Hurricane could hit RideLondon-Surrey 100 on Sunday – riders warned to prepare for weather

60 per cent chance remnants of Hurricane Bertha will sweep across southern England

by Simon_MacMichael   August 8, 2014  

Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 medals (copyright Simon MacMichael)

Thousands of cyclists taking part in Sunday’s Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 are being told to prepare for the weather after the Met Office today warned that the remains of a hurricane could be on its way to southern England.

Forecasters say there is a 60 per cent chance that Hurricane Bertha, which has swept through the Caribbean, will hit the country on Sunday, bringing with it torrential rain and strong winds.

The Met Office says the storm is “a particularly hard one to forecast but there is increasing confidence that this feature will affect the UK on Sunday, though with very large uncertainty remaining over the track and intensity.”

According to its chief meteorologist, Paul Gundersen,"There is still some uncertainty surrounding this weekend's weather, with the potential for heavy rainfall, strong coastal winds and large waves on Sunday.

“However, there is still a chance that the system may pass to the south of the country giving the UK a brighter day.

"Rain and strong winds may well bring disruption, especially across southern parts of the UK, with the potential for more than 50 mm of rain and coastal gusts of over 60 mph. People should stay up to date with the latest Met Office warnings."

That could make conditions very difficult indeed for the approximately 30,000 cyclists taking part in Sunday’s second edition of the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100, which starts at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park early in the morning and heads out into the Surrey hills before swinging back to the capital to finish on The Mall.

As well as the prospect of a strong headwind on the way out – and hopefully, a tailwind on the way back – heavy rain plus the prospect of surface water could be hazardous for participants.

Prudential RideLondon event director Hugh Brasher, quoted on, said:: "A number of riders have been asking about the weather conditions on Sunday.

"As always with the British weather, it’s subject to huge change.

"We continue to monitor the weather situation and have numerous contingencies in place for inclement weather.

"We recommend, and have messaged to riders throughout the last six months, that they should ensure their bikes are properly prepared and they are suitably clothed for whatever the British weather may bring," he added.

We’d expect rain jackets that can fold into a jersey’s rear pocket to be in short supply in the capital’s bike shops by tomorrow evening, not to mention clip-on mudguards such as the Ass Saver.

Here are some tips for riding in the wet.

Tyre grip is less effective on wet surfaces, meaning you’ll need to reduce speed, particularly when cornering (when you will also want to keep the bike more upright than you perhaps would in the dry). Consider reducing your tyre pressure slightly to get a bigger contact point.

To ensure your brakes are most effective when you need them, periodically apply some light pressure on the brake levers. This will cause the brake pads to remove water from the rims, making them more effective if you have to stop suddenly.

With braking distances affected by wet road surfaces, try and keep a safe gap between yourself and the rider in front. Also, ride slightly to one side rather than immediately behind to avoid being hit by spray and debris.

If you are riding on Sunday, above all, enjoy the event, whatever the weather – and stay safe.

17 user comments

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Last years' event was picture perfect from start to finish, I'm glad that I didn't make the cut for this year. I predict misery.

posted by Beaufort [246 posts]
9th August 2014 - 7:16


I generally don't mind rain, it's wind that I don't like. Looks like early rain dying out by late morning so hopefully the return section will be fun

posted by CXR94Di2 [702 posts]
9th August 2014 - 7:19


The latest forecast shows torrential rain for pretty much the duration - I am contemplating riding my winter bike !

posted by arfa [651 posts]
9th August 2014 - 7:49


I very much doubt there'll be 30,000 cyclist starting on Sunday.

posted by Nick T [906 posts]
9th August 2014 - 7:50


Bummer - I'm racing on Sunday and can't put it off as I have to qualify for the Brits but riding with a wet arse is none too pleasant. Sad


posted by OldRidgeback [2581 posts]
9th August 2014 - 8:58


I'll look forwards for the next month of being told exactly how awesome people who weren't racing were for cycling in the wet, in the countryside.

posted by a_P [12 posts]
9th August 2014 - 9:08


Beaufort wrote:
Last years' event was picture perfect from start to finish, I'm glad that I didn't make the cut for this year. I predict misery.

Rule 9 you grumpy grots. Bagsy no return.

posted by brackley88 [131 posts]
9th August 2014 - 9:33


Best of luck to everyone riding it. My first 60-mile sportive was in strong winds and I nearly burst!
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Suffolk Cycling's picture

posted by Suffolk Cycling [73 posts]
9th August 2014 - 10:29


Just read that there are contingency plans to shorten and cut out Leith & box hill. If that happens it becomes more like a flat TT and I really would be rather disappointed. Rule number 5 for the good folk at the Our.

posted by arfa [651 posts]
9th August 2014 - 17:17


For those taking part today, chapeau!

