Meet the Emsworth cyclist, 87, who took on Land’s End to John o’Groats

Donald Wells could be the oldest man in the UK to cycle the Land's End to John O' Groats challenge from Cornwall to Scotland
Donald Wells could be the oldest man in the UK to cycle the Land's End to John O' Groats challenge from Cornwall to Scotland

HE IS 87-years-old – but age didn’t stop Donald Wells from cycling the length of the UK taking aim at claiming a Guinness World Record.

The life-long cyclist from Emsworth took on the Land’s End to John O’Groats challenge by himself – and he might be the oldest man to do so.

Now after riding from Cornwall to Scotland he is very proud of the achievement.  

Donald has been going on long-distance bike trips by himself ever since his wife Edna died 23 years ago. 

He said: ‘It took me five weeks and two days. I wanted to go at a leisurely pace. 

‘I’m pleased with what I did but it’s like any normal cycle ride for me, I don’t see it as anything particularly daring. 

‘I chose my own route from a guide book and cycled 1,000 miles.

‘The hills in the south west were harder than the mountains in Scotland, they were sharp and strenuous.’

Donald is investigating whether he can be recognised as the oldest man to make the journey – a record held by Tony Rathbone who was 81 on completing it in 2014. 

Donald embarked on the journey with barely any supplies, stopping at petrol stations, cafes and supermarkets for food. He slept in hostels and hotels and even endured a night on a park bench when he was unable to find a place to stay. 

He completed the journey on an 18-year-old Brompton bicycle, which he was able to fold up. 

Donald added: ‘I felt fine after I finished the ride – no aches and pains. I don’t rush and tear around, I take it easy.

‘I suppose it’s what’s I’ve been doing all my life. I feel at home on a bike. 

‘In the past I've cycled the Loire Valley in France which is about 600 miles.’

Donald’s son Martin, 57, wasn’t worried about his father embarking on the challenge in May. He said: ‘I’m very proud of him. I knew he’d be able to do it because he’s done many other trips. He’s fit and healthy for his age.’

Donald is a member of national cycling charity Cycling UK. Paul Tuohy, its chief executive, said: ‘I was delighted to hear about Donald’s achievement; he’s a true testament to how cycling can enrich your life, whatever your age or pace.

‘As a fellow Brompton owner I appreciate this was no small feat. Hopefully Donald can be recognised as the oldest man to complete the route.’