Event Review

REVIEW: Evans Cycles RIDE IT London Bike Show Sportive

by Caven O'Hara

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REVIEW: Evans Cycles RIDE IT London Bike Show Sportive 

Essentials:
Distances: 60 miles
Participants: 175 Saturday & 60 Sunday 
Start: ExCel Centre, London
Transport: Served by several main hubs and the DLR
Feedstops: 1
Timed: Yes
Signs: Black arrows on a pink background
Road: A real mix of riding, the contrast with the busy, bustling start was soon replaced with open countryside and winding roads. Time to take in the rolling terrain before heading back to the big smoke. 

Summary:
It may have been Valentines Day but that wasn't preventing hordes of visitors arriving for the final day of the Outdoor Show at London's ExCel centre. Alongside the cycling show, you also had the bike, diving, outdoor and tri shows - plenty for anyone with an outdoor interest. 


Sign on

As for us, it was the non-motorised two-wheeled variety we were looking for. Having walked through the ExCel to warm up, a theme for the day, and use the facilities, we exited at the far end to head down to the start tent. With competition in the shape of Valentines Day, the show looming large behind and the fact that it was a bracing day for a ride, the numbers were low. With only 60 signed up I was quite glad there were three of us, Paul and Lee were my riding companions for the day, I had a feeling we wouldn't see many others once out on the road. 


Ready For The Off

Needless to say, there were no queues at sign on and after a safety briefing from RIDE IT stalwart Mike, we passed over the timing mat to wind our way through London's traffic as the sleeping giant began to rise from its slumber. Having ridden over from London Bridge we were aware as to how chilling the wind was going to be over the duration of the ride. 

Leaving the ExCel behind us we headed north, into the wind and North London. It took a little while to get used to the regular stop/start as we inevitably encountered traffic lights. Despite the early hour it was busy and you couldn't feel relaxed.


The Sun Did Shine...

Gradually the signs of urban life began to recede to be replaced by open fields, villages and the feeling of space. I've lived in London and whilst I enjoy what it has to offer I equally enjoy the freedom of the countryside. 


The Feed Station

Despite the chill breeze it was dry and on the whole so were the roads. The profile was a little more rolling as we rode through north-east London/Essex. With the distance being on the shorter side (it is still early in the season after all) the feed stop kind of snuck up on us. Handily placed at the half way distance, it was a quick snack and time to move on. The wind chill was still a factor and without wanting to cool too much we reluctantly left the chocolate flapjack bites and other treats behind. For a while we still had to contend with the wind before we turned south heading back to the city with a breeze at our backs.


Cresting the Final Climb

It was only was we hit the outskirts of London that we realised it wasn't only the wind we had to contend with on the way out. It was noticeable that the gradient had been a slight drag most of the way out and were now reaping the reward of having it in our favour. The traffic was busier and there were some big groups of cyclists enjoying the sunshine. We were beginning to retrace our steps but as we edged closer we diverted from the original route and tracked back through the back roads of East London before the ExCel centre hove into view. By now the wind had seeped in and it was something of a relief to collect the goodie bag and head into the warm embrace of the Excel.


Back in the Warm

A good day out and despite the wind it had stayed dry with the sun putting in a rare appearance. It was a shame there weren't more riders. The organisation was slick as you'd expect from a company who have run hundreds of events. It won't appeal to every rider, perhaps more used to quieter departures/run-ins but you do get to see a different part of London.


Official Review

1. Feed Stops (correct foodstuffs and energy drinks, the right many, well spaced) 8 out of 10
2. Timing (correct and easy to use) 9 out of 10
3. Signage (Clear, concise, maps, profiles, route card) 9 out of 10
4. Facilities (HQ, Parking, Toilets) 10 out of 10
5. Support (Sag Wagon, Outriders) 5 out of 10
6. Friendliness / Professionalism (Sign-in, marshals, support) 9 out of 10
7. Website - ease of use (Online and postal entry, clear concise) 9 out of 10
8. The Course (Area of outstanding beauty/scenic, quiet roads, cleverly designed?) 9 out of 10
9. Would you recommend it. (Would you ride again?) 8 out of 10
Overall Rating 84.4%




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