June 22-23 is the longest weekend of the year, so why not spend as much of it as you can doing what you love? Bike Bath is back for 2013, offering two very different rides on the Saturday and Sunday, plus an evening of thought-provoking cycling speakers, great food and more. Last year over 700 riders headed to the South West to sample Bath's delights; this year it'll be even bigger.
Following feedback from last year the organisers have tried to make the two days even more different in terms of riding. Saturday's rides have been re-routed towards Warminster and the 100-mile signature route takes in the beautiful Wylye Valley as well as a complement of stiff climbs. All three Saturday routes will make use of the new Two Tunnels Greenway too, and Bike Bath have teamed up with the Yorkshire Regiment, based at Warminster, who have promised to deliver a food stop to remember. There's a 60-mile route and a short 20-miler for anyone that fancies giving a mass-start event a go but isn't ready for a long one.
Saturday night will be taken up by the road.cc Celebration of Cycling evening in the centre of Bath. This will be more of an interactive format than last year with a smaller venue and more time for questions from the floor. The speakers will be Andrew Denham, founder of the Bicycle Academy, traffic and transport psychologist Dr Ian Walker and Max Glaskin, author of Cycling Science: How Rider and Machine Work Together.
Sunday sees riders heading out North towards the Cotswolds on a day that's more classic sportive than Saturday, but again with a choice of routes to suit all abilities; there's 100, 60 and 30 mile options. Doing the 100-miler on both days earns you the prestigious Bath Gladiator title, and a certificate for posterity, as well as a congratulatory gift from Bath Ales. In fact all finishers get a certificate of their ride designed by local illustrator Simon Spilsbury.
There's all the things you'd expect from a well-run sportive – chip timing, medi-bikes, great signage – and some you wouldn't. Post-ride grub is prepared by Michelin-starred chef Rob Clayton, and Bike Bath are looking to source as much local produce as possible for the feed stations so you should be in for a treat each time you stop. If only all sportives had a pie sponsor.. Cyclescheme are running an e-bike demo day on the Saturday, if you or anyone you dragged along fancies trying a powered bike out for size. There's likely to be other stuff going on on the Saturday night too, that's TBC.
For more information, and to sign up for some of the fun on offer, head to www.bikebath.co.uk
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.