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What Should I Wear On RideLondon (And Other Questions)?

The RideLondon 100 (and its new 46 sibling) is an unusual sportive. Due to its size and location, it presents logistical challenges for riders and organisers alike. On the participant side, it’s not just a case of rocking up with a car boot (trunk) full of kit and a few gels in your pocket and knocking out a cheeky century.

It’s therefore entirely reasonable that first-time participants have questions, not all of which are answered in the organiser’s bumf.

Here are some questions sent in by reader, Ian, which I will attempt to answer. Can I also ask the Sportive Cyclist hive mind (particularly those of you that have RiddenLondon already), to chime in with your views. Every little helps….

So, those questions….

Should I Wear A Cycling Jersey Or A T-Shirt On RideLondon?

JST [Jubilee Sailing Trust – Ian’s charity] said they will be sending me a T-shirt to wear on the day. I suspect it will be a cotton T-shirt & will be checking this out with them. This is not exactly the best thing to wear in terms of cycle clothing. Did Macmillan provide you with a designated cycling jersey or a T-shirt? And did other riders face the same predicament?

Ian probably knows the answer to this one (he sent the email some time ago…) but it feels unlikely that charities will issue you with a bog-standard t-shirt and expect you to use it on the ride itself. They’ll know (or they should know) that you’ll need jersey pockets to store your on-ride kit (plus cotton t-shirt material is not ideal for ‘wicking away’ sweat) . So you’ll need to wear a cycling jersey.

Macmillan did provide me with a cycling jersey, a fine green and white affair which I sometimes still wear.

I hypothesise that branded charity jerseys tend to help the rider rather than the charity in multi-charity events like this one. When there are (I don’t know) 50+ charities represented on the road, seeing another rider in a charity jersey is not going to help brand recognition with spectators.

On the other hand, there were many times, particularly as I rode back through south west London (so, 80+ miles in), that I heard a, “Come on Macmillan!”, which I knew was directed at me. It does wonders for the spirit, and definitely helped get me through those difficult ten miles between the 80- and 90-mile marks :-).

Not the question being asked, but if I were to do it again (and I’d like to), then I’d wear the charity jersey if there was one, even if it isn’t as ‘performance’ as other cycling jerseys I might own.

What Should I Wear Before The Start Of RideLondon?

Did you wear a long sleeve jersey or a rain jacket to the start? It seems there is a bit of waiting time in starting & getting to the venue and it is not always warm first thing in the morning. I have a few long sleeve jerseys but these will be too warm once I am a few miles into the ride. What’s your solution for transporting/carrying a spare top if you need to remove it? Perhaps get a pair of arm warmers but this would only be a last resort?

For my money, at the end of July/start of August in south-east London, the coldest time on the day will be if it is raining and you’re riding down the other sides of Leith Hill and Box Hill (the combination of wind chill on wet skin, whilst you’re not really pedalling). For that, you’d want to be wearing a simple rain jacket.

The day before my RideLondon ride, I bought exactly that when I went to pick up my numbers from the Excel centre (there is a little ‘Expo’ where you can buy cycle gear): the very cheapest (non-breathable) rain jacket that Castello sell (like this one). Given that it’s little more than a glorified plastic bag with arms and a zip, it rolls up and is easily stored in one of my jersey pockets.

If it was me, waiting around before my start wave assembled for the off, and it was a little chilly, I’d put on this rain jacket. It’s highly unlikely that the ambient temperature will be low – more that the wind is a touch chilly. The advantage of a cheap, non-breathable rain jacket is that is more than capable of warding off a little wind. Then you don’t need to worry about a long-sleeved jersey or arm warmers.

What Should I Use My Bag Drop Bag For?

I have heard that you get a drop bag to store your belongings which you collect after you finish. What did you store in yours – a change of clothing? And can you drop your long sleeve jersey off in it or is the time gap between dropping it off & the start too long?

I didn’t use the bag drop service, so can’t answer with direct experience. I went with the strategy of carrying everything with me.

That said, I remember seeing the lorries both at the start (where you leave your bag) and at the end (where you… pick it up), and it all looked rather straightforward and well-organised.

If the weather forecast on the day looks poor, I’d certainly consider putting in a bag with a change of clothes for the finish.

Any other views people?

Will I Be Quick Enough To Avoid Being Swept Up By The Broom Wagon?

Going by my ride yesterday (7 hours 15 mins including 2 rest stops at feed stations, 6 hours 30 mins moving time on strava) I am slightly concerned I may get swept up by the broom wagon or have to take a course shortening detour. But I am probably worrying unnecessarily as I rode solo most of yesterday being one of the last starters. Do you know what the cut off & time limits are for Ride 100?

I don’t recall the specific cut-offs (they’ll be in the magazine they send you). But I would urge you not to worry too much about this point.

You’ll be surprised (pleasantly) how fast the RideLondon course is when there are no cars, no pedestrians, no need to stop at junctions. Then you have the drafting effect of all the cyclists around you.

I’ve had quite a lot of people voice this concern over the years, but I don’t think I’ve heard from anyone that has been swept up by the broomwagon, or even been close.

So focus on enjoying the day (which is fantastic) than worrying about missing the cutoffs.

Should I Use A Bum Bag On RideLondon?

Did you carry a bum bag with additional food/gels? Reading your account of the ride it seems a lot of time is wasted standing in queues at the feed stations & there is little choice & not much is left by the time you reach them. Is that still true or have they improved in this respect? I have done 3 sportives organised by Evans cycles and the feed stations are pretty good & are constantly replenished & you have instant access to food & drink & can help yourself without waiting. I have no complaints with their feed stations but imagine that it is entirely different on Ride 100 – would that be correct or can I expect a similar supply of food & drink?

How many stops did you make & how long did you spend at each stop?