I wandered through Raynes Park this morning to see the first waves come through, and it was absolutely chucking it down. I saw quite a few riders come unstuck even there, super slippery corners.

Closing the hills was absolutely the right thing to do. I don't care how hard you are, the road is harder. Lots of riders will be wearing cuts and bruises tomorrow with pride, hopefully no one will be wearing plaster.

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posted by bikebot [1413 posts]
10th August 2014 - 11:58


Just finished. No rain until about 10 miles in, then the heavens opened. Literally rivers and huge floods in the dips. I saw three riders who looked like they fell hard and weren't getting up. They were comforted by the medics. Absolutely hundreds of punctures along the course. I had one just as I arrived at the start. What a stupid surface to send cyclists down around the Olympic parks, bloody flint chippings.

Just as was about to leave this when the fella asked if I could show him how to change an inner tube. He had never done it and was clueless about the procedure. Unfortunately he had only one inner tube so if he got another he was going to be stuck.

Resting up now and ironing the wrinkles out of my soaked feet hahaha

posted by CXR94Di2 [702 posts]
10th August 2014 - 14:17


The conditions were wet and wild and apart from being reasonably warm, were about the worst conditions I have ridden in. That said it was great fun, a bit mental and the flooding was crazy.
It was absolutely the right call shutting Leith & Box hill - riders were falling off going up Newlands corner when they lost traction in the floodwater pouring down the hill !
The descent was pretty mad too as my brakes had pretty much stopped working.
I did see a number of nasty crashes, mainly down to rider error, especially the ones ignoring the Marshall's request to slow down - very foolish.
The puncture count was off the scale as there were huge numbers mending them roadside.
All said, I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was really well run. The supporters who turned out in torrential rain to cheer rider on deserve a special mention.
I am no sportive fan but this is one event I would thoroughly recommend.

posted by arfa [651 posts]
10th August 2014 - 16:04


For the first 10-15 miles, it was just a bit overcast, there was a little bit of rain on my way to the start, but mostly fine.
And then Mother Nature decided to have her fun.
So. So. Rainy.
I actually don't mind riding in the rain too much, I tend to do alright in those conditions but about 50 miles in I couldn't ever remember ever being so soaked. Then walking back to Victoria station, I caught in that downpour around 2:30!!
It was absolutely the right call to divert the course. I can't quite remember where, but I saw a small pile-up at the bottom of possibly Newland's, with a sharpish corner just at the bottom. It would've been absolute chaos had Box and Leith gone ahead, especially when you consider quite a few of the 24,000 taking part have likely not had any experience riding in a large bunch or in such poor weather.

posted by TripperMint [8 posts]
10th August 2014 - 17:34


I very much doubt there'll be 30,000 cyclist starting on Sunday.

I would think not given the fact that only 24,000 places were available. I heard that 21,000 actually took part which is a pretty good considering.

They Made Me Do It!

posted by Oscarzero [26 posts]
10th August 2014 - 19:30


Well I pushed through the apocalyptic rain and flooded bits of road only to be taken out on the hill up to Newlands when someone stopped suddenly in the middle of the road with no warning and managed to cause a pile up. Having to journey home in the wagon was extremely rough. Many cold beers required tonight.

There were big sections of road where you couldn't see pot holes for all the standing rain water. The box hill road surface is lovely and that would probably have been alright (if the wind stayed down) but the leith hill descent would have been a nightmare.

posted by spin sugar [47 posts]
10th August 2014 - 19:33


CXR94Di2 wrote:

Just as was about to leave this when the fella asked if I could show him how to change an inner tube. He had never done it and was clueless about the procedure. Unfortunately he had only one inner tube so if he got another he was going to be stuck.

This is a good point. There were so many people queuing at the mechanics' tents only because they couldn't fix a puncture themselves (they happily chucked inner tubes at you and let you use the floor pump if you could fix one yourself) which meant it was painfully slow getting an actual mechanical checked out. I'm slow sorting punctures and it's nice to have someone do it for you, I know, but Christ it was frustrating.

Should say though, nothing but love for the volunteers who tended to our needs braving the same weather we did. If I don't ride next year hope I can go take part and give something back. The LCCers at Hampton Court were particularly lovely.

posted by spin sugar [47 posts]
10th August 2014 - 19:44


It was excellent organisation, and great to see all the people out cheering, despite the weather.

The only problem was the castelli crew with their expensive bikes acting like pro's and throwing their gel and food wrappers to the ground...yeah you know who you are SHAMEFUL. Probably the same people who can't mend a puncture! Angry

posted by theCiSCOkid [5 posts]
11th August 2014 - 13:38