John finishes gruelling ride ahead of schedule

John Cooper at John O'Groats
John Cooper at John O'Groats

An Aylesbury man has completed a gruelling sponsored cycle ride ahead of schedule.

John Cooper rode from Lands End to John O’Groats, covering the 875-mile distance in 10 cycling days.

John set off for his solo ride on May 25, with his wife, Lorraine, driving the family car as a support vehicle.

John had been training hard in preparation for the challenge.

Prior to the event, he said: “I’m doing a lot of training up to 200-plus miles per week for the past few months, so hoping to be fit enough to complete the challenge.”

The original plan was to cover the route in 12 days, cycling 80­ to 100 miles each day.

But unexpected bad weather in the Scottish Highlands forced John to reconsider his itinerary.

Speaking after his return to Aylesbury, he said: “I completed my Lands End to John O’Groats cycle ride on Thursday last week, ­a day earlier than planned.

“I compressed three of the days into two while in Scotland, in the hope of avoiding bad weather.

“The conditions in the Highlands seemed to be the worst in June for many years.

“Cycling through Glencoe with strong winds in torrential rain which was falling as snow just a few hundred metres above was tough going.

“But somehow I had the strength to continue and on that particular day covered 126 miles!”

John is a trustee of the Garston­-based charity STOP International, a non-political, non-sectarian organisation which provides practical and financial aid and education for orphans and abandoned children in Tamil Nadu state in southern India.

Some of the money raised from John’s cycle challenge will help with the cost of school fees for 50 children in one of the STOP orphanages in Denkanikottai, Tamil Nadu.

The school needs about £4,500 for their fees and student equipment.

This is not John’s first ride for STOP International.

Two years ago, he undertook the first London to ­Paris cycle ride, which has now become an annual event.

He undertook that ride with the founder of STOP International, Kish Poddar.

Later that year he accompanied Mr Poddar to India to hand over the cheque for the school fees to staff at the orphanage.

The money raised from John’s cycle ride will also be shared with the Community Chaplaincy Service provided by Stanborough Park Seventh­ Day Adventist Church in Watford, where he is a member.

The aim of the community chaplaincy is to demonstrate Christian charity by meeting the needs of the local Garston community in whatever form is necessary.