Kent’s Dickie Cannon cycles to success

Thursday 28th July 2011

Kent Cricket’sDickie Cannon has shown age is no barrier to living your dreams, by cycling from John O’Groats to Lands End.

The 63 year old dressing room attendant at the St. Lawrence Ground has completed the gruelling journey from the tip of Scotland to the coast of Cornwall on his trusty bike to raise funds for two charities dear to his heart.

Both Demelza and Fresh Start for Hens will benefit from the nigh on 1,000 mile ride, with Dickie splitting the amount he has raised through sponsorship between the two charities.

The journey began on Tuesday 21st June with Dickie unsure as to how many miles he would be doing each day and he explaining how he went into the trek with very little training behind him:

“I was a youngster in the 1950’s and 60’s and it was always seen as an adventure and I have been wantingto do it for 45 years or so.I was going to do it next year, but as each year passes you get a few more aches and pains, so I spoke to Farby(Paul Farbrace) and he extremely kindly agreed for me to take the time off.”

“It was a dream I always had and it’s now a dream I’ve lived out. As I was busy before I went the training went out the window, so I treated Scotland as my training, so between days one and seven I only did between 35 and 43 miles a day.”

“I had only booked B&B’s for those first seven days, so after that it was an open book and I just got up, got on my bike and cycled.”

“Amazingly on the seventh day I cycled some 66 miles”

“The biggest achievement I had over that time was cycling up Glencoe Pass which is nine miles in one climb. I didn’t think I’d be able to do it, but it felt like I had a hand behind me and went up the whole lot.”

“It’s only then you find you have reserves you never knew you had, both physically and mentally.”

Dickie’s journey took him a staggering 969.2 miles over just 23 days which he describes as a “casual” pace, and he took in some stunning scenery as he passed through the countryside avoiding as many A roads as possible.

Making a journey into the unknown would fill most people with dread, but Dickie insists age should be no barrier and he met some wonderful people along the way:

“I wish I could say I was tough and I was brave, but all bar three days it was a really fantastic time.”

“I would start every day about 9am and finish cycling about 4:30pm and of that time I was averaging a speed of about 9mph.”

“If you have got reasonable health, age means nothing and I met so many people in their seventies who were having the time of their lives.”

“I met a husband and wife who were on a tandem, with all their camping gear on the back. He was 78 and she was 75 and they were having a great time.”

“I also met four men walking it and they were all in their seventies too.”

“Seeing people like that do it restored a lot of faith in me being able to do it.”

“For me it wasn’t just a cycle journey and it was an unbelievable experience and I went into a mental foreign territory.”

Friends and colleagues were keeping track of Dickie’s movements throughout the 23 day journey as he embraced the use of twitter and was tweeting updates of where he was and how he was getting on, and he has told how it encouraged him to have feedback along the way:

“It was nice to hear from people like Jonesy (Geraint Jones) and it was strange that I ended up in Clevedon where he went on his first date with his wife.”

“Knowing people were following me kept me going and it was good to be able to let people keep track of where I was and how I was getting on.”

Choosing charities like Demelza was one of the reasons behind the 63 year olds’ decisions to do the ride and Dickie explained why he had chosen the children’s hospice as one he wanted to support:

“A life is a gift, and there is a very fine line between the two and knowing the great work they do there I felt I wanted to support them in any way I could.”

As to whether he would do it all again, Dickie was quick to reply:

“No. But not for any other reason than I wanted to do it, and now that I have, I feel I don’t need to do it again.”

“It has given me a new sense of adventure though and I plan to just put the tent in the back of the car and just go and see where it takes me.”

Should you wish to add to the sponsorship Dickie has raised for the two charities, please visit his website –

This coming weekend, Dickie is hoping to have his website updated with all the pictures from the trip with a full diary of his epic journey.

Dickie Cannon was speaking to Steve Wolfe of KSN