RideLondon – should be cancelled in 2023

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RideLondon Essex 100 – should be cancelled in 2023

RideLondon Essex 100, 2022 finished yesterday and I didn’t feel safe.

I personally witnessed two accidents, one quite serious. Other people I know well saw a rider given CPR when their part of the ‘race’ was halted. That person is now recovering.

What’s Different?

RideLondon is a series of races and rides that started as a legacy of the successful 2012 Olympics.

The total number of riders each year in a series of events is largely unchanged at around 100,000. So the whole weekend represents a significant profit opportunity, a great PR opportunity and a potential safety hazard with huge numbers of inexperienced cyclists.

The 2023 course is entirely different to every previous event. All previous events went through the hills of Surrey, to the South West of London. Following public complaints and objections from petty local councils, the route shifted to the undulating roads of Essex to the North East of London. Each year’s events have started and finished at landmark London locations and this year was no different with a finish on Tower Bridge.

What Went Wrong

The competence of those in charge was highlighted before the event even started as every rider was told that there would be a lead car that would travel at 22mph and which must not be overtaken. Even I can average over 22mph and there are many significantly better cyclists doing this than me. Anyway, the organisers quickly relented.

Next came pre-Sunday stories of tacks thrown on the roads. That can be a considerable annoyance for some riders and a cause of serious injury or, to sensationalise, even death for faster riders. A bit of ‘fun‘ throwing tacks on the road to ‘teach cyclists a lesson‘ could lead to something a long way from ‘fun‘ for both the perpetrator and victim.

I had a good day with a great time although the return half was marred by the return of the cramps I thought I’d long-since banished.

On the negative side, these incidents are those I either personally witnessed or heard about from good friends who were further back than me. No doubt there are horror stories I’ve not heard about too.

  • At the start, we headed off directly into the rising sun for many miles. Many were riding blind at top speed, whilst full of adrenaline and that is a recipe for accidents. Indeed, I saw the after-effects of one minor tumble within the first mile or two of the start.
  • London’s roads are far from well maintained, the course was on typical London roads in that sense. I saw one guy next to me slow for a speed hump he hadn’t seen because of cyclists ahead and fall off at a reasonable speed but he was probably OK. Not so the guy immediately behind him who ploughed into the fallen bike, catapulted through the air and landed on his head. Not good for me to see and not good for him.
  • It was early in the morning and clearly some marshalls had either not yet arrived, were asleep on the job or simply didn’t know their job. There were several pedestrian ‘refuges’ in the middle of the road left unmarshalled. As the peloton splits to go left or right of that, someone a few riders back and not paying attention could go straight on. I never saw or heard of that happening this year but it is negligent of the organisers to fail to have those hazards correctly marshalled. In previous years, such hazards were correctly marshalled (although still with crashes into refuges near Walton, IIRC).
  • Road debris. Putting aside the tacks, which I didn’t encounter, several flat-out corners had gravel and road debris on them. That’s just a crash waiting to happen. I went really wide on one corner to avoid leaning on gravel and got close to the farside kerb. Every corner should have had the attention of a motorised road sweeper prior to the event.
  • I talked to one guy who hit a traffic cone that had strayed onto the course, I saw the cone and heard the guy swear and chatted to him later once he’d remounted.
  • Funnelling of riders at some points of the course was needed to get everyone onto the correct side of the road for an upcoming hazard. Fair enough. However, to have two people holding a bit of tape is comical, dangerous and negligent. A bit of tape is not visible.
  • I saw two cars travelling towards cyclists albeit slowly and on the other side of the road ie the correct side of the road for them IF the road were open, which I thought they weren’t

 

The Inherent Danger

I’m a relatively cautious, relatively fit and relatively experienced rider. I race TTs, race triathlons and do the occasional Sportive. However, like me, virtually none of yesterday’s riders ride in high-speed pelotons on any sort of frequent basis. Sure many or even all of us will do group rides with a couple of mates or maybe even with over 10 club mates and we’ll go fast on Sunday mornings. However, that’s just not the same as riding in groups of many 10s of people. The leading waves at RideLondon are all full of fit enough people who can and do go dangerously fast and who look to do Sub-4 hour times for 102 miles – but who are not experienced enough to know how to ride in such large groups at over 25mph – I include me in that. Well, the first part…I can’t do sub-4, sub 4-30, yes, but not sub4.