Maybe more recent participants can comment on this as well.

There was certainly sufficient food at the feed stations. There were some odd choices (the crisps) but there were plenty of gels, bananas, biscuits and energy drinks.

I recall stopping at two feed stations (Hampton Court and Newlands Corner). With hindsight, perhaps I overegged how long these took. They didn’t eat into my ride too much and I was happy to have a little time off the bike. Whilst the Newlands one was a bit cramped (so you had to filter round slowly), there was plenty of room at Hampton Court to access the tables with the food on.

I didn’t take a bum bag (fanny pack, los Americanos). I’m pleased to report that I don’t own a bum bag.

From memory, I think I would have had the following in my jersey pockets: some gels (maybe two); a large bag of jelly babies (the food for sports performance) that I transferred into a large sandwich bag for easy access; the aforementioned light rain jacket; my (Lezyne) mini-pump; my mobile phone.

In my saddle bag (which I’d recommend getting if you don’t have one – here’s my guide) I would have had some money and a credit card, my multi-tool, some plastic tyre levers and a spare inner tube.

Where Are These Post-RideLondon Showers I’ve Heard About?

Apparently there are after parties to be attended after a shower and some food. Is this true and are showers actually provided? I would imagine most riders would want to get home not too long after the ride.

Good question. Macmillan didn’t provide me with a shower or a massage. My pal Wes (who may well be reading this) rode for the Anthony Nolan Trust (I think) and I’m sure he came away from the day with the warm glow of having spent 30 minutes, post-ride, with a communist-era masseur.

I was quite happy to start making my way home (or rather to my friend’s home). I had the feeling that once I’d had a shower, I would only be capable of walking 5 yards to bed, rather than cycling 5 miles…

Do I Need Bike Lights And A Lock On RideLondon?

Did you bother with bike lights? And would you take a bike padlock & leave it in your drop bag so you can lock your bike later, or did you return home soon afterwards?

No, I had neither.

I certainly wouldn’t be carrying a lock around with me. Maybe it’s something you could put in the bag drop bag, if you knew you were locking the bike up afterwards. I wandered about a bit with my bike in Hyde Park (and also lay down on the grass next to it…) and then started to make my way home, so had no need to lock it up.

As far as lights go, if it looks like the weather might be rainy and/or murky, and your lights aren’t too heavy and bulky, why not? That said, there are no cars on the course itself, and all the riders are going in the same direction and generally aware that there are other bikes around them. So probably more relevant if you’ll be sharing the road with other vehicles once you’ve finished RideLondon itself.

C’Est Toot!

That’s your lot. Hopefully that’s been helpful.

If anyone has any advice for Ian or for other first-time RideLondoners, then please do add your voice in the comments section below.

Good luck to all those taking part in RideLondon this year. I wish I could join you. Next time (Gadget…).

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{ 36 comments… add one }
  • Martha says:

    Lights: depends where you ride in from, & when. I’ll depart SW London at c4am and I’ll need lights, which I’ll leave in the bag drop. Yes, bag drop is easy to use. Top tube bags are handy and certainly more de rigeur than bum bags!

  • Kate says:

    Took part last year and lucky enough to be riding again this year :)) We used the bag drop and will definitely use it again….it was ultra efficient… etremely impressive infact…..it’s a good size bag so plenty of space for a change of clothes etc… I put in a change of shoes and was very happy about that! Also a cap ..helpful for helmet hair!

  • Barrie Sinclair says:

    Jersey.
    I rode for Scope last year, they gave me a cycling jersey to wear, and the t shirt was either to get changed into and throw into the bag drop or as a thank you.
    Bag Drop.
    As said above this was excellent, drop of when you pass your on the way to your colour wave start and you pick up when you funnel through at the finish line. with the little bottle of water and pretzels they gave you. I had recovery shake in a bottle and water to add to it in mine with clean t shirt and put some wet wipes in they work wonders in making you feel a little fresher.
    What to wear beforehand.
    Depends how far you have to travel in, I stayed nearby last year and the weather was gorgeous so was lucky, a light, neednt cost the earth rain jacket would cover most bases. There is a bit of hanging round before you go.
    Feed Stations
    Were well run no dramas, the loos at some of the built up areas ones had some big queues, so for the gents (sorry ladies) go in a field in the country if you can.
    Broom Wagon.
    As Monty said you’ll go quicker than you think on closed roads, some of the downhill stuff especially after Box Hill are V quick!
    After Parties
    I had an Invite to one at Scope as I had raised over the minimum prior to event. they had one at the Hilton on Park Lane, but to be fair I couldnt be bothered after 100 miles and suspect it could be a sales pitch/night out for the staff. I had to cycle back to start where I was staying so didnt go and wasnt coming all the way back in from East London

    Enjoy it, its a good event, take care though and keep you wits about you, saw a few unfortunates lying in the road last year. Early on (first 20 miles) some of the big trains can come steaming by and are dangerous to frank in a mixed ability event.

  • Chris says:

    Put your name in thick black letters where spectators can see it. More uplifting than come on McMillan. Maybe pin on piece of material

  • Kel Walker says:

    Feed Stations.
    Last year there was no food/bananas/fig rolls left by the time I got to Newlands Corner (and I was an early starter and got there in plenty of time) so I’d take extra care to make sure you’re carrying enough food to get you round….or at least to the next Feed Station.
    I’m doing the ride again this year (for British Lung Foundation)………I’m the one with pockets stuffed with Flapjacks!
    It’s a brilliant day!

  • Tim says:

    to stay warm waiting at the start put your waterproof on. Wear a short sleeved cycling jersey and arm warmers (cheap/Lidl/Aldi ones are fine), which serve dual purpose of stopping your waterproof top getting cold and clammy on your arms, and will keep you warm for the early miles until you warm up and stow them and the waterproof in a pocket. This combo, plus waterproof overshoes, worked well , to a point anyway, even in the Ride London Hurricane Bertha aftermath 2 years ago.

