Record rides: John Woodburn’s record breaking End-to-End, 1982

Eighties hardman John Woodburn talks about his epic End-to-End feat

Photo: Cycling Weekly Archive

"The old man’s back,” John Woodburn announced to the ragtag army of helpers, friends, sponsors, journalists and Road Records Association officials who had followed him for 848 miles over the last two days and two nights.

Journey’s end for the weary but jubilant group was the faded lounge of the John O'Groats House Hotel, a wedding-cake-like Victorian folly whose whitewashed Baronial towers and crenellated battlements had failed to protect the resort against a gradual decline in visitor numbers to mainland Britain’s most north-easterly point.

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Simon Smythe

Simon Smythe is a hugely experienced cycling tech writer, who has been writing for Cycling Weekly since 2003. Until recently he was our senior tech writer. In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends most of his time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.