Last week, I completed a crazy cycling challenge – to cycle to a place beginning with every letter of the alphabet (apart from X, which is impossible in this country), in alphabetical order.
340 miles in 7 days to 26 places
The video of my challenge can be found here: https://youtu.be/wdZDV3pKOck
For photos of each sign, check out my Instagram Story highlights (my instagram is @rebeccalaurel06)
This has been something that I have been wanting to do for a few months now and I started planning it a while ago. I made a list of places beginning with each letter, with a few options, if possible. I then tried to link them in order, to make an efficient route. It was already going to be quite a challenge so minimising the distance as much as possible was important.
In fact, I set off on Day 1 in the first week of July, but because my knee was hurting, I didn’t even make it to A. After a week of resting, I decided to start again…
Day 1 was 56.51 miles and took in A to F.
- Barton in the Beans
- Earl Shilton
- Far Coton
This was a good day, and because it was the first day, I went a bit faster than I expected. These were all familiar roads and places, as they were all in an area that I cycle around regularly. Attempting to do it in alphabetical order just changed the order that I would usually ride to them in and led to a lot of loops.
Day 2 was 54.96 miles and took in G – L.
- Great Glen
- Houghton on the Hill
- John O’Gaunt
- Leicester Forest East
These were all unfamiliar roads on a out-and-back loop to John O’Gaunt, cycling though the other places on the way and way back, looping around the south of Leicester. Ingarsby is a deserted medieval village, and the roads around there were really nice, although it was fairly hilly. The section of John O’Gaunt really hurt so I forgot about the speed and just pedalled until I reached Kilby. At this point, it was just cycling home, because the Leicester Forest East sign is very close to home. Fun fact – in the photo of the LFE sign in the video, my mum’s car is in the background.
Day 3 was 62.51 miles and took in M – T.
- Market Bosworth
- Newbold Verdon
- Stanton under Bardon
Today, I was back on familiar roads. Again, it involved a lot of looping around to complete it in alphabetical order. I started with Market Bosworth to Peckleton, and then returned home for a snack, because I wanted something more filling than chocolate chip cookies, so I had toast (I would have been passing close to home anyway). I then went up and over by Bradgate Park, the hilliest section of today’s ride, to reach Quorn and then turned back to go to Ratby. Stanton under Bardon and Thornton are very close together, and then it was a short, mostly downhill, ride home. This was only the third time that I had ridden over 100 km, so I was pleased that my pace wasn’t too slow.
Day 4 was 25.39 miles and only took in U (Upton).
This was a short ride, so I could have a rest, and because thunderstorms were due when I was planning it, so didn’t want a long ride. I had company for today’s ride as Andrew rode with me.
Day 5 was 62.72 miles and took in V – X.
- Vale of Belvoir
- X marks the spot
There were no villages or towns beginning with V within riding distance, so I decided on the Vale of Belvoir. Only when I was riding, I thought that I could have visited Cafe Ventoux instead. I had 3 lovely conversations with people, asking where I was going, which was really nice because usually, I don’t speak to people as they overtake me or I overtake them. I’d never been to the Vale of Belvoir before, but the countryside and views were spectacular. On the way back, I spotted a sign for somewhere beginning with W, so I took a de-tour to take in W. This saved me 21 miles riding the next day.
There is not a place beginning with X in the country, so I decided to do ‘X marks the spot’ at home. When I shared my adventure on social media, someone suggest Exeter (with the silent E) but that would have been a bit too far anyway.
Day 6 was 42.90 miles and took in Y (Yelvertoft).
Today’s ride crossed the border into Northamptonshire. It was raining and very grey in the morning so I set off after lunch, but just as I set off, it started raining again. It was grim and I was slow but I kept going. It stopped raining just before I crossed over the A14 and because it was windy, I was soon fairly dry. It was another out-and-back ride, but the way back was a lot nicer because it didn’t rain as much and I could see more of the countryside.
Day 7 was 34.47 miles and reached Z (Zouch).
Today’s ride crossed the border in Nottinghamshire. Although this ride was short, it was also very hilly. I set off early as I needed to be back before lunch and wasn’t sure how much the hills would slow me down. The hills made for pretty views and I soon reached the final destination on this challenge. I headed back the same way, and climbed up all of the lovely descents that I had ridden down.