Distance: 100 miles
Terrain: mainly flat with three climbs
Best: final 2km
Worst: Getting to the start
Closed roads, well stocked feed stations, thousands of cyclists and wall-to-wall sunshine. No, this wasn’t the Etape du Tour in the French Alps but the RideLondon 100.
There are tougher routes to ride, and more picturesque ones too, but I can’t think of a more iconic finish. Past Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, down Whitehall, turn at Trafalgar Square to go through Admiralty Arch and sprint down the Mall towards Buckingham Palace.
And all this with fans – two deep in some places – cheering you on. A quite amazing experience for amateur cyclists.
Before this final flourish in central London there is some riding in the Surrey Hills, but with only Newlands, Leith and Box Hill to tackle it’s not too much of a challenge for regular riders.
The distance makes it tough enough (there is no short route), and if you want to make it tougher still you can up your effort as the wide, traffic free roads allow you the space and safety to do so. In fact, those that were set off from the old Olympic Park in Stratford in the first waves treated the event as a race.
If you haven’t entered the ballot for 2014, do so soon as it’s filling up fast.
Missed it? Try this…
There’s one more closed roads event in the UK this year, the Etape Pennines on October 6. You may get to ride with some of the Omega Pharma team. www.etapepennines.co.uk
This article was first published in the August 29 issue of Cycling Weekly. Read Cycling Weekly magazine on the day of release where ever you are in the world International digital edition, UK digital edition. And if you like us, rate us!