The damage

Jonathan Dyson finds out how much it costs to cycle from Land's End to John O'Groats

The route between mainland Britain's most southerly and northerly points is littered with the discarded inner tubes and broken dreams of the hundreds of cyclists who take on the 1,000-mile challenge every year. Usually, it is in aid of charity. In just the past few weeks, for example, we have had chef Steve Hughes doing his bit for Birmingham's Children's Hospital, partially sighted teacher Tony Thould in aid of cancer, and then there was former Clothes Show frontman and high-street fashion designer Jeff Banks, currently calling in sponsors' pledges to the tune of pounds 100,000 for the British Heart Foundation.

None of this is a new phenomenon: one of the first cycling records ever was for an 1888 run between Land's End and John O'Groats on a tricycle, which took six days, 15 hours and 22 minutes. Since then every type of transport has been put to the test, from a motorised bath tub to a JCB digger, and of course walking - step forward, Ian Botham. Preparation - physical, sartorial, financial - is essential however you intend to proceed. Jeff Banks, who rode with 17 employees of the Scottish clothing group William Baird, trained for six months, riding up to 350 miles every weekend. And, like the old pro that he is (55, to be exact), he shaved his legs, a la Tour de France. The following is how much it cost his team over their nine-day run. It excludes outfits, nifty little red and blue clingy numbers designed and provided by guess who ...

Transport 18 bicycles, pounds 45,000; three support vehicles, using 150 gallons of petrol, pounds 489.21

Off road Hotels for 18 riders plus support staff of masseur, mechanic, three drivers, pounds 16,100; Breakfast pounds 1,150; Dinner: pounds 3,450

Lunch on the road 40 baguettes pounds 24.80; 270 bread rolls pounds 54; 5kg of butter pounds 5.50; 200 chocolate Swiss rolls pounds 190; 9kg of ham pounds 31.50; 6kg of cheese pounds 15; 100 rice puddings pounds 39

Extra energy snacks 198 Mars bars pounds 69.30; 355kg of bananas pounds 56; 400 energy bars pounds 140

Drinks 600 bottles of mineral water pounds 480; 1,000 energy drink sachets pounds 200

Spares 20 chains pounds 400; 10 tyres pounds 150; 25 inner tubes pounds 125; 10 brake blocks pounds 50

General well-being 36 tubs of bath salts, for soaking tired bodies pounds 180; 36 bottles of arnaca oil, for massaging sore limbs pounds 144

Total pounds 68,543.31

Source: British Heart Foundation

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