Surrey County Council has welcomed changes to the routes used in August’s Prudential RideLondon Festival that mean many local roads will be reopened up to three hours earlier than during last year’s inaugural event.
The council says that the amndements reflect feedback to the organisers both from itself and from local residents following the first editions last August of the sportive and professional race that take the event out of the capital and into Surrey.
Last week, organisers of the event, the London & Surrey Cycling Partnership, said that the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 mass participation ride, which up to 30,000 people will ride, will follow largely the same route as last year.
However, the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic race later on Sunday 10 August will take a slightly different course through the county. Those changes include a new route via Staple Lane from East Clandon, multiple loops through Dorking, two climbs through the Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking and retracing the 2012 Olympic road race route through Oxshott.
By reducing the overlap between the two routes, and riders taking part in the sportive due back into Central London well before the professionals, it will be possible for half of the roads affected in the county to be reopened as much as three hours earlier than last year.
Helyn Clack, Surrey County Council’s cabinet member for community services, commented: “We’re pleased the event organisers have been able to incorporate our suggestions into the improved delivery of the event and done even more to limit disruption to residents and businesses well ahead of this year’s events.
“If last year is anything to go by, this year’s Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic and 100 events will be a shot in the arm for local shops, cafes and pubs along the route, and the loop around Dorking is an exciting new feature.”
Following the inaugural edition last year, Surrey businessman Ian Huggins launched a petition called ‘Stop Surrey being turned into a cycle track,’ reflecting the views of some locals who are unhappy at road closures associated with the event.
Earlier this year, organisers of the Vachery Triathlon, another event that made its debut in Surrey last year, claiming that new procedures introduced by the council were too onerous, and perhaps reflected “the anti open-road cycling furore from local politicians and protesters experienced last year.”
Surrey County Council says that there will be greater public information around the Prudential RideLondon events this year, including leaflet drops to residents and businesses by the organisers, and six drop-in sessions at different locations where people can seek advice regarding the event.
Elsewhere on the route, however, some business owners in South West London are unhappy about the event’s return.
Domenico Bolla, who owns Wimbledon’s Victorian Café, told local news website SW Londoner: “I just shut for the weekend as there's no point in me opening. Nobody can cross the road so nobody can get to my shop.
“There's no need for the barriers really, one steward would be enough to control people crossing the street.
“There are only short spells of constant flow of bikes, most of the time there are very few or none at all passing through - yet this costs us a whole weekend of business. I find it silly to shut such a long stretch of road.”
Another local businessman, Krishn Kataria, of Worple News in Wimbledon, said: “This event is very bad for us. There is no business at all as they block everything.
“The rents are extremely high in this area so we lose a lot that weekend. We open anyway, but what can we do?”
But event director Hugh Brasher, whose father Chris founded the London Marathon, which together with SweetSpot organises the Prudential RideLondon weekend, said the event would be boost London’s profile
“We want London communities to benefit over 365 days a year, so we are looking at the whole picture and not just one weekend,” he explained.
“We are working with the local councils and encouraging as many people as possible to come and watch, so we get the same kind of street party atmosphere we saw at the Olympic Games. This is a London 2012 legacy event.
“We want this growth of visitors to London to continue, which will help people all over the city” he added. “We are looking to turn this into the biggest and best cycling event in the world.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.