But it is a blast if you make it around in one piece and I recommend it albeit with some reservations.

My main reservation was that I just didn’t feel safe compared to previous years. Maybe I’m 5 years older and 5 years more nervous than my last RideLondon. I don’t think so. There was clearly inadequate course preparation and marshalling. Marshalling riders travelling in large groups at 30mph is not about waving and encouraging them on but rather about warning them of impending injury.

Will I do it again? Probably.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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56 thoughts on “RideLondon – should be cancelled in 2023

  1. Agree with all of this. I’ve ridden MTB in the French Alps but Ride London was the most dangerous ride I’ve ever done. Started at 6:30am and saw 4 ambulances treating riders in the first 13 miles. Got re-routed at mile 49 due to a serious crash. The blame lies mostly with the wannabe Tour de France Time Trial muppets with their aero bikes and deep rimmed carbon wheels flying round in trains going too fast and running out of skill very quickly. The course needed hills and plenty of them to slow everything down and trains of riders need to be banned. I’m glad I’ve done it but won’t be returning unless the course alters dramatically and rider safety is taken seriously.

    1. “Tour de France Time Trial muppets with their aero bikes and deep rimmed carbon wheels flying round in trains going too fast and running out of skill very quickly” yep, that’ll be me. (Note to readers: only normal road handlebars were allowed)

  2. I don’t necessarily agree with “needs to be cancelled”, but definitely needs to be managed a lot better.
    The organisation and planning was poor and a lot of the problems come from the very mixed levels of experience, skill and to some extent intellect.

    The organisers beforehand said that you could start in your own pen or a later one, but not earlier. My group were in C, but when we arrived there were people in at least L who is saw simply being allowed to walk in and join and there were *loads* more people ahead of us than there should have been in the third wave.

    I disagree with Stuart too that the problem isn’t necessarily the trains, but the interaction between people of different skill levels, though people riding beyond their ability is definitely a problem.
    There were a lot of inexperienced cyclists weaving across the road and just changing line for no reason, without checking back and with no notification/indication. You’d warn a rider in front that you were going to pass them to their right/left and instead of stay steady or clear space they’d wobble or drift in front of you.
    *LOADS* of going to overtake slower riders without indicating intention to do so or checking behind for even faster riders passing.
    One lady who had somehow got up the road I was catching for a corner, but not enough to overtake before the corner, she was in the middle of the road and I was approaching on the inside, but had to yield entirely as she cut from the centre of the road all the way to the apex despite travelling at fairly low speed, using more than half the road for the corner.

    We caught up with old friends at the ~53 mile food stop and spent far too long chatting rather than riding, so ended up riding the second half among even more mixed crowds and with some of the 30s/60s blending in towards the end and that just got silly, where for some it was probably by far their longest ever ride and the road discipline was absolutely non existent.

    I’m not in the “cancel” group, but far better organisation. The waves need to be enforced and properly marshalled. The course needs to be marshalled and the it would probably be good to have a “keep left” edict for the shorter course riders when it merges also.

    1. good point on the short course riders and keeping left. I missed them entirely so didn’t encounter that particular issue.
      ultimately the waves are self-selected based on the times you state so mixed abilities will always be an issue.

  3. You’re bang on about the waves at the start. I was in wave E and like you I saw a wide ranging alphabet of letters ahead and around me. I Did the Birmingham Velo in 2019 and you’re start time was checked by the volunteers to make sure you weren’t jumping the queue.

