Even with broken ribs I would never, ever give up
David Hossack cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats, but he never set out to raise any money for charity. Even after a painful injury, he was determined to see the trip through.
We asked him what compelled him to fundraise for Worldwide Cancer Research after completing his trip.
What inspired you to cycle almost 1000 miles across the country?
I’m always up for a good challenge. Last year I raised £3,000 for another charity cycling, but this year I wanted to give it a break from pestering friends and family about raising money. That’s what I originally intended, anyway.
What happened on the trip?
In December last year, perhaps as part of a mid-life crisis, I decided to sign up for a bike ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats. I’m never one to take the easy option, so I chose the ten day route rather than fourteen day one, meaning I would be cycling an average 98 miles a day and riding the equivalent of 1½ times the height of Mount Everest.
I trained over that winter, spring and early summer but then I had a serious mountain bike accident just 3 weeks before the start of my ride, and I ended up with serious bruising down from my groin down to below the knee. The doctor told me to rest fully for 4 to 6 weeks. He looked bemused when I told him ‘I’m cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats in three weeks time!’ The only problem with my bravado was that for the first week after the injury I could hardly walk and for the remaining two weeks before my ride, through sheer pain, I only got out on the bike twice, which wasn’t enough training for this type of trip.
I set off in the sunshine from Land’s End, and I was really enjoying the trip, but on day three, (the 108 mile stretch from Bristol to Ludlow) it all went badly wrong. Navigating onto a narrow country lane, I ended up in a gully, then flew off my bike, cracking a few ribs in the process. Cracked ribs are painful but with the help of painkillers and lots of them, I continued on my travels. We had another 750 miles to go, and this trip had cost me the best part of £2,000 already, so I wasn’t packing in now! I crossed over into Scotland on the sixth day.
I then cycled up to Perth, but the Scottish roads are unforgiving when you have broken ribs. Someone did remark to me that it is no surprise I fell off my bike so often as I was too busy enjoying the beautiful countryside around.
Two more days to go, through Inverness, the gateway to the Highlands, and onwards to Lairg for the night, before the final 91 mile stretch to John O’Groats. I arrived at John O’Groats on a 19 rider peloton bike. I’d made it! After a great night to celebrate in the (only) bar in John O’Groats I left for the journey home, this time via the slightly easier methods of bus, plane and train. The next day I was straight off to the hospital where my injury was confirmed. The doctor again told me I needed to rest for 4 to 6 weeks. I told him I was cycling up the Alps in a few weeks!