Riders tackle Leith Hill on the RideLondon-Surrey 100

The Prudential RideLondon Cycling Festival is a celebration of all things two wheels, that’s taken place in the summer every year since 2013.

Over the course of the weekend, the capital city plays host to an impressive selection of attractions – with pro racing, a family friendly ‘FreeCycle’ and of course the famous mass participation sportives.

Over 100,000 cyclists are expected to take part in the weekend over the course of July 28 – 30, 2017. The festival was developed by the Major of London, London & Partners and Transport for London in partnership with Surrey County Council, it’s managed by the London & Surrey Cycling Partnership (LSCP) and sponsored by Prudential.

The 2016 event raised over 12 million pounds. The organisers – London and Surrey Cycling Partnership LLP (LSCP) pass all profits on to the London Marathon Charitable Trust, a registered charity striving to put money into capital projects that inspire more people to lead active lifestyles.

RideLondon 2017 dates:

  • The Cycling Show: Thursday July 27 to Saturday July 29
  • Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix: Friday July 28
  • Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle: Saturday July 29
  • Prudential RideLondon Classique: Satuday July 29, 17.00
  • Brompton World Championships: Saturday July 29, 17.15
  • Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 & 46: Sunday July 30
  • Prudential RideLondon Classic: Sundy July 30, 13.40

>>> Five invaluable tips to help you step up from riding 60 to 100 miles

Planning on visiting the city for the event, but not sure what to do or watch? Here’s a look at each event in detail….

Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 & 46

Riders in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 pass through Richmond Park. Photo by Jed Leicester for Prudential RideLondon

The Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 is probably the most popular sportive in the country. Last year, 25,000 cyclists took on the 100 mile route, whilst over 5,000 completed the shorter distance of 46 miles.

Entry is awarded via a ballot, so by now riders who have a place in the closed-road event will be well aware (and hopefully will be training!).

The event kicks off at 5.45 am with riders being released from pens in intervals to help calm congestion.

Read more:

RideLondon-Surrey 100 route 2017

The first ten miles from London’s Lee Valley VeloPark are a blast through closed city roads, before the peloton bursts into Richmond Park. Reaching Surrey, there are three major climbs to consider:

  • Newlands Corner: 1.1 miles at an average gradient of five per cent – see it on Strava here – see it on Strava here
  • Leith Hill: the hardest of the three, 1.5 miles long with average gradient of 6 per cent and areas at 10 per cent – see it on Strava here
  • Box Hill: the easiest of the three, featuring close to home – it’s 1.5 miles long and has a gradient of four to five per cent – see it on Strava here

Should riders struggle with the inclines at any point, there are diversions that can cut out the three ramps.

Once the climbs are covered off, it’s a fast paced blast back to the city via Leatherhead, Esher and Wimbledon, finishing on The Mall.

The 46 mile route starts and finishes in the same place, looping through Richmond Park, over the river and bakc through Wimbledon and Putney.

There are drinks stations along the route as well as four ‘hubs’ with nutrition products and toilets on the long route, and two hubs on the short route.

The full routes for both the 100 & 46 mile rides can be seen here.

The Cycling Show

RideLondon

Like RideLondon’s Cycling Show, the London Bike Show also takes place at the Excel Centre

A big ol’ trade show, open to the public.

Taking place at ExCel London, The Cycling Show will be a showcase of some of the most interesting brands and people in cycling. Exhibitors will set up their stands, showing off their newest product, and the ‘Centre Stage’ arena will host speakers throughout the festival.

Opening times are as follows:

  • Thursday 27 July: 10:00 – 20:00
  • Friday 28 July: 10:00 – 20:00
  • Saturday 29 July: 09:00 – 17:00

The easiest way to get to ExCel London is to take the DLR to Prince Regent station (Custom House will be closed until December).

RideLondon Grand Prix

RideLondon

The Grand Prix takes place at Lee Valley VeloPark as part of RideLondon

This represents a selection of handcycle, junior and BMX racing, and there’s also a Festival Zone with a selection of family friendly activities.

The key races are:

  • Prudential RideLondon Handcycle Grand Prix for injured veteran servicemen and women
  • Prudential RideLondon Elite Handcycle Grand Prix for top international handcyclists
  • Prudential RideLondon Youths Grand Prix for children under 14 and under 16
  • Prudential RideLondon BMX Grand Prix for children under-8, 9-10 years, 11-12 years, 13-14 years and 15-16 years

Here are the highlights from the 2016 edition:

RideLondon FreeCycle

An event for all the family – the FreeCycle offers riders the chance to enjoy riding on traffic-free roads in central London, with an 8-mile route that covers the Strand and Lincoln’s Inn Fields before returning to the Victoria Embankment. Last year over 70,000 took part.

Registration is still open, and along the way riders will pass Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Bank of England.

There will be festival zones set up at Southbank, Guildhall Yard, Leadenhall Market, St Paul’s Churchyard, Aldwych, Lincoln’s Inn Fields and Green Park – here there will be music, entertainment, as well as hydration and bike doctors ready to help with any temperamental two-wheelers.

Brompton World Championships

Ride London

The Brompton World Champs of 2011 as part of RideLondon

The unique Brompton World Championships sees riders run to their bikes, and unfold them, before bursting into a criterium style bunch race. The course covers eight laps of St James’ Park, past Buckingham Palace and down The Mall.

>>> The best folding bikes

The race takes place at 19.15 on Sunday July 29. Lycra is not permitted, and many competitors will dress up in their finest suit jackets for the occasion. Last year the hotly contested race attracted riders from 34 countries, including retired ex-pro David Millar.

The event is one of specificity, and the wins went to two-time World Champ Mark Emsley and reighning women’s champion Isabel Hastie.

Prudential RideLondon Classique

With a prize pot of €100,000, the RideLondon Classique is the most lucrative one-day race in women’s cycling. Its status as a UCI Women’s World Tour race also lends to its prestige.

The race kicks off at 17:00 on Saturday July 29, and riders will race over a 5.5km circuit in the city centre. The loop begins on The Mall, in St James’ Park, travels up Constitution Hill and turns at the top onto Birdcage Walk. The riders will pass Big Ben, then turn left to Whitehall and then onto the Strand, through Trafalgar Square and Admirality Arch before returning to The Mall.

Last year’s 2016 race was the first held over this circuit, and the win went to sprinter Kirsten Wild.

In 2015, the event was called the Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix, and it was won by Barbara Guarischi (Velocio Sport). Prior to that, fellow Italian Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle High5) was the victor, and in 2013 it was Laura Trott who tool the win, racing for the same team.

Prudential RideLondon Classic

Tom Boonen wins the 2016 RideLondon-Surrey Classic

Attracting professional riders from around the world, the men’s RideLondon Classic sees the peloton race over a 200km route out of London, into Surrey and back to The Mall.

This year’s event sees 25 teams of six take to the start line, leaving St James’s Park at 13:30 on Sunday July 30. Crowds can gather at the start on Horse Guards Parade, at the Mall or anywhere along the route – and the race will be televised live on a screen at Green Park.

Last year’s edition went to Tom Boonen, in a star studded field that featured some of the best riders in the pro peloton.

RideLondon road closures

With a high number of closed road events listed above,  it’s understandable that there will be some traffic disruption.

The main road closures take place on Sunday July 30. The exact closures have still to be confirmed, but the routes will follow a very similar format to the 2016 Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 and 2016 Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic.

From around 11am, when all riders in the mass-participation event have passed over Hampton Court Bridge, roads along the route will be opened.

RideLondon is almost here – and if you’re fighting rising waves of panic about making it round the 100 mile circuit, we've got plenty of advice for you.