Rev David Blandford - Senior Pastor, USBC

Lands End to John O' Groats Cycle Ride
June 2011

USBC's Senior Pastor, Rev David Blandford, set out on probably the biggest physical challenge of his life on 12th June 2011. His mission is to cycle the length of Britain - over 900 miles - from Lands End to John O' Groats. Part way through his trip, Dave 'celebrates' the second anniversary of a serious accident - he was knocked off his bike and suffered a fractured spine. Landing on his head, his helmet was split in two!

We'll be publishing a regular (hopefully daily) blog here so you can see how he's getting on. Click on the images to see them at full size.

Please remember to sponsor and pray for Dave - contact the church office or Ann Davis / Maureen McGarvie if you wish to sponsor Dave who is raising funds for


After the ride!

Hi Everyone

Thank you for staying with me through the journey or Le JOG as it is known. At times it felt like a crawl, going downhill like a sprint, at other times really good cycling. I am a little bereft as Odus (the name I have given my bike which means way) is still in Scotland hopefully we will be reunited soon, although cycling without luggage could be a pleasant experience. 

Grateful to God and you all for your support and interest. In total I cycled 993 miles, it would have been worth doing the extra 7 miles to make it a 1000.  

Yesterday I did 22 miles to John O Groats again to see it one more time, and then to Wick to pick up a bus and also take Odus to the cycle shop to be posted back to Swindon. Amazingly the guy who ran the cycle shop had lived in Swindon as a boy! 

The journey home took a while, I caught the 1.45pm bus on Monday and arrived home in Swindon today at 3.30pm. I did have some gaps in between travel. So whilst in London I went to the Palace, the Queen was in, but no knighthood.  

Well that’s all for now. There will be a few more pictures when I get or someone else gets the technology together. Thanks to those of you who have sponsored me, and I look forward to your sponsorship which will benefit both service users /patients in Mental Health Units in Swindon, and the Sandra Jones Village in Zimbabwe. 

Well its great to be home and with the family and hope to be able to see you   

God Bless


Day 14
Sun 26 June

I made it!! Got to John O’ Groats by about 4pm – 935 miles.

Thank God! 

Staying at Youth Hostel tonight and then guess what…… cycling back to Wick for bike to be packed up. I then get a bus to Inverness where I will catch a coach to London.

See you soon.


Day 12 Hi Bloggers

Today was good. Good weather, great views. Ben Nevis, Loch Ness. Good time - reached Beauly (65 miles) by 6.30pm

God bless, Dave

(Blog by text and no photo as still no Blackberry - sorry)

Day 11

Today the scenery was breathtaking. Spectacular views of the peaks of Beinn which guard the entrance to Glencoe.

Staying in hostel in Fort William with views towards Ben Nevis.

70 miles with beautiful weather which has made all the difference. Apparently good forecast for tomorrow. 

Sorry no pictures – but no Blackberry. 

Thanks for prayers and support.



Days 9 and 10

Wednesday 22nd.

Better day today – 65 miles. Had to stop at Tesco to pick up a new handset. Also had to spend some time at a cycle shop to have inner tube fixed. Guy there really helpful and did a quick overhaul of bike, including an adjustment of the gears – even made him a cup of tea!!

Negotiated Glasgow and crossed the Erskine Bridge. Ran into a road block of cows – Och Aye the moo!! Sorry, couldn’t resist that one.

Staying tonight in Tarbet on the shores of Loch Lomond. Monstrous weather!! Sorry again!!

Tuesday 21st

Day beset with difficulties. Weather was awful and got puncture. Fortunately, some other cyclists and their support vehicle stopped to help.

Dave also took a wrong turn which added another 10 miles to journey – 86 miles in total – ouch!!

To finish it off his Blackberry packed up due to the torrential rain. (hence no photos and blog passed on through Heather)

Stopped off at the Lockerbie Garden of Remembrance – very moving.

Arrived at B and B at 9pm


Day 8

(20 June 2011)

Hi Bloggers

Glad to be in Scotland.

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers, today was a good day.

The sun was shining, my cycling computer is working thanks to a guy in one of the bike shops in Kendal.

My knee is better than it was. I'm sure prayers have helped, plus new cream to rub on.

The views were beautiful.

Met a group of guys from Edinburgh, cycling from Lands End to John O Groats. To slow me down they offered me water and a cereal type bar - it worked. They were doing the ride in 9 days.

Later I left them standing, - speed was of the essence. OK they were stationery!

Leaving Kendal the route was hilly. But after the first eleven miles it got easier.

Well after 69 miles ready to go to sleep.

God bless

David Blandford


Day 7

Hi Bloggers

A shorter ride 50 miles.

Weather was dry and rode through Preston and Lancaster and then onto Kendal. Pleased to get here by 4.30pm.

Went to the Parish Church for evensong and a Taize type service. A beautiful chapel area with a light in the shape of the crown of thorns, a Taize cross and a beautiful embroidery.

Also being inspired by the book Cycling home from Siberia. One rider has a copy of War and Peace with him! The book is about a 30,000 mile journey - John O Groats is a little closer.

