Guide The article “Cycling in Cornwall & Devon – the “Big Bosses” Guide” is a comprehensive resource for those looking to explore the beautiful regions of Cornwall and Devon on two wheels.

Cyclist Takes on the Big Bosses of the UK on Land’s End to John O’Groats Journey

On Thursday 15 February, 2024, professional cyclist Tom Jones embarked on a journey that would test his skills, determination, and endurance. Jones, along with a team of fellow riders, set out to cycle the length of the UK, from Land’s End to John O’Groats. While this feat may seem daunting enough on its own, Jones was also facing two of the biggest bosses in the cycling world – Devon and Cornwall.

These two counties are notorious for their challenging terrain and have become a rite of passage for cyclists of all levels. Jones himself has fond memories of riding through these areas, including a particular spot known as the “Crying Bench.” Over a decade ago, as a 19-year-old student at the University of Bath, Jones set off towards St Austell in Cornwall for a Sunday lunch with a friend. Despite not having GPS, Jones was armed with a list of road numbers and was confident in his abilities. However, it was a nondescript hill in Cornwall that finally broke his self-assuredness, and he found himself slumped on a bright blue bench by the side of the road, shedding a few tears.

This hill, now known as the Crying Bench, has become a significant landmark for Bike the UK for MS riders on their trips. It serves as a point of reference and empathy for those struggling with the challenging ride, reminding them that they are not alone in their struggles.

Another notable feature of these counties is their lack of flat roads, with Dartmoor being especially notorious for its rollercoaster-like terrain. However, for Jones, this was a welcomed challenge, as each upward kick felt like he was working together with the double-digit gradients.

As the team crossed the Tamar River, the border between Devon and Cornwall, they were immediately greeted with the realization that something was a little different. The mathematical logic of the route ahead didn’t make sense, with flash floods occurring at the top of hills and Jones having to wear a record-breaking 11 layers of clothing in June. But as Jones puts it, this is all part of the “bombastic, barmy, bonkers bundle of bicycling brilliance” that is Cornwall.

The final big boss of the journey, John O’Groats to Land’s End, also has its own challenges, with a particularly daunting hill waiting for riders as they cross the Tamar River. However, Jones and his team emerged victorious, having conquered the big bosses of the UK and raising money for MS in the process.

Reflecting on his journey, Jones acknowledges that the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction will stay with him for the rest of his life, and he encourages others to take on the challenge and experience the same feelings. As Jones puts it, “you never know, you might find yourself going back for more…just one more level?”

Derick is an experienced reporter having held multiple senior roles for large publishers across Europe. Specialist subjects include small business and financial emerging markets.

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