14 Short of a Century

By Megan Smiley, Aug 13 2014 09:14AM

Ride86 doesn't quite have the same ring to it as Ride100, however it was still an amazing event. It was the second year of Prudential's Ride100 mass participant cycle ride past iconic London sights out to the Surrey hills before coming back into London and finishing on the Mall.

With 24,000 riders excited and slightly nervous, mainly because of the imminent arrival of the tail end of hurricane Bertha, there were mixed receptions when the organisers announced on the morning of the event that they were cutting the route short to 86 miles rather than 100, ditching the famous Box Hill and less known but apparently worse Leith Hill, due to safety reasons.

Setting off for the Olympic Park early on Sunday 10th August the weather wasn't too bad but by the time I crossed the start line the rain had started and so had the punctures. I had one about 100m before the start line and I was not alone, and it became a frequent sight throughout the day of people bent over the upturned bike changing an inner tube. The wet weather brings rubbish into the road causing way more punctures than usual.

There were times when I asked myself why I was doing the ride, one point being when we got stuck in Richmond Park and everyone had to get off their bikes to walk for nearly half an hour due to an accident ahead. It was at that point that the heavens really opened and there wasn't one part of me that wasn't completely and utterly drenched. But spirits were (surprisingly and perhaps strangely) high and neighbours were chatting away and much laughter could be heard (maybe it was a laugh or cry situation?).

Throughout the 86 miles the volunteers, stewards and spectators were excellent; cheery and helpful, making a real difference at those stages where you were soaked and a little lacking in enthusiasm, and fellow riders were chatty and positive – in true British style! There was even one guy who wasn't on the ride but decided to join in (not that I approve of that, and he was a trouble causer) but I like to take the positive from it: he couldn't bear not to be involved in all the fun so just had to join, registered or not!

There were points when the flash flooding was so bad that I had to cycle through, what only can be described as streams in the roads, but there were points when the sun came out and there were points when I couldn't help smiling and laughing to myself when I thought about the ridiculousness of what so many people were doing. At times like that, I always think what would aliens make of the human race if they were up there observing us – spending hours cycling in a big circle in severe weather conditions isn't the most sensible thing to do when you think about it.

But I'm glad I did it, the only problem is I can't really say I've done Ride100. I did fully back the organisers decision in reducing the route. As it was I saw and heard of a lot of accidents so if they hadn't cut those two big descents out, there would no doubt have been many more accidents. In fact the whole event was amazingly organised and the logistics involved were smoothly implemented throughout, even with the route changing at the last minute.

So, I think, like I'm sure many other people, I will have to do it next year to complete the full 100 miles. Let's just hope Bertha doesn't rear her ugly head again!

Aug 13 2014 10:42AM by Rachel Gilby

So proud of you!! Well done, and box hill isn't going any where so will be waiting for you next year!! Xx

Aug 13 2014 11:32AM by Ian beale


Aug 13 2014 11:26AM by Sarah Renshaw

Well done you, you could still call it ride 100 just go km rather than miles! Then you did over 100! Embrace being in Europe! x
p.s Rob's really keen to do this next year, is it hard to get a place? x

Aug 13 2014 12:27PM by Megan

Km it is! Ballot opens on 18th August. Reckon it'll be more highly subscribed for next year but seems like if you're a woman it's easier and defo worth a try! x

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