As the days have got longer and warmer, many of us are spending more time on the bike and riding new roads.
One of the easiest ways of doing this is riding a Sportive.
Whilst there may be some readers who are “sniffy” about Sportives, I reckon for beginners and experienced riders a like, they have a lot to offer and are well worth considering adding to you schedule.
Here are 6 reasons I recommend considering adding a sportive or two to your calendar:
- Ride new places:
Sportives are a great way to get out of your routine and ride in different parts of the country without having to spend time guessing your route. Sportive courses tend to favour quiet and scenic roads that help you find the best spots in an area, allowing you to simply get on with enjoying the ride, whether you’re simply trying to get round or go as fast as you can.
- Easy social riding:
Sportives can make the most fun if you’re riding with a group of friends. None of you need to know where you’re going (you’ll all follow the signs) and being somewhere different can be a leveller as you’re all riding new roads. Bikes are great for camaraderie whether you’re going for a course record and smashing out a chain gang pace or simply spending quality time together in the great outdoors.
- They’re good for perspective…
It doesn’t matter how fit, slow or fast you are – on a sportive there will always be someone faster or slower than you. In fact even if you’re not feeling that fast, you’ll probably pass loads of people. If you’re slow on the flats, you might well find you pass people on the climbs but even if you don’t there’s always someone else to ride with, say “Hi” to or chase up a climb. It’s hard to be lonely on a Sportive.
- Don’t discount the short route….
Even when I’m riding at my best, I have some friends who are fast and experienced riders that deliberately choose the short course rather than the “Epic” route. We ride as fast as we can for 2-2.5 hours – it’s fantastic fun and even better on roads we don’t know. Some of these rides have been highlights of my riding year.
- Just focus on riding
The course is signed, there are feed stops, mechanical support if you need it, timing chips, it’s all there. Sportives are some of the most hassle free riding you’ll do. Turn up and ride at whatever pace you like, on your own, or with some friends, learning new parts of the country on roads that have been hand selected for your enjoyment. To me, it doesn’t get much better than this. The hardest part is getting up early in the morning to get there on time.
- Ride some of the most iconic rides in the world
Some of the world’s greatest races also run Sportives the day before, allowing you to ride the course on Saturday then watch the Pro’s race it on Sunday. Examples are the Tour of Flanders, Paris Roubaix, Amstel Gold, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and there’s the Etape de Tour each year as well, so you can try a Tour de France stage. Italy has Granfondos, which are high speed rides over stunning terrain, or if you want more climbing there’s the Marmotte or multi-day event’s like the Haute Route. Adventures of a life time are out there if you’re ready for them.
Have fun and enjoy!