity being Kidneys for Life was in recognition for the amazing treatment my Godson, John, received who without would not be here today, he is now four!
Coast To Coast – Seascale to Bridlington – Fri, 29th May
On Thursday afternoon 23rd of July we cycled to Carnforth station and caught a diesel loco around to Barrow In Furness, stunning scenery and engineering, change at Barrow and up the coast to Seascale, our first overnight stop together Danny had booked the accommodation in Seascale, now both checking in as Rogerson and being shown to our room with its four poster bed I’m not sure what the girl was thinking, we moved to a twin room! Friday Morning, up at 5am, full cooked breakfast and away at 6am prompt, wind and rain, Hard Knot and Wrynose passes first, up through the lakes, around Windermere arriving in Dent for our first butty stop, pretty wet and cold but the wind was behind us! Sutton Bank was our only serious obstacle left which we took in our stride, arriving in Bridlington at around 7.30pm the task was now to find our accommodation, after much looking and police assistance we got checked in, a strange landlady, locked our bikes in a shed outside everything seemed to be under control, we arranged as early a breakfast as she would do, 7am, we wandered down the street for some carbs, chicken and fries! No alcohol!
170 Miles, 8,337ft of ascent and 6440 calories.
Way of the Roses – Bridlington to Morecambe – Sat, 30th May
Up at 6am and ready to go by 7, no landlady, by the time we got out it was 9am, to say I wasn’t happy was probably a reasonable understatement, we set off, late, into a 13mph head wind, coming straight from the west, after two hours and covering little ground we pulled up and grumbled a bit more about the landlady, the likelihood of getting back in the day wasn’t looking good, we stuck at it pushed on having our sandwiches in York, despite Danny losing a spoke and having a slight wheel buckle we hit Gargrave, about 45 mile from home, we stopped for food and another grumble about the landlady, as if by magic the wind dropped, there wasn’t a breath, back on the bikes, hammer down. Midland Hotel here we come, we arrived at around 9pm to an unexpected family welcoming party which was really appreciated, Guinness and food made it all worthwhile, a special thanks to the Midland who had stopped serving but did go out of their way and put some food on for us.
151.6 miles, 6,243ft of ascent, 6206 calories
Land’s End to John O’ Groats – Sat, 1st to Sat 25th July
Day 1 – Danny had arranged and collected the hire car and collected me at 3am on the Saturday morning, we had to be in Penzance for 12 noon to return the car before they closed, timing was impeccable as we arrived at 12 noon prompt, unloaded the car, put the bikes back to together and set off to Land’s End. Arriving at Land’s end, about 15 mile cycle we were surprised how commercial it was, the actual sign post being cordoned off, if you wanted an official photo you had to pay! From here we set off on our first leg of the journey which took us up through Cornwall, St Ives, Penzance, Cambourne, Truro and Austell we had covered 75.3 miles on our first day including the 15 or so miles to Land’s End, climbed 5,390ft and used 3885 calories.
We had not pre-booked any accommodation and our first night was at the Crown Inn at Tywardreath which is a small hamlet, great people, good evening meal and 3 pints of Guinness! A breakfast tray was arranged for us which was excellent, bike storage wasn’t great but we managed to persuade them to let us leave them in the kitchen.
Day 2 – up at 5am, out at 6.00am, the intention being to get 4 hours of cycling in and get some miles under our belt before stopping to eat, travelling up though Liskeard, Tavistock, through Dartmoor National Park, Chudleigh, Shillingford Abbot to Exeter, 138 miles, 9,740ft of ascent, 6944 calories having stopped for tea and scones on the river along the way we found a nice little country pub in Wedmore called the George Inn, very accommodating, great food, 3 pints of Guinness and a breakfast tray. The Landlord let us store our bikes in his workshop and gave us the code so we could get away early the next morning.
Day 3 – up at 5am, out at 6am travelling up though Clifton, Bristol, Chepstow, side of Hereford, Leominster, Ludlow, Bridgenorth and finally Shrewsbury. 144 miles, 8097ft of ascent, 6893 calories. Along the way the suspension bridge experience on a bike rather than in a car was breath-taking, we managed to find a nice pub/hotel in the middle of Shrewsbury called the Prince Rupert Hotel, the criteria was now firmly set, twin room, yes, evening meal, yes, bike store, yes, breakfast tray, yes! we ate in the adjoining restaurant which had been a former court house (not one I recognised) great meal, 3 pints of Guinness!