  4. It doesn’t need cancelled it needs some kind of control on the entrants. I have applied several times over the years and have got in only once. Even on the way to the start i witnessed somebody stop at a red light, fail to unclip and proceed to fall over onto the rider next to him buckling that individuals wheel meaning their day was over. I was put in a wave at the back and despite absolute chaos on the hills with people getting off blocking the road still completed it in well under five hours. I was hit twice by others who drifted on corners it’s basically a free for all. I have entered many sportives and have never had any issues certainly never having being hit before. The event needs a decent hill to put people who have done no cycling off even entering whilst providing a chalenge, slowing others down and creating a natural filter to segregate the complete novices away from the more experienced riders who understand the laws on physics on going round a corner on a bike.

  5. I agree the mixed ability is bad. Lots loft people not checking the lifesaver but also a lot of areo riders shouting to your right when there wasn’t enough room. But I had lots of fun. Burning down the A12 was awesome.

  6. It’s a large event, there will always be a mixture of abilities. A brief suggesting slower riders ride on left and faster riders on right would be suitable IMO. A tad dramatic to say it needs to be cancelled.

  7. I had a great day though sadly saw too many ambulances and to have to wait because of an air ambulance was sad too but I’m not surprised as road etiquette was poor. Sadly you just can’t have super experienced with super inexperienced. Surely this is the reason for having waves based on predicted times. Let the fast go first and keep out of the way of the slower more cautious riders. Safe for all. I too was quite surprised by the number of aero bikes out there and bikes with aero bars (I thought that was a big no?). The marshals at the start carried out no bike safety checks unlike in previous years which was a shame. Great day but clearly there’d been some serious cost cutting on logistics to the pain and suffering of perhaps too many victims.

    1. all the events over the entire weekend were 100,000 I believe.
      I checked the numbers and i think we are both wrong with “20,000 riders taking on 100, 60 or 30-mile challenge rides” I thought it was 30,000 on the 100-miler.

  8. Cancel it too much unnecessary obstruction
    If there is an emergency and the quicker route is the shut road then there will be a delay to someone’s health it’s not on
    I personally find the whole thing ridiculous
    There’s no need to cause that much obstruction

  9. If you want to race go and do a road race or a time trial. The RideLondon is a SPORTIVE not a RACE! I’ve done 8 RideLondon’s now and this was by far the most enjoyable. I thought the organisation was outstanding. Me and my friends can’t wait to go again next year.

  10. What position did you come in the race?? Or do you mean you got a compleation time in a sportive? Here within lies the problem; people like the author treating a mass cycling charity event as a race, if you want to race go and do some crits if you’re good enough (unlikely)

  11. I’m not convinced that the number of accidents is disproportionately high when you consider the number of riders. If 20,000 go riding with their clubs or friends of a weekend, would there be many fewer accidents? Agree that better marshalling of start times to let faster riders go first would help.

  12. Compared to the previous Surrey 100 in 2018 and 2019 that started from the Stratford Velodrome roadside the start from Parliament Square was a shambles. No proper segregation of the Letter waves and no inspection of bikes and riders, as was done previously. So a horrible walk before the start, and after the finish too. The 180° hairpins were horrible too.
    The key point being the mix of abilities and experience leading to lower safety that was completely avoidable.
    RideLondon must do better..

  13. I live in Surrey. So glad to have got rid of the arrogant two wheelers
    Billy no mates on his bike
    Thinks he can ride wherever he likes
    For people and nature he has no care
    Talk to them and they’ll just swear

  14. Why so negative? This event raised tens of millions for charities that have taken a battering during the pandemic. When you have 100,000 cyclists participating then of course you’re going to have some accidents. You have accidents in everyday life cycling to work and other places regardless so should we just ban cycling all together? This event gives thousands of people a purpose to get fit and fall in love with cycling, which can only be a good thing given our roads are increasingly congested with vehicles. The pros massively outweigh the cons and for an event of this size, it is incredibly well organised. Well done to all!

