David’s 450 Mile Challenge Cycle Diary

Edinburgh to Sawbridgeworth attempt (Wed 10th Oct until Sat 13th Oct 2018)

It was last weekend that I attempted to ride from Edinburgh to (almost) London over 5 days and while I would love to say it was a tremendous success – Storm Callum had other ideas and we were only able to complete 3 of the planned 5 days. That still came to 285 miles and over 23 hours of riding… I’m now working my way virtually through the missing 160 miles with 61 done so far.


On Day 1 we set off from Edinburgh in glorious sunshine and to be honest the first 30 miles lulled us into a false sense of confidence with easy riding, no hills and no wind. As we reached mile 40 things started getting a bit more serious. I tried foolishly to cycle across a ford which was covered in moss and fell in when it was about 6 inches deep (picture attached). Thankfully nothing but my pride was seriously hurt and we carried on. Right after that we were faced with a 700ft climb which started off with a 22-23% gradient but thankfully then quickly eased up.

The rest of the day was still beautiful weather but was hard work due to a mixture of hills and my route planning taking us across tracks that needed a 4×4 more than a road bike! We managed to finish our 94 miles in just over 7 hours and the legs were feeling ready to attack day 2.

Day 2 presented us with wind and rain and the start of some mechanical problems. Both of us had punctures and the ride was hard work into a >10mph headwind that day. But eventually we made it to the finish after 83 miles and just over 6 hours of riding.

Edinburgh Ride Day 5

We had been watching the weather forecast all week and by mid-way through Day 2 the forecast for Day 3 and Storm Callum was for a headwind of >40mph and in some places gusting to >60mph. This is the day we would have been crossing the North York Moors with no shelter or protection and we just didn’t feel it was safe or wise.

The legs were willing, the heart wanted to but sensible heads prevailed. The forecast for Saturday in the area was no better and we didn’t have the luxury of being able to wait the weather out. So we packed up and drove 108 miles from home where the weather was meant to be a bit better and that would be the final ride.

So on Saturday morning we set off cycling due south with 108 miles to go until home. The forecast had told us that if we set off early enough we could avoid the worst of the wind. We left at 6am – it was still dark outside… Sadly the forecast was wrong – we rode home the whole way into a headwind that averaged 27mph. That is something I never want to try again!!


In parts we had some beautiful views during sunrise and it felt like a huge achievement to make it home after 108 miles even if it wasn’t what we had hoped it would be in riding the whole way home from Edinburgh. There were times when you should be freewheeling downhill at 28-30mph given the gradient and we were pedalling to do 15mph! It did convince us that we had made the right choice to abandon days 3+4 as we would have got lost somewhere in the moors…

I’m now working my way through the missing miles – riding the route virtually on my smart trainer at home and should have all the miles covered by this weekend (61 miles down and another 100 or so to go).

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