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Great grandfather, 89, raises £100k cycling from Land’s End to John o’ Groats

PUBLISHED: 15:51 29 September 2017 | UPDATED: 16:14 29 September 2017

Norman Franklin (fourth from the left) with his family at Land's End prior to setting out on their bicycle ride to John o' Groats. The sign reads 'John o' Groats 874 miles'. Picture: NORMAN FRANKLIN

Norman Franklin (fourth from the left) with his family at Land's End prior to setting out on their bicycle ride to John o' Groats. The sign reads 'John o' Groats 874 miles'. Picture: NORMAN FRANKLIN

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An 89-year-old great grandfather has raised £100,000 cycling the length of Great Britain.

Norman prepares to cross the Severn Bridge. Picture: NORMAN FRANKLINNorman prepares to cross the Severn Bridge. Picture: NORMAN FRANKLIN

Norman Franklin, who lives in Elsworthy Road, Hampstead, took 19 days to complete the ‘end to end’ cycling 1,000 miles on his FreeGo Hawk electric bike.

“It was fine. There were some occasional physical challenges, but otherwise I just rode steady. The views were marvellous,” Mr Franklin said before adding he also spent time looking at the road to avoid any bumps.

A modest Mr Franklin said: “With electric compulsion the effort isn’t so great for me.”

The octogenarian started the ride in Land’s End, cycling up to 80 miles per day with breaks for elevenses, lunch and tea at a number of stops including in Truro, Peebles and Edinburgh.

Norman celebrates with family at the John o' Groats sign. Picture: NORMAN FRANKLINNorman celebrates with family at the John o' Groats sign. Picture: NORMAN FRANKLIN

“We started in Land’s End because that’s the direction of the prevailing wind. It was like flying down the map,” Mr Franklin said.

One of the many highlights of the trip Mr Franklin completed with three of his sons and two daughters-in-law was seeing Long Meg and her Daughters, “magical” standing stones near Penrith, Cumbria.

Although he said most days saw highlights, a slow puncture and getting lost on a housing estate on the outskirts of Bristol near the A38 did prove challenging.

But luckily, a support team, carrying the group’s luggage and supplies, was on hand to put the cyclist back on track.

Norman cycling alongside his son Tom in Devon. Picture: NORMAN FRANKLINNorman cycling alongside his son Tom in Devon. Picture: NORMAN FRANKLIN

Most of the way the retired publisher – who started to commute to his job in the City by bike in 1965 as a healthier alternative to driving and because of a series of bus strikes – maintained a steady speed but did hit 37mph going down a hill near Tiverton, Devon.

“It was a bit alarming when I looked at the speed. But I do go in for a bit of excitement now and then,” he said.

Asked how relatives, friends and neighbours reacted since completing the achievement in September Mr Franklin said they either say he is amazing, or mad.

“I just say it was an extension of an ordinary day’s cycling,” he explained before admitting prior to the trip he had questioned whether he could do it.

“But it went extremely smoothly,” he said.

Now Mr Franklin and his family have more reason to celebrate after hitting a £100,000 target in sponsorship to be split between five charities. To donate visit le-jog.co.uk.

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