    1. all fair comments except the last one in the sense that you can see from the comments here that it patently wasn’t well organised in some aspects relating to safety when compared to previous incarnations of Ride London.
      why so negative? because people can die or have life changing injuries

  15. I was fortunate not to become a casualty on the day. As we approached an incident, I think it was the rider being given CPR, we were motioned to reduce speed which I did only to feel my rear wheel clipped by a rider behind me. I managed to stay upright but the rider who clipped me hit the tarmac and was fortunate not to be hit by a passing ambulance. I stopped a short distance ahead to check out the scene. The rider appeared to be up and alright. This incident highlights the inexperience and the disregard for caution of many of the riders on that day. I’ve a few of the RideLondon 100 events under my belt but this year’s event was the closest I had come to to hitting the tarmac. I will still probably do it again though. I just hope that riders will be more cautious and the organisers improve the marshaling standard.

  16. I think mister HENDRY HAS LOST HIS WAY ??!! or just strayed in the cycle lane ??!! Can some Good Samaritan please re-direct him down the POETRY LANE

  17. I’ve done Ride London once. Once was enough. Its just to big an event for its own good. It sounds as though its got even worse in recent years.

    Might help if they segregated by ability. But I doubt it. Holding a race license isn’t necessarily any guarantee of competence either!

  18. Its not a race…perhaps if they just didn’t publish ‘results’ people wouldn’t treat it as one?

  19. I don’t think it needs to be cancelled. It felt much safer than the Surrey route, which was in much narrower roads, and considerably steeper sections where a lot of riders just stopped, got off and walked, not even checking behind them first.
    You can’t say an event should be cancelled because of the stupidity of some novice riders.
    Honestly, who falls over a speedbump??!
    And I heard that people in Surrey put tacks on the roads the first few times it ran, also. People are just dicks.
    It’s people just not looking where they’re going that is the issue, but you’ll get that in any event. Better to have it where the roads are closed.
    I only encountered the one major incident, which evidently was just a guy who had health issues and needed a medevac. Didn’t see any other close calls or crashes, unlike the Surrey 2019 course I did.
    I was in wave E, but still overtook lots of later group riders further around the 50+ mile mark, so no idea what time they must have started, but they were getting in the way on some narrower lanes. They should have actively stopped later riders starting early.
    Aside from the finish line over the bridge being a complete bottleneck, where you had to instantly slam the brakes on for people stopping straight away, and poor management of the spectators trying to cross back over the bridge; I thought it was pretty well managed.
    Lack of bag drops was a big pain, as well as having to start in central London on a Sunday morning when no public transport at all is working.
    Maybe starting on Tower Bridge would be a better idea and finish back at the Mall… 🤔

  20. I saw one rider with clip on aero bars. Two beef hair, I could have mounted a narwhal tusk on the front of my gravel bike and got away with it, such was the lack of marshals at the start

  21. this was my 3rd RideLondon100, and I was pretty unimpressed with the latest version. The route comprised far too much long dual carriage way or A-road hauls – fine for shifting a load of people a distance, but that is what cars are for ! I live in Chelmsford and felt this was COMPLETELY unrepresentative of some of the superb (albeit not especially hilly) riding available in the county. The marshalling was TERRIBLE. I hazards not well indicated and any specific changes in route, road width etc just had a person who looked bored to hell standing there holding a flag. They need to be more animated, noisey and engaged. I sincerely hope the improve the standard of the route and marshalling for next year, and add in Danbury ‘North Hill’…..the closest thing we have to a box hill !!!

  22. It wasn’t a crash at mile 49 a rider had a heart attack. If you were at mile 49 you would know the ride wasn’t re-routed and we all waited patiently to be let through once the situation was under control and the air ambulance had departed.

  23. I couldnt understand the point of mechanics only providing inner tubes. As a rider, i carried 3 spare tubes. Unfortunately, i had problem with the tyre and needed a replacement tyre. None of the mechanic had a tyre.
    I remember doing earliersportives and recollect the mechanic’s more resourceful.
    Hope Ride london organiser take notice and improve it next year.

