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What do you need to ride London Edinburgh London? Matt Page's bike and equipment for 1,500km self-supported classic

Check out the set-up that has turned Matt's Cannondale SystemSix into an ultra-distance Audax machine

After a five-year hiatus rather than the usual four due to Covid, London Edinburgh London is back for 2022 with a route that is over 1,500km in length, with close to 2,000 riders setting off in the early hours of Sunday morning to take on the iconic challenge. 

As has been the case since its inception in 1989, this self-supported Audax event is described as a 'cycle ride' rather than a race, however the 125 hour cut-off means many entrants will be looking to keep the pace brisk. That certainly appears to be the case for road.cc and off.road.cc contributor Matt Page, who has chosen an aero road bike as his weapon of choice. 

> Matt Page breaks world record for most castles visited in one week by bike

There are no real rules or regulations on the bike or equipment required to take part, and unlike some Audax events mudguards are not mandatory. While the ethos of the event is to do it self-supported, there are control points with facilities to keep riders in check, including food, drinks, tools and mechanical support, and even dormitories and showers at some of them. For navigation there are no route markers, with riders choosing to follow the GPX files provided, or go traditional and use route cards. 

Matt's choice might be far removed from your usual Audax bike and not exactly primed for taking on huge distances, but he tells us the Cannondale SystemSix is a bike he's spent a great deal of time on, and is confident will get him to the finish in under 100 hours. 

The bike and finishing kit

London Edinburgh London 2022 Matt Page bike top tube

For the impatient amongst you, let's start with a full spec list of the bike and equipment: 

Cannondale SystemSix
Shimano Dura-Ace 9170 groupset 
52/36 Hollogram chainset
11/30 Cassette
Scribe Aero Wide+ 60mm carbon wheels
Continental GP5000 TL 25mm tyres
Repente Artax GLM saddle
Enve SES Aero handlebar
Enve Aero extensions
Kalloy Uno stem
Favero Assioma Duo power meter pedals
Specialized Rib Cage II side access bottle cages
Straight Cut Designs custom frame and top tube bags
Dr j0n DeWidget top tube bag stabiliser 
Exposure Strada MK10 AKTIV front light
Exposure TraceR rear light, with Racewear Direct seatpost mount 

As we've mentioned already, the heart of the rig is a Cannondale SystemSix frameset, a bike built for speed with deep aerodynamic tube profiles. It's fitted with a full Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9170 11-speed groupset, with a 52/36 chainset and 11-30 cassette. The brakes are also Dura-Ace, with smaller 140mm rotors chosen.

While some higher end off-the-peg SystemSix bikes feature the KNOT integrated handlebar and stem, Matt has opted for a more traditional set-up. The Enve Aero handlebar features mostly internal cable routing and a Shimano EW- RS910 Di2 junction box fitted to one bar end.

london edinburgh london 2022 matt page enve aerobars

Matt has fitted Enve Aero clip-on extensions, a choice that prioritises comfort over speed with thick padding running the length of the bars to take pressure off the palms. 

Matt Page London Edinburgh London 2022 bike 2

The wheels are the Scribe Aero Wide+ 60, fitted with 25mm Continental GP5000 TL tyres set up tubeless. Favero Assioma Duo power meter pedals are fitted, although Matt says he will not be looking at the power at all during the ride, instead choosing to pore over the data afterwards. 

London Edinburgh London 2022 Matt Page straight cut bag

Some parts fitted specifically for the event include a custom Straight Cut Designs frame bag and top tube bag, with narrow profiles to give plenty of knee clearance and maximise the internal space on the 54cm frame.

A neat addition is the Dr j0n DeWidget top tube bag 'stabiliser', a mount that fits under the top cap to provide a secure attachment point for top tube bags, designed primarily for bikes with a low stack height. 

Matt Page London Edinburgh London 2022 Bike Check frame bag

Matt's frame bag will include a large 20,000 mAh battery and items of extra clothing for warmth and rain protection. Pictured above is his frame bag spares that will be stored at the event bike checks, including a spare GPS computer, more nutrition and spare charging cables. All repair spares, including tubes, tools and patches are in the rear saddle bag. 

Matt will be relying on the Wahoo Elemnt Roam for navigation, and lighting is provided by Exposure with the Strada MK10 on the front and the TraceR at the rear, the latter held on with a 3D-printed Racewear Direct seatpost mount. For some extra visibility, a reflective Safety Pizza hangs off the back of the Repente Artax GLM saddle

Drop bags

All riders taking part in London Edinburgh London are given two small bags, which are taken to the rider's control points of choice. Within the bags riders can put extra spares such as food, clothing or anything else that might be needed to aid the forward journey. With the control points visited twice – once northbound and again southbound – it means there are four points that a rider can access personal items.

