On day two of the Cycle2Cannes ride, our intrepid web editor reports on the peleton's progress through Kent
In 2007 the Cycle2Cannes bike ride gave Kent a miss but in 2008 the day was spent speeding through the outskirts of Swanley, Maidstone and Ashford on the A20.
It was not the most picturesque route but a day spent in the UK enabled the peleton to get used to the etiquette of a bunched ride on familiar roads.
Having hopped onto the cycling bandwagon a few years ago and completed a few competitive 100-mile rides I thought I knew fundamentals of riding in a group, but the Cycle2Cannes ride is a much more precise affair.
In sportives it tends to be every man and woman for themselves. As well as increasing the likelihood of taking each off at roundabouts this means riders rarely benefit from riding in organised peletons where they can hide behind each other from the wind.
Cycle2Cannes is the opposite and strictly regimental. We ride two abreast with no more than a cycle-length between you and the rider in front and if any gap appears in front of you it’s your duty to ride like the wind to close it. If you’re slow to react you’re likely to be shouted at by the peleton police.
The result is that the group rides together in a tight pack at speeds much higher than could be achieved with riders straggled out across the Kent roads. It also makes it much easier – you use 30% less energy when you ride in a group.
Here are a few other do’s and don’ts
- Do get up at 5am. Any later and the 139 riders before you will snaffle all the bread for the ride.
- Do use suncream. Yes, you can get wind burn in Kent on a cloudy day in early March.
- Do shout "hole" when you see a pothole so people riding 12 inches behind you know they’re going to have a jarring bump.
- Don’t walk down the coach steps in cleated bike shoes (personal advice).
- Don’t expect any sightseeing. There’s no time. It’s eat, sleep and bike, bike, bike. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Rider profile: Chris Vause of Maclay Murray and Spens
Why did you decide to ride? Good fun and cheaper than the air fare, just.
What's your bike? Condor steel frame with carbon forks (for comfort)
Biggest lesson? It’s too late to get fit by just doing the ride.
How long have you been cycling? Three years
Favourite ride? the ride up the East Coast of USA from North Carolina to New York.
Look out for Alex's up-to-the minute news on the Cycle2Cannes ride on our homepage