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Today was the annual BHF London to Brighton Bike Ride, but 100's, yes  100's of cyclists rode the route without paying, how do you feel about that?

3 Clubs had large groups out, all riding for free

OXTED CC 

LONDON DYNAMO 

TADWORTH CC 

These rides costs a huge amount of time and money to organise, you get the benefit of marshalls, closed off section roads, feed stations, signed route. What if everyone road for free, the ride would disappear. 

I am absolutely disgusted with these 3 clubs and everyone else who rode the route for FREE today, are you so hard up with your fancy bike that you can't afford the entry fee. Anyone else agree with me? 

Please lets name and shame these people, one day you or a family member of close friend may need the BHF and you are too tight with your money to pay the entry fee. 

26 comments

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mc [26 posts] 4 months ago
3 likes

If it's an open road sportive, there is nothing you can do about people riding the route.

 

However, as you mentioned closed road sections, then it's up to the police to enforce that. Only those with permission should be on a closed road.

And if they're using feed stations, then it's up to the organisers/marshalls to ensure only those who have paid, get access to the feed stations.

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StoopidUserName [699 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

I've not rode it for a few years but the years I did I noticed the same, though the vast majority were not lycra based cyclists at the times I did it. Still pretty poor regardless. The congestion is bad enough at places anyway without people pushing in.

As for those clubs I'd send them an email - I highly doubt that their chairperson/committee would approve of their clubs name being dragged through the mud.

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PRSboy [566 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes

I agree you can't stop someone using a public road and it can't be helped if there are marshalls when you do it, but it seems odd to ride the whole route without paying on a day you know it will be congested with loads of probably inexperienced riders looking to raise money for charity.

And rather rude to take advantage of feed stations you've not paid for.  Or stealing, depending on your viewpoint.

I guess they wanted to impress the charity riders with their groups' prowess, as they blast past in their well-oiled trains. 

 

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Simon E [3847 posts] 4 months ago
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Did they deliberately ride the whole route? And stop to use the feed stations?

If I was involved in an official capacity I would write to those clubs. However, it probably won't change anything, you're probably pissing in the wind.

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Fishpastesarnie [37 posts] 4 months ago
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If true then its typical of the 'F*** you I 'll take what I want and somebody else can pay' of todays society.

If the 3 clubs have actually organised this as is mentioned above then that is no better than stealing directly from the charity money tins.

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Welsh boy [692 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes

I have a few issues with this topic. Sportives are nothing more than a licence to print money for organisers using public infrastructure (ie roads), some chuck a few drinks and snacks in to clear their conscience about the entry fee. What is the problem does wnight have with these 3 particular clubs, why just name them and not others, what evidence does he/she have that hundreds of people rode without paying? If you have evidence of that then why don’t you name and shame them yourself? If enough people paid for the ride to cover your costs (which shouldn’t be too much if this was a charity event and charitable people offered their time to help organise and marshal) how did a small percentage (a few hundred from an official figure of 15,000)of extra riders affect you?  Every rider on the road was increasing awareness of the good cause after all.  Their additional entry fee would not have made much difference to the £2 million raised. 

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jh27 [233 posts] 4 months ago
1 like
Welsh boy wrote:

Every rider on the road was increasing awareness of the good cause after all.  Their additional entry fee would not have made much difference to the £2 million raised. 

 

The London to Brighton ride has a 'recommended minimum sponsorship of £200'.  So it is the entry fee and £200 fundraising that they are theoretically missing out on - less the costs that a per rider (e.g. manufacturing medals, sending out registration packs etc). But the roads are public roads, and it doesn't cost the BHF anything if people exercise their right to ride on a public road.

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LastBoyScout [639 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

How do you know they hadn't paid and were definitely riding the whole route?

It's entirely possible that those clubs had groups of riders out on routes that cross the L-B, or even join it for a short section in places to link up other roads - although you'd think clubs of that size would have known about an event of that size and been able to plan alternative routes to avoid doing that if at all possible.

