Marlow Red Kite
Event: 31 August 2014
As the Marlow Red Kite launched in 2012, the organising club behind the event - Marlow Riders – already knew how a challenge could inspire people to go beyond possibilities.
When local cyclist Jonathan Smith invited friends to his sixtieth birthday in Paris – on the condition they arrived by bike – the celebrations were a catalyst for founding a club, which would go on to organise the Red Kite ride.
Eventually a party of 40 made it to Paris – some of which hadn’t picked up a bike in 20 years – and upon their return to Buckinghamshire the Marlow Riders were formed, ensuring the original group kept cycling.
With the ethos of welcoming all abilities, the club soon grew to over 100 members and in September 2012 the step to hosting a sportive was taken, attracting 350 riders.
With several committee representatives formerly involved in organising a half marathon with the Marlow Striders, the inaugural Red Kite Ride had a good grounding, however in 2013 the ambition was not only to nearly double rider numbers, but ensure every participant pre-entered the event.
The youngest finisher of the Marlow Red Kite in 2013 - Theo Currie, aged 10 - typifies the welcoming approach of the organising club
Following promotions, that ambition was realised and while many would be tempted to grow again, Jamie Baker - media officer for the Marlow Red Kite – explains that will not be the ambition for the 2014 event.
“We’ve capped entries again at 600 riders and expect that number to be reached well before the event in August” Baker explained, advising riders who want to take part to guarantee their place when entries are launched on March 10.
Encouraging entrants, Baker describes a 2014 edition that intends to build upon the success and good feedback of last year and make an even better event.
“That’s our plan” Baker states.
“We didn’t want to stretch ourselves too much; we probably could put on a show for more, but we’d rather consolidate and enhance the reputation of the event.
“We are not in a money making exercise; profits go to a nominated charity. The idea is to provide an experience for the rider that exceeds their expectations. To create a reputation where people hear about us and they deliberately want to come to us because we provide them with a really good day out.
“This year we want to build on this theatre, creating a better experience for the riders should they want to stay around afterward.”
Due to previous success, Baker details that the route and feed stations will go unchanged, allowing the organisation to focus on the delivery of the event itself.
“We’re putting our efforts into the after event experience, we’re trying to make sure the whole day, from the moment they park the car through the registration, through the event and after is as good as we can make it.
“One of the things we pride ourselves on is our friendliness toward everybody and that’s all to do with the ethos of Marlow Riders. We’re not a racing club, we’re a club of cyclists who love going out and cycling and this is our bit of putting something back into cycling.”
The scene at the 2013 Marlow Red Kite, where riders could relax post-ride
In line with that ethos, Baker is also keen to underline that the club takes its responsibilities seriously as part of the event – especially when it comes to rider safety.
“We’re mindful that we’re organising an event on public roads and we remind the riders of their responsibilities at the event” Baker explains.
“It’s not a race. We’ve enhanced the terms and conditions this year to make sure we reinforce our philosophy of riding in the correct manner on the roads.
“We don’t want to ruin it for people – some will want to come along and time themselves and they can do that – but within the guidelines that are set.”
Following the given advice, Riders will be able to experience routes of 50, 80 and 100 miles through the Chilterns, on a relatively flat route the includes the Aylesbury Vale and Thames Valley.
All the rides feature an optional ford crossing of the river Loddon – anyone wanting to get their feet wet should enter online.
For more information visit the event website via www.marlowredkite.co.uk
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