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Bike Bath Organiser Interview

Bike Bath Organiser Interview

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Event: 22-23 June 2013


When it comes to organising a sportive, everyone knows the adage location, location, location applies. But a great location is only an advantage if you’re prepared to exploit what’s around you and for Richard Best’s Bike Bath, that’s exactly what’s been done.

It’s easy to see why Best describes Bath as a cycling centre of gravity. Home to Shift Active Media, Road.cc, Future Publishing, several good clubs, 12 bike shops within three miles of the centre of Bath, two tunnels, a crit racing circuit and a bespoke bike show, the town is also just 12 miles away from Bristol - the UK’s first cycling city.

Without taking breath, Best is confident that backdrop provides an infrastructure for all Bike Bath participants if they want to carry on cycling in the area. And with the scale of the operation in conjunction of the rides there’s every chance of that.

Where else is it possible to complete a sportive having toured a local bike manufacturers facility, seen British Army tanks up close and return to a feast delivered by a Michelin-starred chef?

Best’s motivation to create an event that went beyond arrows and tarmac was born out of a motivation to engage those in serious cycling clubs who have “always viewed with a certain amount of scepticism the new sportive market.”

Best’s motivation to create an event that went beyond arrows and tarmac was born out of a motivation to engage those in serious cycling clubs who have “always viewed with a certain amount of scepticism the new sportive market.”

“If we just laid on a couple of days of bike rides, I think it would attract some people but it’s a competitive market and I believe you have to work even harder at events now. I think there’s four areas you can really make a difference on” Best explained.

“The organisation and professional administration of the event, it’s as hassle free as you can make it. The routes have to be well marked. Third the feed stations have to be good if the money is paid. This year we have them as a showcase for local food and drink suppliers. We have gone to our supporters like the army and have them bringing a tank to the feed station that has been used in Afghanistan. Then we have the feed at Moulton bike factory where you can also take a tour.

“We’re making a real effort to make this not just a bike ride through the countryside, but a bike ride where riders have the opportunity to stop and see something a bit more interesting then a trestle table and a water bowser.”

Once fed, riders then have the chance to enjoy three presentations from cycling psychologist Dr Ian Walker, founder of the Cobble Wobble and the Bicycle Academy Andrew Denham and author of Cycling Science Max Glaskin – and that’s all before a second wave of rides on Sunday.

Best asserts that such a packed schedule is a result of feeling a responsibility to those coming for the weekend – even if some will spend the evening on the cobbled streets of Bath.

“If you’re hosting people coming to Bath for the weekend, you can’t leave these customers high and dry in the evening. Let’s lay on something that they can come to before they head out for a beer” Best resolves.

“We don’t have the terrain of the Dragon Ride or the Ride London spectacular but we’ve gone out of our way to make this a bit more special.

“I love the rigour of trying to make it work, to be different. To launch something, to make it a success quickly, well I enjoy that sort of business challenge. Already I’m thinking if this could this be done in another city; but first we have to prove that our concept works in Bath. With the Tour de France coming to Britain, on my childhood Yorkshire roads – something I never thought would happen – anything is possible.”