As I start to write on the eve of the eve of the craziest escapade ever undertaken by someone as unfit as me, I am reminded of my commitment two years ago to never do this again. As we celebrated the end of our 430-mile ride from Land’s End to the London Olympic Stadium back in October 2010, there was incredible elation, relief and sheer joy at the £20K+ we had raised with amazing support from across the music industry. It had been such a massive and challenging undertaking it didn’t seem possible that we would even consider doing anything like it again.

As James and I looked across the Olympic Stadium building site back then, no one would have believed that less than two years later, we would all have witnessed the incredible spectacle that was London 2012 and that inside that same stadium, hopes and dreams for so many came together in a global outpouring of physical and emotional achievement. With all of the gloom and doom around us, the world feels a better place as a result of London 2012 and it’s fitting that our story starts here.

Our ‘Olympic’ journey starts this Friday (17th) and we face a 900+ mile endurance ride from John O’Groats to Land’s End in 10 days. At 90 miles a day, this is more than double our previous achievement and it can only be that inner urge and drive to raise more money for two great causes (Music for All and Children in Need) that has tipped us all over the edge to even consider getting on a bike again. Some of us enjoy the odd short cycle ride ‘on a sunny day’, but ‘this’ is something else.

As I reflect on the last five months in the saddle, I can perhaps get a glimpse of what some Olympians have to endure in their four year quest for achievement. Since April, I’ve managed 3000 training miles in between the rain and….the rain, and sacrificed what little non-work time I have. I’m not complaining (although I did hate quite a lot of it) but it just gives me an insight into what real commitment is. And I guess, as we stood in the Olympic Park almost two years ago, it didn’t seem possible that we could have found that commitment and inspiration again to attempt another fund-raising ride.

But here we are. The same team, back together again, joined by new riders and with new levels of support from across the music industry, topped off with a new and totally mad challenge to attempt to try and raise more money. As I write today, our fund-raising total is well over £20K, but with much more work to do to get us to our target. The bags and bikes are all packed and en route to John O’Groats and we leave for Cardiff airport in the morning, using the slightly more correct and sane method of air travel to Edinburgh, then Wick.

On Friday morning we swap seats for saddles and diesel for electrolyte drinks (and the odd beer, not on the Bike, well not initially…) and attempt 10 days of solid cycling and total climbing (that’s steep hills to you and me) not far short of 26,000ft. To put that into context, Mount Everest is just over 29,000ft.

Putting this together and just getting us to this point has been a herculean task. The team at Roland, led by Janine and Helen have once again performed marketing and administrative miracles. Huge support too from across the industry: Future (thank you Clare), Peavey, PMT and Sinclair’s for the support van, to name but a few from a very long list. Midge Ure, Howard Jones, Razorlight, Al Murray, thank you guys for your incredible generosity and time.

And now it’s our time, to complete this ultimate challenge. The weather is not looking that great (30mph winds and rain) for John O’Groats on Friday…..let’s hope they got the forecast wrong….