  24. You’d have to share the joint statements from the emergency services that back up your claim of unnecessary obstruction. These kinds of events are fully coordinated with the emergency services, same with the marathon etc. If they have concerns or objections the events doesn’t happen or is changed to meet their requirements.

    Does if cause unnecessary obstruction to other road users, very probably, and over a much wider area than a running event, but that’s a very different arguement to it being an emergency services concern.

  25. Reply to PaulB. The riders further back from you we’re re-routed due to the incident. I was one of them. We were told it was an accident not a singular medical emergency. I’m sure lots of you did wait patiently for which you are to be thanked for but there were hundreds of riders following up behind and we were told to take a short route round. 👍

    1. Thanks for the update/explanation. Sorry the REPLY functionality isn’t nesting properly.

      Similar events/pauses happened on the Surrey iterations in years gone by. that’s another reason why less experienced riders try to get in the front groups to avoid them – probably at the same time increasing the chances of causing one!

    2. That actually makes a lot of sense then, but should probably be another one marked up in the “can you get the organisation under control”, because with the mixing of groups at the start, as one of the faster (but not “racing”) riders I’d made good ground through slower groups, some of whom weren’t supposed to have started yet, only to be near the front at this stoppage.
      After the restart there were a good number of people in front who I was sure I’d already passed and, again, a bunch of “slower” riders to have to pass through again.

      I’m absolutely not “elitist” and think the event should be for everybody, but as a lot of the comments have shown, people of differing speeds don’t want to spend too much of their ride congested onto a road with other people of significantly different speeds.
      It seems a little remiss, from a safety perspective, to essentially hold up what _should_ be a faster group of riders for the accident while re-routing what can be expected to be a slower group around and in front of them. Either arrange a re-direction that can get everyone around, or hold everyone up, mixing it up just creates some of that chaos further down the road.

      Having had a week and a bit to digest everything, though, I think a lot of this commentary can give the wrong impression as a lot of it appears negative.
      I think the organisational side can be improved fairly significantly, but it was still a very enjoyable event and I’d do it again this coming weekend if someone could get around to arranging, please… 🙂

  26. First timer and felt safe the whole time. With 20k people cycling a handful of accidents are a statistical inevitability. Show me a recorded incident comparison between this year and previous.

  27. I agree with many comments, and disagree with others. I don’t think cancelling based on this year would be appropriate, although there are many lessons to be learnt. Lucky to escape any mechanicals or physicals (apart from a finger blister), although passed about 6 accidents along the way. This was my 4th RideLondon, and was unimpressed with the marshalling- was I supposed to join in with the flag dance one guy was doing just before the sharp left turn? or look on the floor when another was doing a funny waggle-wave before a traffic island? Should I have woken the guy up who was sat propped up against an exchange box? Am I meant to be able to lip read from afar , or should I have waved back when one put their hand out for us to slow for an ‘incident’? One thing that the organisers need to ensure, is that the marshalls have appropriate training and are accountable for their position. Thankfully, I’m competent enough to put my hands up , to the side, signal and holla and then hope that those nearby have taken notice of me. That said, for those inexperienced riders, flags and hand signals were omitted from the event guide, along with bike restrictions too (unless I dodged that email?). All in all, I enjoyed the ride- it needs something a bit hilly adding to it though. Second tower at the finish would have been more pleasant- and not knowing London, a warning that the next left turn was the short finish straight coming up would have helped. Will I do it again? Yes- and hopefully next year.

  28. Waves needed to be enforced both ways. I entered with a predicted 7:30 ride time due to the effects of a bout of Covid and not wanting (or being able) to get round sub 5. I was allocated Wave N starting at 08:45. Plenty of team kitted up groups with letters as low as C in my start pen intent on carving through gaps that weren’t there. Also plenty of them stopped at each welfare stop and overtook me three times on the route. If you are late for the start then fine but adjust your expectations. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that if you start firmly in amongst the charity entrants rather than the sportive riders then those around you won’t be experienced at group riding or as fast as you might like.

