Published on 16/11/2017
Entry is open for next year’s Great Weston Ride and, following on from another very successful outing this year, the expectation is that 2018 will see a record number of entries for the ninth year running.
The West Country event has firmly established itself as an all-around great day out by bike and, with outstanding reviews and plaudits once again from this year’s participants, there is every reason to expect that more people than ever will rise to the challenge next July.
The spectacular city-to-coast route starts in Bristol and then takes riders through some stunning countryside and picturesque Somerset villages as it plots a course through the Mendips and across the Somerset Levels before finishing on the seafront in Weston-super-Mare, and the next edition is taking place on Sunday 15th July 2018.
The GWR has several distinguishing characteristics: firstly, it is very clearly an all-inclusive event that caters for and attracts all sorts of people – it offers something for everyone from absolute beginners undertaking their first big bike ride right through to regular club riders and seasoned sportive veterans, and there is always a wide range of bikes and cycling attire on display.
Another standout feature is the GWR’s innovative flexible route configuration – participants can choose from no fewer than EIGHT different route and distance options, and they simply decide what they want to do on the day itself. So there is plenty of variety on offer, which might also explain why so many people return year after year, and more inexperienced or occasional riders who start with the core route have the option to challenge themselves a little bit more each year if they want to.
There is also a strong focus on female participation – the infrastructure and the relaxed, informal atmosphere around the whole event are very female-friendly and around 30% of participants each year are women.
Liz Morrell from Thornbury near Bristol is one woman who was inspired by the GWR to take up cycling and she now cycles regularly and has completed a number of challenging rides:
“When I decided to take up road cycling, to give me something to aim for I signed up for the Great Weston Ride in aid of Prostate Cancer UK and it set off a new hobby and passion that has seen me lose weight and get healthier and fitter”.
Liz has also raised a lot of money for charity in the process, and charity fundraising is another significant part of the GWR itself – it is entirely optional but many riders do seek sponsorship and to date the event has helped to raise over £275,000 in total. Numerous different charities benefit each year and the event itself encourages as many people as possible to support its official partner, Prostate Cancer UK.
Event Organiser Darren McKimm comments:
“We’re delighted to see the GWR going from strength to strength, it attracts a wide variety of people and we like to think that it offers something a little bit different compared with most events. It’s challenging but it’s also very relaxed and there’s definitely a very friendly and inclusive feel to the event, and the beaming smiles on people’s faces at the finish are absolute proof that they’ve had a challenge but also a great day out, and that’s what it’s all about – achievement AND enjoyment”.
So with more and more people heading West each year to tackle the Great Weston Ride it looks like being another sell-out event in 2018 and another great day out for all who enter.
Further information, and details on how to enter, can be found at www.greatwestonride.com