Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Events 2015

Pilgrims Hospices CycleOur friends at Pilgrims Hospices have announced the details of this year’s fundraising rides. It’s the fifth year for the events which last year raised a staggering £125,000. Open to anyone who: ‘likes a personal challenge and a healthy day out’, rides costs just £25 per person if you register online before Tuesday April 28.


First up is the Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge on May 3 with a choice of 45, 48, 78 & 100mile routes. Routes will take in the hospices in Canterbury, Ashford and Margate. Cyclists can start and finish at the hospice of their choice can enjoy great refreshment stops and even get a finisher’s medal.


Secondly from Pilgrims Hospices is Divas on Wheels (July 5) a women’s only ride with a choice of 25 or 50mile routes. The start point will be at Biketart, a retailer outside Canterbury and Bike Heroes will be on hand to escort riders and help with maintenance. Once again there will be refreshment stops and ‘Divas Village’ at the finish will be offering massage, helmet hair remedy, BBQ, music and raffles with great prizes. They are hoping to improve on the 260 participants from last year and all finisher’s will get a medal and goody bag.


Further details of the Pilgrims Hospices events at


Last Call for Peak District Challenge

Peak District ChallengeAction Medical Research – who fund vital research to help sick and disabled children in the UK – are making a last call for entries for their Peak District Challenge charity cycle ride which is set to take place on Sunday June 15.The challenge offers a choice of four ride options: Cool (41miles), Classic (74miles) and Champion at a leg-thumping100miles, all setting out from the HSBC Sports Club in Dore, Sheffield.


The routes take in stunning scenery and unparalleled cycling terrain along the way to present you with this epic ride. All three distances promise awe-inspiring views as riders tour this beautiful national park. Challenging climbs on the longer routes include up Mam Nick from Edale and then all three routes climb up from Froggatt on the way back. All riders will take in part of the lovely Derbyshire Dales, with the longer routes also passing through the Hope and Goyt Valleys.


This Peak District Challenge is part of the charity’s popular RIDE100 series of one-day bike rides that take place in fantastic cycling locations across the UK. All include chip timing, food and water stations, lunch, marshals and mechanics. Cyclists participating in the Peak District 100will be raising money to help fund medical research into conditions affecting babies and children.Action Medical Research has been funding medical breakthroughs since it began in 1952. The charity is currently supporting work around stillbirth, epilepsy, meningitis, cerebral palsy and brain cancer, as well as some rare and distressing conditions that severely affect children.


For more information about the Peak District Challenge and to register, visit the website



Action Medical Research London to Paris – July 23-27, 2014

Action Medical Research London to ParisFour incredible options in aid of the fantastic Action Medical Research that offers something for everyone when it comes to tackling the famous London to Paris ride. The ‘Cool’ option spreads the ride London-Calais-Abbeville-Beauvais-Paris and is aimed at those new to such cycle challenges with four days of cycling (80miles, 71miles, 62miles and 48miles), whilst the ‘Classic’ (London-Calais-Arras-Compiègne-Paris) ups the daily mileage to 85, 75, 75 and 61miles and the ‘Champion’ (Chessington-St Malo-Mayenne-Chartres-Paris) takes things further with 76, 81, 114 and 52mile stages. If none of that sounds tough enough (!) there is also a 24hour option to tackle a massive 240miles of road.


Registration for the multiday options is £70, with a commitment to raising £1,500 for Action Medical Research – supporting sick and disabled children – which includes a massive amount of support (plus food and accommodation), whilst the 24hour challenge costs the same for registration but with a lower, £1,200, fundraising commitment. Whichever one you decide to test your legs on there is an opportunity to see the closing stage of the 2014 Tour de France on the famous Champs-Élysées…


Note also that Action Medical Research is running another London to Paris event September 10-14 – although this one naturally doesn’t include seeing the TdF…


Full details of packages and online entry for the Action Medical Research London to Paris at



NSPCC Tour of England Opens

nspcc_tour_of_englandRegistration has opened for The NSPCC Tour of England, a series of multi-stage tours that offer the ultimate pro-rider experience to amateur cyclists, with timed hill climbs, closed race circuit sections and unprecedented support – from team cars, to motorbike outriders, domestiques, mechanics and soigneurs.


The format of the NSPCC Tour of England rides is completely new to the UK, offering a tough two-stage tour for each event in the series, punctuated with circuit racing. Both routes take riders on a stunning journey, over iconic climbs and through Tour de France and Olympic road race territory. Riders on the two-day events can also attend a spectacular Yellow Jersey Dinner with presentations and special guest speakers. With seeded groups based on training times, there’s a place for everyone, from those wanting to race, to those seeing the challenge as completing the event, to those wanting to work as a team or use the event to raise money for the NSPCC.


