While I was on my year record attempt in 2015, I was getting a lot of people telling me that I'd inspired them to do rides and their own personal challenges.
I'd always hoped that I would but never had time to be very active with encouraging others.
While Kajsa Tylen was getting her Guinness World Record for most miles cycled in a year by a woman in 2016, she set up her "Sweat Pledges" where she encouraged people to set up their own personal challenges and make a pledge to her to achieve their goal. I even did a couple myself
Kajsa now has her Sweat Pledge website. So if I inspire you to take on a challenge go and make a Sweat Pledge.
It doesn't have to be cycling. One of my Sweat Pledges to Kajsa involved an Elliptigo cycle, which kind of is cycling, but it isn't. Or is it? Anything goes.
Anything that challenges you and makes your life better. Even losing a bit of weight or taking up a daily commute by foot or bicycle. Better to set several achievable goals than one impossible one.
If you want to do "something" but aren't sure what, then this is your lucky day! I have some ideas and routes just for you!
Metric Century-Ride 100km in a day.
Half Godwin-Ride 102.5 miles in a day. Half the daily average distance of Tommy Godwin, the Year Record holder of 1939, who inspired me to take on the whole year record thing.
200km Audax-Ride—a 200km Audax event within AUK rules and time limits.
300km Audax-Ride—a 300km Audax event within AUK rules and time limits.
The Tommy Godwin—Ride 205 miles in a day. The average daily distance of Tommy Godwin's 1939 annual mileage record.
Ride one of my day routes—I have a few outlines of what routes I may be taking during the year. These are really to help people find me with the live tracker but I think it would be good for people to go and ride the same routes as I'll be riding to get an idea of what I will do every day. The shortest at 300km goes from Milton Keynes to Malmesbury in the Cotswolds and back. The longest goes from Milton Keynes to Darlington, one way. I suggest you ride a distance of 230 miles as a challenge, but my routes are free for all to use for whatever purpose and if they help you with a ride I'll be glad about that.
400km Audax-Ride—a 400km Audax event as per 2 and 300km...
600km Audax-Ride—I think you can guess, but if you're going for a 600, then I suggest that you go for the next challenge of...
24hr Time-Trial—Ride as far as you can in 24 hours.
Audax UK Super Randonneur series—Audax UK was originally set up so that British riders could qualify for Paris Brest Paris in France. To qualify, you had to ride a SR series. That is a 200, 300, 400 and 600km Audax ride within AUK time limits and rules. I have ridden at least one of these every year since I joined Audax UK in 1992.
1000 miles in 7 consecutive days—The Mixed tandem British 12hr record holders, Ian and Bridget Boon, looked after me during Paris Brest Paris in 2015 while on my year record attempt. We got chatting about riding and we all agreed how few people have cycled 1000 miles in a week. So this challenge is to cycle 1000 miles in 7 consecutive days or less. One way of doing this could be to ride an Audax SR series (1500km) in a week and squeeze in a 100km ride. This could work well with my SR series and 100km ride from Milton Keynes, where you could base yourself for a week.
Those are just some ideas and I have links to rides for all of those on my Rides page.
Audax UK run events all around the country all year round as well.
Or there are sportives and time trials with CTT etc.
There are lots of events to ride, places to see, marathons to run, mountains to climb, adventures to be had and other things to achieve. Extra points for novelty and comedy. I also like riding unusual bikes myself and have ridden elliptigos, tandem trikes, recumbent trikes, a triplet, a Moulton, semi recumbent tandem and fixed wheel of course. Get out there and fill yer boots!
The whole idea behind the routes (of 200km and over) is that you get a good tailwind through the open and flat Fens. Then as you get to Thetford Forest to turn south, the wind starts to slow down and you'll have a cross wind while you are sheltered by the trees. By the time you reach Suffolk, the wind should have dropped considerably as you turn back into it but along more sheltered roads, which aren't flat but not hard going. Your average speed, in theory should peak when you cross the A10 going east, then drop all the way to the finish.
However, the weather doesn't always do what you want. With NE wind, you will probably be better off doing the routes anti-clockwise. The aim is to get a tailwind across what I call the Fenland Blowpit to give your average sped a boost without any extra effort. Then fight the wind when it is weaker and along roads that shelter you from the wind. I have comfortably and very easily held 25mph on some of those Fenland roads with a good tailwind. I've also been down to 8mph and trying very hard into headwinds in the Fens.
All routes start and finish at Trek Store in Milton Keynes who will be taking care of my 3 Raleighs for the year. This might even come in handy starting from a bike shop if you need or forget something.
