Here's where you'll find all the latest news and developments regarding the 2020 Great Weston Ride:
NEW! GWR Cycling Jersey
We've had lots of enquiries recently about GWR cycling jerseys so we've come up with a revamped design for 2020, and it’s fair to say that we’re very pleased with what we've seen so far! :)
We produced our first jersey in 2013, another version came along in 2017, and this is now just the third GWR jersey design - and obviously we hope everyone will like this latest incarnation.
We're just waiting on final samples to be sure that we're happy with everything and, once we are, we'll make them available to buy through our website, and in the meantime we'd just like to gauge levels of interest.
As before, the plan is simply to supply and deliver the jerseys at cost plus a modest amount on top as a donation to our charity partner, Prostate Cancer UK. Assuming that there's a good level of interest, the purchase price is likely to be in the region of £33-£36 (tbc shortly) including VAT, P&P and the charity contribution.
The jersey, in sizes XS to 4XL, will come with three rear pockets to carry your ride essentials AND an additional small zipped pocket for valuables and, initially, we'll be able to offer a level of customisation that includes zip options and a female-specific cut.
Subsequently, it's likely that there will just be a small stock of standard jerseys available in a more limited range of sizes on a 'first come, first served' basis and once they're gone - they're gone!
So, to help us with the order size & to get the best-possible price (the bigger the order, the lower the cost per jersey) we'd appreciate it if you could just indicate your level of interest in the jersey (obviously no commitment at this stage), and we'll then keep you posted:
Thanks - we'll confirm full details ASAP & make the jersey available to buy at the earliest opportunity.
We know that these are difficult and worrying times for a lot of people and you may have bigger issues to think about than the GWR, however we just feel that now is an appropriate time to update on where we're at and how we see things currently.
So let's just get one thing clear from the outset - WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE BEATEN BY THIS.
Here's our current assessment of the situation (as of 17th March 2020):
The recent step-change update from Government and its medical advisers seems to indicate that the new restricted movement/behaviour advice is likely to be in place for many weeks to come and, while we know it's certainly not welcome news, we feel that this has at least provided a small degree of clarity in terms of timescales for now.
So as things stand there's nothing to suggest that the GWR won't be able to take place as scheduled on Sunday 19th July and therefore we're continuing to plan for that to happen, and we would REALLY appreciate it if potential riders did likewise and continued to support us by entering as normal!
Other events that have been cancelled recently (eg the London Bike Show) are being re-scheduled and re-booked for July, and we take that as a further positive indication.
However, notwithstanding the above, we also think that it would still be prudent to explore other options on a contingency basis and we'll be engaging with authorities, partners and providers to that effect - it's obviously very complicated with lots of uncertainty, a plethora of events up in the air, and very many known unknowns etc etc, but our plan is to be as flexible and creative as we need to be according to the circumstances, and we're simply working on the principle that we will prevail. And we hope you share that same mentality!
So, while it's completely uncharted territory for all of us right now, we're determined to see the GWR happen when it's safe to do so and, frankly, it's important that it does for two very good reasons - we're sure that everyone will want to get back to normal as quickly as possible and a positive, healthy day out will certainly help the collective mindset; and on a very pragmatic level we also need to try to ensure that the GWR survives this so that we're still able to put it on in future years.
We firmly believe that the situation in the country WILL eventually improve and it's vitally important to remain positive and upbeat where possible in the immediate weeks ahead, and we hope (and expect) that enjoyable social events like the GWR will actually help people to recover physically AND mentally once a semblance of normality returns.
And, if things have calmed down by June but there's still some doubt or lingering confidence issues around public gatherings, we'll factor this into our thinking & processes and adjust on-the-day arrangements accordingly - all part of that 'creative & flexible' approach that will enable us to go ahead responsibly and safely.
We will, of course, continue to monitor developments and the relevant official advice/guidance/instructions as best we can in what is a fast-moving and fluid situation and, where necessary, we will adjust plans & thinking in response and advise accordingly.
But, amongst all of this, please understand that we're facing something completely unprecedented which, quite frankly, we simply hadn't planned for (the same as virtually everyone else), so if we get the odd little thing wrong, or if the 2020 version of the GWR is ultimately markedly different from what we've come to expect in recent years, we hope that you can bear with us. It's extremely challenging and stressful for all event organisers right now, and we're no different - but we ARE intent on triumphing over the current adversity!
We hope that this is of some help, feel free to let us know if you have any queries that aren't covered here, please be confident enough to enter the GWR if you can, and - most important of all - please stay safe, follow the official expert guidance, and try to remain as positive as you can through this for your overall wellbeing.
And we'll see you on your bike very soon :)
A Summer of Cycling - Sorted!
In case you didn't know, the GWR is now actually the centrepiece of a three-Ride series of fabulous West Country cycling challenges that span the Summer.
All three provide absolutely stunning routes and, importantly, they share the same relaxed, all-inclusive ethos, and they're also specifically designed to work individually AND collectively, according to how much challenge and incentive participants are looking for.
As standalone events each Ride has its own distinct identity and each one offers a different level of physical challenge, so there should be something for pretty much any adventurous person who's prepared to hop on a bike and rise to a challenge.
But the series as a whole is also quite deliberately designed to become more challenging as the Summer progresses - so, for those who want it, there's the opportunity and motivation to push themselves and their cycling to ever-higher levels if they choose to tackle two or even all three of these fab cycling events.
Here's how it works:
The Mendips Lakes & Lumps Ride gets the Summer underway as part of the National Trust's Top of the Gorge outdoor festival (recently ranked as one of the UK's best 'Adventure & Wellness' festivals by The Guardian newspaper).
