AMATEUR cyclists wanting to be the next Bradley Wiggins or Chris Hoy can take part in a festival of cycling at Blenheim Palace this weekend.
About 1,000 people will compete in a timed 60-mile or 100-mile Cotswolds course beginning and ending at the Woodstock palace as part of a “sportive” – an organised mass participation cycle ride – on Sunday.
Children and parents will also have the chance to ride around the World Heritage Site’s 2,000-acre grounds in the second annual family cycle day.
The new sportive event - promoted as a replacement for the former Bike Blenheim race – will take in a series of rolling climbs through Charlbury, Burford and Gloucestershire.
Personal trainer Caroline Dendy, 38, from Steventon, near Abingdon, will take part in the longer course and believes cycling has become one of Britain’s favourite leisure activities.
The married mum-of-two said: “Sitting on a saddle for four hours isn’t everyone’s idea of fun but we will get to see a lot and the views are beautiful.
“There seems to be more interest because of our Olympic athletes but the sportives have been rearing their heads in the past five years or so.
“Everything was very much running focused but then triathlons came along and people have got on their bikes.”
The family event last year replaced the annual Bike Blenheim event, which attracted up to 15,000 visitors – including Paralympic gold medallist Sarah Storey – but was cancelled in 2012 due to a lack of funding.
But the sportive event, organised by event management firm Kilimanjaro Live, offers the first chance for mass participation cycling again. Organiser Andy Townsend said: “The British success in the Tour de France and the Olympics has made a big difference – Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Chris Hoy are all big names.
“I’ve been riding a road bike for 25 years and the difference now in comparison to even six or seven years ago is amazing.
“It’s a great way of keeping fit for people who are a bit older and can’t play football or contact sports anymore.
“People say that cycling has become the new golf as a way of socialising.
“This event is a great way to get people cycling where they don’t have to worry about traffic and can enjoy going for a ride with friends through the Cotswolds.”
On-course marshals, mechanical support, first aid staff and feed stations will be available during the route.
There are no age restrictions for the family cycle day, but children must wear appropriate safety equipment and be escorted by adults.
Gates open at 6am, with the sportive event beginning at 8am. Visitors are free to cycle in the family event at their own leisure from 10.30am.
- For more details and to register for the event visit blenheimsportive.com.
Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
Send your Letter to the Editor: What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter for publication here
11:20am Monday 28th July 2014
What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter through the blue headline above.
Our top stories
Video: Mavis the sheep leading her flock's great escape through Chipping Norton ... and outwitting the police
2:10pm Friday 17th April 2015
MAVIS the sheep has been saved from slaughter after she attempted to lead her flock on an escape to freedom through the streets of Chipping Norton yesterday.
8:30am Friday 17th April 2015
THE parents of Liberty Baker said they were “devastated” the man whose dangerous driving killed their daughter was only jailed for four years.
12:30pm Friday 17th April 2015
THE mother of murdered Jayden Parkinson said she hoped her daughter’s memorial garden would be a place for the community.
9:53pm Friday 17th April 2015
Friends and family gathered this evening to remember Kyle Byfield.
1:06pm Friday 17th April 2015
A LORRY and two cars have crashed on the A34, closing one lane.
1:13pm Friday 17th April 2015
A MAN exposed himself to a woman in Deddington, near Banbury, police said.