A TEAM of Swindon cyclists travelled 100 miles a day to complete an epic cross-country trek - but one of them almost didn’t make it to the start after suffering a nasty crash.

Paul Ashman from the Recycles Cycling Club in the town centre fractured his ribs and damaged his wrist and knee in an accident five weeks before beginning a 900-mile ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

He said: “I couldn’t ride for four weeks but could get back on the bike just in time for the start of the challenge. It was quite painful at first but in a way it felt like a rehabilitation and I had to keep going, I didn't really have a choice.

“Everyone was nervous about it, we didn’t know what to expect and had never ridden that many miles in one day before, let alone for consecutive days.

“The first day from Cornwall to Devon and the last three days in the Scottish highlands were very hilly and wet.

“There is a lot of hate against cyclists and we did get some abuse from drivers but also had a lot of support from other cycling clubs along the way. There were a few tears at the end and it was brilliant flying the flag for Swindon."

Teammate Jason Bailey tore a knee ligament a month before and also could not ride for four weeks but still struggled through the trip. He said: "It made it more of a challenge. On the first day, I had to massage my knees to get them to work properly but luckily, they eased after that."

Kim Simpole said: "The hardest thing was staying on the saddle every day. Sometimes the rain was so heavy that it stung your face, but overall it was brilliant fun and I felt sad when coming home."

Andrew Caton agreed: "It was an incredible experience and it's something we've been discussing for a long time. My parents and sister met at rest stops with cakes, pies and their camper van. along the way so we could eat and sleep.

"I've never experienced such a downpour of heavy rain. We were cold but very emotional at the end."

So far, the club has raised £1,500 for the Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group and British Heart Foundation and hopes to raise even more.

Paul added: “My sister has Down's Syndrome and the group do phenomenal work, it's very close to my heart. After nine months of planning, the challenge is done, lots of people will benefit, and everything’s back to normal now – but we’re already thinking about our next adventure.”

To donate, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/paul-ashman2