One summer evening in 1996, I read an article about the ultimate British cycle challenge: Land's End to John O'Groats. Over a few beers, I vowed that I would do the End to End. The following year, I bought the bike that would carry me the length of the country, a Raleigh Randonneur. I then used it to carry me to the shops or the pub and back, but still proclaimed I would do the big one. Over a few beers, of course.
Five years ago this week, I finally set off from Land's End. It was the end of Golden Jubilee week and I was taking advantage of the annual End to End holiday run by Bike Adventures to make the trip and raise money for faceupcymru, a Welsh charity that helps people with head, neck or oral cancer.
It was the most amazing experience of my life. It tested me to the limits, especially in the tough early days in the west country, while teaching me a huge amount about my own country.
I'll write more about my Land's End to John O'Groats experience in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, here's one of my favourite scenes from the ride: Loch Linnhe on the west coast of Scotland.