It's the shortest of the three Rides and deliberately so, as it includes free entry to the festival (worth £15) so the aim is to get people back in good time to also enjoy some of the festival activities (as well as the FREE food & beer that we provide!).
The route showcases & explores some of the very best parts of the Mendip Hills AONB, but just be warned - with 850m of climbing (50% of which comes in the final 12 miles) it's quite deceptive and definitely still adds up to a very decent challenge.
The mid-Summer Great Weston Ride hopefully needs little introduction - it's a stunning route and a wonderful day out and, with EIGHT route & distance options to choose from, it has something for pretty much anyone on its own, as well as providing the opportunity for a step-up in distance and climbing for those who want it.
And, to round things off, there's the Great Exmoor Ride which is undoubtedly the sternest test - a spectacular route with fabulous views and simply a great way to end the Summer, but at 66 miles and 1600m of climbing it's not for the faint-hearted.
It's certainly do-able for determined people with a level of fitness and definitely well worth it for the HUGE sense of achievement, but even fairly experienced cyclists tell us it's a really good test of their legs & lungs so you need to be prepared to really earn your stripes on this one!
Now if that isn't a Summer to look forward to we're not sure what is - so come & join us for one, two, or even all THREE great days out!
You may have already seen that we've entered into the festive spirit and announced that we'll be giving away some cycling goodies worth around £100 as an Xmas present to one of the riders signed up for the 2020 GWR :)
Initially we were going to keep the contents of the pressie as a surprise, however there is in fact a huge amount of choice & personal preference involved with what we have in mind - so we've decided it might be better after all to let everyone know what's actually going to be in the box!
The goodies are very kindly being provided by Gary Harris Cycles in Bristol (Gary has been the lead mechanic for the GWR since Day #1) and the lucky winner will be able to choose TWO items from the Fabric range in Gary's shop - the first being a brand new bike saddle from a very extensive selection, and the second is the winner's preferred choice of quality handlebar tape which is available in a variety of colours.
Gary will be able to advise on & recommend the most appropriate saddle within the range, to suit the winner's individual riding style, and he will also fit both the saddle AND the bar tape free of charge, if required. There are options for men and women within the saddle range as a whole, and the saddle also comes with a 60-day fit guarantee so it can be exchanged if, for some reason, it turns out that it doesn't feel quite right.
So you can see why we need to reveal what's in the box - there's a huge amount of choice on offer on BOTH products, and everyone could seriously benefit from these goodies in terms of real 'on-bike' comfort! :)
And to be in with a chance of receiving this GWR gift it couldn't be simpler - it's definitely going to go to one of our riders, and everyone who is signed up for the 2020 GWR prior to the draw being made at 6pm on Sunday 15th December is automatically entered and in with a chance of winning.
So if you're going to be joining us in 2020 just make sure that you get your Ride entry sorted in good time to be in the hat for this - it would be kind of daft not to really, wouldn't it?! :)
2020 Rider Medal
The GWR enters its second decade in 2020 and we've come up with a pretty special rider medal design to commemorate what is yet another significant milestone for us :)
One of these fab medals will be waiting for each & every rider who crosses the finish line in Weston-super-Mare next July and it should serve as a permanent reminder of a great achievement AND a great day out.
Hopefully you like the look of it with its two iconic images of Bristol and Weston and, as ever, all you need to do to get your hands on one of these is to ENTER the Ride, get some training in beforehand (the sooner you enter the more training & preparation you can do!), and then it's all about going out and riding the thing on the day!
Once again, with at least EIGHT route & distance options to choose from, there should be something for pretty much everyone, so whichever route option you go for you WILL know that you've well & truly earned your medal by the finish - and of course it always feels that little bit easier if you also know that you've done a bit of prep & practice beforehand!
Please do come & join us if you haven't entered already and bring as many friends, colleagues, family, etc with you as you can - we see so many groups riding together now and it really is even better when you take on the challenge alongside a bunch of people you know!
So sign up NOW and your medal will be waiting :)
2019 Fundraising Effort
You may (or may not!) be aware that these days we organise TWO challenging West Country cycling events (the Great Weston Ride & the Great Exmoor Ride) that encourage riders to use their considerable physical efforts to fundraise for charities and other good causes, and we'd like to say a huge 'THANK YOU' to everyone who rose to one (or both) of these challenges and raised money this year.
We've now gathered as much info as we can on the overall fundraising effort from these two events and we're delighted to say that it looks like the combined fundraising figure for 2019 is over £45,000, which is an amazing sum and the largest annual amount raised to date.
This also means that in excess of £355,000 has now been raised in total for good causes by our riders since we started.
This fantastic outcome is entirely down to the efforts and commitment of sponsored riders and their generous supporters, and we would appreciate it if fundraising riders could share this news with their sponsors, together with our thanks and appreciation for EVERYONE who contributed.
As always, numerous different charities and causes benefitted from riders' efforts and exertions and every year we're pleased to see so many being supported, and we're also delighted to see that our official charity partner, Prostate Cancer UK, enjoyed huge support once more and has now received around £235,000 from its longstanding partnership with the GWR and, more recently, the GER.
Both we and the whole team at Prostate Cancer UK are extremely grateful for the tremendous support that has been shown yet again and we'd all like to say a massive collective 'Thank You' to everyone who has contributed.
Hopefully this excellent news provides the encouragement and inspiration for riders to enter and at least consider fundraising again next year - the GWR enters its second decade in 2020 and the GER is going into its fourth year, and we'd love to see that total fundraising figure hit £400,000 if at all possible!
THANKS AGAIN, AND LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU IN 2020 :)