Jeremy Damrel tells us how he came to cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise over £1000 for See Change
“Inspired by the success of British Cycling at the London Olympics I bought myself a road bike and joined a local cycling club – Salt and Sham. We head out early on a Saturday morning for a 25 mile lap of Chew Valley Lake, finishing up at Keynsham Cricket Club for a chat over a coffee and a bacon sandwich, then home – all by 9.30am!
I progressed to a number of sportives, the longest to date being the Dragon Ride in south Wales at 140 miles. On turning 50 a friend said that he wanted to do something special – to cycle from Lands End to John O Groats. Having just turned 50 myself I jumped at the chance to join him on this ‘bucket list’ cycle adventure.
The LEJOG route we chose was 1000 miles – 100 miles a day for 10 days. I knew I could cycle 100 miles – what I didn’t know was whether I could repeat it 10 times in succession. So, it felt like a pretty big undertaking and I thought I should collect some money for charity in completing the journey.
I picked See Change because I liked the way it used cycling as a way of helping people in a very practical way, in developing skills and confidence so that they can stand on their own and make a better life for themselves.
I trained hard for the ride, cycling 4 to 5 five times a week and covering something like 300 miles a week between January and June. When it came to the LEJOG I was fit enough to really enjoy the adventure. It was hard work but there was no point when I didn’t want to be on my bike. We rode through rain and wind, through sun and cloud, we crossed moors, followed narrow country lanes, rode up some pretty steep hills and took the odd ferry over estuaries. For the first time in my life I got to experience the whole of Great Britain – an amazing place with so much to see.
I rode in a group of 20 – strangers on day one but good companions by day 10. We were a mix of novices and experienced cyclists, from 21 to 65, with a shared enthusiasm which carried us along together – in the day on the ride and in the evenings at the bar.
It was a great experience and one that I would recommend to anyone. I am sure that I have grown because of it and if the modest amount that I was able to raise for See Change helps others to grow then that has to be a good thing.”