Thirteen cyclists set off from Land’s End in Cornwall to John O’Groats in Scotland’s northeast corner (a route known as LEJOG) on July 14th with the goal of cycling more than 1000 miles over two weeks and raising at least £30,000 for the UK FamilyLife ministry. The team endured physical, mental, and emotional challenges while cycling 70-80 miles each day. They also experienced enormous fun and adventures along the way and forged deep friendships. When they arrived at John O’Groats on July 28th, they celebrated the achievement of reaching their destination AND raising over £42,000 for the FamilyLife ministry to help strengthen families. Here are some highlights from their adventure.
As the cyclists and Support Team (in vans) set off from Land’s End on our first morning we had no idea that the weather would become a serious challenge in itself. How often do we experience a heat wave in the UK? The tarmac intensified the heat and then melted! Then we faced TORRENTIAL rain and thunderstorms in Scotland and battled with squadrons of midges (similar to mosquitoes). We enjoyed encounters with other wildlife including nibbling miniature ponies, jumping cows, and a vole.
The cyclists covered 1,020 miles and climbed a total of 74,060 feet (that’s two and a half times the height of Mount Everest). Deep friendships developed between everyone but particularly within the two cycling teams, Saga and Colts, as they encouraged one another up monster hills. They also supported each other as they contended with injuries and mended tire punctures and other bike bits.
Highlights for most of the cyclists included enjoying beautiful countryside, being part of a fantastic team, exchanging banter, and doing it all for a good cause. The downsides included cycling through difficult terrain in extreme weather conditions, dodging lorries, listening to other team members snoring each night, and having to pay an extra £1 for a shower!
We stayed in a variety of accommodations, mostly youth hostels and bunkhouses. We renamed one bunkhouse The Hovel. Another was more like a sauna without any bedding…an interesting challenge for the support team (we did manage to find bedding for 16 people just in time!)
The Support Team played a vital role in the success of LEJOG. We loaded and unloaded 1,000 bags and over 1,000 liters of water, served 300 bananas, and handed out thousands of jelly babies. We used over 20 bottles of squash and served over 200 sandwiches and countless pieces of cake, flapjacks, and protein bars over 31 scheduled RV stops. We also mixed up 58 tasty protein shakes. Each of the two vehicles of the Support Team was driven over 2,000 miles.
When we finally arrived in John O’Groats after a long and challenging two-week trip, we were elated. There were lots of tough parts—hills and pain—but also many wonderful times. God molded us into a team along the way. We’ve become like family as we’ve shared the highs and lows. We are very grateful and treasure the relationships.
Mark Daniel, Director of FamilyLife UK, said, “It’s been a remarkable achievement and an incredible adventure for everyone. We wanted to engage as many people as possible and we know from comments on the blog that people back home felt part of it too which is great. We also thank God that everyone got there in one piece!”
We praise God for the successful adventure and the money that was raised for FamilyLife. If you want to see pictures and read all the details of our often hilarious adventures from the trip, visit our blog at: www.familylifeuk.org/lejog/blog.