Your guide to RideLondon 2013

Image from SkyRide

Cyclists of all ages and shapes will be out and about this weekend enjoying all that the Prudential RideLondon 2013 festival has to offer. Cyclists will descend on London for cycling events for beginners, racing enthusiasts and just about anyone who’s been known to have a great time on two wheels.

Consisting of four main cycling events, RideLondon 2013 offers much more than standing on the sidelines watching the wind whip through other cyclists’ hair. Not sure where to start this weekend? No worries because London Cyclists has you covered!

RideLondon Festival and Cycling Show

If you love all things bicycle related then head on over to ExCel London for the RideLondon Cycling Show. Enjoy free admission from 1 August to 3 August to check out all types of cycling stalls, charities and bicycle manufacturers. Interact with pro riders and check out the cycling themed entertainment on offer. And of course, memorialize your week at RideLondon with souvenirs and cycle gear.

The RideLondon Festival is what makes this cycling event fun for the whole family. It’s cheap—as in FREE—and there’s much on offer the entire weekend including challenges for young cyclists (ages 2 to 5), bike polo matches, pedal power smoothies, pedal cars for the young cyclists, a bike decoration station (aptly called Pimp My Bike) and even an on-stage DJ.

Enjoy the festival on one or both days at Green Park, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park or St. Paul’s Churchyard.

Saturday FreeCycle (3 August)

Kick off this cycle-centric weekend with the RideLondon FreeCycle, a family friendly bike tour throughout the capital. Grab the kiddies and enjoy 50,000 other enthusiastic cyclists for an 8-mile ride around some of the most iconic landmarks London has to offer including St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace and Tower Hill.

The ride kicks off at 9am but you can start and finish the FreeCycle at any point in the ride, enjoying the various Festival Zones so you can ride at your own pace.

Once you’ve sufficiently tired yourself out, take a load off and watch some of the most popular names in cycling at the RideLondon Grand Prix. The race kicks off at 17:00 so you’ll have plenty of time to make your way over to The Mall for the start of the race or watch cyclists like Laura Trott and Elinor Barker pedal around Birdcage Walk and Horse Guards before crossing the finish line on The Mall.

The Grand Prix isn’t just for established Olympians either: take the kids to watch future Olympians in a series of junior cycling events and enjoy the excitement of hand-cycle racing with celebrated Paralympians.

Sunday RideLondon-Surrey (4 August)

Watch or participate as more than 20,000 cyclists, including London Mayor Boris Johnson, take part in the RideLondon-Surrey 100 challenge. This 100-mile charity ride starts at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park early Sunday morning and travels through popular London landmarks and in to the Surrey Hills before heading back to London for a fantastic finish in front of Buckingham Palace.

If you haven’t signed on to ride, see about sponsoring a cyclist, after all this is for charity.

End the weekend on a high note with the RideLondon Classic. You’ve already seen the best female cyclists in the Grand Prix so now cheer on the 140-mile men’s race. Some riders you can glimpse as they zoom by include Ben Swift, David Millar, Ian Bibby and Peter Sagan and the rest of the Cannondale team. This exciting race shoots off inside Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park before looping around Leith Hill (3 times!) around Trafalgar Square, all before racing to finish on The Mall.

Watching The Action

Whether you choose to show up to see the big name cyclists race or you want to make a whole weekend of it, RideLondon 2013 offers enough fun and adventure for the entire family. Strategic road closures will make getting around the city a nightmare for those not in attendance, but it will make the weekend a safe place for cyclists of all ages and experience levels.

The best part, aside from all of the cycling, is that this event is totally free so you can splurge on cycling gear, RideLondon souvenirs, bike repairs kits and anything else that catches your fancy.

The fun starts today and will last all weekend, so grab your spectator’s guide to find the best place to watch your favorite riders compete.

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11 Responses to Your guide to RideLondon 2013

  1. Alan Moore 02/08/2013 at 10:29 am #

    Quite glad I’m out of town, tbh.