If that is what they were doing then, hey, you can't stop people using a public road and, having done it (officially), it's pretty easy to jump in immediately coming out of Hyde Park, if you haven't already sneaked in with the other starters. 

Any closed road sections/feed stations/other official bits should have been open only to riders with an event number, although it's going to be pretty hard/dangerous to stop specific riders going down closed sections when they're mixed in with everyone.

If they were taking advantage of just the signed route and marshalls and didn't touch the feed stations, or anything, then it would be nice to think they chucked a few quid in as a thank-you.

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Htc [146 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

I don’t see anything wrong with this at all.

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kil0ran [1695 posts] 4 months ago
4 likes

Nothing wrong with riding the route. Snacking at the feed stations yes, but not riding the route. 

Living in the New Forest I have several sportives on my doorstep through the summer months, are you saying I should keep off my local roads whilst they're passing through? I've certainly been out on regular Saturday/Sunday morning rides when I've encountered sportive riders. And with the thousands that participate it isn't like you can drop back and apply time trial drafting rules. Personally wouldn't dream of availing myself of the feed stops but its unlikely to be costing the organisers any money - no doubt Cliff and SiS pay a pretty penny to sponsor them.

(I should add that I'm a BHF-trained first-aider and I'm fortunate to still have my Dad with me 15 years on from multiple cardiac arrests)

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Welsh boy [692 posts] 4 months ago
1 like
kil0ran wrote:

I should add that I'm a BHF-trained first-aider and I'm fortunate to still have my Dad with me 15 years on from multiple cardiac arrests

Good on you kil0ran. My children have had a father for the last 8 years because of people like you; multiple cardiac arrests, multiple resuscitations from the big defribulator, the skills of the cardiac team and arrhythmia nurses and my very own defibrillator fitted in my chest. I am glad that there are people like you around, people probably don’t say thanks to you often enough so a big thank you from us all. 

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BehindTheBikesheds [3322 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

I organised a ride for three of us to follow the Stevenage circular yesterday, it's a CUK local event and would normally cost £8 (£10 for non CUK members) basically it pays for the Brevet populaire card and admin.

One of our party was visiting from Aus and is a keen campaigner like myself especially against helmets and the other guy his prospective SIL. I lent my Raleigh titanium to my campaigner friend and the other guy bought a bike for this ride and was an encouragement for him to use it for work (in London where he'd used the tube previously) so had only used it two/three times.

I knew of the route from years back and it's mostly on quiet roads but still we had plenty of shit passes, would I pay to have closed roads to avoid that? Well for one I think with the numbers (for our ride) it wouldn't be possible/feasible so just not worth it anyhow, but for a ride like L-B the closed roads is more about facilitating transport modes, a bit like building motorways for motors only. I simply wouldn't want to do a ride with thousands of others on a closed road anyway and L-B is notorious for the crowds and having to literally walk due to sheer weight of numbers never mind the head down noddy wanker chain gangs that people mention at every single sportive/charity ride. For the life of me I can't understand why cycling clubs would specifically target a day like L-B to go out on the same roads as so many others, this seems insane.

That said I couldn't give a flying one that they haven't paid, because unless there is a temp law to prevent people on bikes from using the highway then you can't stop them anyway so it's a none issue.

Oh and for a charity that pays its CEO £200k/year salary and always forces people to wear helmets on their rides yet that offers no protection in terms of claims on the ride itself (std for these orgs anyway), meh, wouldn't touch it with a bargepole anyhow.

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StoopidUserName [699 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

Just a small point - this event was happening long before what we now know as sportives were invented/marketed. It really is for people who don't ride often or at all and who see 50 miles as a big challenge...while raising money for charity (the only reason for the sportive).

The least people can do is pay the entry fee, it's not like (most) people in a club are riding £20 bikes and 2nd hand kit...they can afford it is what I'm saying. Plus there are thousands of miles of roads apart from this route on this day they could ride, else they could ride this route on the other 364 days of the year...