Day 4 – up at 5am, full breakfast prepared for us this time, away at 6am, this was to be strange day as we pushed towards Lancashire, our next scheduled stop should really have been Penrith but as we were passing Lancaster it was decided we would stay at home. our route was Nantwich, Tiverton, Warrington, Standish, Charnock Richard, Euxton, Bamber Bridge, Walton Le Dale, Preston, Fullwood, Broughton Catterall, Cockerham, Conder Green, Lancaster, stopping at Wallings for an Ice Cream. On arriving home mid Afternoon it was a nice surprise to be greeted by John (Stevenson my Godson) who was being looked after by Jules, great to see his progress since having his new kidney, a real shot in the arm for the second half of the journey, home comforts and 3 tins of Guinness! 110 miles travelled, unable to tell you about calories or ascent as had my phone set on run and not cycle!
Day 5 – Away again at 6am, calling at Rogerson HomeServe+ to be greeted by Leroy, making our way up to Brampton via Kendal, Shap, Penrith meeting up with Andy (Crabtree, daughter’s boyfriend) at Talking Tarn for lunch, a very peaceful break carrying on from here we headed up through Gretna, Annan and towards Dumfries, 15 miles out I developed a buckled wheel which was getting worse, phoning our back up crew, home based, Jules phoned ahead and found a very accommodating cycle shop, G+G Cycles! They were excellent, new wheel fitted, rear chain set and new chain along with use of their cafe facilities we were back on our way within 90 minutes, heading towards Kilmarnock we were now pushing for time, our first accommodation attempt failed but the very helpful receptionist managed to get us booked into a hotel 4 miles away called the Fenwick, it was 8.40pm and they stopped serving at 9pm, fastest 4 miles of the day, got us there, checked in, evening meal, no Guinness so had to have bitter! 175.4 miles travelled, 7104ft of ascent, 7389 calories used
Day 6 – full breakfast away at 6am, up to Dunlop, Lugton, Castlehead, around the side of Paisley, Glasgow. Erskine, Dumbarton, Alexandria, Arden, cycle down the shores of Loch Lomond, Inverarnan, Clifton, over the bridge of Orchy, past Loch Tulla, Loch Nah-Achlaise, Loch Ba and finishing up in Glencoe. The lead up to reaching Glencoe was probably the most unpleasant of the whole trip, driving rain and into wind! The Glencoe Inn proved to be a decent overnight stay, eccentric land lady but good food, Guinness and a great breakfast laid out for us the night before! Total of 113.9 miles completed, 6017ft of ascent and 5254 calories used
Day 7 – Glencoe to Dingwall following the Caledonian Canal, 100.2 miles, 6628 of accent, 5162 calories, leaving at 6am on what was to be a very pleasant un eventful route, we had to do a couple of laps around the town to get our miles over 100, booking in at the National Hotel, great evening meal, Guinness and a pre-prepared breakfast bag.
Day 8 – Dingwall to John O’ Groats up the east coast passing Dornoch, Golspie, Brora and DunBeath, a gentle 110.3 miles, 3786 calories and 5399ft of ascent, dramatic scenery following an amazing train line weaving its way in and around the mountains and valleys! They say life is full of surprises, we knew Christie (Daughter) and Andy (Daughter’s boyfriend) were making the trip up to meet us at the finish, 450 miles, super effort and much appreciated, what we didn’t expect was my great Mate Sharpie (John Sharp) and his every youthful assistant (Wife, looks more like his daughter) pitching up from Northampton, a monumental 650 miles each way, we were blown away! I nearly fell off my bike! We had some great food stops along the way, full English breakfasts, afternoon teas, the finish was amazing but at the same time there was a sense of deflation, fantastic to have done, but we have now done it, what now??!!
We loaded the bikes up into Sharpies car, good job he did come as I don’t think we would have got everything in ours, drove to Thurso where we stayed the night prior to returning home on the Sunday morning, fantastic trip, great to spend some quality time with my brother whilst raising monies for two excellent charities, we have raised over £3,000 for each charity which we how will go some way to improving people’s lives.
Questions asked so far,
- What was the hardest part? – Cornwall and Devon
- What was the most uncomfortable part? – Glencoe
- What did you learn from the trip? – having ridden a lot of old roads, paths and bridges along with new, the evolution of where we have come from and where we are now
Finally, we self-funded this trip and would like to thank every single person who donated and gave us the determination to keep going and succeed.
Thanks, Phil and Danny