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Great Weston Ride 2017 Entry Open

by Holly Blades

Spaces are already filling up for the 2017 Great Weston Ride and, if the feedback from this year's participants is anything to go by, riders are in for yet another cracking West Country day out next year.

The event has grown in popularity every year to date and the early signs are that it looks set for a record entry for the eighth year in a row.

The spectacular city-to-coast route starts in Bristol and then takes riders through some stunning countryside and picturesque Somerset villages as it weaves its way through the Mendips and across the Somerset Levels to its final destination on the seafront in Weston-super-Mare, and the next outing has been confirmed for Sunday 16th July 2017.

A major distinguishing feature of the Great Weston Ride is that it is very clearly an 'all-comers event' that manages to cater successfully for everyone from absolute beginners undertaking their first big bike ride right through to regular club riders and sportive 'veterans' who are accustomed to long-distance cycling challenges.

Steve Darnell from Cheltenham is an experienced cyclist who travels down each year to take part in the event, and Steve's views are shared by many when he comments: "This event takes a lot of beating - it's the best all-round event in the calendar".

At the other end of the cycling spectrum Kate, who travelled from Cornwall to participate this year, is new to organised events and long-distance cycling but she felt equally comfortable and enjoyed the occasion just as much: "Other riders were friendly and despite the fact that I clearly wasn't a 'serious cyclist' I didn't feel excluded - everyone was welcome and treated equally. It was fabulous and I'll be doing it again!".

There is a very discernible relaxed, friendly atmosphere about the event and it certainly appeals to a wide audience, which is evident in the more varied attire and range of types of bikes on show compared with many sportives.

And the fact that 25-30% of participants each year are female is another standout feature - indeed, the needs of women and relative novices are very much to the fore in the event planning.

Event Organiser Darren McKimm explains: "The GWR has plenty to offer for experienced cyclists and, while we're by no means complacent about it, we take the view that, to a large extent, they know how to look after themselves and what their needs are prior to setting off.  

So we focus a bit more on people who might need just a little more help and encouragement to take the challenge in the first place, and we try to make sure that they know that they will be well looked-after at all times during the event.  That's what the event support infrastructure is all about, and we actually look to the experienced riders to help with this as well - it's a great opportunity for these people to share their knowledge and to enable someone else to experience the same pleasure and enjoyment that they themselves get out of a cycling challenge".

"Whether it's groups of friends or work colleagues, we're definitely seeing more and more experienced cyclist/novice combinations taking part and that's fantastic - the experienced guys can still satisfy their own cycling needs, and at the same time also help someone else to get the cycling 'bug'.  I think that's what you call a 'win-win'!".

And, while there is no obligation, the Ride also serves as a great fundraising opportunity - around £240,000 has been raised for charity to date via the Great Weston Ride, and Prostate Cancer UK is the event's official charity partner.

"The Great Weston Ride offers people a great personal challenge, and as such lots of riders also choose to use their efforts to fundraise for charity - it adds to the overall sense of achievement, it's a great source of motivation for many people, and we're always amazed by the generosity and support shown by fundraisers and their sponsors", a spokesman added.

So anyone looking for a cycling challenge that's a little bit different should definitely sign up for the 2017 Great Weston Ride - everyone is welcome, and it promises to be another great day out for all who enter.

Further information, and details on how to enter, can be found at