Just to emphasise the point - people are riding it without paying to get the experience they wouldn't get on any other day - that doesn't seem right to me.

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Zigster [33 posts] 4 months ago
5 likes

I live on the route. My road is closed in one direction that day so I have no choice but to at least partly follow the route if I want to cycle that day (or go anywhere by car).

I went out early, up and over the Beacon down to Brighton as I do quite often on a Sunday. I got overtaken by a group of very fast London clubbies (Dynamo, Dulwich Paragon and another I didn’t recognise - fast but miserable, unfriendly gits). No numbers so not official riders either. 

But what’s the harm? The charity bimblers are several hours behind so the roads are empty. I know because I also help out with the local feed station run by the Scouts. 

And that’s another point: the feed stations aren’t free like on a sportive. They are run by local groups like Scout groups who charge money for food and drinks. So if an “unofficial” rider did stop they would be supporting a charity that way anyhow. 

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peted76 [1585 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

I think that if a group of cyclists uses the infrastructure put on by the company who puts on this event then it's wrong. 

Using the feedstops and throwing your hands in the air over the finish is not cool. 

However if a group of riders just rides the route, missing out the start and finish and is self-sufficient (e.g. doesn't use the feed stops), then it's fair game to do so. 

I do think that the clubs aren't representing themselves well by 'poaching' the ride in club kit and would question why they thought it would be okay to wear club kit whilst doing so.

 

FYI I did the ride a few years ago for charity, while it's a nice enough route the car traffic takes away a lot of the fun aspect. Ditchling was the one high point of the ride (literally) the rest... meh. I remember thinking at the time that some of the cyclists I saw were not capable of riding this route in traffic and that it really wasn't safe for them or those around them.

 

I also know that the route is a 'regular route/ride' for a lot of local riders, in so much that it's the organisers who are actually treading on the toes of many local cyclists for their charity ride, maybe the organisers would be better off getting the support of those named local clubs as opposed to just turning up a couple of times a year to clog the roads up and frustrate motorists. 

 

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kil0ran [1695 posts] 4 months ago
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Welsh boy wrote:
kil0ran wrote:

I should add that I'm a BHF-trained first-aider and I'm fortunate to still have my Dad with me 15 years on from multiple cardiac arrests

Good on you kil0ran. My children have had a father for the last 8 years because of people like you; multiple cardiac arrests, multiple resuscitations from the big defribulator, the skills of the cardiac team and arrhythmia nurses and my very own defibrillator fitted in my chest. I am glad that there are people like you around, people probably don’t say thanks to you often enough so a big thank you from us all. 

Thanks - Dad's on his second ICD at the age of 80. Keeps banging on about how he's got all his NI contributions back now! Also has a titanium ankle (blame motorcycles for that). Was a regional-level TT-er in his day.

Glad you made it too - he was incredibly fortunate to have his in the car park of the local Co-op where a senior A&E nurse just happened to be shopping. Arrested twice more in the ambulance and then a couple of times more in the intensive care/cardiac high dependency. Also fortunate to have one of the best heart hospitals in the country down here in Southampton. Came through relatively unscathed considering he was flat-lined for around 7 minutes - was a perishing cold January day which may have helped. 

Whole family is resus-trained now. And soon we'll be at the level of Germany because FA is going to be part of the national curriculum from September 2020. Full resus training for secondary pupils and basic FA for primary (which I think makes sense - not many primary kids built for the physical requirements of resus). I think this will also have a positive impact on society because doing FA training is great for building empathy and self-confidence. When I did my full St Johns Ambulance training for work it was noticeable how emotional people got when faced with a pretty realistic scenario - will be a good experience for 14yos.

I've never had to use my training but wherever I am I check where the nearest defib is (there's an app for that - essential for cyclists). As cyclists we can potentially act as rapid-response, particularly in rural areas. Round here there are often ones on village halls, which tend to be close to popular cycling routes.

