In April 2019, Bristol based Hannah Killick, rode the length of the UK, Lands End to John O’Groats. A fantastic achievement for anyone, and a bit of a bucket list challenge for a lot of cyclists, Hannah has completed the challenge at age 12. A very impressive achievement and challenge to us all.
With her dad Adrian for support, Hannah completed the 971 miles (topping this up to 1,000 miles shortly after completing the ride), facing over 44,000ft of ascent, gale force winds, in just 17.5 days, ahead of her predicted 21 days.
Amazingly Hannah has already completed a handful of long distance events, the first one being when she was only 6 years old; ‘When I was 6 I raised over £2,000 for charity by riding 109 miles in 3 days from my home in Bristol to my grandparent’s house on the other side of Reading’ Hannah seems somewhat destined for endurance events that most adults would be intimidated by!
The ride was to in support of two charities; United World Schools, and Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal. Hannah set a lofty aim of £2,000 sponsorship, and absolutely smashed it raising over £5,000. The opportunity to donate is still open, closing at the end of June. Visit Virgin Money Giving and search for Hannah Killick.
We caught up with Hannah after the ride to dig a bit deeper into her experience and some tips that she could pass on:
You’re now a very experienced cyclist, what is your best tip for less confident riders?
Practice makes perfect! Go out lots with an adult to gain confidence and don’t be put off by large lorries! Start on quieter roads/off road routes if traffic worries you.
How did you plan your route?
Dad planned the route partly based on the ‘safer route’ book and national cycle routes using Google maps to avoid main roads as much as possible.
Were there any tips from your Bikeability training which you were able to use?
I took my Bikeability training a few years ago and first cycled on the local roads with mum and dad when I was about 3 years old so I have been practising my road skills for a while. Positioning on the road, situational awareness and always looking, assuming that all other road users could do something silly or unexpected at any moment are the main things I think about regarding safety when cycling.
How was it adjusting back to normal life after four weeks on the road?
Being away for 4 weeks was weird and amazing. It was fine settling back in though because I eased back in slowly. Because I completed the ride so much quicker than we were expecting, we had a week to slowly make our way back down from Scotland in the camper. A mini holiday where I got back on my bike 2 more times, making sure I’d cycled over 1,000 miles. I was not tired at all, but when I started doing all my usual sports again after 2 weeks (running, netball, swimming, waterpolo) I did feel a few muscle twinges as I used them in a different way to the way they had been being used for 3 weeks. The campervan was a lot of fun and much more comfortable than our tent!
What was the biggest challenge during the ride?
The hills in Devon and north Scotland and the gale force winds on days 17 & 18. The best bits were cycling with dad every day and chatting lots, the beautiful landscapes of the countryside and all the animals I stopped to stroke on the way. The lambs were so cute!
Would you encourage others to do the same?
Yes! The charity page will be open until the 30th June. So far I’ve raised over £5,000 which I’m really proud of and which will make a real difference to both charities.
So what is next for you?
I’d like to cycle across America! I also asked mum how long it would take to cycle round the world but she said that I would have to plan that trip by myself when I’m older!
So chapeau off to Hannah for an amazing achievement, and also really appreciate her taking the time to answer our questions with such great insights. You can see the journey step by step on Twitter @12_lejog or visit Hannah’s blog.
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