Friday, 9 September 2011

874 Miles for Madagascar!

We are delighted to report that Matt Townend has successfully completed his sponsored cycle ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats.  Matt set off with his two companions, Tom Firth and Dan McLachlan on Saturday 27th August and arrived, drenched from two hours of driving rain at 6.45pm on Saturday 3rd September.
Dan and team set off from Land's End
874 miles in 8 days is a remarkable and extremely punishing pace. Matt was surprised when ‘The Chaingang’,  as they called themselves,   finally arrived to be told that 8 days was very unusual and that most did it in 10 !!  More respect and admiration all round!
"Gruelling" hardly begins to cover it...
The trio’s diary, written a few days after arriving in rain-soaked John O’Groats gives a hint of the pain and discomfort of the ride as well as the great sense of camaraderie that developed:

"Days have passed since we finally touched the sodden, lonely turf of John O' Groats - days of locomotion without the need for pedals, and seats with more substance than a cattle grid. We can still feel the chinstrap of our helmets burrowing into our throats, and perambulation remains an uncomfortable experience…….
All in all the experience was unique: eight superb days of camaraderie and hilarity tempered with healthy doses of reality, brutality and sheer exhaustion. Unimaginable before mastered and unmissable now it's done."

Yet another puncture
En route the trio had to face many challenges including infuriatingly frequent punctures, broken gears, buckled wheels, tender knees and a very sore Achilles’ heel. On the final day in the Highlands one of the team’s derailleur gears broke and had to be removed, leaving him to cycle in one fixed gear for 12 miles until rescued by a highland bike mechanic called Wim. He was, as they say, ‘a legend’. With a completely new bike they set off for a final assault on the last 90 miles. Despite an evil coastal headwind, lashing rain and some massive hills they reached John O’Groats within six and a half hours.

Our hearty congratulations and thanks to Matt for completing his amazing feat and for donation half his sponsorship to Money for Madagascar.  It’s not too late to add to Matt’s sponsorship. You can still donate on-line at:

Matt and his trumphant team-mates

Stay posted to the Money for Madagascar blog for news of the intrepid Creedon Brothers who have also been putting their legs (and saddles) on the line to raise money for vulnerable people and habitats in Madagascar in their own cycle challenge.