Prayers appreciated muscles above the knee achy.

Hope all is well with you.

God Bless

David Blandford

Day 6

Hi Bloggers

Blogging from Euxton near Preston. I believe I cycled about 70 miles but as my bike computer is malfunctioning difficult to tell.

Lots of water up North with rivers and canals and some rain, see water in photo. Some of you may be thinking - ought to have taken more water with it!

Did not get as wet as - thought - the sunshine allowed me to dry out a bit.

Got bike checked at Nantwich which I feel a lot better about now.

Travelled though, Whitchurch, Nantwich, around Warrington and Wigan.

Route was interesting. -

I have now cycled over 400 miles, right knee a bit achy but otherwise feeling good.

Two years ago today knocked off my bike. Pleased to be riding now.

I am conscious of your thought and prayers, I'm sure they make a big difference.

God bless

PS hoping for an easier day tomorrow.


Day 5

Day 4

Hi Bloggers

Here I am in Tewkesbury and then on the road again.

Great to see Heather.

Met some racers doing 100-110 miles a day.
Its enough to make me want to stop and have a coffee.

Today was demanding despite the rain holding off till 5pm.

My cycle computer isn't working well so unsure of my mileage. Think it was 75-80. Set off from Tewkesbury at 9.45 arrived at Prees at 6.30pm.

Today reluctantly parted with half of War and Peace - well it is a heavy read.

That's it for today

God Bless
David Blandford


Day 3

Hi All

Hope you like the picture of the pier. Yes John and I reached Weston.

The weather has been mixed with the odd shower.

After the first 10 or so miles the remaining 55 were a lot easier and faster.

Some amazing scenery.

John is now back in Swindon but has been a great support. Thanks John.

Got to the pier at Weston as it was being closed! Managed a swim in the sea though.

Well need to get some rest. Thanks for your interest and support.

God Bless

David Blandford


Day 2


Hi Bloggers

Today was hilly, hilly, hilly,

Thankfully after 7.5 hours and 67 miles arrived in Crediton.

Really hot weather, beautiful scenery in Dartmoor.

Today reached lowest speed of 2.8mph. Of course what goes up tends to go down. So downhills were good and the cycling speed greatly improved.

John's last day tomorrow, new hills yet to meet.

God bless

David Blandford


Day 1

Hi Bloggers

The significance of a picture outside a pub is not that its a pub but that it's in Bodmin and we are staying here.

The cycling started slowly as I lost my cycling computer and so had to get another in Penzance.

Met an interesting guy who had been knocked off his bike by a Vicar!

To say that Cornwall is hilly would be an understatement! At some points I was travelling at 3.4 mph in my lowest gear.

Together John and I have had a good day. 57 miles an average speed of 10.19mph.

We've had good weather.

Thanks for your interest and support.

God Bless


Day 0

Well we made good time 45 minutes to Bath, and 4.5 hours to Penzance.

OK it was by car (thanks Neil) and by train, (thanks GWR).

But we have been to Lands End and back - to Penzance.

Had our first cream tea - John forced me to!

Cornwall sure is hilly, still 19 Miles today and 9 off the Lands End to John O Groats ride. Just 900 to go.

God bless, greetings from John.
Prayers and thoughts appreciated.

David Blandford





Hi Everyone, just a bit of background as to why I wanted to cycle from Land’s End to John O' Groats.

I guess a key factor is because I hope I can, with God’s help that is. I always fancied running a marathon at 50 but my ankles back etc weren’t keen so I had to let that one go. However cycling is something I like to do. In past years other friends have done this ride and I think it would be good to attempt “Le Jog” or “End to End” as it is called.

I think there is also something about having been knocked off my bike two years ago and ending up in hospital. [Dave suffered a fractured spine and his safety helmet was split in two!] I believe God has speeded up the healing process and whilst there can be a few aches generally my back is pretty good.  

I will not be cycling alone all the time. John Simmonds has helped with training, and from Sunday to Wednesday will be cycling with me. That is really encouraging as Cornwall and Devon with their hills are known to be demanding. 

So it’s onto our bikes tomorrow carrying our luggage on our bikes, I have never travelled so light! The distances being cycled vary, being regularly 60 or 70 miles. In total it is likely to be over 900 miles. So I’d value your prayers for good health not only for our bodies but also for our bikes. 

Doing such an event also provide the opportunity to raise sponsorship to help others. Through a friend in the Church we have developed links with Zimbabwe Youth for Christ. What they are doing to serve the communities around them is amazing. I am raising sponsorship for the Sandra Jones Children’s Village in Bulawayo. You can see what they are doing on their website

On Thursdays I normally work  at Sandalwood, The Victoria Centre and Windswept, I have asked those who work with me in mental health to sponsor me for funds which will benefit the patients (service users). 

So my hope and prayer is that this will be a journey not only to be remembered but one which brings blessings to others. Any help you can give will be much appreciated. 

God Bless

PS I will be blogging whilst away – but as I have never blogged before it may be blogging, but not as you know it