    A proper waterproof if rain is forecast- otherwise those ones that fold down tiny will do to keep the chill off at the start and when you stop at feed stations.

    Plus one for the bag drop. very efficient, put something warm to wear in and a bit of food eg a sandwich as there wasn’t much around at the finish. I took a small flask of coffee so I could have some before the waiting at the start.

    I carried a banana, 2 cereal bars, some sandwiches and a few electrolyte tabs to drop in water bottles. This gave me the option of not stopping (eg at Newlands) if it looked slow and too crowded. I need something savoury to eat after a while, hence marmite sandwiches on white, and a bag of Cheddars, some in saddle bag, rest in pockets. Some will see this as overkill…….

    I also had anxiety about the time cut off (they say 8.5 hrs this year) on my first effort, but found that closed roads/little braking/drafting/general excitement added at least 2 mph to my average speed. My normal av speed including stops about 12.5mph, Ride London speed, including stops about 15mph was way faster than I imagined possible and meant the broom wagon and the following pro road race were toast.

    Re stopping strategy, it depends what you want. It is certainly enjoyable to stop, sit down, take in the views eg at Box Hill and dawdle a bit and I certainly needed a few breaks. But be aware of what you are doing – I spent 15 min at Box Hill, and 10 min having a coffee with some very nice Red Cross people, but wouldn’t do either again- I’d rather have a slightly better time against my name!

    btw Andrew, we did identical times in the first Ride London.

  • BW says:

    I rode for the first time last year and loved it. It was a hot day so no waterproofs or arm warmers needed. But I’d check the weather forecast first. Once you get cycling you warm up pretty quickly.
    Drop off facility is brilliant, worth putting a fleece or something in if only to keep you warm once you finish. Possibly some food but I didn’t feel hungry after the ride due to the exhaustion.
    Food wise Rice Krispy bars are excellent, had peanuts as well, good for salt. Will take my own powder to put in the drinks this year. The water stops all offer energy powders to put in your drink if you want.
    I also used the stops for a break/rest and to make sure I rehydrated properly.
    I was amazed at how many people fell of their bikes last year, seems a few people were struggling with clipping in and out of their pedals especially on the hills when they wanted to get off quickly. Watch out for those that stop suddenly and start walking. (In the middle of the road too) I ended up cycling out of my cleats in the end at that point, it was safer.
    Also talk to other cyclists when riding if you are overtaking them, let them know you are coming through and try not to undercut on the inside. I was quite shocked at how bad some cyclists road manners were.

  • Richard says:

    Thanks andrew and other peoples replies.

    Over sixty and first time for the ride london so all information is gratefully received.

    Riding for a charity dear to my heart, prostate cancer uk

    I might invest in a top tube bag as I’ve noticed on other sportives i have done is that trying to get food out of your back pocket while riding is an art i have not really mastered!

  • thenextwavefutures says:

    Cut off time: Eight and a half hours.

  • andy says:

    Richard, good luck and enjoy the day.
    Riding on closed roads is a real delight, lock onto the rear wheel of a group you can stay with early on and that will help save energy for later. I found the feed stations had little left by the time I got there, I had a 730 start, and they were very busy.
    I took as many gels, energy bars and mini malt loafs as i could fit into my pockets and two full 1litre bottles – 1 with energy powder, 1 with hydration – all of the food I took I had tested and new I liked and could stomach.
    Eat a good breakfast, eat whilst waiting to start and eat every 15-20mins – remember you’re gonna burn 4000- 5000calories, and drink at least every time you eat.
    Dont go too fast too early or you may pay for it later, its easy to get enthused by the event and over do it.
    I found a set of arm warmers was an asset for the earlier start as you can roll ’em down when it warms up and roll back up when in the shade or it gets chilly.
    Most of all, have fun, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the sights as you cycle past – definitely the best cycle event I’ve participated in.
    regards

  • Mary says:

    Hi Richard,
    I did London100 for the first time last year and worried about almost everything before the ride – it was fine! You will get ‘swept along’, just be sure not to go too crazy early on so you still have the legs for the hills and final leg. For what it’s worth, here are my thoughts:
    1. Don’t worry! As long as you have got enough training under your belt you will be fine. I drove my family mad going on about Newlands Corner, Leith Hill and Box Hill – in the end it was fine, find your gear and just spin it out. The comment about keeping an eye out for other cyclists is very true (on Leith Hill 5 cyclists were walking up the hill side by side almost blocking it until they were asked to get out of the way!) – you will be busy with that and the hills will be over before you know it!
    2. Keeping warm at the start – I cut the sleeves off a long sleeved cycle top that I didn’t need – they were perfect temporary arm warmers that I could throw in a bin after 15 miles. Would definitely have a rain/wind jacket with you – especially if the weather is changeable – also, during my ride there were 2 prolonged stops where we were all halted for more than 20 mins – if it had been cooler or windy then a jacket would be needed to stay warm. As for your charity – could you cut the charity logo off the t-shirt and pin it to your cycle top?
    3. Bag drop. As said, brilliant – pack some food, a recovery drink and some clothes, and a lock if you need it at the other end – the finish can get a bit congested so you may want to relax in the park until the crowds thin out. I did that, had my recovery drink then had bubbles in St James Park with my family – by the time we left it was quiet enough to take my bike on the tube! 🍾
    4. Food. Personally, I chose not to count on the feed stations and I was glad I did – they were so congested that I was happier getting water at the smaller stops (same thing with loos although men definitely have the edge on that one!). I had a tube bag plus filled my back pouches – took electrolyte sachets (just wanted what I knew although they are provided), gels, one banana, brioche slices (Aldi – brilliant), and yum yums (Sainsburys do small bite size ones, perfect), and one energy bar.
    5. Other cyclists. Be prepared for some shocking behaviour from a minority of cyclists, either those hell bent on a personal best no matter how un-safe or those who actually haven’t trained enough/don’t know how to cycle in a crowd. As mentioned, just keep your wits about you, and some space as well, and definitely speak with other cyclists as needed.
    It is a pretty amazing day and the crowds are brilliant – have a great ride!