  2. Alan Moore 02/08/2013 at 10:32 am #

    Doh! I am TRYING to do a fake HTML tag saying “/scrooge” but it keeps thinking it’s real HTML and removing it. Please assume the pointy brackets.

    Anyway, the idea was, I know it’s churlish and grumpy of me to not like it, but there you are. Bike traffic jams are still traffic jams :-(

  3. Tom 03/08/2013 at 7:21 pm #

    I have very mixed views about this sort of thing, on one hand it’s great and fun for all the family, but on the other hand it does sort of reinforce the idea that cycling is something special that requires/demands closed roads and a ‘look at me’ attitude, rather than just being something people do to get around the place.

    • Tonyldn 04/08/2013 at 1:31 pm #

      I have to agree with Tom – The closures (especially out to Heathrow and Thru Centre of London) are likely to promote more resentment than acceptance . Given the way that events like the London Marathon can be arranged without such a wide spread disruption should be considered and perhaps a few more laps of parks rather than roads.

  4. Jacki Wright 04/08/2013 at 7:49 pm #

    After watching and cheering the cyclists today, I came home and got on my daughters bike for my first bike ride in over 38years. Could only manage 15 minutes but its a start. After trying to lose weight for years and hating exercise, I think I haves found my niche. I don’t expect closed roads (will stick to pavements while I am so wobbly) But events like this not only inspire the youngsters, they inspire us grandmothers too!!!

    • Alan Moore 05/08/2013 at 3:06 pm #

      Well done Jacki! I also started very gently but now commute 5 miles each way by bike.

    • Andrew 06/08/2013 at 10:06 am #

      Well done Jacki! As someone who was inspired and encouraged by all the support at the side of the road as I took part in the RideLondon100, it’s fantastic and heart warming to hear you were inspired in return. Go for it!

  5. Jarek 04/08/2013 at 11:11 pm #

    I know this event caused some mixed opinions among people in London but I had a fantastic time on Saturday. Ride London showed just how huge the cycling community is and I really hope more similar events will be organised. Met Police did a great job with the lorry, showing cyclist how little vision the drivers actually have around their truck. Small things like that should improve safety on the streets of London. It is a drop in the ocean but it is a start. More like that please and well done!

  6. Mik 05/08/2013 at 9:22 am #

    We changed plans and went to the freeride on Saturday and it was fantastic. It’s depressing that the knee jerk reaction to something like this seems to be ‘it’ll just make more traffic’ or ‘we shouldn’t need it.’ My wife has just got back in to cycling after not riding since she was a child and it’s events like this that re-inforce how great it can be. Normally not one for crowds she had a grin on her face like you wouldn’t believe as we cycled amongst the throng down the embankment and all manner of riders were there, getting along with each other.

    If we want to remind people how many people enjoy cycling then events like this are just as important as protest rides, if not more so.

    We’re both hoping it becomes an annual thing, it was a blast and anyone who grumped off and stayed away missed an amazing experience.

  7. Tonyldn 05/08/2013 at 10:02 am #

    I think that people are somewhat missing the point – in order to promote a better understanding in any sphere it is surely better to try and be inclusive not exclusive – advertising this event this web site said ” Strategic road closures will make getting around the city a nightmare for those not in attendance,” And whilst there are indeed a large amount of cyclists – there is a large amount of other people who should not be subject to seeing a large area of their city a no go area. Again I cite other events that use routes in and around the city that do not have this effect. Also giving thought to those who might want to attend the event as well. Using routes within the City Mile ( which is less busy at the weekend) Following routes along same line as London marathon – use of Royal Parks – embankment etc… AND I am really pleased that individuals – famlies and groups enjoyed the event – what I am asking is that we ALL see beyond our own perspective.

  8. Gateway 3DS 07/08/2013 at 4:25 am #

    We’re both hoping it becomes an annual thing, it was a blast and anyone who grumped off and stayed away missed an amazing experience.

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