    I ended up being faster than I had expected, less of a Covid impact than I thought, fitness might even be returning. If you were realistic about those around you, it was safe and fairly easy to make decent progress whether alone or in a group. I enjoyed a lengthy spell in a well organised train moving well with no issues before dropping back to save my legs and pootle back to Tower Bridge at a much more sedate pace. Plenty of warnings to those we overtook and no going for small and closing gaps ensured no issues.

  29. This was my 2nd RIDE LONDON, my 1st being in 2018. The 2018 start location was a lot better, we also a bag drop area, but not this year, as I had to get home straight after the event I had to carry my change of clothes and trainers with me in a small back pack. When I finished there was no where to change unlike 2018.
    Due to the incident at mile 49, we where held at the start area, but was never given an explanation why.
    I have done quiet a few 100 mile sportives, where the roads have not been closed, this is the only one I felt was dangerous. I said to my ride partner, this a dangerous route. The roads where to narrow for the amount of riders, at 1 point the early riders where on the same road, going in the opposite direction and only separated by a line of traffic cones, all it would have took was for 1 rider to make a mistake, and all hell could have happened.
    I saw 4 accidents whilst on the route, the most I have ever seen on a sportive. Twice I got nudged and nearly took my ride partner out, only my bike handling saved us.
    I agree with other comments about inexperienced riders not using ride etiquette and the speed merchants flying through.
    I thought the road conditions where bad where I live, but the roads in Essex where just as bad. Some of the marshaling had to be seen to be believed, they just didn’t seem interested in doing there job.
    I also saw rider at the start without helmets, thought Ride London was no helmet no start, saw 1 person riding in flip flops, also bike that hadn’t been prepared properly for the occasion.
    TFL was part of the organisation/ sponsorship, why where participants not allowed to take their bikes on the tube at the end. I was not allowedat Leicester Square, I had to cycle back to Cockfosters, 13.5 miles away on tiered legs and heavy traffic.
    This is the only event I have been on either running or cycling where at the end we never got a bottle of water, all right we carry fluid on our bikes, but a bottle of water at the end would have been nice.
    Like someone else put, it seems this year’s RIDE LONDON was done on the cheap, just get it back.
    The organiser really need to get their act together and sort all the problems out, a rolling start may be all right for a marathon but not a big sportive, setting groups of at regular intervals is a lot safer, or did they want everyone riding so they could meet the check times before reopening the roads.
    What should have been a good day out was ruined by bad organisation.

  30. Everything seen and experienced was a statistical inevitability. To avoid this go for a 100 miler with some similar friends. Otherwise one should not complain about the bleeding obvious.

  31. Hi Jon,

    One if those inexperienced here. I tried to stay left the whole way. But got caught out by Tour de London wannabees who forced me right. As I tried to get back left I wasn’t able to as more kept coming. They needed to separate us 60 mile riders and 100 at the end. It became too dangerous as those riding fast, but not safe, were making it hell for the rest of us going slower.

    I know that us slower riders aren’t wanted in clubs or at these events but we’re there.
    Perhaps fast riders should have been told to pass on the right only. Allowing us to stay as far left as possible.

    Honestly, if people want to ride that aggressively they should join a race.

    Not sure I’ll do this again or any other sportive as it felt very unwelcome at the end, like we were a burden to those trying to get a pb or club bragging rights.

  32. I had an amazing day and felt safe through out the event. The organisation was great and the marshals were fantastic.
    I loved being part of a group of mixed abilities all working towards our own personal achievement with kind words of encouragement. What a success! I will definitely do it again.
    Some people thrive on complaining. These people typically contribute the least.

  33. I’m sorry but the first leg went through our village and we were all shocked at the amount of police and emergency resources that were used for this event it was a joke. We thought cycling was supposed to be good for the environment but the amount of carbon emissions given off by the entourage cancelled that out completely.