  • Jacko says:

    Thanks for the hints and tips everyone…….. much appreciated.
    Nervous as never done a ride this long, Palace to Palace 45 twice with my partner, and we are training hard for this one.(Riding for Marie Curie Cancer Nurses, she got in on the Ballot)
    As a 45 year old ex Front Row Forward, these hints and tips and words of encouragement help to calm the nerves and anxiety of a big guy on a bike, especially the fact that no one has ever been victim of the Broom Truck (have got a mental image of the child catcher and van from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang)
    Fingers crossed for decent weather !

    Good luck everyone

    • BW says:

      Ex rugby player here too, 19 and a half stone in my fifties. I did it last year in about eight hours. I paced myself carefully and kept myself well hydrated. Use the stops as well. The course is quite flat (Do tuck in and draft where you can it makes a huge difference) except for the three hills, after that the hills are rolling which is nice. Beware Wimbledon hill that is a short sharp shock and you will be tired then. Also going back along the Thames in London, those bloody bridges means you are climbing a camber more often than you expected and you can get a strong wind in your face from the breeze up the river. I tell you this only so that you are prepared if it happens. I thought it would be plain sailing once I got into London but it was quite tough the last few miles. Enjoy though, it’s a great day.

      • Jacko says:

        Thanks mate
        Appeciate the hints and tips
        Like I said, training hard and we did 62 miles last week with some hard climbs. 70+ this weekend … so we are hoping to be in good shape for the event

        thanks again

  • Tom says:

    +1 for the top bar bag. Didn’t want fancy it at first but found it much easier to fish out my beetroot flapjacks!

    Last year I started at around 7 30 and was dropped off at 6 and it was plenty warm enough, especially as the adrenaline kicks in very quickly, even hanging around at the start. Anyone coming from South of the river, being dropped off (or parking) at the Blackwall Tunnel gives you the rare opportunity to cycle through it. That was VERY exciting.

    The drop bags work very well, I had a compete change of clothes in it as I didn’t fancy the long train journey home in lycra! Also there is a secure bike park at the end which again is fine if you want to hang around in the park or head for a quick beer. Didn’t see the showers.

    Finally, if you leave your bike anywhere, like when you go to the toilet, take your Garmin, heard stories of people having theirs stolen which sounds bloody awful!

  • Nigel Page says:

    Great – loads of useful info; any specific advice for a 70 year old? Nigel

  • Mike Farrington says:

    As a ‘survivor’ from 2014 my advice would be to look at the weather forecast and make sure you have a good waterproof/windproof jacket if it looks dodgy – 20 minutes in a monsoon downpour in Richmond Park would not have been nice without – not that it was pleasant with! Make sure you have waterproofed your phone – I tried to use mine during the stoppage – it has never worked again.
    I wore arm warmers throughout the ride – although thankfully jacket came off at Wimbledon as the sun appeared for the last thrash back to the Mall, although it went back on very quickly when the Heavens opened again after I finished.
    +1 for a bar bag – very easy to pull a gel, flapjack or jelly baby from there – I use a Toppeak one.
    I used the bag drop which worked very well – you might want to think about shoes if you are likely to do any walking after the event to save your cleats and you will want to stay warm too.
    I started at 08:10. I only stopped at Newlands Corner and there was plenty of food – bananas, breakfast bars, etc. Didn’t take too long either. Hampden Court looked to be rammed so I rode past and of course we cut out Leith Hill – which is where the third hub was.
    Rode for Asthma UK in 2014, agree about the boost from the crowd (and most charities have folk out at cheer points). Their post ride reception was good too – secure bike store, massage, changing facilities and food! They supplied a decent jersey, but as you might expect not a top of the range job.

    Failed in the ballot last year and this, but have been lucky for the 46 miler. Very late start though (9:27) so I think my strategy will be to try for no stops – should be able to carry adequate drink and food – may need the loo though!

    Hope everyone has a great and safe time!

  • Martha Walsh says:

    + to add to my earlier comment – I have the topeak waterproof top tube bag and my phone stayed dry throughout the 2014 monsoon even without another plastic wrapping, so totally recommend it. About £20-25 I think.
    To Nigel – take some ibuprofen with you. I’m a *little* younger but with a knackered knee so I take some before long long rides. If you might need a lot then get your hands on some omeprazole too (protects your tummy).
    To the ex front row forward – my other half is >100kg and always manages to overtake much smaller guys going up the hills! Use the power!

  • Mary says:

    Not sure if this will be helpful to anyone or not, and should have added in my earlier post, it is about hills and available gears. When I started training last year for the London100, I did not have a cycling background, was 55 years and had had significant knee surgery (both knees). I started out with a Cube bike and compact gears, having been assured that the low gears would be enough – well they weren’t – I would end up in the lowest gear part way up a steep hill and my knees could not take the additional strain, so ended up walking. Also, after anything over 40 miles my back would start to hurt – all in all, not good for doing 100 miles! After successfully doing a 1000 foot climb on holiday, with a mountain bike, I sought some specialist advice – Mike Taylor, Bridgtown Cycles had the answer – I got a Trek Silque, which was then customised with a mountain bike cassette, plus I had a proper bike fit – so lost a bit off the hardest gears (which I never used) and low (easy) was properly low, and the bike fitted perfectly. So I have yet to not get up a hill, and although I rarely require the lowest gear it is such a confidence boost to know that it is there, and I finished the London100 with no knee or back pain, result! So if you need lower gears to get up the hills, don’t suffer through it as there is an answer!

