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Vamper reflects on Prudential RideLondon 2016: the good, the bad and the ugly

Prudential RideLondon Mexican WaveEven after a two-hour delay, stationary cyclists kept their spirits up with a Mexican Wave

Well, Prudential RideLondon 2016 has come to an end. All those months of preparation and anticipation, and it always seems to be over in the blink of an eye.

Despite the delays and diversions, Prudential RideLondon 2016 was a cycling event to remember. We feel so lucky to have had the chance to take part twice – when the sun has been shining, no less. Given how hotly contested ballot places are, we’re planning to take a break next year to give other cyclists a chance to take part in the event – riding past such iconic sights on traffic-free roads is something all keen cyclists should have the opportunity to experience at some point.

It was an eventful day which managed to showcase the best – and, unfortunately, the worst – of human nature. Read on for our thoughts on the Prudential RideLondon 2016.

Prudential RideLondon 2016: The Good

The organisation of Prudential RideLondon really is superb. We’d like to say a huge thank you to the event organisers and the fantastic marshals along the route – particularly the ones who made a huge effort to encourage weary cyclists along the way and who made us laugh when our legs were aching. You’re wonderful.

Prudential RideLondon 2016
I continue to find it amazing that the organisers manage to start the groups precisely on time. 08:19 – BOOM!

The supporters along the route are flippin’ fantastic. The villagers in Pyrford turning out with jugs of water to refill cyclists’ bottles during the long delay? The woman in Norbiton hollering encouragement, telling us all that we looked every bit as good as elite athletes? The kids cheering us on in Wimbledon, holding their hands out for a high five? Marvellous! The supporters make the Prudential RideLondon100 an event to remember.

I don’t yet know the gender breakdown of participants this year, but there seemed to be a lot more women taking part which is tremendously encouraging for women’s cycling. Everywhere I looked I seemed to be surrounded by fellow female cyclists of all ages which was fantastic.

Prudential RideLondon 2016: The Bad

There is always going to be a huge disparity between cyclists’ abilities and attitudes in an event of this scale. You have the novice riders challenging themselves, often for charity, who may have never ridden in a group before; and you have the arrogant, aggressive male (always male!) club riders yelling abuse at slower riders and barging through gaps where it really isn’t safe to do so. Is the number of participants too high? Running the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic event on the same day means that the push to get all the amateur riders out in three hours is tight; reducing the number of riders on the course might help reduce the crush when something invariably happens to slow things down. Is 27,000 cyclists too many? Does it need to be reviewed?

Prudential RideLondon 2016
Does the number of cyclists need to be reduced to ease congestion?

Cyclists who drop litter should be ashamed of themselves. You carried those gels when they were full – you can carry your empty wrapper home, too. Worried about it making a sticky mess in your pocket? Well, you’re going to put your jersey in the wash, aren’t you? Don’t tarnish the event and its legacy by littering.

Prudential RideLondon 2016: The Ugly

It is terribly sad that there was another fatality this year, and some very serious accidents. To all the miserable sods who were bitching and griping to @RideLondon on Twitter about the fact that they were delayed and not receiving second-by-second updates about when they could start riding again – how about reminding yourself that you’re going to complete the ride safely because the event organisers are taking participants’ safety seriously?

How about forgetting about the fact that you’re not going to beat last year’s time, and actually enjoying the atmosphere and camaraderie with fellow cyclists?

How about forgetting your massive ego?

(And, to the cyclists who tagged on to the back of the ambulance to get to the front of the queue – you really are the scum of the earth. Have a little respect.)

Prudential RideLondon 2016
Even after a two-hour delay, stationary cyclists kept their spirits up with a Mexican Wave – the best of British stoicism!

Grumbling aside, all in all, it was a fabulous day. It made me so happy that the enforced delay encouraged strangers to chat and pass the time of day. It was lovely that after two hours of waiting around, cyclists’ spirits were still high enough to do a Mexican Wave to pass the time. RideLondon organisers, we salute you. Thank you for producing a UK cycling event to be proud of.

 

  • Paul Tranter

    Good write up. The Mexican Wave almost became a highlight! I was also amazed at the selfish attitude of some riders, intent on pushing through the queue even though no one was going anywhere. Same at the other points we had to slow down, rides accelerating to gain a few extra places. Not in the spirit of a ride, it’s NOT a race….

  • Gobblecoque

    With the amount of people now taking part, delays, crashes and massive disparities between riders abilities are more commonplace. Despite RL insisting ‘it’s not a race’, there are 1000’s of riders who would disagree – just read this for an insight;
    http://www.the-hard-road.com/read-1/2016/8/1/ridelondon.

    Unless RL split the waves up into sub 4.5, club, charity, then add an extra hour to the depart times AND reduce the participant numbers, then your going to get exactly the same situation occurring in 2017. Oh – and drop Leith Hill – it’s been a bottleneck for the past 3 years.