Sportive riding rocks. Cycles UK General Manager Rich reveals his competitive edge, and his love of a ride with marked directions, feed stops and mechanical support! Plus hear his top tips, advice & favourite gear…
Why does sportive riding rock, and why would you recommend getting involved?
"There’s a huge social aspect to sportive riding. The majority are marshalled, so no getting lost, plus the feeding stations and mechanical support. If you’re starting out you can’t beat the advice from your fellow riders - speak to them about their experiences and learn. It keeps you motivated and gives you an incredible sense of achievement. There’s a ride for everyone. And remember, it’s not a race! This is all about the best that you can do."
What are your top tips for the perfect bike to ride and must have kit considerations?
"Starting out, get a relaxed road bike, Cannondale Synapse, Specialized Roubaix or the Trek Domane. For new sportive riders it’s really about comfort, after all if you’re not enjoying yourself you won’t carry on. These bikes might be a touch slower, but this is all about you learning the ropes and growing to love the sport.
If you’ve dabbled a little in the past but want to really push yourself then you should be looking at a lower Specialized Tarmac, Specialized Venge, Cannondale Super 6 Evo or the newer Trek Emonda – these are out and out race bikes. The overall speed will be up, far more responsive and you’ll be able to really push for performance to the limit.
In terms of must have kit. Add a solid all-weather jacket to your usual gear, I ride in either the Chapeau Rain Jacket or the Altura Vapour and make sure you’ve got some decent nutrition such as Torq, and a reliable water bottle from Camelback.
Not vital, but recording the route via a GPS device means you can go back and re-visit stellar routes and adds to your sense of achievement."
What’s the big deal… why getting professionally fitted to your bike is worth it?
"We see lots of sportive riders through our stores, and they tell us that getting their bike bespoke fitted to them was the difference between taking part in a ride, and loving a ride. No more pins and needles, back pain, knee pain etc plus be as power efficient as possible. It’s a no brainer for me whenever I re-new my ride."
What would be your top local sportive rides?
"The Action Medical 100 rides are outstanding. With the Essex 100, Norwich 100, Suffolk 100 and Castle 100 Kent taking place throughout the season."