September 1, 2012

What Is A Sportive?

Why Are There Sportives?

So you’ve driven to the countryside, parked your car, ridden 80 miles, got lost, run out of drinks half way round, haven’t seen a single cyclist for the last 2 hours, got back to your car starving but the local shop is closed and what’s more nobody saw you do such an awesome ride and when you get back into the office on Monday you can’t prove to them you did it either!

If only you had a photo or a certificate?! Or a medal or you could at least look up your name online and feel that sense of pride to see that you finished ahead of 212 people?!

Depending on your point of view you’re in luck as some bright spark has worked out that you need help with all of the above and a huge industry was born. Enter the sportive market. Others may argue that charging you 25 quid to ride your bike on a public highway that isn’t even closed is a joke!

So What Is A Sportive?

Well if you don’t know already you’re no doubt guessing that it’s something to with paying a bloke to ride your bike. Yes!

A Sportive is a timed ride. Not a race. Organisers around the world will be very happy with us pointing this out. Best say it again then; Sportives are not races. They are held on the open road (although closed road sportives such as the Etape Cymru in Wales are becoming more frequent which is fab news). Some of the key features of a Sportive are:

  • The route is signposted and marshalled
  • Food and drink often provided en route and/or at the finish
  • You get an official ride time, often by way of an electronic chip. Many events will categorise your ride time as a gold, silver or bronze time and each year you can return with the aim of improving on your time.
  • There are hundreds, possibly thousands, of riders on the road with you.
  • The routes are planned for you, often chosen for their challenging climbs, beautiful scenary and lack of traffic
  • The ride starts and finishes in the same please and there will be somewhere to park your car (unless you’re mad/fit enough to ride there, complete the sportive and ride home!)
  • Many Sportives offer a choice of 2 or 3 different distances and routes to appeal to beginners, intemediates and advanced cyclists.

Until a few years ago, most people rode for a club and the Sunday morning “Club Run” was the club ride of the week where a club rode 50 to 70 miles as a group (or groups), often with a cafe stop. Sportives seem to have taken over a bit but we think that both have a place in the world of cycling. In fact you can join a club for an entire year for the price of 1 Sportive!! Many riders are club members who enjoy Sportives too. Take a look at for more info on joining a club.

Sportives , What Is A Sportive?
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