Cycling from John O’Groats to Land’s End

By | 7 June, 2010
John O'Groats, last week

John O'Groats, last week

Before I mislead anyone about the title of this article, just to let you know that it’s not me that’s cycling from John O’Groats to Land’s End – it’s my chum Stephan. Just so that’s clear. I don’t want to give the impression that I’m enough of a loony to cycle just under a thousand miles in a fortnight.

Now that’s clarified, if you didn’t already know (I’m mainly aiming this at our non-UK readers) John O’Groats is in the very top right of the UK and Land’s End is way down in the bottom left. In between is about 350 miles of Scotland and about 650 miles of England, so it’s quite a long way.

Anyway, Stephan stopped off with us in Edinburgh on his way down this weekend. After filling him up with pasta, beer, cheese and other lovely carbs on Saturday night, I dusted off my bike and accompanied him on the first part of Sunday’s ride from Edinburgh to Langholm.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to go wildly far as Stephan was taking a short cut over the Pentland hills – too rocky for my poncy roadbike with its tiny, thin tyres. So we said our goodbyes and I headed back via the many little lanes that thread their way through the Pentlands, which – despite the pissing rain – was rather nice.

However, this was my first trip out this year on my bike and unfortunately my pancreas decided not too co-operate. As usual, I stuffed in half my amount of insulin for breakfast and set off with a backpack full of Lucozade and Fruit Pastilles which I scoffed down from time to time. But on my return I was a lowish 4.0 – and dropping – so I had lunch without injecting anything. Up I went to a modest 11 two hours later, two units of humalog and I dropped like a stone back down to 2.9. Bah! Again for dinner I put in a very small amount compared to what I was eating and two hours later I was only up at 8.0.

So, there we have it, one bit of moderate exercise and I’m wildly sensitive to insulin. One post-cycling unit seems to be equal to about five lazy units. Judging the amounts is, as always, good wholesome fun and I made a mental note to seriously reduce the amounts I put in next time I’m out on the bike. What top tips do you have for exercising without hypo misery?

While I’m here, I’ll finish off by telling you that Stephan is doing his ride partly because he’s insane and partly to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support and Dorothy House Hospice – both wildly worthy causes. If you fancy flinging him a few pennies, his donation page is here: If you’re just interested in reading about what it’s like to cycle from John O’Groats to Land’s End his blog (which he’s updating from the road) is here: If nothing else, drop him a comment to say hello – it’s lonely out on them there roads!

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