One man's grand tour: Stage 1 of 6

Amid the spectacle and glory of the Tour de France that grips this nation at present one man sets out on a grand tour of his own. Having already ridden Land's End to John O'Groats once before, Paul Rippon set out today from Land's End to do the journey again, this time his goal is to do it in six days riding a single speed.

We admire the strength of character and will that motivates a rider to take on a solo challenge such as this. For us it defines the true nature of cycling - the challenge and the quest.

We met up at London's Liverpool Street Station yesterday with Paul and escorted him safely across town to Paddington for his connecting train across to Penzance. Paul is having to travel as light as possible but will in the next six days be sending text updates of his progress.

We'll be keeping you posted daily but with long days in the saddle ahead reports will be coming through sporadically. We wish him every success on his own grand tour.

Day 1: Lands End to Taunton. An 8am start saw Lands End deserted except for one kind soul who took my photo. The A30 was quiet to begin with but soon gets busy as the miles pass. Taking occasional detours off the main road proves slow and at Bodmin there is no option. Two heavy showers but opt not to stop in an attempt to make up for the late start. I pass Launceston without leaving the main road, the undulating A30 has me standing on the pedals on too many gradients. Lunch is taken at ASDA in Bodmin then on to Okehampton and Crediton via the scenic route. The roads now are getting steep but as my speed drops to 5 mph I'm determined not to get off. After the surprise of reaching Taunton by 7pm, a pub lunch is called for having clocked up 145 miles.