 

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Jack Sexty [127 posts] 4 months ago
6 likes

Hi folks, here's a response from Russell at Oxted Cycling Club: 

Yes, a lot of clubs do a very early morning dash to Brighton on some of the roads used by the BHF ride. A few points...
 

1) A few years ago, when I was with another club, we did this early morning dash and raised several hundred pounds from our riders. We sent the BHF (British Heart Foundation) a nice letter and a cheque which they banked, they didn't object.

2) Of course we don't want to take advantage of someone else's sportive, particularly a fundraiser, so we sponsor riders who are entered for the whole route. We raised several hundred pounds for BHF last Sunday, another club raised nearly £1000.

3) As a club we are doing charity rides all the time. We have helped a blind girl in our club who rides 'stoker' on a tandem raise thousands for her charity, Sparks. She and many other Oxted riders are in the Pru this year (link here). 

Also this weekend coming we have several riders in this incredible fundraiser. Amongst many charity rides we do is the 'Circuit of Kent', every year we have 40 to 50 riders in that.

4) Many of us have done the BHF Brighton ride in the past but it isn't good for club riders, there are just too many people, too many jams, too many accidents, too many dramas. We go down fast very early, using the almost empty public roads which we have all paid for many times over. We don't use any BHF facilities or feed stations and we turn right in Brighton, away from the BHF finish, our finish is in Hove. We return via a different route and are back home by 1/2pm... like nothing happened.

5) When marshals/police see us in the early morning, they always seem very excited at seeing fast pelotons flashing past. It's a different scene to what happens later!

6) As a busy club, we run six to eight volunteer led rides every weekend, fifty weeks a year, that's 300 to 400 rides a year PLUS midweek rides and many other events - so we more than do our bit for cycling, for the community and for healthy hearts. 

BHF could write to dozens of clubs saying 'don't do it' but I suspect people will simply still do the ride but not in club kit. The real problem is the 4/5000 (estimated by police) occasional riders who 'just join in' during the middle of the day.
 

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StoopidUserName [699 posts] 4 months ago
4 likes
Jack Sexty wrote:

Hi folks, here's a response from Russell at Oxted Cycling Club: 

Yes, a lot of clubs do a very early morning dash to Brighton on some of the roads used by the BHF ride. A few points...
 

1) A few years ago, when I was with another club, we did this early morning dash and raised several hundred pounds from our riders. We sent the BHF (British Heart Foundation) a nice letter and a cheque which they banked, they didn't object.

2) Of course we don't want to take advantage of someone else's sportive, particularly a fundraiser, so we sponsor riders who are entered for the whole route. We raised several hundred pounds for BHF last Sunday, another club raised nearly £1000.

3) As a club we are doing charity rides all the time. We have helped a blind girl in our club who rides 'stoker' on a tandem raise thousands for her charity, Sparks. She and many other Oxted riders are in the Pru this year (link here). 

Also this weekend coming we have several riders in this incredible fundraiser. Amongst many charity rides we do is the 'Circuit of Kent', every year we have 40 to 50 riders in that.

4) Many of us have done the BHF Brighton ride in the past but it isn't good for club riders, there are just too many people, too many jams, too many accidents, too many dramas. We go down fast very early, using the almost empty public roads which we have all paid for many times over. We don't use any BHF facilities or feed stations and we turn right in Brighton, away from the BHF finish, our finish is in Hove. We return via a different route and are back home by 1/2pm... like nothing happened.

5) When marshals/police see us in the early morning, they always seem very excited at seeing fast pelotons flashing past. It's a different scene to what happens later!

6) As a busy club, we run six to eight volunteer led rides every weekend, fifty weeks a year, that's 300 to 400 rides a year PLUS midweek rides and many other events - so we more than do our bit for cycling, for the community and for healthy hearts. 

BHF could write to dozens of clubs saying 'don't do it' but I suspect people will simply still do the ride but not in club kit. The real problem is the 4/5000 (estimated by police) occasional riders who 'just join in' during the middle of the day.
 

Quality response, kudos that club!

