Sunday, 6 May 2012

SPORTIVE EXPLOSION

MORE SPORTIVES AND CHARITY RIDES THAN EVER...
A few weeks ago Jeff at the 'FlatTire' blog mentioned that it had set him back $65 to enter the Haleiwa Metric Century Ride - he went on to say that although he liked the ride he was not sure if it's worth it. 


Over the past few years we have seen a huge increase in the number of these events being organised - a real Sportive explosion. 
Almost every weekend from early spring through to late autumn you will have a choice of various sportives or charity rides that you can sign up for and ride. 
The little booklet shown in the photo above lists over 200 sportives that you can choose from and that is just a few of the events that are actually being organised. 


Situated as I am on the beautiful Dorset Jurassic coast we have no end of these rides in this and the surrounding area....
Ride to the Pies.....New Forest Spring Sportive.....The Joker....Jurassic Beast....Bournemouth Sportive to name just a few. 
Over the past few years I have ridden in a number of these events but Jeff's comments on the cost of these type of rides got me thinking.....always a dangerous thing for me to do. 


The rides that I have mentioned above are ridden over routes that I can ride any day of the week..and do....so why would I want to pay anything up to £50 to ride on roads that I ride on for free? 
What do I actually get for my entry fee? 


Well I get to wear a pin on number...the use of a timing device....a feed stop or two and a broom wagon and the pleasure of riding in a large group.
I might even get a medal or a Tee shirt for completing the ride.
Let's look at each item...... 


I don't really need to wear a number....my Garmin seems to be a pretty accurate timer....I have no problem riding a hundred miles with my own energy bars and energy drink and a broom wagon is nice but a phone call could sort things if I ever have a major problem.
As for the medal or Tee shirt....well like the pin on number these are things that I don't really need. 


That brings me to the 'pleasure' of riding in a large group....my own experience on this is that it creates it's own problems. 
A lot of the riders  can be very inexperienced in group riding and seem completely unaware of the normal courtesy rules and behaviour that you might expect on a weekly club run. 


Having said all this, these sportives can be a fun experience and I always try to build one or two of these events into my cycling calendar even though I feel they are an expensive way of 'going for a ride'. 


As far as the charity events go.....
Well JD and I have always arranged at least one charity ride each year....however we prefer to organize our own charity rides such as our ROCK2UK ride last September and our upcoming EDINBURGH 2 PORTSMOUTH ride which we will be undertaking later this month. 


When I look back on my cycling over the years...the rides that come to mind as the most enjoyable, are those that I have set up and organised myself and ridden with friends........ 
and there was no entry fee required for those........ 

12 comments:

jeff said...

Very good points. The one thing I've enjoyed about the charity rides I've done in the past is the shared experience of riding with a large group.

anniebikes said...

I have done a few organized rides over the years and have enjoyed every one. But at some point the cost becomes prohibitive, I agree. But not only is the camaraderie wonderful; the rides themselves have given me great ideas for tours of my own. So yes, the charity/organized rides do have their place. And despite the new riders creating hazards, you must remember that everyone who rides must start somewhere - to them the "fee" events create a goal.

Marsha said...

I agree with anniebikes that fee events are coveted by many new riders. It takes a while to learn all the little skills you need to plot out a similar ride on your own. Many don't know what to do (or what to have with them)for mechanical problems. And while it seems second nature to us to have sufficient snacks and water on a long ride, many beginners haven't mastered that simple skill. Personally, I like doing several event rides each year because I enjoy meeting new people and having the opportunity to check out some of the great bikes they ride!

Trevor said...

*jeff*
Me likewise Jeff...that does seem to be the major attraction for these events.

*anniebikes* *Marsha*
Meeting up with new riders and being part of a big event is certainly the main attraction for these rides and is the only reason I hand over the cash to do a few each year.
I mentioned the hazard caused by some of the inexperienced riders as an observation, not as a criticism of new riders generally.
As anniebikes pointed out, new riders have to start somewhere...
I just question whether a massed event where inexperience can cause a danger to others is the right arena to learn those skills.
When I started riding I learned the skills and techniques for group riding from a cycling course and the local cycling club. It was there that I also learned basic bike mechanics and lots of other cycling skills for various disciplines...
It just seems a more sensible and safer way to learn than bowling along a road with hundreds of other riders all in a massed group. As I say...only an observation.

Pete Bradbury said...

I agree that big sportives and organised rides can be a bit expensive and chaotic. Normally I cycle either on my own or with a group of friends, although I have done a couple of very cheap 100km audaxes where I enjoyed chatting with others. Some riders seem to treat such rides as races though, and I'm not competitive.
I really enjoyed my charity LEJOG trip which was a supported ride organised by Discover Adventure. It saved carrying luggage, worrying about food and drink stops and the best thing was the fun we had as a team. Having said this doing unsupported rides does give you more freedom to do your own thing.

Trevor said...

*Pete Bradbury*
Thanks for the comments Pete...I'm glad that you mentioned the 100km Audax rides, as I think that they are the perfect balance of cost...riding in a group..and meeting and making new friends.
I can never understand why they are not more popular....maybe it's because they don't have arrows along the route pointing the way.

Melanie Suzanne said...

Those are interesting points you bring up and something I hadn't thought about. I'm rather shy in person, so meeting new people isn't really my goal for the group rides. I guess that feeling comfortable riding new routes on a supported ride is why I participate in these kinds of rides. As my cycling experience grows, so will my comfort level with going it alone on rides that aren't on the local bike trails.

Trevor said...

*Melanie Suzanne*
Thanks for your input MS...I can certainly see how riding group rides is a comfortable way to explore new routes.
From reading your blog, is seems that you really enjoy your riding right now........

Dan O said...

I rarely do organized road rides and have the same thoughts as you - can do this for free with less hassle.

Somehow though, those rides are fun, due to being around other cyclists - and if the money goes to a good cause. So much the better.

Trevor said...

*Dan O*
Riding with other cyclists can certainly be a lot of fun...
I have no problem with charity rides, as long as all of the money actually goes to charity - but I do think that the purely commercial events that are staged, have started to become very expensive to enter.

Tracy W said...

I'm like you. I can't see paying money to ride roads that I ride all the time anyway for the benefit of a t-shirt and cookies at rest stops. I can make due just fine with c-store stops on a lot less cash.

Trevor said...

*Tracy W*
Yes...I would rather spend the money on new kit and accessories....