On Monday June 17th I am setting off from Lands End towards John o'Groats, on the way I will ‘sleep rough’ through choice, allowing me the freedom to choose where and how long I rest between days on the road. However unlike many of those who find themselves homeless on the streets of Wales or in temporary housing, I will have access to a bank account, funds for healthy food, the odd night in a B and B if it’s a really wet day and I need a hot bath and a radiator to dry my clothes, and the support of my family and friends should I need it. I also have the option to head home to my comfy bed at the end. This is why I am raising funds for Llamau who help the most vulnerable young people and women in our society. They provide support to get those things we all take for granted, to have a chance to manage their own accommodation and improve their opportunities in life.
About the challenge - last year I had in my sights 81-years-old Tony Rathbone's record (see Guinness Book) as the oldest man to cycle from Lands End to John o'Groats. No success- an infection struck at 600 miles and I felt compelled to put off my attempt. I immediately began preparations for this year, selecting my route more carefully and tweaking it many times over the months, and making full use of Google Maps to list all Supermarkets, village stores, pubs and restaurants along my route so I have given myself the best chance of taking the record … at 87 I only need to complete the ride and fame and fortune will ensue?
But not meant to be...
Last year, Cycling Weekly announced, that, at age 87, Donald Wells had completed the ride, and in some style, riding a Brompton bike! Hopes destroyed. But hang on
.. the article didn't give his birthday, so maybe, if we compare
actual birth dates, I might yet steal the record from Donald,
assuming I am going to be successful with this year's ride.
So with Donald's permission, on Monday 17th June I will be setting off from Lands End with the sole intention of completing the ride and joining the 87 club... The 87 club? A significant milestone as far as physical achievements are concerned. People will feel that a record holder age 90 is determined to show off, and 89 is too close, suggesting a desperate need to reach out to 90, as if the age was all that mattered, and 88 is a silly clown of a number reading the same upside down as back to front. No, 87 is the ideal age for record-breaking - offering a certain stoical calmness -not too excited about breaking the record, and not old enough for people to say "ah well, he must be mad and God looks after fools and madmen!" and so diminish the achievement. So watch for news....
Some more about Llamau...Llamau, is a Welsh charity which provides a full help service to young homeless people and women. See their website at www.llamau.org.uk
"Llamau is the leading homeless charity in Wales, supporting the most vulnerable young people and women. We are particularly well known for working with those most at risk, care leavers, people who have been involved in the criminal justice system, people who have experienced domestic abuse and people who have lead chaotic and disadvantaged lifestyles. They need high levels of individual support to help them to gain the necessary skills for them to live independant and purposeful lives in their communities."
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving - they'll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to the charity. So it's the most efficient way to donate - saving time and cutting costs for the charity.