The first in the 2014 series is the NSPCC Tour of the South East on June 7-8. Highlights of this route include a timed climb over the infamous Box Hill, featured during the Olympic Road Race and racing around Dunsfold Park circuit; a circuit frequented by Top Gear’s The Stig.


The NSPCC Tour of Yorkshire is on July 19-20 and highlights include sections of the Tour De France 2014 route, the Yorkshire Wolds and North Yorkshire Moors, as well as timed climbs of Boltby Bank and Hanging Grimston. Both events consist of 180 miles over two stages with a total climb of 10,000ft. The Tour of England series is organised for the NSPCC by leading cycling events and media company Ride2Raise, and is supported by British Cycling.


Riders who commit to raising £500 for the NSPCC will pay a registration fee of just £49. Alternatively, riders can register without a minimum sponsorship commitment for £169. Tickets for the Yellow Jersey Dinner are included in the fundraising option, and £50 for everyone else.


For more information or to register for the NSPCC Tour of England see, and follow on Twitter @TourofEngland 


Featured Features

Sportive and Cycling Challenges

sportive_and_cycling_challengesWhether for the personal glory and the pushing of boundaries or for the noble act of charity fundraising, taking on your first major sportive or organised cycling challenge can be a daunting prospect, but with a little preparation and a common sense approach there’s nothing to fear in taking the plunge. To help ease the way into stepping up to the challenge Cyclo talked to a range of experts to bring you the help and advice you’ll need to succeed…



‘Before you get to the start make sure your bike is in good working order – oiled, cleaned, brakes and gears working well. In fact you should make sure you stay on top of your bike maintenance all year round… Also make sure you’ve tried and tested your nutrition, whether it’s gels or bars. Make sure you like it and that it agrees with you. The same goes for liquids – it’s really important to keep ahead of dehydration by taking fluids in regularly. Once you start to get dehydrated it’s difficult to catch up again.


‘Chat to other riders around you and ride in a group if you can, as this is what cycling all about; it’s the fastest way to the finish too (after all there’s a reason the pros do it.) Everyone riding is there to have fun and cycling is great for getting to know other people.’


David Bryant, Head Ride Captain – HotChillee



‘Familiarise yourself with the event route; full details will almost always be available before the event – have a look, note major way points, note any hazards. Also prepare to be self-sufficient at an event, at the very least this means a puncture kit and pump, but think about some other essentials that you might need, a rain jacket or a spare inner tube perhaps. Even if there is on-course assistance, no one enjoys being soaking wet and cold or a having trip back to event HQ in the broom wagon!


Make sure you’re fully fuelled before the event too. Think about how much food and drink you’ll need to consume along the way. Sports foods are very portable, such as energy gels or bars, but there’s always room in my jersey pockets for a banana or a hot-cross bun.


‘Pace the ride and enjoy yourself; don’t rush off with the speed merchants or get swept along by them as they pass, don’t see people in the distance and chase them down. Work out your own desired pace and stick to it, there’s nothing worse than blowing up halfway round a sportive.’


Chris Royston – Newmarket Cycling & Triathlon Club



‘My advice to anyone approaching a sportive for the first time is be realistic in your expectations; always be prepared to drop down to a shorter route if your legs are tiring.


‘Amongst the multitude of commercial sportives, there are many challenging charity events that deserve close inspection. The GSD Giant is one such event and it’s close to my heart because it supports people living with a very rare group of metabolic disorders concerning every keen cyclist’s obsession: glycogen storage. With insufficient glycogen in the liver and muscles, even a healthy and well-trained cyclist will rapidly “hit the wall” or “bonk”. So you should always take great care to store this complex sugar, perhaps by eating a good pasta meal the day before and topping it up regularly throughout a long ride.


‘To keep your legs alive you’ll need to top up your fluids and nutrition at the feed stations but also on the bike. On longer events you need to find what works for you; personally I find that flap-jacks are excellent for giving me a quick boost followed by a sustained flow of energy for 20 to 25miles, and they don’t upset my stomach; I also use one or two energy gels well in advance of steep inclines.’


Allan Muir – Gentle South Downs Giant



‘Always turn up on time to the start of your event – there’s nothing worse than missing out or having to play catch up; it’s stress you can really do without. Across the Divide always provide event manuals with everything you need to know about a specific event – with any reading materials you are given, take the time to actually read them.


‘If you train appropriately for your event, do some research, ask some questions you should minimise any stress and give yourself a great opportunity to complete a fantastic challenge and perhaps, most importantly, have some fun!’


Steve Cooper, UK Events Manager – Across the Divide



‘Pacing is always one of the most common challenges faced by event participants. The key to getting it right is taking a good look at the route profile before the event day. Try to get a grasp of when significant climbs occur on the route and the rough distances between them so you can be prepared; like any endurance sports event it’s important not to go too fast too soon!