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alansmurphy [2287 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

I've jumped a couple of Sportives with varying degrees of guilt.

 

The Rourke Ride in Stoke over the Cat and Fiddle etc. - I had been badly injured in the July and didn't know if I'd make it. Roads i ride regularly and didn't use any of the additional facilities, donated what would have been the entry fee to their chosen charity.

 

E'tape Loch Ness - again a late entry attempt and only did part of the route because a fellow rider was too new for 100k. I would happily have paid but they wanted £200 additional charity fundraising a couple of weeks before the event and that wouldn't have been achievable. Again we didn't use feed stations or take the mick but slightly guilty as it was closed roads...

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Awavey [646 posts] 4 months ago
1 like
StoopidUserName wrote:

Quality response, kudos that club!

Really? Feels abit 'thou doth protest too much' in style, and probably could do with being rewritten at least once to make more clear consistent & concise points.

Club riders can ride this route any day they like,theres no need to hijack a sportive as I dont see what they gain from it.

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planetjanet [5 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

Oxted response is actually amazing. Bit cheeky but no harm done. Are people worried about wearing out precious tarmac?Hard to resist car free roads on Sunday morning. Wonder if they have many ladies do it. 

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jurassicjay [11 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes

I live on the route too. Its hard to resist my annual early morning Fathers Day reward ride over Ditchling Beacon and down the other side of the South Downs nto Brighton, safe in the knowledge that there will be far fewer dangerous drivers on the road than normal. It's daft to try and go anywhere in the car in Mid-Sussex on Fathers Day as roads around the route are often congested, so might as well join in the fun. BHF are set up and expect to take card payments on the Madeira Drive finish line so everyone wins.  

I wouldn't leave the house after about 0900 though - the Beacon will be  working to retain its world record as summit to claim the most cycling scalps!

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Boopop [44 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes

Much ado about nothing to my mind. Unless you can categorically prove that they did the whole route and/or used the feed stations, I do not see a problem. If it were a closed road sportive that would be a different matter. As it is this is an open road charity ride, the roads are still free to use by all motor vehicles and cyclists. If I was doing a cycling tour for example and picked roughly same route on the same day, would I be a bad person for not entering the charity ride? No, of course not (unless I used the feed stations of course, that's different!).

I've got two sets of footage of bad drivers to upload to the police in the coming days - I really don't think we should be pointing fingers on matters such as this when there's more important things to get riled up over, like vulnerable road users' safety and better cycling infrastructure.

 

EDIT: @wknight - Do you have any evidence that they were using the feed stations? You mention marshalls, is there some mystical way a cyclist can inform the marshalls beforehand that they should ignore them? Pfft.

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pastyfacepaddy [57 posts] 4 months ago
1 like
Awavey wrote:
StoopidUserName wrote:

Quality response, kudos that club!

Really? Feels abit 'thou doth protest too much' in style, and probably could do with being rewritten at least once to make more clear consistent & concise points. Club riders can ride this route any day they like,theres no need to hijack a sportive as I dont see what they gain from it.

Any day they like? You mean work and family life permitting? Also much easier to ride it on a weekend day as part of the usual family / cycling schedule.

Did you read the response? They haven't hijacked it but gone out early and fast.

 

 

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Rick_Rude [407 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

Did these club ride the entire, exact route? Have they been Strava police'd?

I once went out for ride and ended up on Leeds triathlon cycle route (normal people not the pro event) and found myself awash with dripping wet deviants. Funniest part was keeping up with some bloke on a TT bike with full aero helmet looking like The Pet Shop Boys circa the Go West era. I guess he felt faster wearing it.

I'm guessing there's no feed stations on triathlons so I'd have found nothing to steal had i stayed on the course?

 

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rob39 [25 posts] 4 months ago
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Personally I don't see an issue providing they don't use any services provided by the organiser such as feed stops etc. I have a love hate relationship with sportive, some are amazing well organised & excellent feed stations etc then others charge similar amounts and there pretty dire in what they provide.