A Blog About Brian Albritton's September 2012 Cycling Ride Across Britain

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Questions About the Ride

A number people have asked questions about the End to End ride and why I'm doing it.  I want to take a moment to answer those.

Why the End to End ride and how did I hear about it?

I first heard about the End to End ride reading Cycling Plus magazine, a leading British cycling magazine.  Sometimes referred to as the LEJOG ride (Land's End to John O'Groats), lots of different organizations, many of them charities, sponsor End to End rides.  There are different routes and some rides even go north to south.  A couple of years ago, I read about the Deloitte Ride Across Britain in Cycling Plus, and I was just taken by it.  I signed up last October.

When did I start to prepare for the ride?

I have been training for this ride since September 2011.  Except for a handful of weekends, I have been riding 4 days a week: intervals on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and long rides on both weekend days.  Since December 1st, not counting most of the intervals, I have cycled 3,675 miles so far in preparation for this ride, more than the distance between Tampa and Vancouver, which is 3,263 miles. 

Why the "End to End" and not some other ride here in the US?

I was just struck by the End to End.  It is the iconic ride in a nation that appears to love cycling.  There are other famous multi-day rides, though most of them are in Europe and some are timed, such as Paris-Brest-Paris which is 1200 kilometers.  Of course, there are also rides across various states, the most well known of which is the RAGBRI or ride across Iowa.  Great rides, but there was just something about the End to End that struck me.

Where will I sleep?  Eat?  How many riders?

The ride organizers say there will be 500 riders, but I've heard the number 700.  We will be sleeping in tents, except for one night.  It is not a race nor is the ride timed.  There is not even a mass start, and I hear some riders will leave as early as 5:30 AM --I won't be one of them.  There is a sweep vehicle that goes at 10 mph that we need to stay in front of in order to keep riding.  Overall, the ride appears to be well organized as this is the third year that the Deloitte Ride Across Britain is being held.

How am I getting to/from the ride?

I'll admit:  the logistics have been a challenge.  I am flying from Tampa on British Air, and I'm bringing the bike with me in a bike bag.  That's the easy part.  The harder part is getting me and my bike from London to Penzance and then to Land's End.  Apparently, you have to reserve a place on the train to take a bike (there are only a few spots) and when I called, all the places were full.  So, I am taking a 9 hour bus to Penzance.

On the way back, I along with a few others are getting a cab from John O'Groats to Inverness.  The ride organizers are taking most bikes back to pick up points in England, but that doesn't do me any good.  I called the airline that is flying me from Inverness to London, and they said "only rarely" do they not have room for bikes.  That was comforting.

Is anyone else going with me?  Are there others from the US who will be riding?

No one else locally is going with me.  To my knowledge, I only know of one other person from the US who is going and he lives in San Francisco.  The ride organizers told me there was only one person from the US on last year's ride.

Is this a charity ride? 

Apparently, most End to End rides are done in conjunction with a charity or to raise money for a charity, and this one is no exception.  The "official" charity of the ride is ParalympicsGB, but the ride encourages all riders to support the charity of their choice.  The ride estimates that £1.5 million has been raised by riders for charities, including ParalympicsGB, over the last two years.

I am raising money for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Tampa Bay.  It is a great organization with four "houses" in the Tampa Bay area:  one near Tampa General, one within All Children's Hospital in St. Pete, and two others in St. Pete.  These houses serve a critical need as they seek to provide a "home away from home" for the families of children who are hospitalized in the Tampa Bay area.

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