  • Ian says:

    Some great tips from everyone. I am really looking forward to Ride 100 in several weeks time.

  • Ian says:

    Is there an official gpx file for the Ride 100 route that I can download?

  • BW says:

    Also I’d avoid the first couple of stops if you can as they can be quite crowded, the further you go in the ride the less people there are in them.

  • […] Monty Montgomery Sportive Cyclist  […]

  • Andrea says:

    Hi – what’s it like trying to get back to Olympic Park afterwards? Clippers are full and we cannot seem to get through the QEOP Bicycle Transport Service – perhaps is fully booked also? Any other ideas? Help!

  • barrie says:

    I rode last year, it wasnt so bad. Plenty of people doing the same thing so just team up with some of them and roll along.

  • Tony M says:

    Re. Bike lock – Thanks for the helpful info. I’m doing the 100 for the first time this year, amongst other things I was worried about leaving the bike unattended at a rest stop if a loo visit needed. Are there people who can keep an eye on the bike? I was considering taking a cafe lock along – any advice from someone who has been there done that would be appreciated…

  • Michael Consitt says:

    Thanks for the tips. I completed the ride yesterday and would like to add a few comments:
    The ‘Hubs’ and Drink Stations were plentiful and with virtually no queues (plenty of ‘proper’ replenishing foods and drinks). Ditto the toilet facilities en route AND at the start. The organisation was superb. Mind you, starting in East London at some unearthly hour and finishing in West London in the middle of a busy afternoon ain’t great logistically!
    The ride was fast due to drafting. Beware the bullying speedsters and remember it is NOT a race. The speeds downhill on narrow, bumpy single-carriageway roads can be alarming (50mph is feasible for the foolhardy). The hills were all okay providing you had trained properly. Box Hill is a doddle, really. Stop at the top and take some photos if the weather is good.
    You don’t need a lock as there will be many far more expensive bikes than yours to nick!
    The finishing 5 miles are spectacular and the final stretch down The Mall truly memorable.
    Not quite so sure I’d wish to do it in the driving rain due to the sheer numbers of cyclists involved and the differing degrees of competence and courtesy.
    Enjoy the scenery, crowd, fellow cyclists rather than worrying about your pace and/or finishing time.
    Two serious accidents and one unfortunate death need not dissuade you for when the sun shines it is sure cycling nirvana…

  • […] Park, wheeling our bikes for at least 800 metres before lining up for our start. The excellent Sportive Cyclist blog recommended keeping a rain jacket on to stay warm during this process, which was good advice. […]

  • Andrea says:

    Hi all… we completed our first 100 miles Sportive on Saturday with 4000ft of elevation gain! Yay! We want to cycle tonight … in terms of recovery (48 hours) after a decent warm up, do you think we are okay to do a reasonably paced 23-25 miles tonight? Any advice? Thanks!

  • ozburt says:

    I agree with Michael’s summary of Ride London and my experience was similar.

    I’m happy to say I completed the full 100 miles, although about a mile of it was spent walking the route due to the considerable delays caused by two accidents. Others were not so fortunate as their route was shortened or diverted.

    My unofficial time was 8 hours 24 minutes although about 2 hours of that was used up by delays/walking. My total cycling time was 6 hours 7 minutes.

    Hopefully the injured parties were ok.

    I really enjoyed the ride and cycling on closed roads with no cars was a pleasure. The support along the route was brilliant, bringing a big smile to my face. It was also a bonus that we had excellent weather.

    Box Hill was a doddle and the hardest part of Leith Hill was negated due to having to get off the bike and walk part of it due to the bottleneck and other riders walking.

  • Martha July 10, 2016, 3:31 pm

    Lights: depends where you ride in from, & when. I’ll depart SW London at c4am and I’ll need lights, which I’ll leave in the bag drop. Yes, bag drop is easy to use. Top tube bags are handy and certainly more de rigeur than bum bags!

  • Kate July 11, 2016, 8:59 am

    Took part last year and lucky enough to be riding again this year :)) We used the bag drop and will definitely use it again….it was ultra efficient… etremely impressive infact…..it’s a good size bag so plenty of space for a change of clothes etc… I put in a change of shoes and was very happy about that! Also a cap ..helpful for helmet hair!

  • Barrie Sinclair July 12, 2016, 10:32 am

    Jersey.
    I rode for Scope last year, they gave me a cycling jersey to wear, and the t shirt was either to get changed into and throw into the bag drop or as a thank you.
    Bag Drop.
    As said above this was excellent, drop of when you pass your on the way to your colour wave start and you pick up when you funnel through at the finish line. with the little bottle of water and pretzels they gave you. I had recovery shake in a bottle and water to add to it in mine with clean t shirt and put some wet wipes in they work wonders in making you feel a little fresher.
    What to wear beforehand.
    Depends how far you have to travel in, I stayed nearby last year and the weather was gorgeous so was lucky, a light, neednt cost the earth rain jacket would cover most bases. There is a bit of hanging round before you go.
    Feed Stations
    Were well run no dramas, the loos at some of the built up areas ones had some big queues, so for the gents (sorry ladies) go in a field in the country if you can.
    Broom Wagon.
    As Monty said you’ll go quicker than you think on closed roads, some of the downhill stuff especially after Box Hill are V quick!
    After Parties
    I had an Invite to one at Scope as I had raised over the minimum prior to event. they had one at the Hilton on Park Lane, but to be fair I couldnt be bothered after 100 miles and suspect it could be a sales pitch/night out for the staff. I had to cycle back to start where I was staying so didnt go and wasnt coming all the way back in from East London

    Enjoy it, its a good event, take care though and keep you wits about you, saw a few unfortunates lying in the road last year. Early on (first 20 miles) some of the big trains can come steaming by and are dangerous to frank in a mixed ability event.