‘Nailing your nutrition and hydration strategy is hugely important. Consider that most sportives, particularly the longer ones, will set off early in the morning, often around 7am, so be sure to take on a good amount of carbohydrates the day before – it’s not ideal, or easy to be taking on a big meal at 5am, or earlier. Take a look at the feed station layout, so you know when these are coming up and importantly try and find out what product will be available to ensure you are comfortable with it and, if not, be sure to carry enough of your own supplies to get you round.


‘A variety of clothing options is useful too, whilst it can seem sunny and warm at an event start venue, often you are climbing high into the mountains where you may be greeted by very different conditions.


‘Finally a good night’s rest can make all the difference on event day. If you are travelling to a sportive a long distance away we always recommend staying over in the area the night before so you can get a good sleep and arrive at the venue raring to go.’


Dan Lipman, Senior Marketing Manager – Human Race Ltd


If you’re looking for further advice Cyclo have supported Pilgrims Hospices with a ‘top tips’ feature than can be read here and Across the Divide’s Steve Cooper offers further information on tackling a sportive or cycling challenges here.


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Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge – May 4, 2014

Pilgrims Hospices Cycle ChallengeGoing from strength to strength and having grown from a field of 350 participants in year one to 1000 riders in 2013, the Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge is celebrating its fifth birthday and wants you along for the ride. There are four Kent-based routes to choose from – 45mile, 48mile, 78mile and the all new, and truly challenging, ‘Pilgrims 100’. Along with plenty of care and niceties on the day the Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge also offers plenty of support pre-challenge with a series of eight training rides, beginning in March, to help build both confidence and skill levels.


Entry to the Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge, regardless of the route you opt for, is a bargain £30 with an early bird £25 fee if you book online before April 30. Fundraising isn’t compulsory but this is such a worthwhile cause how could you not? Last year’s entrants to the Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge raised an incredibly £88,000 – why not set yourself a real challenge and help smash that amount…


Full details and online entry at


Featured News

Conquering Mont Ventoux on a Boris Bike

Mont Ventoux Mont Ventoux is a challenge that strikes fear into even the most seasoned of Tour de France riders – stark, wind-swept (as the name implies) and with a breath-sapping summit finish. It is the stuff of legends to pro and amateur riders alike. But none of that has stopped Rob Holden from hiring a ‘Boris bike’ and cycling the 22kg, three-speed bike to the top. Rob, aided by friends Matthew Winstone, and Ian Laurie, hired the bike from a docking station in Southwark, south London, loaded it into a van and drove, via the Eurotunnel, to the Alps. The 22km climb of the ‘Giant of Provence’ was recorded for posterity – you can see the resulting ‘Boris vs Ventoux The Film’ below – and the team returned the bike to London with only moments to spare before the 24-hour rental cut-off.


Mont Ventoux has been a stage finish for the TdF on nine occasions – most recently this year, when Team Sky’s Chris Froome claimed victory – and the race has crossed the summit on six other editions. The climb tragically and controversially claimed the life of British cyclist Tommy Simpson during the 1967 race.


Rob Holden’s epic Ventoux challenge had set out to raise £2,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support but, to date, has raised almost £7,500. Please help add to the fund at




Ultimate Three Peaks Challenge – June 2014

Three Peaks ChallengeThe Three Peaks Challenge – climbing Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon, Britain’s three highest summits – looks pretty tough as a stand-alone challenge. How about cycling between the three for good measure? That’s exactly what the new Ultimate Three Peaks Challenge, launched by children’s charity Action Medical Research, is proposing. As they put it: ‘Up the mountain, down the mountain, cycle to the next, repeat…’


For those who love to push themselves to the limit, this brand new challenge takes place from Saturday 21 to Sunday 28 June 2014; over the course of seven days, participants will climb just under 3000 metres in some of the wildest mountain terrain, and cycle 450 miles through some of the best scenery, in Scotland, England and Wales. Every tough mile cycled and trekked will be in support of Action Medical Research to fund vital research to help sick babies and children and the event will be fully supported and led by experienced guides. The pace will be set by the cycle leader and support will be on hand to help out at the tougher times to ensure you make it to the finish.


Registration is £99 with a fundraising target of £2000 and the itinerary looking like this:


Day 1: Arrive Glasgow; Climb Ben Nevis (1344m); Cycle to Fort William (a mere 3miles)

Day 2: Cycle Fort William to Paisley (102miles)

Day 3: Cycle Paisley to Gretna (92miles)

Day 4: Cycle Gretna to Seathwaite ; Climb Scafell Pike (978m); Cycle to Keswick (total cycle 64miles)

Day 5: Cycle Keswick to Warrington (106miles)

Day 6: Cycle Warrington to Betws-y-Coed (75miles)

Day 7: Cycle Betws-y-Coed to Pen-y-Pas; Climb Snowdon (1084m); Cycle to Betws (total cycle 22miles)

Day 8: Bus Transfer Betws-y-Coed to Chester Railway Station


Places are limited so register now for The Ultimate Three Peaks Challenge at