Sportives and public transport

phreak
phreak Posts: 2,932
edited September 2009 in Sportives/audaxes/training rides
How do people usually get to sportives in Britain? The few I've attended seem particularly poorly served by public transport, especially with most being held on Sunday. I'm doing the Hampshire Hilly Hundred this Sunday and the earliest train from London doesn't arrive in Winchester until around 20minutes before the final start time. Add in the four miles to ride to the start, registering and all that and it'll be a real squeeze.

Not exactly ideal preperation for such an event.

Is this the norm or do people all drive to sportives these days?

Comments

  • ru--
    ru-- Posts: 27
    I have the same problem. Unfortunately, it's just really tricky without a car given the locations of most events. I have hired cars to get to sportives before but the cost soon becomes prohibitive.

    Why not try going the night before with a tent?
  • wastrel
    wastrel Posts: 55
    One for next year maybe - the North Cornwall Tor HQ is only 3m from the mainline train station and has free camping - with on-site grub available the night before and in the morning before the start.
    Good event too :)
  • roger_merriman
    roger_merriman Posts: 6,165
    tour of the black mountains starts ends from abergavenny which isn't hard to get too from london though you'd need to stay over friday night.
  • phreak
    phreak Posts: 2,932
    Nowhere is hard to get to you if you want to stay over night :)
  • roger_merriman
    roger_merriman Posts: 6,165
    true but since it would be very early dash in a car, for a lot of places. staying over would seem a good idea.

    if your limited to places you can get to on the day via public transport, you'll end up with a very short list.
  • DaveMoss
    DaveMoss Posts: 236
    The Northern Rock starts near to Newcastle Airport, cheap flights from London would make this do able. Not so good if the use of public transport is for environmental reasons.

    Cumberland challange. You could use the overnight sleeper train to Carlisle
    Sportives and tours, 100% for charity, http://www.tearfundcycling.btck.co.uk
  • phreak
    phreak Posts: 2,932
    Had signed up for the vo2 event in Kent this Sunday but they have a latest start time of 8.15! The earliest train from London arrives at 9.15. I can understand you want riders to get round before it gets dark etc. but it really seems as though organisers don't think of these things.
  • jgsi
    jgsi Posts: 5,062
    if going on organised rides is your thing, then using trains , planes and .... is probably always going to be awkward... so if you are into mass rides, just hire a van for a weekend... double up with a someone to cut the costs if need be
    I think the environment can take it for a few times a year...
    apologies if you dont have driving licence and back to the drawing board
    either that or move to a part of the country where you can ride to the 'ride'.
  • phreak
    phreak Posts: 2,932
    Why don't organisers plan for public transport though? It seems something that could easily be done to increase the availability of the events. Most events advertise the nearest train station, but then don't allow you to get to them with Sunday timetables :lol:
  • MrChuck
    MrChuck Posts: 1,663
    Another question might be: Why should organisers plan for public transport?

    I hear what you're saying and as a non-car owner myself I'd very much like it of more things like this were within easy range of a train station, and I'd like it even more if they were arranged so I wouldn't have to stay over or get up too early either!

    But I think the reality is that trying to make this happen would severely constrain setting up and running these events if they're to be held in places you might actually want to go and do them, and the vast majority of people would still come by car anyway! So there's little incentive for the organisers to try too hard.

    Take the Dyfi Enduro- there's a train station 5 mins from the campsite, and in the 3 years I've done it I've only seen 5 other people arriving by train. There's usually over 600 riders so including me that's 8 from 1800-plus. (Although there aren't may trains it's possible there are more I haven't seen, but even if you triple it the point stands.)

    Not a huge takeup so it's understandable that it's not a priority for organisers.
  • patchy
    patchy Posts: 779
    I've recently taken to using Streetcar for sportives/mass events - get a couple of people together and actually the cost isn't that bad. I think for the sportive two of us are doing on sunday, it'll be around £35 each inc petrol - which isn't much more than the train tickets would be.
    point your handlebars towards the heavens and sweat like you're in hell
  • phreak
    phreak Posts: 2,932
    MrChuck wrote:
    Another question might be: Why should organisers plan for public transport?

    I hear what you're saying and as a non-car owner myself I'd very much like it of more things like this were within easy range of a train station, and I'd like it even more if they were arranged so I wouldn't have to stay over or get up too early either!

    But I think the reality is that trying to make this happen would severely constrain setting up and running these events if they're to be held in places you might actually want to go and do them, and the vast majority of people would still come by car anyway! So there's little incentive for the organisers to try too hard.

    Take the Dyfi Enduro- there's a train station 5 mins from the campsite, and in the 3 years I've done it I've only seen 5 other people arriving by train. There's usually over 600 riders so including me that's 8 from 1800-plus. (Although there aren't may trains it's possible there are more I haven't seen, but even if you triple it the point stands.)