  • Chris July 12, 2016, 10:54 am

    Put your name in thick black letters where spectators can see it. More uplifting than come on McMillan. Maybe pin on piece of material

  • Kel Walker July 12, 2016, 11:03 am

    Feed Stations.
    Last year there was no food/bananas/fig rolls left by the time I got to Newlands Corner (and I was an early starter and got there in plenty of time) so I’d take extra care to make sure you’re carrying enough food to get you round….or at least to the next Feed Station.
    I’m doing the ride again this year (for British Lung Foundation)………I’m the one with pockets stuffed with Flapjacks!
    It’s a brilliant day!

  • Tim July 12, 2016, 11:04 am

    to stay warm waiting at the start put your waterproof on. Wear a short sleeved cycling jersey and arm warmers (cheap/Lidl/Aldi ones are fine), which serve dual purpose of stopping your waterproof top getting cold and clammy on your arms, and will keep you warm for the early miles until you warm up and stow them and the waterproof in a pocket. This combo, plus waterproof overshoes, worked well , to a point anyway, even in the Ride London Hurricane Bertha aftermath 2 years ago.

    A proper waterproof if rain is forecast- otherwise those ones that fold down tiny will do to keep the chill off at the start and when you stop at feed stations.

    Plus one for the bag drop. very efficient, put something warm to wear in and a bit of food eg a sandwich as there wasn’t much around at the finish. I took a small flask of coffee so I could have some before the waiting at the start.

    I carried a banana, 2 cereal bars, some sandwiches and a few electrolyte tabs to drop in water bottles. This gave me the option of not stopping (eg at Newlands) if it looked slow and too crowded. I need something savoury to eat after a while, hence marmite sandwiches on white, and a bag of Cheddars, some in saddle bag, rest in pockets. Some will see this as overkill…….

    I also had anxiety about the time cut off (they say 8.5 hrs this year) on my first effort, but found that closed roads/little braking/drafting/general excitement added at least 2 mph to my average speed. My normal av speed including stops about 12.5mph, Ride London speed, including stops about 15mph was way faster than I imagined possible and meant the broom wagon and the following pro road race were toast.

    Re stopping strategy, it depends what you want. It is certainly enjoyable to stop, sit down, take in the views eg at Box Hill and dawdle a bit and I certainly needed a few breaks. But be aware of what you are doing – I spent 15 min at Box Hill, and 10 min having a coffee with some very nice Red Cross people, but wouldn’t do either again- I’d rather have a slightly better time against my name!

    btw Andrew, we did identical times in the first Ride London.

  • BW July 12, 2016, 11:38 am

    I rode for the first time last year and loved it. It was a hot day so no waterproofs or arm warmers needed. But I’d check the weather forecast first. Once you get cycling you warm up pretty quickly.
    Drop off facility is brilliant, worth putting a fleece or something in if only to keep you warm once you finish. Possibly some food but I didn’t feel hungry after the ride due to the exhaustion.
    Food wise Rice Krispy bars are excellent, had peanuts as well, good for salt. Will take my own powder to put in the drinks this year. The water stops all offer energy powders to put in your drink if you want.
    I also used the stops for a break/rest and to make sure I rehydrated properly.
    I was amazed at how many people fell of their bikes last year, seems a few people were struggling with clipping in and out of their pedals especially on the hills when they wanted to get off quickly. Watch out for those that stop suddenly and start walking. (In the middle of the road too) I ended up cycling out of my cleats in the end at that point, it was safer.
    Also talk to other cyclists when riding if you are overtaking them, let them know you are coming through and try not to undercut on the inside. I was quite shocked at how bad some cyclists road manners were.

  • Richard July 12, 2016, 11:56 am

    Thanks andrew and other peoples replies.

    Over sixty and first time for the ride london so all information is gratefully received.

    Riding for a charity dear to my heart, prostate cancer uk

    I might invest in a top tube bag as I’ve noticed on other sportives i have done is that trying to get food out of your back pocket while riding is an art i have not really mastered!

  • thenextwavefutures July 12, 2016, 12:31 pm

    Cut off time: Eight and a half hours.

  • andy July 12, 2016, 5:06 pm

    Richard, good luck and enjoy the day.
    Riding on closed roads is a real delight, lock onto the rear wheel of a group you can stay with early on and that will help save energy for later. I found the feed stations had little left by the time I got there, I had a 730 start, and they were very busy.
    I took as many gels, energy bars and mini malt loafs as i could fit into my pockets and two full 1litre bottles – 1 with energy powder, 1 with hydration – all of the food I took I had tested and new I liked and could stomach.
    Eat a good breakfast, eat whilst waiting to start and eat every 15-20mins – remember you’re gonna burn 4000- 5000calories, and drink at least every time you eat.
    Dont go too fast too early or you may pay for it later, its easy to get enthused by the event and over do it.
    I found a set of arm warmers was an asset for the earlier start as you can roll ’em down when it warms up and roll back up when in the shade or it gets chilly.
    Most of all, have fun, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the sights as you cycle past – definitely the best cycle event I’ve participated in.
    regards

