John O’Groats to Land’s End
Six months after Rob and James’ funerals, a group of friends and relatives had gathered to ride the 1500km from John O’ Groats to Land’s End. This was a ride that both Rob and James had ridden, their first major unsupported cycle-tour as teenagers, and so it was fitting that many of our riders were experiencing long-distance cycling for the first time.
In such a short space of time and with a highly inexperienced group, we faced many physical and logistical challenges, but everyone made it to the end with some impressive tales of teamwork and personal determination. Rob had once said that climbing Everest was about taking one step at a time - and so was born the name One Mile Closer as we rode the length of the country, one mile at a time.
En route, we were pleased to enjoy some of the most spectacular scenery that the UK has to offer, including the Scottish Highlands, the Lake District, Dartmoor and the Cornish coast. As part of their “Impossible is Nothing” campaign, Adidas even supported us with daily jerseys for mountains, sprints and general classification, leading to some brilliantly fun “Grand Tour” experiences on the road, and culminating in a meeting at Manchester Velodrome, then the main training centre for British Cycling, with Britain’s most decorated Olympic cyclist, Sir Chris Hoy.
One Mile Closer was set up in memory Rob Gauntlett and James Atkinson. The boys wished that all young people would be able to have the same opportunities that they had benefited from themselves - OMC raises money to that end.