If you’re into cycling, then you’ve probably heard the term ‘Sportive’ or ‘Sportif’ at some point over the past few years.
Read on to learn exactly what a Cycle Sportive is, what all the hype is about, and why you need to be interested in one of the local sportive events that will be taking place in your area in 2018.
Cycle Sportives – What’s all the fuss about?
It’s a posh way of saying that a group of cyclists get together for an organised ride.
To be more specific, these are non-competitive mass-participation road cycling events that take place throughout the UK.
The ethos is simple. You pay a fee to take part, often in advance, turn-up on the day, sign-in, and ride. Some sportives will have an organised starting process, often sending riders away in groups, with others being more relaxed. Feed stations are always dotted around the fully-signposted routes and help is on-hand, normally by way of an emergency telephone number, should you get lost, require any medical help or if you need any mechanical assistance during the Sportive. Others will have roaming vehicles or even the legendary sag or broom waggon riding at the rear picking-up those riders who are feeling a little bit tired or overwhelmed by the course.
There is no competition WHATSOEVER apart from with your own aims. You can join a local cycling sportive with friends or come on your own and pick up some new buddies on the day.
Essentially, its an organised fun-run but for roadies. Many sportives are registered events under the rules of British Cycling, but generally the rules are simple – unless you see a sign, you do not deviate from the route. With a cycling sportive, you truly get the best of both worlds. Exploring somewhere new, with no risk whatsoever that you are going to get lost, face a mechanical or medical issue that you cannot solve yourself, or run out of water.
The majority of Cycle Sportives will offer various routes to cater for different cycling levels and abilities. Some like it hilly, some like it flat, some like it long and others short – there is usually always a route to suit most people. This ensures a totally inclusive day for everyone who attends, and it also guarantees that your individual cycling needs and demands are catered for as well.
Joining a Cycling Sportive is a great way to boost your motivation, explore new territories and ride new routes. You can meet with likeminded people or go-solo and zone out altogether on your ride. People often report they were able to ride much further and much faster than ever before due to the consensus of having other riders around them.
The great news is that Cycling Sportives take place all over the world, frequently.
How Fit Do I Need To Be To Attend A Cycling Sportive?
As far as possible, the organisers will make your day as easy and enjoyable as possible by good planning, good signage, and good amenities. However, each rider will need to be able to push their pedals around to make their bike cover their selected distance.
All riders, therefore, should be as fit and as practiced as they feel is necessary to complete their chosen route. If you are not fit enough to stand a chance of completing the distance or are not comfortable riding on public roads with traffic, then you are unlikely to enjoy the day.
Current cycling advice is that a rider should have at least ridden routes of 75% distance, a number of times before attempting a Sportive – as adrenaline on the day will get them through the other 25% of the distance.
There is no guarantee that the shorter routes are ‘easier’ than, the longer rides, as each route will have its own challenges in terms of distance or terrain. However, the longer the route, normally the more tiring the ride will be. Details of the routes climbs, and topography can be ALWAYS found on the website.
In most cases, you can preview the route before you ride, and if you are lucky enough to attend an event with a masseur or photographer, then the enjoyment can continue post-ride as well.
There are no strict equipment requirements on a Cycling Sportive. As long as you can ride comfortably over a long distance, you can wear and ride what is considered safe and appropriate as defined by the rules of the event or your own standards; normally, a suitably maintained road-legal bicycle, with working brakes (i.e., not track bikes), powered by a chain. The other rules of a Cycle Sportive are: you must wear a helmet for insurance, have fun, stay hydrated, and follow the signs!
What Do You Get On A Bostin’ Ride Cycling Sportive?
- Event HQ facilities, toilets, and free car parking
- Free tea/coffee at Registration
- All routes fully signposted
- Event information pack (emailed three days before event)
- GPS/GPX route files
- Free tea, coffee, water, cakes, bananas, and more, at all feed station(s)
- On-course photography (subject to availability/rider numbers)
- Emergency support includes first aid, rider’s emergency telephone number, and support vehicles to return you and your bike to the Event HQ in the event of mechanical failure
- Commemorative medal for all finishers
- Free hot food and tea/coffee at the finish
- A great sense of achievement and a Bostin’ smile!
If you think you want to register for a local Cycling Sportive, take a look at the list of forthcoming events on our website today.
We look forward to welcoming you to a Cycling Sportive soon!
Bostin’ Ride Sportives – one for the roadies!