Looking back the seeds were sown just after I had finished my degree at University and before I started work. I set off on my bike, with a tent on the back, to cycle around north west France until my money ran out and I would be forced to work for a living.
Whilst cycling around the cathedrals and chateaux of Normandy the thought crossed my mind that when I had more free time at my disposal, perhaps when I retired, I would return on a rather longer cycle ride, some 3,000 km, and follow the Tour de France route around the country.
For over 30 years I thought no more about this. Time was taken up with work, family life and all the other normal distractions. Until one morning I read a report in the daily paper that a 22 year old youngster, Mark Beaumont, had just broken the world record for cycling round the world, 18,000 miles, in just under 6 months. I was impressed and thought of how much fun he must have had doing it. However, no way could I manage that. He was averaging 100 miles a day. I could only manage that, at my age, possibly for a day or two but not every day for 6 months. I then had a look at his website and started thinking! I didn’t need to try and break any records. I reckon I could manage 50 miles a day which would mean that it would take about a year to do the required 18,000 miles. That felt manageable and so the project was born.
My wife, Christine, suggested that I cycle Land End to John O’Groats as a bit of a test. This I thoroughly enjoyed doing, solo covering the 1,000 miles in 14 days.
I just now needed to retire.
However there were one or two hitches along the way. Firstly my right hip was suffering from osteo-arthritis. I had had to stop participating in impact sports such as running marathons and half marathons. As a consequence, I started cycling and swimming much more. The hip however was deteriorating such that I had to have a total hip replacement. Then earlier this year whilst cycling home from work I was rammed by a car from behind and broke my shoulder in several places. Fortunately, I didn’t require surgery and am now back cycling and swimming again.
So, having now retired after 40 years with a global healthcare company, I’m planning on setting off on my own 18,000 mile round the world trip.