SustenanceThere's also a Costa Coffee inside the Trek Store. Trek open at 9am (11 on Sundays) and are open until 8pm midweek, 6pm on Saturdays and 5pm on Sundays.
There is also a 24 hour Mc Donalds next door (you can get inside, not just drive through, which won't serve cyclists).
Also a 24 hour Starbucks nearby, which is also 24hr but drive through only after about 11-12pm.
If you want something more substantial to eat before or after a ride, there is a Wetherspoons nearby and numerous restaurants in "The Hub," all on Midsummer Boulevard as well as the shopping centre and Theatre District.
Starting or finishing from a different location in Milton Keynes will mean that you need to check with your DIY organiser whether the ride is still within distance to qualify.
Transport to the startNot being a car owner, my knowledge and advice for car parking probably won't be much help, but...
The car park at Trek has restrictions and will be locked at night, so that won't be very helpful.
For parking during a ride, I suggest finding a car park you are happy with (the train station is nearby, though parking could be expensive) or parking up in a local housing estate. Great Holm is less than a mile away via the Redways. There is a car park at Lodge Lake where people go night fishing. This could be a good choice? There is a sign on the notice board saying that the car park is for park users only, not commuters or business.
The train station is nearby, so using a train could be a better bet. You can use Midland trains without needing a cycle reservation but they won't carry non folding bikes at peak commuter times. You'll need a (free) reservation for Virgin trains.
You could always cycle. That's what I'd do.
AccommodationLots of hotels in Milton Keynes from Travelodge upwards.
There's also the YHA at Bradwell Village.
I'm not aware of any campsites nearby.
Audax UK Rides
Audax is very simply following a route of a set distance within a maximum and minimum time limit.
These routes can be used for DIY permanents as either a Mandatory GPS, Advisory GPS or just getting receipts from tills etc that show time, date and location at the controls.
For Advisory GPS verified rides, you pass through each control town (unless it's a specified location, such as a petrol garage as in Soham) but don't have to follow the exact GPS route.
For mandatory GPS verification, you must follow the exact GPS track unless there's a good reason such as roadworks or an emergency.
The rules etc. and calendar of Audax UK events are on the AUK website.
I have a set of routes from 100-600km, making up a whole SR series.
Either ride alone or as a group within the rules of Audax UK.
The SR series is suitable for all 3 types of validation. I also have some routes that will only work for mandatory GPS validation.
They're not hardcore Audax rides. I've planned them to be as easy as possible so that you can get the benefit of a SW wind through the Fens
You could always link routes together to make one long ride or even link them with other rides. Or you could split them up to make shorter rides.
Of course, you could just go and ride them for fun and not worry about Audax rules and times and do as much or as little each day as you like.
As Audax rides, they are designed to be started from Milton Keynes at the Trek Bike Store. You can start and finish at any control, but be careful you don't end up at a closed shop in the early morning. Not every control may not have 24hr facilities other than an ATM.
For each ride, there's a link to Ride with GPS for my recommended route. I have made them a bit more "touristy" by avoiding some of the main roads. You can always follow the main roads instead (unless you're riding it as a Mandatory GPS) as I would be doing most of the time. Main roads are easier to follow, so I've plotted routes along lanes for GPSes.
Please quote the relevant, "Audax DIY No." to your DIY organiser to save them from checking a route which they have already checked, unless you are mixing and matching routes to invent your own ride.
Marsh Gibbon 100km Audax DIY No. 7269
Giraffe 200km Audax DIY No. 7271
Fens and Forests 300km Audax DIY No. 7272
Suffolking (long way) 400km Audax DIY No. 7283
Midanglia 600km (can be ridden as 2 300s) Audax DIY No. 7281
Routes suitable only for Mandatory GPS Audax verification (or just for fun!)Kimbolton 100km Audax DIY No. 7270
Kings Lynn 300 Audax DIY No. 7273
400km from Trek Audax DIY No. 7280
Handy 400. Similar to Suffolking
Other non-Audax rides
This could work well for anyone wanting to ride with me for a day but have a stop for lunch and re-catch me on my way home. But no guarantees!
My route outlines
These are basic outlines of routes I anticipate to take during the year. You can use them to predict where I am going if you are trying to meet me on the road. It's much easier to wait ahead of me than chase the live tracker. But I will often change route for various reasons so you'll have to keep an eye on the tracker and stay on your toes!
A route outline for where I might go on a typical day with a WSW or SW wind.
A route outline for where I might go on a typical day with a SSW or S wind.
Mainly for a very strong wind from the north or south or to use to get myself north or south to take adavantage of a forecast favourable wind.
Mainly for a light wind from the north or south.
A route I might take to get to and from the SW or with a S wind.
A route I might take to get to and from Norfolk.