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Southern Sportive - Record Breaking Season

by Henry Peacock

The Southern Sportive team have been looking back at a record breaking first half to their season, as they take a short mid season break and prepare for their late summer offerings, including their headline act, the Southern Sportive on the South Downs, which runs for an eight year this year. 

reigate rouleur
Riders On The Startline For The Reigate Rouleur

The good news from them is that the sportive bubble shows no sign of bursting any time soon. A pretty miserable spring and any talk of a post Olympic 'hangover' haven't derailed demand for their two wheeled events. "Participation is up across the board compared to 2012, and most of our events so far have recorded their highest ever entries", says Martin Harrison. "We started with a successful return for our new Joker event at the start of April, then the St. George's Sportive at the the end of that month sold out for it's seventh straight year, even with it's increased 800 rider capacity. The surprise of the year so far has been the Reigate Rouleur, which has been a solid and popular event for five years, but exploded this year. We had to close the books on that one too, but we're looking to increase capacity for 2014."

Riders Out On The Reigate Rouleur Course

So, is this purely a post Olympic bubble? "I don't think so. Because it's been growing for so long, I think the roots are deeper than that. Of course, we like to think it's partly because we run good events, and we bring a lot of experience to our organisation and support. But it's broader than just that; we think there are signs that the boom in cycling is not just continuing, it's gaining adhesion. We are still seeing a lot of new people turning and getting emails from a lot of riders taking part in their first ever sportive, and that's really healthy. Return attendance is really strong too, and the variety of riders we're seeing at events is broader than ever. Those are all healthy signs that, alongside the usual enthusiasts, cycling is become a part of normal life for many people, and something that newcomers don't feel intimidated to try out."


So what's still to come for 2013? "Our last three road events are all selling well. With summer finally turning up, we reckon we might have some more sell outs on the cards. We have the Woodcote Chilterns Classic on August 18th, then the Southern Sportive on Sept 8th, which is always hugely popular, then the Cotswold Edge Sportive in October, which was a massive hit last year. After that we are planning our biggest CX Sportive season so far, which will be on sale soon, with some completely new events added to the line up."

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