Organised by the cycle retailer Evans Cycles, the Ride It series hosts events twice a month throughout the year, with both a cross country mountain bike ride and a road sportive on offer. Sportsister’s Louise Hudson took part in the 30 mile sportive at Hatfield, Hertfordshire.
Hats off to the Evans Cycles team – its clear these guys are used to hosting events. And with twice monthly, two day events held all year long it’s no wonder they have got the formula down to a tee.
Choose from a mountain bike ride (held on the Saturday) or a road cycle (on the Sunday) both with various distances, meaning a wide range of cyclists are drawn to the series. With locations nationwide most readers should be able to find a ride close to them.
For me it meant a 45 minute drive north of my home in London to the town of Hatfield, just outside the M25 in Hertfordshire. Unfortunately the weather was not playing ball and it was a wild, wet and cold morning that greeted me on arrival at the race HQ in a local school.
You can start any time between 8am and 10.30am, and four distances were offered. There was a 15 mile fun ride that was priced keenly at £7.50 to enter. The short route was 30 miles; mid-distance was 57 miles with a more challenging 84 miles also on offer, all priced at £12.50.
My plan had been to complete the 57 mile loop, but I’ll be honest – the torrential rain put me off so on the day I decided 30 miles was probably enough. In fact it was such bad weather that the organisers had to cancel the long route due to the roads becoming waterlogged.
After being given my timing chip, which attached via a sticker to my helmet, I set off. I was given a map, with all the routes marked, but the on-route signage was so good I didn’t actually need it.
The 30 mile route stayed mainly on small, country roads with little or no traffic. There were some hills to contend with, but nothing too severe – with the steepest ones being down rather than uphill which suited me!
Considering how close to London you are, the route was very scenic and wound its way through small, picturesque villages with well-kept greens and friendly looking local pubs. At the village of Little Berkhamstead the route split and those on the fun route peeled off with the rest of the riders continuing on. Our route almost reached the edges of Welwyn Garden City before splitting off and from the mid and long distance routes.
Passing through the edge of Hertford, we rode on through woodland and farm land and more small villages. There was a drink station set up with about 12 miles to go, but the weather was so wet we decided to just continue on rather than stop for a break.
One of the regular route markers announced we had made it to the 5 miles to go mark, and from here the route was a little more built up with more traffic as we made our final approach back to Hatfield. As the weather had not let up in the slightest, the finish line was quite a welcome sight!
- Very well priced event offering distances for all level of rider
- Great route markings ensured you never lost your way
- An efficient timing system meant you were handed your printed out finish time within seconds of crossing the line
- GORE bike wear had a ‘try before you buy’ stand and you could also hire a Garmin GPS unit to test out
- Children ride for free
- The weather! But there was not much anyone could do about that!
- The staggered starts mean you don’t see many other riders on route so if you are looking for a race like atmosphere then this isn’t the ride for you (however on a day with better weather and more riders out this may well change)
Would I do it again?
Yes, I would. These events are not races as such, more organised training or leisure rides. It’s a great way to enjoy a well throughout route without the worry of getting lost or taking a wrong turn along the way.
More info: www.evanscycles.com/ride-it
Louise Hudson, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine