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Ride series supported by car maker returns with more events

After its introduction last year, Jaguar and Team Sky are once again running a series of rides out of Jaguar dealers under the banner ‘Ride like a Professional’. Participants will have the chance to take part in a grand final event with Team Sky at a private test track, and two overall winners will join the team at its winter training camp in Majorca.

Between July 26 and September 14, the car-maker is organising 33 rides around the country, more than doubling the number of rides lastyear and therefore more comprehensively covering the country.

Just like the team, riders will have vehicle support in the form of Jaguar’s XF Sportbrake estate, the car Sky has been using since the 2012 Tour de France.

One cyclist from each ride will be selected by Jaguar to compete in the Grand Final which will test both driving and riding ability. Finalists take the wheel of the XF Sportbrake and test their own driving skills in the Directeur Sportif Challenge, which will involve the driving skills required to support a professional cycling team.

Grand finalists will also compete in a time trial challenge, with the overall top competitors in both the male and female categories winning a trip to Team Sky’s winter training camp in Majorca.

The dealership ride outs are non-competitive, and will follow a range of 30-50 mile routes generated, plotted and recorded using Strava. A rider from each will be chosen at random for the Grand Final, which will take place late September to early October 2014.

For full details and to take part, head over to Jaguar's Ride Like A Pro page

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

16 comments

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sergius [328 posts] 1 year ago
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Bah, already full to capacity @ Guildford  1

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notfastenough [3679 posts] 1 year ago
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Plenty of talk of people riding like idiots on this last year. I had a place on the Wilmslow one but couldn't make it, and afterwards there was a strava discussion about someone not pointing out potholes and the guy behind breaking his collarbone. If you go, be wary! It seems some treat it like a race and think that the fastest people will get picked to go through to the final, when in reality it's probably either random or those with a reasonable level of fitness and who ride courteously (so as not to wipe out any pros if they win!)

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neildmoss [291 posts] 1 year ago
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Quick note of a restriction which may hit many of us here:

T&Cs specify a minimum age of 28, plus driving licence for 5years+.

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andycoventry [110 posts] 1 year ago
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notfastenough wrote:

Plenty of talk of people riding like idiots on this last year. I had a place on the Wilmslow one but couldn't make it, and afterwards there was a strava discussion about someone not pointing out potholes and the guy behind breaking his collarbone. If you go, be wary! It seems some treat it like a race and think that the fastest people will get picked to go through to the final, when in reality it's probably either random or those with a reasonable level of fitness and who ride courteously (so as not to wipe out any pros if they win!)

This isn't representative of all of them - I did the Guildford one last year and it was fine.

I think the 'winner' is actually just random.

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DrJDog [338 posts] 1 year ago
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All the notes say the choice is random

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Jimmy Ray Will [470 posts] 1 year ago
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Randomly chosen based on nothing but demographic, and perception of wealth/likeliness to buy a Jaguar in the short-mid term.

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jova54 [653 posts] 1 year ago
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Anyone who did it last year able to comment on level of skill/fitness to be able to enjoy the day?

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Initialised [307 posts] 1 year ago
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My car's due for an upgrade, I'd definitely consider a Jag and am probably their target demographic. I signed up for the ride in Newcastle a couple of weeks ago before it hits here and gets booked up. I did it last year and the weather was a bit on the damp side but it was a fun ride.

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dafyddp [361 posts] 1 year ago
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Its all a bit cynical isn't it? I appreciate that environmentally, the carbon footprint of a new bike is pretty shocking but there's something especially repugnant about non-racing cyclists being followed around by one of these gas-guzzling monsters. I'm sure we're all guilty of driving somewhere or other with our bikes just for the pleasure of the ride, but ffs this is just massaging the ego of middle-managers that want to feel special.

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klrsa05 [11 posts] 1 year ago
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I did the Oxford ride with ridgeway Jaguar last weekend. All the staff were really nice.

We had a group of about 18 people and we averaged about 30kph on a 25 mile route. The route had no hills to speak of and was on really nice quiet roads. we stuck together for the most part and had a really nice social ride. If your happy to wheelsuck then you don't need to be that fit. There was a stop half way round to get drinks. Everyone was pointing out pot holes of which there weren't that many.

The winner from each ride is chosen at random so there is no need to race.

The need for a driving licence is because if you get chosen from your ride you get to drive a Jag as well and will be tested on both driving and riding skills with the eventual winner then going on to ride in Mallorca with team sky. You probably need to be 28 for insurance purposes on the car. No point letting people take part if they have no chance of winning the complete prize.

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Pinaman [28 posts] 1 year ago
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jova54 wrote:

Anyone who did it last year able to comment on level of skill/fitness to be able to enjoy the day?

I did the Wilmslow one last year. They set out in three groups, 20+ mph, 17.5-20mph and slower.

It was a little touch and go at times as it was pouring down, we entered the second group as my friend was recovering from an ankle injury. I regularly ride between 19 - 21mph on my own and over that in a group, so wasn't pushed it was just a nice pace.

There was a really bad accident in the group before us though, maybe they where pushing a little harder.

Overall it was a good ride except the weather, but we only saw the Jaguar twice on route.

I've signed up for the Bolton & Winsford, so I'm going back for more, hope this helps.

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Paul J [884 posts] 1 year ago
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Damn, you need 5+ year on your licence. That'll teach me for having driven on a provisional in Ireland for years and years.  3

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Timsen [71 posts] 1 year ago
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I have ridden 2 of these. It seems to depend on who is behind the organising (local bike shop/club) as to the format but it certainly isn't a race from which the winner is chosen ! Expect a steady ride and some grub at the end if you're lucky.

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jova54 [653 posts] 1 year ago
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Missed out on the HA Fox Guildford one, which is my local, so I've signed up for the Harwoods Chichester event based at Cowdray Park. Trying to get eldest daughter's boyfriend to sign up too.

Just realised that it's the day after a friend's wedding  36

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jova54 [653 posts] 1 year ago
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Paul J wrote:

Damn, you need 5+ year on your licence. That'll teach me for having driven on a provisional in Ireland for years and years.  3

Tut, tut.

When I got posted to NI I drove round on Q plates for 18 months before the RUC pulled me.  4

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Simon E [2720 posts] 1 year ago
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@ dafyddp - you may well be right. Although for middle-managers you could substitute the other M-word used a lot nowadays when referring to cyclists. Maybe almost interchangeable.

I can see the appeal for men who love an excuse to go on a group ride all Strava'd up. If you add in the Team Sky link AND being able to gawp at expensive "old men's cars" then it's a bit of a treat.

However, the prize of a winter trip to Majorca is very desirable.