For our blog this week we have a review of a locally run charity event in Berkshire supporting the charity Wokingham bikeathon. The event is run purely to support a number of charities including The Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice who support children with life-limiting and life-threatening illnesses.
Run in late June this event is not exactly your classic sportive with hardened cyclists only eager to smash their PB and claim more miles than all their peers. At the registration you are as likely to be rubbing shoulders with a ten year old boy on his BMX as a MAMIL with a Pinarello. There are two courses to choose from with a shorter 15 mile course and a longer 35 mile course. Registration and fees are the same irrespective of route and the money very much heading to good causes. The start is a relaxed affair with no timing chips to worry about and a friendly man with a flag waving you off in small batches of about 20. No fixed structure or start waves just people released as they are in the queue. The centre of Wokingham is closed for the event with circa 1,000 cyclists riding but as soon as you leave the start line it is all open road. The route loops around rural Berkshire with sign posting to steer you on your course as you pass all manner of bicycles and cyclists. A good spirit and fun attitude are the order of the day so no squeezing your fellow rider at the lights for the best position. The first loop of 15 miles is pretty flat and within the reach of most to be achievable thankfully directed away from the busier roads and junctions. The second loop of 20 miles is more challenging with some inclines although nothing of a Box Hill magnitude although they did seem to manage to make it feel like the last 20 miles had a continuous incline. My ride went well for the first 25 miles where I flew round the quiet roads, however, I then seemed to hit a wall. I struggled increasingly to make good time which resulted in me stopping in someones drive around mile 31 where I came to more of an abrupt stop than I had anticipated and in fact too quick for my slow brain to unclip from the pedals resulting in me rolling on my arse into the unsuspecting driveway. Quickly first checking my bike was ok my next concern was to see if anyone had seen my tumble. My final action was to check over myself and a few new cuts and bruises. Returning to my bike I realised the back brake was locked on, the cause for my difficulty in making quicker progress. Not my poor riding fitness for once! Unlocking the rear brake and carrying on to the finish resulted in no more incidents and thankfully a quicker pace.
Nice morning ride with a couple of hours spent with a positive cycling crowd to raise some money for charity along the way.
About the author – Billy is a regular commuter cyclist and Sunday morning member of the chain gang.