Banbury cyclist completes Lands End to John O’Groats ride for homeless charity

Joby Mullens, from Banbury, who cycled from Land's End to John O'Groats. Mr Mullens at the finish. NNL-170808-112915001
Joby Mullens, from Banbury, who cycled from Land's End to John O'Groats. Mr Mullens at the finish. NNL-170808-112915001

A Banbury man completed a birthday milestone challenge last month in aid of a homeless charity he volunteers for.

Joby Mullens cycled the 874 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats, a trip which has been on his to-do list for the past 10 years.

Joby Mullens, from Banbury, cycled from Land's End to John O'Groats. Mr Mullens cycled through Cheddar Gorge. NNL-170908-132205001

Joby Mullens, from Banbury, cycled from Land's End to John O'Groats. Mr Mullens cycled through Cheddar Gorge. NNL-170908-132205001

Mr Mullens, who turned 40 this year, completed the challenge in 13 days to raise money for The Gatehouse in Oxford.

A seasoned cycler – he has previously cycled through Europe and has completed the London to Brighton cycle ride – Mr Mullens faced challenging weather and steep slopes, but also a number of highs along his route.

The Banbury Star Cyclists Club member said: “The literal highs being scaling Shap Fell in the Lake District in drizzly conditions on day seven and – on day 10 – climbing the dramatic peaks of the Cairngorms including the Glen Shee Mountain Pass on the A93, feeling defeated as it managed to unseat me near the top.

“Hanging my head in shame as I scuttled up the remaining metres on foot, I regained some sense of dignity after being told it was the highest mountain pass in the country.

Joby Mullens, from Banbury, cycled from Land's End to John O'Groats. Mr Mullens at Ironbridge. NNL-170908-132216001

Joby Mullens, from Banbury, cycled from Land's End to John O'Groats. Mr Mullens at Ironbridge. NNL-170908-132216001

“The metaphorical high came upon the descent, hanging on for dear life as a fierce sidewind did its best to knock me sideways as I hit pant-wettingly high speeds of 50mph, the fastest I have ever been on two wheels.”

Mr Mullens also enjoyed riding through beautiful countryside, dramatic scenery, and passing unexpected surprises such as the not-so-secret nuclear bunker in Cheshire, stopping at the Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery near Langholm in Scotland for a chai latte, and a home-made ice cream from a farm near Lancaster.

“There was also the impromptu stop for a pint at a random Cornish cider farm which seemed to fortuitously appear out of the middle of nowhere near the end of what was a tough first day – 95 miles and around 2,200 metres of climbing in baking heat,” he added.

He added he also met many nice people including friends in Worcester and Bristol and a woman who left behind a career as an accountant in Wallingford to open a bed and breakfast in Altnaharra in the far north of Scotland.

Joby Mullens, from Banbury, cycled from Land's End to John O'Groats. The  NNL-170908-132226001

Joby Mullens, from Banbury, cycled from Land's End to John O'Groats. The NNL-170908-132226001

There were also a few minor lows including losing his raincoat in Devon and crashing going down a steep hill near Inverness and falling into a gorse bush as well as being eaten by midges.

Luckily, he also only suffered one puncture.

He finally arrived at John O’Groats, hitting massive headwinds for the last 20 miles of his ride.

He said: “Both elated and relieved, the realisation kicked in that, after 13 days and 1,097 miles, which includes a few ‘detours’ I made, I had made it!

“Frantically thinking of anything I could to take my mind off the wind, I kept my head down and pedalled on, knowing the end was not far away.

“I also felt somewhat of a tinge of sadness though as I knew that the following morning while I would be setting off on another journey – this time it would be home via public transport and not on two wheels. Suffice to say I am already planning for my next cycling adventure.”

To donate, visit Mr Mullens Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/joby-lejog2017.