Tour Ride NEC and Cycle Show

On Sunday I took part in the Tour of Britain Challenge Tour Ride and afterwards went to the Cycle Show exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham.

I won a competition via and one of the prizes was 2 free places at a Tour of Britian Tour Ride of my choice. Looking at the locations available, I decided to choose the NEC Cycle Show Ride as it was on at the same time as the Cycle Show and I was planning to go anyway. The ride included entry to the show plus half price parking. I invited John to do the ride with me and he accepted. Yay!

There were two ride lengths to choose from. 96km or 150km. I chose the 96km ride so that we'd have ime to look around the show afterwards.

The ride was set to start at 10am but during last wek I received an email to say it would now be starting at 8am, the same time as the longer ride. This meant having to stay nearer the event as travelling up from Eastbourne that morning would mean leaving at 3.30am!! My good friend Chris let me stay the night at his house so this wasn't a problem in the end.

The morning of the ride, I drove over to the NEC arriving at 7am. I got both our rider numbers and timing chips from the registration point and met John shortly afterwards.

John at the start

Once our bikes were ready, we headed back to the holding area in search of toilets, food and water. We found the toilets OK but food and water were a little more difficult. There was supposed to be food and drink at the start. There were some bananas but no water. When I asked, there was a quick scramble to go and find some. The nice lady came back with some bottles of water for us.

There was a lack of people at the start and as they were sending us out in batches of 50, we started the ride after a few minutes.

It was cold to start with and John set the pace early on. Having done 108 miles the day before, he was still too fast for me. It took me a while to realise he was trying to chase down a group ahead of us to help save our legs but kept dropping back to me when he realised I wasn't going fast enough. After a while I realised this and we joined a group. I managed to maintain a higher speed for less effort.

We arrived at the first feed station at just over one third distance. I filled up my drink bottles, used the facilities and grabbed some energy bars and flapjacks. When we got back on the road, our group leaders were no longer there so I was up the front of a much smaller group with John. The group didn't get back to the smooth workings we had before but I nearly always had someone's wheel to sit on, even if it was John's.

The second feed station never appeared and a few we were with were a bit miffed. I wasn't too bothered as I had enough food and drink but it would have been nice to stretch the legs.

We arrived back at the NEC, passing under the same gantry we started from. My official time was 3:17:08 and the Garmin registered the distance as 56.83 miles.

Once we'd collected our medal, goody bag and recovery drink we headed back to the car to secure our bikes and get changed.

Upon entering the Cycle Show, John was immediately taken by some old fashion bikes, something he went on about all day. We walked about a bit before getting some lunch at Subway.

We then proceeded to find Phill who was helping out a friend of his at the show. Thoroughly nice bloke (aren't all cyclists?). We chatted for a bit before heading off to see more of the show.
Me, Phill and John
We looked at more bikes and tried to hunt down a road bike with hydraulic disc brakes. We didn't find any. The closest we came was a couple of cyclocross bikes with hydraulic converters.
Cable to hydraulic disc brake converter
I then came across Olympic cyclist Lizzie Armistead. She was lucky enough to have the honour of winning Britain's first medal of the 2012 Olympic Games.
Lizzie Armistead
We looked at yet more bikes and bike stuff. Having made our way around twice we went back for a further chat with Phill. John left and not long after that so did I. Totally knackered from an early start, hard ride and walking around all afternoon. I drove home in the chaos that is the motorway network.

It was a tough but enjoyable day out.


  1. It was great to meet you both and you got to see more of the show in one afternoon than I did in four days! :o)

  2. Congrats .. sounds like you got a pretty good prize. We were at the cycle show too and hustling around as it was massive and so many brands to visit! Love when all the cycling nuts are under one roof.


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