Right now approximately 25,000 amateur cyclists from all over the country are counting down the days and making final preparations for the third Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 on Sunday 2 August. Introduced as part of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games legacy, this event has quickly made its mark on the cycling world’s calendar – it’s essentially the cycling equivalent of the world-famous London Marathon.
Ridden on 100 miles of closed roads, the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 starts from Queen Elizabeth Olympic park in east London, travelling across the city and out into the Surrey Hills. It follows much of the Olympic road race route and takes in several iconic hills, including Leith Hill and Box Hill, before returning to London and a glorious finish along The Mall. For some cyclists the ride will be all the personal challenge of completing the course within 8.5 hours. For others their motivation will be all about raising money for their chosen charity – last year participants raised over £10 million!
These two events are undoubtedly the highlights, but there is also a lot more going in the capital on that weekend. ExCeL hosts the 2015 Prudential RideLondon Cycling show, which runs from Thursday 30 July to Saturday 1 August, and will feature leading cycling brands, charities, guest appearances from big names in the cycling world, stunt riding shows and plenty of other entertainment.
The line-up for Saturday
Much of central London will be closed to traffic on Saturday 1 August between 9am-4pm when an 8-mile route will be open only to cyclists. It’s a great opportunity for families to visit many of the capital’s favourite landmarks by bike, including the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square and St Paul’s Cathedral. Along the route will be a number of festival zones with all sorts of entertainment and bike-related activities.
At 5pm, the 10th Brompton World Championship takes place, with 575 riders challenged to unfold their bikes and race around St James’ Park as fast as they can. In true Brompton style, competitors are expected to ride in typical commuter garb, with no lycra allowed, so expect some sharp suits and ties on show! The Grand Prix follows at 6pm, a series of criterium races for pro women – Lizzie Armitstead, Katie Archibald, Dame Sarah Storey, Marriane Vos and Laura Trott will all be there. And the Youth Boys and Youth Girls races are a great opportunity to see how the future of cycling is shaping up – remember the names, you might just get a glimpse of the next Wiggo or Trott!
From 6am to 9am riders will be setting off from the Olympic Park on their 100-mile challenge. Meanwhile, at 8.30am the Prudential RideLondon Handcycle Classic starts in Kingston, a 15-mile race featuring up to 30 handcyclists, some of whom are aiming towards the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020. And at 1.30pm the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic starts from Horse Guard’s Road. 25 teams of six riders, some of whom will be heading to London straight from the Tour de France, and featuring Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish, will race over a 200km route that is a variation of the amateur event.
There are plenty of opportunities to cheer on all the riders along the route. Kingston will be a good spot, where you can see riders both on their way out and returning from the Surrey Hills. Pyrford in Surrey will also be hosting a bike-related festival – watch the amateur and pro cyclists go past, catch up with the action on the rest of the course on the big screen and take part in all sorts of attractions. And there will be big screens in Dorking to watch the pro race, as well as seeing the race pass through the town five times. The BBC is providing live coverage of the men’s race and it will also be shown on a big screen in Green Park.
If London or Surrey are easily accessible why not go and soak up the atmosphere and support everyone taking part in the various events! Fancy having a go yourself next year? The ballot for the 2016 RideLondon-Surrey 100 opens on Monday 10 August and will close on Friday 8 January 2016 or before if 100,000 applications are received,
The world’s greatest festival of cycling would be nothing without plenty of volunteers to make the weekend run smoothly, and it’s another great way to get involved. Training will be given and you get lunch and a goodie bag. All volunteers also have the chance to win a brand new bike from Wiggle – the Verenti Insight 04.4, a top of the range carbon road bike
If you’re taking part we’d like to wish you the very best of luck and have a great time! And if you’re riding in a Summit Different jersey let us know and send us a souvenir pic of your day!