A new addition to my library “End To End” by Paul Jones.
The Land End to John O’Groats Cycling Record – A Tale of Obsession and Happiness.
From the cover: The End to End is the longest place-to-place cycling record in Britain. It is a daunting 842 miles and for the men and women who attempt to break it, there can be no second place, only the binary outcome of total success or failure. Paul Jones, decided to ride from Lands End to John O’Groats in an attempt to understand the relentless physical and mental challenges involved.
Paul Jones is a former Head Master, who decides to ride the End to End and along the way write about the people who have travelled the same road looking for that elusive record.
Starting with the first attempts in the 1880’s riding on Penny Farthings, to the current (Male) record holder – Michael Broadwith, who completed the ride in 43hrs 25mins and 13 seconds on the 17th June 2018. (Average speed 19.4mph / 31.2kmh)
The current Female record (839mls) is 51hrs 5mins and 27sec was set by Christina Mackenzie on Friday 30th July 2021.
There have only ever been a handful of record holders, since the distance was first confirmed in 1886.
This book is a beautifully told story of the trials and tribulations of those early ‘roadies’ who ‘on a wing and a pray’ rode into the history books.
With illustrations galore, maps and photographs, a broad picture is drawn of this most elusive of records. The detail is excellent, with interviews of many of the record holders and memories of those who attempted and won and also of those who (literally) fell by the wayside.
Interspersed, with these memories is the tale of Paul’s own difficulties in his life, intermingled with his own physical journey from Land’s End to Jon O’Groats.
It is a story of the courage and of the obsessive nature of a certain type of person, who will endure any type of privation for that elusive record.
A thoroughly enjoyable read for a winters evening.