    Not a huge takeup so it's understandable that it's not a priority for organisers.

    Sure, I can appreciate that wholesale changes wouldn't be worthwhile but the first train arrives at this particular one at 9.15, so we could easily be up and off by 9.30, yet the cut off point for registering is 8.15. Just seems a bit odd to me to have it so early.

    I did the Ride to the Horns over the summer and our train alone had around a dozen cyclists on it. It probably isn't an issue in most of the country as car ownership is very high but in London households with a car are generally in the minority, peaking with residents of the City where 62% of households don't have a car.

    It's very unlikely for Londoners to have a sportive within London so a bit of travel to the regions is likely, it just seems silly to make getting to such events so difficult. Most events have train stations nearby (or within riding distance), it just takes a bit of thought over Sunday timetables.
  • bompington
    bompington Posts: 7,674
    Most events start early to minimise disruption to traffic. The Etape Cal starts at 7am & there isn't the slightest chance of public transport, but the whole event is pushed strongly by the local council & tourist authority, so they make you register the day before anyway to guarantee you stop over.
    I can see how it's frustrating if you do sportives regularly as a kind of glorified sunday club run, but for those of us for whom it's an occasional treat, staying over is part of the fun.
  • phreak wrote:
    Why don't organisers plan for public transport though? It seems something that could easily be done to increase the availability of the events. Most events advertise the nearest train station, but then don't allow you to get to them with Sunday timetables :lol:

    Yes, part of the problem is that many/most events don't have later starting times. This is probably because they know most riders aren't capable of doing a 150 km distance in less than 7 to 8 hours (partly because it seems hardly anyone in the UK rides sportives cooperatively in time-efficient groups) and they need time at the end of the day for packing up.
  • MrChuck
    MrChuck Posts: 1,663
    As Le Commentatuer and bompington have suggested there are many other concerns than making it easy for people to get there by train, and given that very few people will do that anyway you can't blame the organisers for neglecting it.

    Their priority is running the event, not catering to a tiny minority. It's a shame but there it is.
    it just seems silly to make getting to such events so difficult.

    I'm not sure what you mean by this. It's an unfortunate (or perhaps fortunate, depending on how you look at it) fact that the most attractive areas for events are the ones with relatively little public transport, so it's not really fair to say that people organising events people want to do are "making it difficult".
  • phreak
    phreak Posts: 2,932
    MrChuck wrote:
    As Le Commentatuer and bompington have suggested there are many other concerns than making it easy for people to get there by train, and given that very few people will do that anyway you can't blame the organisers for neglecting it.

    Their priority is running the event, not catering to a tiny minority. It's a shame but there it is.
    it just seems silly to make getting to such events so difficult.

    I'm not sure what you mean by this. It's an unfortunate (or perhaps fortunate, depending on how you look at it) fact that the most attractive areas for events are the ones with relatively little public transport, so it's not really fair to say that people organising events people want to do are "making it difficult".

    This is the thing though. Most events aren't difficult to get to using public transport. Pretty much every event I've ridden this year has had a train station within a few miles of the start. The problem is that events don't take account of Sunday timetables and therefore render this option useless.

    As I've mentioned, it may be a minority of people outside of London that don't have cars but in London there are more people without cars than with them. I can fully appreciate staying over if the event was in Wales or the north but it seems absurd to do that when the event is in Kent.

    My personal experience has been that most sportives are trainable by around 9.30 on a Sunday morning, but that many have already shut off start times by that time. I guess whilst the events remain popular people without a car will be forgotten it just seems a shame when all we're generally talking about is half an hour extra at the start.
  • MrChuck
    MrChuck Posts: 1,663
    My point was more that there are other considerations for the times the organisers decide on apart from making it easier for people who get the train, and since the number of these people will be virtually zero it's not too surprising they don't bother.
  • You would have to assume as well that if "too many" people wanted to turn up to sportives on public transport then the network couldn't cope. Didn't Netwrok Southeast decide there were to be no bikes on trains on the day of the Etape Anglaise?
  • redddraggon
    redddraggon Posts: 10,862
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  • sheffsimon
    sheffsimon Posts: 1,282
    Not sure I could be arsed with public transport after finishing a 100 miler. Done 2 this year, both 100 milers and I certainly wouldnt have wanted to stand and wait for a bus/train/plane after them.

    Just want to sling bike in car, drive home, shower, lay on settee eating the equivalent of my own body weight in food (cheese sandwiches and tea, if I have a choice!), then sleep.
  • MrChuck
    MrChuck Posts: 1,663
    I've sort of got the opposite view- I couldn't be ar$ed to drive home!
    Waits for trains aren't usually too long, and then you can sit and relax, gaze out the window, eat and drink. Typically it's a timeof day when the trains aren't too busy and it's been a long time since I've had a serious holdup. Give me that over a couple of hours of monotonous motorway driving any day, especially if it's been an overnight event.