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What do you like in a bike event?

(14 Posts)
CMOTDibbler Tue 19-Jan-16 13:18:47

I have somehow got myself on the committee of a cycling festival - this will be its third year. So now its a two day thing, and one day will be a variety of rides from a very short led ride on a v safe path for tinies, 10/20 mile family led rides on quiet, easy roads and a 50/100km sportive with some challenging hills.
They haven't done a sportive before as part of this, and though dh and I have done a lot thats only our view of what makes a good day.

So what would you say makes a really good event? And if you wouldn't normally do a sportive, what might change your mind?

Any words of wisdom will be gratefully received - this is in aid of a local charity, and also to try and encourage cycling in the area by everyone in the area.

lavendersun Wed 20-Jan-16 07:42:56

Not sure I am the best person to reply because I have never been to a competitive cycling event but spotted you hadn't had any other replies CMOT!

We are not really competitive, we are going to the York Cycle Rally and the Dieppe Raid this year but our riding tends to be solitary (or just the two of us or all three of us with the tandem).

We would do a 25 mile family ride, maybe even 35 miles although we like to stop for cake half way normally.

If I cycled with a friend I might do the 50km with them but I am not sure I would enter on my own because I like company on longer rides.

I would be put off by thinking that everyone was more competitive than I am. Whilst I might do 35 miles in a day I would never be interested in tracking my time/trying to improve it because I know that the more you ride the quicker you get and if I see a herd of deer or an owl or something I might stop, break out my cup of tea and admire the view etc., etc.. It is all about being outside for me, trying to replicate my years on my horse I suppose.

My bikes aren't necessarily designed for speed, not in a carbon bling way anyway, that would probably put me off as well.

We are tourists in every sense I suppose.

What would change my mind would be a very relaxed feel to an event - if you look at the York Cycle Rally or Eroica Brittania you might see what I mean. Eroica has turned into a beer festival hence we are going to York.

chrome100 Wed 20-Jan-16 09:40:58

I am not a big fan of sportives because I don't see why I should pay money to ride on roads that are free to ride on! I would only bother if the roads were closed (which I know is an impossiblity) or if there were something that made it a bit special - a hot meal maybe?

CMOTDibbler Wed 20-Jan-16 13:50:11

We will have lots of cake! Both at HQ, one stop on the 50km, two on the 100km, run by the WI so lots of homemade loveliness to stop and enjoy

The idea is to be very relaxed, all welcome, which hopefully will come across in advertising, and routes will go through some really nice places you might not otherwise know. No chip timing though we will do times, and certainly non competitive (as that won't be in our insurance)

The vague plan is offering bacon rolls beforehand, and to have a bbq after, but we could roll that into the cost.

Lavender - am gutted you are doing the Dieppe Raid as we just decided yesterday that we can't go with our club who always have a lot of people there.

lavendersun Wed 20-Jan-16 14:59:18

I would be sold CMOT - WI offerings and food/relaxed event would make me want to come.

I can't believe that I might have met you in Dieppe. I tried to book the ferry last night but the booking system doesn't let you select 3 bikes and 3 people, then when you select 1 bike and 3 people it helpfully advises that there is a discrepancy in number of bikes and number of people.

I gave up in the end and have been too busy to call them today and now have to leave for the school run.

prettybird Wed 20-Jan-16 15:42:26

I was coming on to say cakecakecakecake grin

I've not done a sportive per se before but I've done the Pedal for Scotland (Glasgow to Edinburgh) 4 times. I enjoyed it when it was smaller but I won't do it anymore as there are too many people, the roads are too crowded with riders (eg difficult to go up a hill cos there are too many people walking and/or riding sketchily) and the queues are too long. Ended up going the whole way without getting any of the official refreshments as the queues were 15-30 minutes long shock Fortunately we'd taken plenty of water and snacks with us.

lavendersun Thu 21-Jan-16 18:23:46

That would put me off too prettybird. We are really choosy about where we go.

We are considering "pedal norfolk". We live in the first loop which is sort of our local riding area.

DH really wants to go for the weekend, I don't, I think one of the day rides would be fine but not the whole weekend.

Dieppe is booked now CMOT - we are really looking forward to it, have signed up for the dinner too. There doesn't seem to be much hotel space in Dieppe that weekend!

CMOTDibbler Fri 22-Jan-16 09:25:55

It was like that at Velothon Wales too PrettyBird, though I think they have rejigged things for this year.

Lavender, I think that people have block booked rooms for clubs. The guy who does it for our club had booked 40 rooms and will then release what isn't taken up.

I'll def be making sure that cake is a priority! DH is going out to ride the proposed shorter ride today to check that it all makes sense, then we get into the serious stuff of police/highways notifications.

Still not quite sure how I went from helping out at registration at one bit last year to this!

SummerLightning Fri 22-Jan-16 09:31:55

Um, generally relaxed feel, food/refreshements, parking and toilets are all things that could not necessarily make it a good event but let it down if you see what I mean.

I have done a few sportives, to be honest I just pick one based on when I am free. But I think in general your advertising might attract new people, if you are billing it as a family event in general then it may attract new riders anyway. It's tricky because if you bill it as too much of a beginners event you might put off the more keen ones - maybe? I dunno.

Anyway what makes a good sportive, for me, good signposting, well thought out route with quiet roads, maybe marshals at key points (that may be dangerous, for example), and refreshments along the way. And probably some hills (tricky round my way)

CMOTDibbler Fri 22-Jan-16 09:52:30

Thanks Summer - we are going for billing it as suitable for everyone between the different events available, but the longer rides as challenging. They include some really good hills! But also take you round some

Parking, toilets, changing, showers etc are all sorted at the HQ site

Having got lost on a cycle event where the signs dropped out, we will be making absolutely sure it is foolproof, plus having maps and GPX (and on Strava), and will have marshals at the split points and difficult junctions.

We could also offer a 'never ridden in a group? Come along to get some tips' ride with the club a couple of weeks before. The club has a rather old age profile, and they are v friendly but love dishing out advice

prettybird Fri 22-Jan-16 13:00:33

I was going to suggest just that.

I went to a 6 week "Women Cyclists" training course (trying to encourage women ultimately into racing) and it made all the difference to my confidence. Until then I wouldn't have had a clue how to ride in a group.

CMOTDibbler Fri 22-Jan-16 16:50:40

I've put it on my action plan now smile

I've also thought it would be nice to send out a 'thank you for participating' email after with a link to a survey about what worked/didn't work, and we could do a 'if you enjoyed this, then there are these clubs/social groups/informal ride groups' link there too and on the fb page

CMOTDibbler Fri 26-Feb-16 13:18:20

As an update, somehow I am now sportive director and have just submitted my events for approval on their entry system!

The routes are gorgeous, we have a lovely HQ with bacon sarnies and coffee first thing, bbq from lunch onwards, and we decided to chip timing in the end as I started having palpitations at the thought of manual timing for maybe 500 people.

Now we have to market it all! Am hoping to get many more local kids on the mountain bike event, and more people on the leisure rides who wouldn't describe themselves as cyclists

lljkk Fri 26-Feb-16 15:46:11

I hope it keeps going well for you, CMOT smile.

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