  • Mary July 12, 2016, 5:27 pm

    Hi Richard,
    I did London100 for the first time last year and worried about almost everything before the ride – it was fine! You will get ‘swept along’, just be sure not to go too crazy early on so you still have the legs for the hills and final leg. For what it’s worth, here are my thoughts:
    1. Don’t worry! As long as you have got enough training under your belt you will be fine. I drove my family mad going on about Newlands Corner, Leith Hill and Box Hill – in the end it was fine, find your gear and just spin it out. The comment about keeping an eye out for other cyclists is very true (on Leith Hill 5 cyclists were walking up the hill side by side almost blocking it until they were asked to get out of the way!) – you will be busy with that and the hills will be over before you know it!
    2. Keeping warm at the start – I cut the sleeves off a long sleeved cycle top that I didn’t need – they were perfect temporary arm warmers that I could throw in a bin after 15 miles. Would definitely have a rain/wind jacket with you – especially if the weather is changeable – also, during my ride there were 2 prolonged stops where we were all halted for more than 20 mins – if it had been cooler or windy then a jacket would be needed to stay warm. As for your charity – could you cut the charity logo off the t-shirt and pin it to your cycle top?
    3. Bag drop. As said, brilliant – pack some food, a recovery drink and some clothes, and a lock if you need it at the other end – the finish can get a bit congested so you may want to relax in the park until the crowds thin out. I did that, had my recovery drink then had bubbles in St James Park with my family – by the time we left it was quiet enough to take my bike on the tube! 🍾
    4. Food. Personally, I chose not to count on the feed stations and I was glad I did – they were so congested that I was happier getting water at the smaller stops (same thing with loos although men definitely have the edge on that one!). I had a tube bag plus filled my back pouches – took electrolyte sachets (just wanted what I knew although they are provided), gels, one banana, brioche slices (Aldi – brilliant), and yum yums (Sainsburys do small bite size ones, perfect), and one energy bar.
    5. Other cyclists. Be prepared for some shocking behaviour from a minority of cyclists, either those hell bent on a personal best no matter how un-safe or those who actually haven’t trained enough/don’t know how to cycle in a crowd. As mentioned, just keep your wits about you, and some space as well, and definitely speak with other cyclists as needed.
    It is a pretty amazing day and the crowds are brilliant – have a great ride!

  • Jacko July 12, 2016, 6:09 pm

    Thanks for the hints and tips everyone…….. much appreciated.
    Nervous as never done a ride this long, Palace to Palace 45 twice with my partner, and we are training hard for this one.(Riding for Marie Curie Cancer Nurses, she got in on the Ballot)
    As a 45 year old ex Front Row Forward, these hints and tips and words of encouragement help to calm the nerves and anxiety of a big guy on a bike, especially the fact that no one has ever been victim of the Broom Truck (have got a mental image of the child catcher and van from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang)
    Fingers crossed for decent weather !

    Good luck everyone

    • BW July 13, 2016, 4:35 pm

      Ex rugby player here too, 19 and a half stone in my fifties. I did it last year in about eight hours. I paced myself carefully and kept myself well hydrated. Use the stops as well. The course is quite flat (Do tuck in and draft where you can it makes a huge difference) except for the three hills, after that the hills are rolling which is nice. Beware Wimbledon hill that is a short sharp shock and you will be tired then. Also going back along the Thames in London, those bloody bridges means you are climbing a camber more often than you expected and you can get a strong wind in your face from the breeze up the river. I tell you this only so that you are prepared if it happens. I thought it would be plain sailing once I got into London but it was quite tough the last few miles. Enjoy though, it’s a great day.

      • Jacko July 13, 2016, 9:08 pm

        Thanks mate
        Appeciate the hints and tips
        Like I said, training hard and we did 62 miles last week with some hard climbs. 70+ this weekend … so we are hoping to be in good shape for the event

        thanks again

  • Tom July 12, 2016, 6:36 pm

    +1 for the top bar bag. Didn’t want fancy it at first but found it much easier to fish out my beetroot flapjacks!

    Last year I started at around 7 30 and was dropped off at 6 and it was plenty warm enough, especially as the adrenaline kicks in very quickly, even hanging around at the start. Anyone coming from South of the river, being dropped off (or parking) at the Blackwall Tunnel gives you the rare opportunity to cycle through it. That was VERY exciting.

    The drop bags work very well, I had a compete change of clothes in it as I didn’t fancy the long train journey home in lycra! Also there is a secure bike park at the end which again is fine if you want to hang around in the park or head for a quick beer. Didn’t see the showers.

    Finally, if you leave your bike anywhere, like when you go to the toilet, take your Garmin, heard stories of people having theirs stolen which sounds bloody awful!

  • Nigel Page July 12, 2016, 8:39 pm

    Great – loads of useful info; any specific advice for a 70 year old? Nigel

  • Mike Farrington July 12, 2016, 8:40 pm

    As a ‘survivor’ from 2014 my advice would be to look at the weather forecast and make sure you have a good waterproof/windproof jacket if it looks dodgy – 20 minutes in a monsoon downpour in Richmond Park would not have been nice without – not that it was pleasant with! Make sure you have waterproofed your phone – I tried to use mine during the stoppage – it has never worked again.
    I wore arm warmers throughout the ride – although thankfully jacket came off at Wimbledon as the sun appeared for the last thrash back to the Mall, although it went back on very quickly when the Heavens opened again after I finished.
    +1 for a bar bag – very easy to pull a gel, flapjack or jelly baby from there – I use a Toppeak one.
    I used the bag drop which worked very well – you might want to think about shoes if you are likely to do any walking after the event to save your cleats and you will want to stay warm too.
    I started at 08:10. I only stopped at Newlands Corner and there was plenty of food – bananas, breakfast bars, etc. Didn’t take too long either. Hampden Court looked to be rammed so I rode past and of course we cut out Leith Hill – which is where the third hub was.
    Rode for Asthma UK in 2014, agree about the boost from the crowd (and most charities have folk out at cheer points). Their post ride reception was good too – secure bike store, massage, changing facilities and food! They supplied a decent jersey, but as you might expect not a top of the range job.

    Failed in the ballot last year and this, but have been lucky for the 46 miler. Very late start though (9:27) so I think my strategy will be to try for no stops – should be able to carry adequate drink and food – may need the loo though!