Matt Page London Edinburgh London 2022 drop bag

Matt's drop bags include extra inner tubes, a spare jersey, base layers and some electronics to ensure all devices can be charged and used throughout the event; although most of the space will be for nutrition, with carbohydrate-rich sources such as gels, chews and energy drink powder prioritised, plus some denser comfort foods included. 

You can dotwatch London Edinburgh London here, and Matt – who at the time of writing has already passed the second checkpoint at Boston – is number A16. Check back for Matt' write-up of his London Edinburgh London experience in a few days' time...  

Would you choose a bike like this for an audax? Let us know your thoughts in the comments as always. 

Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.  

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17 comments

Avatar
Woldsman | 1 year ago
2 likes

Very well done, Matt.  An extraordinary achievement in 66 hours.  

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HoarseMann replied to Woldsman | 1 year ago
0 likes

An incredible ride. I've just looked at the leaderboard and 9.5 hours after he crossed the line, nobody else has finished! The ETA for the next rider over the line is looking to be 1pm, over 12hours after Matt.

Now I know this is not a race, but that is impressive!

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to HoarseMann | 1 year ago
2 likes
HoarseMann wrote:

An incredible ride. I've just looked at the leaderboard and 9.5 hours after he crossed the line, nobody else has finished! The ETA for the next rider over the line is looking to be 1pm, over 12hours after Matt.

Now I know this is not a race, but that is impressive!

It's always a race

Avatar
HoarseMann | 1 year ago
2 likes

Blimey, Matt's going well, looks to be leading the field!

Also, a documentary on the LEL that's worth a watch https://youtu.be/g9vMSW7nQ-g

Avatar
Secret_squirrel replied to HoarseMann | 1 year ago
1 like

If I'm reading the results right he monstered Walesduro last month. 

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HoarseMann replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago
0 likes
Secret_squirrel wrote:

If I'm reading the results right he monstered Walesduro last month. 

You're right, over 15 mins ahead of second place at the top of the board across the 10 stages. Clearly on form!

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to HoarseMann | 1 year ago
0 likes

Although as this is an official rule

Quote:

The route is just over 1500km long, and you must keep to the route at all times

And currently he is way off track, I suspect he will have to back track and lose alot of the progress he had done.

 

Avatar
HoarseMann replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
0 likes

Oh no, I saw that. Seemed a much better road, cuts off 3 miles and about 1000ft of climbing. I just thought he'd done his route homework and all that was required was to hit the control points.

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HoarseMann replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
0 likes

Just had a look at the streetview and it's a real easy one to miss. The route takes a right off the main road to St. John's Chapel to get to Alston, yet if you know you're heading to Alston, that goes against the road signs...

https://goo.gl/maps/XG9EERrfLHkNn6cQ6

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pockstone replied to HoarseMann | 1 year ago
1 like

I took a look at the dots last night and it looked like Matt wasn't the only one to miss that turn. Immense ride anyway, with or without a shortcut... and not even halfway yet!

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Secret_squirrel replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
1 like

At least he didnt go as far off course as No 35.

 

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CAF2012 replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
2 likes

That is (I think) the Yad Moss original route - the ride rerouted because of roadworks, but faster riders were able to take the original route before the road closed, apparently.

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HoarseMann replied to CAF2012 | 1 year ago
0 likes

Yes, that is Yad Moss, I think you are spot on there. Just checked the roadworks website, replacing a cattle grid apparently!

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pockstone replied to HoarseMann | 1 year ago
2 likes

I think I would have risked pushing the bike around a missing cattle grid to avoid an extra 7km and 180m of climbing, 'road closed' sign or not.

But then I'm the sort of bloke who would avoid riding 1500 km from London to Dunfermline and back just by staying at home for a few days.

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HoarseMann replied to pockstone | 1 year ago
0 likes

There's even a gate next to the offending cattle grid... https://goo.gl/maps/g6qNuR9T6tWL7WSs8

So unless there was a load of work going on, then getting around it would have been possible.

Apparently one rider lives in Edinburgh and will cycle past their house at the half-way point! I want to know if they managed to keep riding, I'm not sure I would have managed it! https://twitter.com/LEL1500km/status/1555911326039515136

Avatar
Matt Page replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
1 like

Over Yad Moss we were made aware of a road closure that was in place from 0700 on Monday.

Before the event it was said if we got there before, we could use either. On the return the road closure was in place, so every rider will have used the diversion.

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Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago
1 like

Looking forward to the write up. Good luck Matt!

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