Fulfilling your life’s ambitions

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9th August 2021

On 13th August Neil Baverstock kicks off his cycle ride from Land’s End to John o’Groats to raise money for Reading Force. Alison, his wife and founder of Reading Force, says Neil has wanted to do this for as long as she can remember. But as second in command, what should she bring for back up?!

I always knew my husband wanted to complete the Land’s End to John o’Groats cycle ride, so last year I put two relevant books in his Christmas stocking. There is the Cicerone Guide, which covers how to avoid the traffic en route and End to End by Paul Jones, which is full of fascinating statistics and stories. For example, the current men’s record holder is Michael Broadwith who took just 43 hours; when the route first became a thing to complete, in the 1880s, there were several journeys on Penny-farthing bicycles.

Equipped with these two books, many quiet evenings of patient planning followed. As I am the official (and I hope un-needed) back up vehicle, his plan thoughtfully included a noted monument (National Trust property or relative) for me to visit each day.

He will be riding for Reading Force. This is not the first time he has got on his bike for us (Ride London in 2019) but it is by far the furthest. The total route is 983 miles, with an average of just over 70 miles a day. The most direct route is 842 (without the trip-enhancing detours). A month ago he was just delighted to hear his friend Derek would join him, and there are discussions about who will be in whose slipstream!

We are now in the final stages of preparing, with practice runs being undertaken in the Surrey hills. I am trying to think what is needed in the car – plasters, obviously, lots of energy bars, soothing bath oils – but what else? Ideas welcome! Above all, advice on how I will cope with dinner each evening when our physical exertions during the day have been so very different. Here’s the link if you want to support us.

From 13th August, follow Neil’s route on twitter: @ReadingForce

Follow Neil’s cycling challenge from Land’s End to John o’Groats