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Father and daughter complete 1,200-mile cycle ride the length of Britain

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Eva Davies (10) and her dad Justyn Davies (39)
Eva Davies (10) and her dad Justyn Davies (39)

A 10-YEAR-OLD Barton schoolgirl and her father have completed a tandem bike ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

Eva Davies and her father Justyn (39) started their cycling challenge during the summer holidays, travelling to Scotland in October half-term to complete the final leg of their epic journey.

Justyn, who is a director at Bradbeers department store in New Milton, recalls that Eva was first inspired to embark on the trip after a family friend completed a similar challenge last year.

He said: “Last year she heard that my wife’s cousin’s daughter, who was 11 at the time, had cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats with her dad, and started mentioning to me that she would like to do the same. As she was only nine at the time I didn’t take her very seriously, but after she had mentioned it a few times we began to make plans.”

Justyn decided that the best way to tackle the challenge would be to use a tandem bicycle that he had given to his wife Lisa for their wedding present. He said: “We didn’t really plan to do it for charity because I honestly believed that Eva would have had enough after two or three days.”

There is no official route for cycling from Land’s End to John O‘Groats, so after undertaking some research Justyn decided to opt for a 1,200-mile course from Sustrans, which is considered to be one of the safest options because it uses traffic-free paths and quiet roads.

After making arrangements to stay with family and friends along the route and undertaking a number of training rides, Justyn and Eva finally set off on 17th August.

“Our plan was to cover 50 miles a day,” said Justyn. “We found out that Devon and Cornwall are really quite hilly and it’s very difficult to climb a hill on a tandem.

“Memorable moments were cycling up Cheddar Gorge, which was incredibly steep, rain in the Midlands, snow in Scotland, the beautiful Cairngorms.

“We took two weeks to cycle to Glasgow, where we had to stop and let Eva go back to school at Durlston Court for the autumn term.”

However, after getting so close to their final destination, Justyn and Eva were determined to press on so they restarted the challenge on 27th October and completed it on 2nd November.

“I was so proud of Eva – she did incredibly well,” said Justyn. “But she is certainly not stopping there – she has now started talking about walking across the Pyrenees mountains from coast to coast. I’m going to be exhausted!”

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