Case Study 2 – Scotland to London Cycle – Week 1
August 9th, 2011
Hi, I’m Steven, the ‘other’ Director of PT Training Systems.
Am I just amazingly fantastic or completely nuts? I am undertaking a rather nerve wracking challenge of 5 days of cycling from Scotland down to London. This is roughly 500 miles or 720 kilometers!
I’m a registered osteopath and have played to high levels of rugby and squash, before impact injuries led me to rowing – so I’ve been around sport, fitness and training for quite a while.
Having watched the Tour de France for many years I got particularly inspired this year – immense guts from Cadel Evans. The day after it finished I received an e-mail asking me if I’d like to undertake the challenge of cycling from Edinburgh to London for the SSAFA Ride of Britain in September.
It seems a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet some inspiring people, have a fully supported back up team and get extremely fit in the process – whilst raising money for a thoroughly good cause.
This is one hell of a ride, with each day riding 65-111 miles (105-180 kilometers), making just one day of this longer than the London to Brighton (54 miles seems tiny now!).
Training started a couple of weeks ago and have already lost 3 kg after four long rides – two at 80 kilometers and two at 40 kilometers. I’m feeling a lot stronger already.
I will be updating the blog on a weekly basis and also doing live updates on the days of the event (21-25 September 2011).
Training program to come…
The journey between England and Scotland’s capital cities, takes you on an adventure through some of the British Isles’ finest landscape.
The route covers over 720 kilometres of challenging country, through the rugged fells of Cumbria to one of Britain’s best loved national park, the Yorkshire Dales, and onto the flat land of Lincolnshire and quaint villages of Cambridgeshire. Each day brings new sights and experiences as well as exciting cycling ranging from testing climbs to fast descents.
At the end of each day you will be treated to a nourishing, hot meal and accommodation. Our final day will lead you away from the peace of Britain’s countryside through the buzzing atmosphere of London, finishing on the iconic Horse Guards Parade. In the evening we will celebrate this huge achievement together inviting your loved ones to join us.
With your support SSAFA can continue to help almost 50,000 members of our armed forces and their families each year.
Day 1 Edinburgh to Carlisle
We congregate on the Esplanade beneath the magnificent ramparts of Edinburgh Castle. En masse, we depart down the cobbled streets of the Royal Mile and onto Canongate, passing the New Scottish Parliament Building, onto the Palace of Holyroodhouse before turning into Holyrood Park with its views of Arthur’s Seat. Leaving Edinburgh behind us we head out across the Pentlands and Moorfoot hills, marking the start of the Scottish Boarders before pulling into Glentress Forest for lunch. Continuing south, we will cross the River Tweed, cycling along minor roads through rolling countryside. We pass the Tibetan retreat – Samye Ling Monastery, where you can pop in for a cup of tea. The rest of the afternoon takes us through more unspoilt countryside to our final stop in Langholm and along the River Esk into Carlisle where we rest up for the evening.
Distance: 148 kilometres
Day 2 Carlisle to Harrogate
An early rise beckons as we embark on the most challenging day of the tour. Following a quick exit from Carlisle we turn south, once again, onto the country roads to experience Cumbria’s magnificent countryside, overlooked by the towering fells of Milburn Forest and Dufton Fell. After lunch in the market town of Kirkby Stephen, we ascend steep climbs followed by long descents with the imposing hills of High Seat, Great Shunner Fell and Wild Boar Fell welcoming us into the Yorkshire Dales National Park and some of England’s most spectacular scenery. Our afternoon break will take us to the Aysgarth Falls National Park
Centre. With the challenging hills behind, the last leg of the day offers a long run, on gentle undulating roads, into Ripon and finally onto Harrogate.
Distance: 179 kilometres
Day 3 Harrogate to Lincoln
We begin the day easing our muscles in gently, bypassing the major towns and cities of Wetherby, Tadcaster and York on country lanes of rolling farmland in Northern England. Our first rest stop of the day is at RAF Church Fenton Air Base. We continue crossing the East Riding of Yorkshire and on to the Goole, on the River Humber before arriving at the Maritime Museum on the Dutch River, voted as one of the top 100 picnic places in Britain. The afternoon sees us following the River Trent onto the flattened terrain in Lincolnshire, with low hedgerows and beautiful views stretching out as far as the eye can see before arriving in the City of Lincoln and ending another day in the saddle.
Distance: 166 kilometres
Day 4 Lincoln to Cambridge
The penultimate day takes us through the Lincolnshire countryside and idyllic villages of Metheringham, Scopwick, Kirby Green and Billinghay with the first stop at the Heckington Windmill; this grade 1 listed building is the only remaining eight sailed windmill in the UK.
Lunch finds us in Spalding in the beautiful grounds of Ayscoughfee Hall Museum and Gardens. In the afternoon we head for Cambridge alongside the River Welland and New River into Cambridge on the country lanes. After dinner there is the opportunity to explore the fine architecture of this famous University City.
Distance: 171 kilometres
Day 5 Cambridge to London
The final day of the tour takes us through wooded countryside and quaint villages in Cambridgeshire to the hustle and bustle of London. For lunch we stop at Bruce Castle Park in Tottenham before heading into London’s West End passing Green Park, Buckingham Palace Gardens and Buckingham Palace before turning onto The Mall. With Admiralty Arch and views of Big Ben and the London Eye in front, we will turn into Horse Guards Road and finish at Horse Guards Parade.
Distance: 100 kilometres