    I think everyone in our village could’ve got burgled that day and you would not have managed to get hold of a police officer as they were all busy riding around on their motorbikes waving to the crowds .. nice to know our taxes are being put to good use!!

  34. @grahambriggs just a couple of points. Leicester Sq has Piccadilly and Northern Lines, both deep lines so you are not allowed to take bikes on them. Secondly, I counted about four or five water tanks at the medal/exit section and, indeed refilled one of my bottles there before heading off to Waterloo.
    On the general points made, the start was silly. I was E but left 30 minutes earlier at 6:10 and was taken by surprise by the rolling start and I just thought the pens were up head – cue a very quick start on the Wahoo! I thought a lot of the chains were awful in terms of positioning and were, quite frankly, trying to bully their way through. Some got a few choice words from me and others and I’m not too slow (av.19.1mph and 22.9mph on the last split). Because I got back at around 11, the finish was quite quiet and I was allowed to free wheel through to the south side of the river so I guess I was lucky.

  35. Also note to reader, you were told you MUST wear a helmet at all times yet I observed 2 riders without one.
    Also, start times were to be adhered to, with nobody starting earlier than their wave, again, this was not enforced!
    I think we can clearly ascertain from the authors article that the rules were not enforced and there were a lack of marshals

  36. Interesting to read about another accident on a speed bump. If it’s the one on Hermit Road in Canningtown then that’s where I had a nasty crash, and I know of 2 other accidents in exactly the same place.

  37. This was my first RideLondon. I was very caution while riding as I know London roads is not exactly hole free or smoother surface. I did feel unsafe in some point, mostly for lack of common sense of some riders. On the otherhand, I get the sensation of disorganisation and caos, the selection of volunteers were poorly, they didn’t make their job, they were too busy on the phone or sleepingit was mostly after the 30 miles.
    Having a mixed abilities and differents age group, I was surprised to find so much ondulations. Organiser need to take into consideration not everyone can climb.
    On the positive note, I love seen people from the village happy for us and giving us so much positive energy and well needed emotional support.
    I will say RideLondon should be better organised, this is not a race event but a ride, maybe makes two differents events for racers and riders on different routes or dates, to avoid mixing up?
    But is not all down to RideLondon, people needs to use more common sense, is for free.

  38. I didn’t do RideLondon this year, I live in Essex and have done it previously 3 times. I’ve always had the same view of the event, it’s dangerous, take out the external factors and just look at the cross section of cyclists that do it, most have never ridden 100 miles, alot are charity riders who have taken up or have not seriously cycled before. I believe the danger is people riding beyond their abilities and either following someone then panicking when it goes wrong or being infrint and doing something unpredictable. If it was a completely amateur ride there wouldn’t be this issue as everyone would ride the same equally with the fast club riders all doing it yo the same style, but these are clashing styles. Ive been road cycling for most of my life and up a few mountains throughout Europe and more importantly down at speed. I used to belong to the fast club cyclist group but change of fitness I’ve slowed down and plod along and up hills but I’m still going to give it some down a hill, am I fast darting across the road hitting the apex and riding down them yes…but I wouldn’t say dangerous it’s what I know how to do, but someone trying to follow me possibly isn’t going to have the same result.

  39. “Cancel” seems a bit dramatic.

    “Improve” seems to make more sense.

    Better marshaling at the start would help a lot. Enforcement of wave times. A pre-ride safety briefing before the start (simple reminders: ride on the left, call out hazards to other riders, hold your road position on the corners, and don’t take a racing line).

    Removing the narrow two-way section on Hollybush Hill would help too, (think this was where cones were hit by people), as would sweeping corners.

    But I think it’s wrong to criticise the event for attracting a breadth of capabilities. That is part of the whole point of the event – to widen participation, engagement, and attract new riders.

    Moving back to a full ballot / charity places system next year may also reduce the number of club riders steaming through in big chains, vs the ‘first come first served’ places this year.

