CHARITY champion Greg Stonard battled driving wind and rain, half a dozen punctures and the loss of grip in his hands to cycle 1,000 miles between Land’s End and John O’Groats.
The 22-year-old from Baldslow Down, St Leonards successfully negotiated one of the most gruelling bike rides in the country in just 10 days.
The superfit student joined his pal Charlie Williams from London to take on the challenge carrying all their clothing and camping gear on their bikes.
The pair set off from the Cornish landmark early on August 22 aiming to ride around 100 miles a day. They biked through Cornwall, Devon, Bristol, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Cheshire, Lancashire and Cumbria before hearing north of the border.
Once into Scotland they headed for Glasgow and then up through the Trossachs, Loch Lomond, Fort William, the Highlands, Wick and eventually John O’Groats. They were disappointed to find that the signpost for the end of their ride was missing, but still posed for pictures instead.
Greg said: “Within 24 hours of leaving we had three punctures between us. In fact we had about five punctures each throughout the route. Some glass got stuck inside the lining of the tyre which we didn’t spot and kept cutting into our new inner tubes.
“On another day we went round in circles for 15 miles but all in all it was a pretty successful trip and one we will never forget. At one point we needed a bed in Glasgow for the night and put out an SOS through Facebook.
“Within a few hours we had got fixed up. A girl who I lived with at university in my first year had a sister who lived in Glasgow. She contacted her and she put us up for the night at short notice which we were very grateful for.”
Greg has raised £1,100 for Diabetes UK. He was inspired to raise money for the charity after his cousin died from a diabetic episode aged just 21.
“It was a gruelling trip,” he added. “I still can’t use my right hand to grip. All the muscles have seized up after gripping my handlebars for so long.
“The Scottish Highlands were my favourite place. They were just so vast, open and empty. The roads were great for cyclists.
“It was a mixture of relief and sadness when I got to the end, relief that we had got there in one piece but sadness that we had come to the end of our journey. Though I was quite glad to get out of the saddle after 1,000 miles.”