Our readers share tales of their rambles around the world.
Who: Steven Reiss of Irvington, Va., and 12 other cyclists from around the world. We all met for the first time the night before our ride began in Land’s End, the southwesternmost point of England.
Where, when, why: This June, I traveled to Great Britain to do a bicycle ride I have thought about for many years. Known locally as End-to-End, it goes from Land’s End, England, to John o’Groats, Scotland. Local cyclists consider the journey a badge-of-honor ride. It took 19 days and covered 1,053 miles.
Highlights and high points: The different and amazing views every day. For example, one day I rode the hills of Cornwall, then the quiet country lanes of England into and over the Highlands of Scotland, which were almost overwhelming in their combination of wildness and beauty. Crossing Hadrian’s Wall, which dates to A.D. 122, was amazing. I was also struck by the adventurous and encouraging attitudes of everyone I met throughout the ride.
Cultural connection or disconnect: Several of us got lost — seriously lost — just outside Bristol, a major city in southwest England. It took us the better part of two hours, plus numerous hills, to get back on track. The funniest part was that whenever we asked any number of very helpful locals for directions, they would invite us into the pub to discuss it in more detail.
Biggest laugh or cry: The biggest cry and laugh came from riding in the rain almost every other day. After the first 30 minutes, you’re as wet as you’re going to get, so you just start laughing at the entire situation. Riding up a steep mountain pass into the Highlands, we saw snow in the higher regions. It didn’t make us cry, but it sure got our attention.
How unexpected: I learned the importance of eating a full English or Scottish breakfast every morning. Each breakfast was delicious and filling, critical for that day’s ride. I also quickly learned to ride on the left side of the road, especially tricky at the traffic circles.
Memento or memory: My greatest memory was approaching John o’Groats in the rain, with the Atlantic Ocean on my left side, and suddenly running out of land. After 19 days of cycling, I had arrived at the tip of mainland Scotland.