  40. Hi Sara,

    Actually, I think that a lot of the issue in your instance are the middling riders. A lot of the fast club riders had already finished or were stuck to the right.

    What we witnessed quite a lot of near the end were slower-fast riders essentially wanting to “show off” to the shorter course riders at the end and, I agree, as one of the “faster” riders sticking to the right, that the end section got quite messy.
    We saw quite a lot of people on the return to London suddenly changing their riding style as all the groups came back together and there were some rather wild maneuvers, but the riding from some of them definitely wasn’t “experienced”.

    I also wouldn’t say that slower riders aren’t wanted in clubs, it’s just _some_ clubs. The group I was riding with are all from a group called “Saffron Social Cyclists” based up in Saffron Walden. The whole point of the club, as in the name, is that it is social and we try to encourage people of all standards and speeds to participate. We run rides of different distances and speeds every Sunday with a “no drop” policy in every group so even someone on their first ever ride doesn’t get left behind.

    I agree that the different distances should probably be completely segregated, or there should at least have been some solid instruction at the start that unless required, all passing should be done to the right.
    I *do* see this as, again, being an organisational issue though. With no safety checks at the start, not penning to enforce the start groups, no safety or riding brief it really was a free-for-all which made it a lot more risky for a lot of riders than it really needed to be.

    I, personally, think people *should* be allowed to ride aggressively and as fast as they like because the event is open to everyone and that is what some people enjoy, but people should also be very aware of what they are doing on the road, how they are interacting with people around them and ride with that in mind also.
    However, a large part of the problem simply goes away if the organisers had just got everybody in the right groups at the start and enforced start times.

    I hope this hasn’t actually put you off cycling events though, as they can be great fun and wonderfully sociable.
    I’d highly recommend finding a club, like Saffron Social, if you can though where you can find some like-minded cyclists and just enjoy the social side of cycling while getting more experience of cycling in groups in a more comfortable and sensible environment.

  41. After riding in the London Surrey event .4 times I thought a change would be good.
    The organisation was completely different this time and no where near as good.

    The course was brilliant for me as I rode it on a three speed Brompton a choice I made from seeing so many crashes from inexperienced riders drafting and also not doing their turn at the front.

    I think everyone should be made to do it on a Brompton or Boris bike!😀

  42. What annoyed me two cyclists side by side 3 feet off the kerb, 2 feet apart chatting about Sunday morning rubbish having to overtake them in the fast lane. Not good! Then there were guys pulling out to overtake without looking behind!

  43. As someone who’s had this event imposed on the area where I live, I object to what is essentially another lockdown for thousands of people over a whole weekend for what I was informed was a “fun day” charity event. I see that the “charity” pays some of the full time staff over 100k per annum-nice work if you can get it! Genuine question-why should thousands upon thousands of people be inconvenienced and have their lives disrupted over a whole weekend so that others can go on a jolly? Having read some of the comments, it’s clear that many see this as a race-not the fun day it’s advertised as. How would many of you reading this feel if an event that you weren’t interested in was imposed on your town, stopping you from enjoying your weekend? Even one of the participants I chatted with informed me that “I know so many people who are pissed off about this event” I think the organisers, the councillors and anyone else who imposed this on people like me are selfish, ignorant and have no regard for local democracy. The organisers can dress it up as much as they want, but for thousands of people this event was nothing but a major headache. People hold many events that are organized a year or so in advance, events such as weddings, shows and rallies for example. They ALL give plenty of notice and don’t inconvenience large parts of a county for a weekend. The sooner this event is moved elsewhere, the better. BTW, anyone know how I can get 2 extra days added to my road fund license?

    1. thousands of people want it. thousands don’t.
      more people voted for a party other than the conservative party in the last general election but democracy gave us Boris.

      it’s a legacy event from the 2012 Olympics. My understanding is that legacy events were part of us being granted the olympics.
      Not everyone wanted the olympics either but they were pretty awesome (better than Ride London for sure!)

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