Charity cyclist Mick Simmonds has returned home in triumph after an epic 957 mile ride which has so far raised around £5,000 for Headway Aylesbury Vale.
Businessman Mick, 53, a painting and decorating contractor from Quainton, took ten days to cycle from John O’Groats to Land’s End.
He had no support crew as he braved the toughest hills in Britain, mostly in pouring rain.
Among his many sponsors was celebrity David Jason, who is one of his customers.
Accompanied by his friend Jon Durrant, a businessman from Thame, he cycled an average 96 miles each day in some of the most difficult terrain in the land.
“We conquered all the biggest hills and cycling challenges in Great Britain and never got off our bikes once apart from stopping off to get something to eat and finding a hotel or guest-house for the night,” he said.
“It was hard, windy, rainy and cold. And there was lots of pain, as well as joy at the end when 15 members of my family turned up to meet me at Land’s End.”
Mick and Jon received fantastic support from the many of the hotels as staff washed their clothes for free at night.
But there were some low points, such as the time the sat nav got them lost in the Cumbrian mountains and they found themselves in waist-high bracken. Then there was the gruelling last leg of the trip when they had to brave A roads and cars whizzing by at 70mph.
Mick, a father-of-two, recalls: “It rained seven out of the ten days and we had to wring our socks out and try to get warm. The low point of the tour was in Liskeard in Cornwall. The hills were ridiculous and we only cycled 20 miles in three hours.
“We went into the town and nowhere was open, and there was nowhere to go to the toilet. We found ourselves huddling under a heater in a pound shop and we wondered if we were ever going to make it to Land’s End at that point.”
But after he finally cycled in triumphantly to Land’s End to be greeted by his cheering family, he said: “Pain is only temporary – achievement is a lifetime.
“The most amazing thing is that we never had one puncture between us for 957 miles.”
Mick added: “I was really keen to support a small locally-based charity that relies heavily on volunteers. Headway Aylesbury Vale fits the bill perfectly and I hope the community of Fairford Leys and beyond will continue to back me by adding sponsorship money – it’s not too late, even now.”
Karen Styles, manager of Headway Aylesbury Vale of Wedgewood Street, Fairford Leys, said: “Mick has done amazingly well. We are very proud of him.
“Acquired Brain Injury, which can be caused by an illness, accident, injury or stroke, can literally happen to anyone. There are some 1,500 ABI survivors in the Aylesbury Vale alone and the funds he has raised will be of massive help to them.”
You can sponsor Mick by clicking here or contact Karen Styles at Headway on 01296 415469 or pop into Headway in Wedgewood Street in the corner of the car park behind the Co-Op store.