All Club Peloton rides – from our one day fully-supported rides to our multi-day cycling challenges – start with one thing: a recce. We spoke to Event Manager Rhian – who you’ll normally see driving the red Club Peloton van – about what goes into creating a Club Peloton ride.
“For our one-day UK rides, the first step is to suss out where the event is going to take place. It’s important that they are easy to access for the majority who live in and around London as well as being accessible for those joining us from further afield. Our multi-stage events generally have a finish location, such as a conference: it’s then down to working out which route and landmarks you’d like to target on the way. Myself and Chris, the Events Director, look after our own events and so it’s our responsibility to ensure everything is covered. There are many different aspects: from creating a route, assessing the terrain, finding stops and sourcing crew and ride captains, to risk assessments, dietary requirements and finding pubs that will allow anywhere up to 100 cyclists to use their loos!
I plot an initial route using Map My Ride and Google Street View, searching for potential cafes and lunch stops along the way. I’ll then head out in the red van, introduce myself to the start location venue and recce the route and potential stops. I will often make changes to the route once out on the road, and re-plot back in the office. I’ll also pinpoint particular climbs which are challenging but quiet enough to allow everyone to go at their own pace.
Back in the office, I’ll set up a registration page with details of the ride. The one-day rides coincide with one of our major events (e.g. Cycle to MIPIM, MAPIC or pedElle), and act as not only a training measure, but as a way for riders to see how the rides are organised and what to expect.
I’ll build the Club Peloton support team for the ride, including crew, medic and mechanic, ride captains and support vehicles, all of which are dependent on rider numbers. There’s also a risk assessment to consider, informing the police and getting insurance cover. It’s essential that everyone knows about the event, what’s happening, where we’re going and what’s expected of them. Timing is everything so it’s essential to get this right based on the audience and terrain or everything falls out of sync.
A back-up plan is always needed, crew need to be insured on more than one van and there always needs to be a van that can leave the peloton if they need to. There needs to be enough spare seats and space for bikes if people need to get off the road and if we happen to get an unexpected surge in riders like we did for last years Cycle to MIPIM training ride (read more about that here), then the crew and event as a whole has to be increased in scale to accommodate.
There’s always the ‘pack-up’ for an event and a check-list is essential to ensure nothing is forgotten. From radios (for the vans and ride captains), to flashing lights for the vans, first aid kits, bike racking and most importantly lots of bananas!
On the day, it’s always an early start. The mechanic, medic and crew arrive before the riders to get everything prepped so that once breakfast is finished and riders are briefed, we can get the show on the road as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The aim of the whole team – from the crew in the support vehicles to those Ride Captains supporting us on their bikes – is to ensure a smooth, safe, enjoyable and challenging day in the saddle for the riders. The recce and pre-event planning is the foundation to ensure it all comes together and happens as seamlessly as possible.”