6 Reasons to take on RideLondon-Essex 100

Are you a keen cyclist? Perhaps you want to get back out on the bike, and one of MS-UK’s RideLondon-Essex 100 participants, Shaun, shares his six reasons why you should join #TeamPurple this May and take on the challenge!
Sunday 29th May brings us the new incarnation of the popular Ride-London cycling event. The move from the traditional heartland of London and Surrey to London and Essex has been a popular one for some who prefer the more rolling nature of the course.
For others, riding a course with less of an elevation gain than previous ones, has led to a lack of interest. As an avid cyclist of over 20 years and a resident of Essex for longer than I wish to remember (I am an exiled Yorkshireman!) I feel that this lack of interest in riding around my adopted county is off the mark! I would like to offer the following considerations in defence of the new Ride-London course and how even the most dedicated mountain goats can have fun and be challenged.
1. Essex is not flat! You will be surprised with how rolling the terrain actually is and whilst we are not talking Box Hill levels of elevation, the combination of these rolling hills, plus the added effects of the wind on the more open sections of the course (more on that next) will pose a challenge in itself.
2. The wind – as mentioned above, the course has plenty of rolling hills, however there are also large section which are flat, open and exposed to the wind. Even on a calmer day the lack of natural cover from the wind can make cycling more of a challenge than you expect when simply looking at the elevation numbers. After all, in the low countries, the long considered home of cycling, they use headwinds as hill training!
3. A flatter course will mean that you are pedalling more often than you would be on a course where there are a number of substantial climbs, which whilst are demanding to ascend, will ultimately mean you can take a break on the descents. This will not be a feature in Ride-London Essex and will pose a new challenge for some in terms of managing the constant efforts required to maintain speed and cadence. Factor in the aforementioned effects of the wind and the result is a ride that requires a strategic approach in terms of ride management.
4. Strava segments. Yes, I know that Strava is like marmite for dedicated cyclists, however for those who like a challenge, find the Strava segments that are covered by the course and see if you can get close to the KOMs (King of the Mountain) that are currently recorded.
5. The beauty of Essex! For those who are new to Essex, you will be surprised at how beautiful it is… in parts! The countryside, the chocolate box villages, the lost lanes… they are all far away from the stereotypical media portrayal of this most picturesque of English counties.
6. Finally… it’s all for a great cause. Raising money for MS-UK whilst enjoying a ride with thousands of others, your peers and friends. What more could an avid cyclist wish for? Each and every penny raised will go towards providing vital support and services that many struggle to access elsewhere. Find out more about what MS-UK provide by visiting this webpage.