I have been in continuous employment since 1975 and a director of a small business since 1997. About 10 years ago there was a major change after both myself and my co-director lost our spouses within 12 months of each other and a few years later, with no great appetite for continuing to expand the business we decided to close the office and specialise in large value debt which the two of us could deal with on our own from a home office or on site. Our last two projects have both involved a collect out of over £10m.
Five years ago, with only a couple of years to go to 60, I was wondering what to do and was sure there was still a new project within me, whether that was a completely new business in a field I didn't know, investing in local people with a good idea but no money so they could start their own small business (even if that was just a small scale thing like someone wanting to start up a window cleaning round who couldn't find the, say, £10k they needed as seed capital, or something more radical in the way of a disruptive business) or motorcycling round every country in the EU or riding Route 66 on a Harley Davidson (not my usual choice of motorbike but the only way to do that journey) or buying a French property and living there half the year by the fortnight. Lots of possibilities in my head but a new work project would arrive and I would go away for 6 months and work like stink and so none of the above got done.
Then along came Covid-19 and we all locked down. I instituted a weekly shop like many of the population did, one visit to those fabulous bakers at Holtwhites Bakery in Enfield (order on line here by 1pm and then collect the next day, the website is a bit clunky but the croissants and the Portuguese custard tarts are both amazing, close your eyes and you are abroad) and I went out for a daily walk. I also took my brand new bike out of the garage where it had been gathering dust for a good couple of years and started a daily cycle ride (it was only ever guidance to take one lot of exercise a day, not the law). The first ride wasn't very long and it hurt. By the end of the first week I was making the ride longer. Slowly I got more adventurous and went further afield and then before you know it I was cycling 74km and treating it like it was nothing even though I knew when I set off that it would be close to 5 hours of pedalling because much of it was on cycle routes and not the road.
Then a month ago the thought came into my head that as I was already cycling 150 miles a week I could do more and so I typed Land's End to John O'Groats into google and found that there was an 'easy' Sustrans route, as per the image above, which would take 28 days to ride. Perfect. Only 1,200 miles! 8 week's mileage in 4 weeks.
The cycling record for 'LEJOG' on a conventional bicycle is ridiculous at 43 hours, 25 minutes and 13 seconds.
In a recumbent it is 41 hours, 4 minutes and 22 seconds.
On a unicycle the record is 6 days, 8 hours and 43 minutes.
A man of 81 cycled it in 14 days. I am a mere 63 and going to take twice as long as him.
I don't think I will worry the record makers. I just want to enjoy the ride.
There is a side effect of me doing this.
I'm not going to have time to fight PCNs.
I became interested in PCNs in November 2009 when I was given an invalid ticket.
Activitity started to increase in 2013 after I watched a tribunal case in person.
In the last 4 years I have fought c.1000 PCNs of which c.840 were cancelled.
This takes painstaking attention to detail and time.
I cannot be doing this whilst pedalling along cycle routes (although I will have a computer with me but that is just more weight to slow me down uphill).
I hope to set off on 4 July once hotels reopen and it is legal again to be away from home overnight. Some friends are house sitting for me and my co-Director will do my work.
I will not therefore accept any new requests for help with PCNs after 30 June.
I will process on time all of the PCNs I am already handling.
I will write a daily blog of my progress which will be provided here.
What challenge do you fancy doing?
There may be no better time than the present to do it.