London is going cycling crazy this weekend and we cannot wait to be a part of this amazing, vibrant festival of all things cycling!
Cyclists from all over the UK will be converging on the capital this weekend for a feast of cycling festivities. From professionals to first timers there is something for everyone, whether riding your bike or watching others ride theirs, it is sure to be an amazing and memorable weekend for everyone.
1. Prudential RideLondon Cycling Show at ExCeL
Number one on our list is our very own retail and activation area at the Cycling Show at ExCeL simply because we know the work that is gone into it and we can’t wait to see it all come together, and see what you think of it too! We have some amazing brands with products on display and to purchase, ideal if you have forgotten your lucky socks or need a little retail treat before your big ride. Brands include Oakley, Science in Sport, Gore Wear, Muc-Off, Kalf, HOY, Pinnacle, Litelok, Endura (who will be stocking official team kit) so we’ve got every base covered, whatever it is you need (or just want).
2. Watching the Tour de France
Where better to watch the Tour than in a crowd of enthusiastic cycling fans and this is exactly what we are looking forward to in the Tour de France Fan-Zone. With a bar, tour- themed activities, a big screen and ample seating it will be the perfect spot to put our legs up and rest before the big ride while soaking up some inspiration.
Three of the most varied stages of the Tour route will be running back to back over the weekend and shown live Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the expo. A 171km flat stage on Thursday is a final chance for the sprinters – at least those who are left, Friday is a big mountain stage taking in the loved and dreaded Tourmalet and then a final individual time trial on Saturday before Sunday’s grand finish in Paris.
3) Brompton World Championships
Folding bike racing is an electric combination of hard, fast competitive action and comedy mishaps. What else can you expect when the race starts and finishes with having to unfold and refold your bike! We struggle to do that without fumbling when racing for our 7.02 train in the morning, let alone when there is a World Championship at stake!
Taking place on Saturday 28 July the 8 laps race course takes riders past some of London’s most iconic sites; around St James’ Park, past Buckingham Palace and down The Mall. Competitors start the race with a Le Mans-style dash, unfolding their bikes before taking on the circuit.
Of course these are highly skilled Brompton owners who have been practicing their fold technique and have it down to a fine art. With qualifying rounds in fifteen countries this is the crème de la crème of commuter racers. A strict dress code of city chic must be adhered to and the outfits are as impressive as the high speed pedalling! Make no mistake, these are super-fast bike riders and the chance of becoming Brompton World Champion is a high honour.
4. Pro Racing
Now with World Tour status the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic is truly Britain’s greatest one-day race. What an absolute treat it is going to be to see the world’s biggest teams and top riders battle it out on roads familiar to us from our daily commute! Box Hill may be the most famous of the climbs but Staple Lane is the nemesis of many Surrey based rider, we can’t wait to see the pros tackle it with style.
150 starters are taking on the 183km course starting at 13.40 in Horse Guards Road in St James’s Park on Sunday 29th July. If you want to stay in the thick of things in central London then why not head to the start area on Horse Guards Parade next to St James’s Park, to watch the pro riders up-close as they sign on and finish their pre-ride prep. After the start head over to the big screen in Green Park where you can watch the race develop with live coverage from the BBC before dashing back again for the finish.
Expect to see world class team including BMC Racing, Team Sky and Bora-hansgrohe.
But let’s not forget the women’s race – the Classique – which is in fact the richest women’s one-day race in professional cycling with the individual win worth 25,000 Euros and the winning team being awarded 10,000. This is the same overall prize pool of 100,000 Euros as the men’s race!
The Prudential RideLondon Classique is raced on a 5.4km circuit in central London and begins on The Mall on Saturday at 5pm.
US Coryn Rivera of Team Sunweb will be a back to defend her title. 2016 winner Kirsten Wild (Wiggle High5), last year’s runner-up Lotta Lepisto (Cervelo-Bigla Pro Cycling) and Belgium’s Jolien d’Hoore (Mitchelton-Scott) will line up at the start line.