    Hope everyone has a great and safe time!

  • Martha Walsh July 12, 2016, 8:51 pm

    + to add to my earlier comment – I have the topeak waterproof top tube bag and my phone stayed dry throughout the 2014 monsoon even without another plastic wrapping, so totally recommend it. About £20-25 I think.
    To Nigel – take some ibuprofen with you. I’m a *little* younger but with a knackered knee so I take some before long long rides. If you might need a lot then get your hands on some omeprazole too (protects your tummy).
    To the ex front row forward – my other half is >100kg and always manages to overtake much smaller guys going up the hills! Use the power!

  • Mary July 12, 2016, 9:51 pm

    Not sure if this will be helpful to anyone or not, and should have added in my earlier post, it is about hills and available gears. When I started training last year for the London100, I did not have a cycling background, was 55 years and had had significant knee surgery (both knees). I started out with a Cube bike and compact gears, having been assured that the low gears would be enough – well they weren’t – I would end up in the lowest gear part way up a steep hill and my knees could not take the additional strain, so ended up walking. Also, after anything over 40 miles my back would start to hurt – all in all, not good for doing 100 miles! After successfully doing a 1000 foot climb on holiday, with a mountain bike, I sought some specialist advice – Mike Taylor, Bridgtown Cycles had the answer – I got a Trek Silque, which was then customised with a mountain bike cassette, plus I had a proper bike fit – so lost a bit off the hardest gears (which I never used) and low (easy) was properly low, and the bike fitted perfectly. So I have yet to not get up a hill, and although I rarely require the lowest gear it is such a confidence boost to know that it is there, and I finished the London100 with no knee or back pain, result! So if you need lower gears to get up the hills, don’t suffer through it as there is an answer!

  • Ian July 12, 2016, 10:02 pm

    Some great tips from everyone. I am really looking forward to Ride 100 in several weeks time.

  • Ian July 13, 2016, 2:15 pm

    Is there an official gpx file for the Ride 100 route that I can download?

  • BW July 14, 2016, 9:02 am

    Also I’d avoid the first couple of stops if you can as they can be quite crowded, the further you go in the ride the less people there are in them.

  • Andrea July 18, 2016, 9:10 pm

    Hi – what’s it like trying to get back to Olympic Park afterwards? Clippers are full and we cannot seem to get through the QEOP Bicycle Transport Service – perhaps is fully booked also? Any other ideas? Help!

    • Martha Walsh July 18, 2016, 9:20 pm

      Ride! It’s only 8 miles, and you’ll be warmed up by then!!

      In all seriousness, this will be your best option. Came home from the Dunwich Dynamo yesterday and the 4 trains required was distinctly less pleasant than the 200km+ to get there. If you don’t allow yourself to stiffen up by sitting down for too long you should be fine.

  • barrie July 19, 2016, 7:10 am

    I rode last year, it wasnt so bad. Plenty of people doing the same thing so just team up with some of them and roll along.

    • Andrea August 15, 2016, 3:02 pm

      Thanks … yes we followed a few on the same route!

  • Tony M July 20, 2016, 10:53 pm

    Re. Bike lock – Thanks for the helpful info. I’m doing the 100 for the first time this year, amongst other things I was worried about leaving the bike unattended at a rest stop if a loo visit needed. Are there people who can keep an eye on the bike? I was considering taking a cafe lock along – any advice from someone who has been there done that would be appreciated…

  • Michael Consitt August 1, 2016, 2:49 pm

    Thanks for the tips. I completed the ride yesterday and would like to add a few comments:
    The ‘Hubs’ and Drink Stations were plentiful and with virtually no queues (plenty of ‘proper’ replenishing foods and drinks). Ditto the toilet facilities en route AND at the start. The organisation was superb. Mind you, starting in East London at some unearthly hour and finishing in West London in the middle of a busy afternoon ain’t great logistically!
    The ride was fast due to drafting. Beware the bullying speedsters and remember it is NOT a race. The speeds downhill on narrow, bumpy single-carriageway roads can be alarming (50mph is feasible for the foolhardy). The hills were all okay providing you had trained properly. Box Hill is a doddle, really. Stop at the top and take some photos if the weather is good.
    You don’t need a lock as there will be many far more expensive bikes than yours to nick!
    The finishing 5 miles are spectacular and the final stretch down The Mall truly memorable.
    Not quite so sure I’d wish to do it in the driving rain due to the sheer numbers of cyclists involved and the differing degrees of competence and courtesy.
    Enjoy the scenery, crowd, fellow cyclists rather than worrying about your pace and/or finishing time.
    Two serious accidents and one unfortunate death need not dissuade you for when the sun shines it is sure cycling nirvana…

  • Andrea August 15, 2016, 5:35 am

    Hi all… we completed our first 100 miles Sportive on Saturday with 4000ft of elevation gain! Yay! We want to cycle tonight … in terms of recovery (48 hours) after a decent warm up, do you think we are okay to do a reasonably paced 23-25 miles tonight? Any advice? Thanks!

  • ozburt August 21, 2016, 9:30 pm

    I agree with Michael’s summary of Ride London and my experience was similar.

    I’m happy to say I completed the full 100 miles, although about a mile of it was spent walking the route due to the considerable delays caused by two accidents. Others were not so fortunate as their route was shortened or diverted.

    My unofficial time was 8 hours 24 minutes although about 2 hours of that was used up by delays/walking. My total cycling time was 6 hours 7 minutes.

    Hopefully the injured parties were ok.

    I really enjoyed the ride and cycling on closed roads with no cars was a pleasure. The support along the route was brilliant, bringing a big smile to my face. It was also a bonus that we had excellent weather.

    Box Hill was a doddle and the hardest part of Leith Hill was negated due to having to get off the bike and walk part of it due to the bottleneck and other riders walking.

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