AFTER 15 years working as a rock 'n' roll roadie, surviving on a diet of beer, Jack Daniels, takeaway food and service station pasties, followed by a decade living the sedentary life of a journalist, I was fat.

A couple of years ago I decided it was time to shed the excess pounds and sought the advice of a mate who, as a professional sportsman, knew about diets and nutrition.

I was expecting a lot of complex instructions - what I got was much more effective: "eat less and do more".

I took up cycling, first on a static exercise bike and then on a mountain bike around countryside and quiet roads near my home.

As my enthusiasm for cycling grew my mate Warren, from Base Studios in Stourbridge, started going on about how he had always fancied doing the John O'Groats to Land's End ride and eventually I agreed to join him.



The route from John O' Groats to Land's End is called End to End by cyclists 

We decided a trial run would be a good idea and on a cold February morning set off with the aim of covering 20 miles.

I soon discovered my rather old mountain bike required considerably more pedaling effort than Warren's hi-tech road bike.

With comments from him like "I'm cold 'cos I'm hardly having to pedal" ringing in my ears I began the task of securing a more suitable cycle.

After much research I opted for a touring-style machine which I ordered from the excellent Bache Brothers shop in Lye, whose advice was bang-on, their prices matched anything I found on the internet and I was glad to be spending my cash in my home area.

The bike was due in early April which would be fine for our start date of June 8.

I felt good - get some training done, get kit sorted and I would be well on my way.

Little did I know how quickly things would get a lot more complicated.......