5. A weekend of cycling festivities and craziness
We love cycling, not just because of the joys and freedom of riding a bike but because of the people. Cyclists know how to have a good time. Prudential RideLondon is a whole weekend of bike riding fun, whether you are riding or watching.
We are definitely going to be getting out on the road for Saturday’s Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle event and dragging all our friends and family along to experience traffic free roads past some of London’s most iconic landmarks including Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Bank of England. The eight-mile circuit finishes with a loop south of the river over Waterloo Bridge and with no traffic on the roads we can really take our time to soak up the stunning views of London. Just having the chance to see these amazing places on traffic free roads will be an unforgettable experience.
Whilst out on your bike, if you have a problem and no one else can help, you know who to call, the E-Team! Yes, that’s right our very own crack commandos in Lycra will be out on their bikes all weekend ready to dish out inner tubes to those feeling deflated, bars to those about to bonk and general cycling advice and banter to anyone who will listen!
6. Celebrity spotting on Sunday
As well as all the famous cyclists we’ll be spotting in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic and Classique we’ll also be keeping an eye out for some celebs off the TV joining the crowds in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100.
The BBC Breakfast duo of Louise Minchin and Naga Munchetty and Sky News’s Dermot Murnaghan are three of the best-known presenters in the country and likely to be the centre of attention out on the bike. Whilst you might only know them from sitting on a studio sofa for Minchin at least, the 100-mile ride is unlikely to present too much of a problem, as Minchin has represented Great Britain for her age group at the World Triathlon Champtionships.
Munchetty – who appeared on the 2016 series of Strictly Come Dancing – is also a keen sportswoman though she is more likely to be found on a golf course than on a bike. She is taking part in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 to raise money for the Action for A-T charity which raises funds for medical research into a cure for the childhood condition Ataxia Telangiectasia.
Sky News presenter Murnaghan is taking part for the second time and will be riding for the event’s charity of the year, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (GOSH).
Some others to watch out for are Sophie Faldo, who won last year’s Great British Bake Off riding for GOSH, Pop singer Lemar, who appeared in Dancing on Ice this year, is back for his third Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 while former EastEnders actor Sam Attwater is riding for The Children’s Trust.
A whole host of professional sports people will also be getting on their bikes. Rugby Union World Cup-winning captain Martin Johnson and his former England team-mate Rory Underwood, who is riding for Alzheimer’s Research UK, will be there as are a host of Olympians riding for SportsAid including: Heather Stanning, Olivia Carnegie-Brown, Jess Eddie, Lizzie Simmonds and Leon Taylor and Mark Hunter, rowing gold medallist in 2008.
Olympic silver medal-winning badminton player Gail Emms and England netball international Pamela Cookey join journalist and author Bryony Gordon in a team of riders representing SKODA-Telegraph. Olympic gold medal-winning 400m hurdler Sally Gunnell is also taking on the 100-miles.
Three athletes who won’t be phased by a 100-mile ride are former world time trial champion Emma Pooley, who is riding for World Bicycle Relief, four-time Olympian Bryan Steel (SportsAid) and 2008 Olympian Jonny Bellis who has been providing riders with his top tips for riding 100 miles on the Prudential RideLondon social media pages – let’s hope he has a successful day out!
7. Seeing new people loving cycling
Forget the ‘slebs and the pro riders, the highlight for us this weekend will be seeing the vast range of ‘ordinary’ people getting on their bikes, some for the first time, and taking part in a huge array of cycling events. The new 19-mile event starts at Sandown Park in Surrey, and takes in the final 19 miles of the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 route, going through south west London, over Putney Bridge and into the centre of the capital to the spectacular finish on The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace.
We’re hoping we will see younger and new riders giving a mass participation event a go for the first time, and are looking forward to seeing the families and friends who chose to ride together. It’s a brilliant idea, as riders will be able to experience all the atmosphere and excitement but only a fraction of the mileage – a far less intimidating proposition!
See you there!