As you can guess, Steve’s year record ride has captured the imagination of many a cyclist. Steve received a large number of requests from riders who wanted to spend time either cycling alongside him or have him attend their organised event during his last attempts. Steve is grateful for each and every request along with the support they convey. Steve does welcome company while he is riding, so please read on for advice on the best way to do so. However, complying with all of these requests to ride in your local area or on your event would put his challenge at risk. Let’s try and explain why.
Steve has a very long day upon the bike. His routes are carefully planned to maximise his target for the day and skirt round any potential problems such as poor weather or known difficult road conditions. They often change at very short notice. Often during a days ride. This is part of the reason we don’t publish his exact routes in advance; though we do have some basic outlines of routes that he may take, as below.
Steve sets out with a clear plan and it’s critical he sticks to it. Varying these routes to meet with others or to arrive at events at a fixed time would prove inordinately complex and compromise his mileage. Additionally, Steve rarely stops. You’ll see this if you follow him on Strava or his real-time Satellite tracker. Every stop is a mile lost and the cumulative effect of multiple stops to meet with others adds up over the year. When he does stop, usually for food, Steve needs to eat quickly then get back on the bike. We encourage you to photograph and film Steve to post pictures etc on Facebook and Twitter. Please be aware that Steve is highly unlikely to stop to pose for photos as he must keep moving as much as possible. You can ask him to stop, but please don't be offended if he doesn't! Every minute wasted is a minute’s sleep lost that evening or a loss of mileage. Your one small delay won't be significant, but they do mount up to what could possibly write off the whole record attempt.
We don’t want to discourage anyone from sharing the road with Steve for a few miles, but riding with Steve is not as simple as it may seem. It’s crucial that he avoids anything that could cause him to crash. One slip of your bars could see him off the bike, would you really want to be the person that caused Steve’s attempt to be curtailed?
Riders offering a ‘draft’ are also appreciated but this has never worked in the past. What happened was that fresh legged riders are too fast up hills and leave him behind, so not giving any advantage. On the other hand, they were often slower on descents, which caused him to slow down if he couldn't overtake. You're welcome to try offering a back wheel but don't be upset if it doesn't work. You'd be welcome to just keep him company for as many miles as you like!
The easiest way to find Steve is to follow his live tracker and wait ahead of him. Trying to catch up from behind never works as well because by the time you get the signal from the live tracker, Steve will already be about a mile further up the road. If you follow him regularly, his routes should become more predictable as the year goes on, though he does often throw a curve ball to keep you on your toes! Hopefully these route outlines will be helpful.
Direct route going N or S, for days with strong N or S winds
Flat route going N or S, for days with light or no wind
Route to Acle (or Great Yarmouth)
Possible route taken on days with a S or SSW wind
Possible route taken on days with a SW wind
Possible route to Malmesbury and back
Please don't follow Steve in a car, except to get ahead and cheer from the roadside. The UCMA rules are incredibly strict upon this account, requiring that ANY following car is registered with them and meets a number of safety constraints. It may seem harsh, but a car following Steve at slow speed forms a traffic hazard and absolutely must not be done. Likewise, please don't hand up bottles or food to Steve while he is riding unless you have signed a UMCA waiver form. Again, the UMCA are very strict on their rules regarding crew. Steve simply won't accept a hand up unless he is sure that you have signed a waiver form and are complying with UMCA rules, which include not being allowed to consume alcohol while crewing.
There are many ways in which you can see Steve on the road and encourage him on his way. Use his tracker to anticipate his path, stand safely by the road and give him a loud cheer. You cannot imagine what a difference this will make as he struggles with the fatigue and conditions. Or why not look at our calendar of events here. Steve has committed and planned to attend all of these and they will provide an ideal opportunity to say “you were there” and wish him well at the same time.
As riders we all know that the greatest encouragement comes via a shout from a spectator. That briefly snatched message of goodwill can purge fatigue and change the outlook for the rest of the ride. Every post on Steve’s website or Facebook page is a virtual shout, every single Strava Kudos keeps him going out on the road. Let’s keep shouting for Steve and let him get on with what he does best, riding his bike further than anyone else has managed this year.