Ride London 2015

Dippydog2Dippydog2 Posts: 291
I am now an expert as I did the ride this year. :D

So, here's my list of things I would like changed next time around.

1. Pre-event communication. Too many emails
2. There was no GPX or TCX file issued officially. Yes, I know it's not a race but some of us like to see the profile, do a Google earth flyover, do some Street View and so on. Not difficult, costs almost nothing. They could do it.
3. Ballot timing. It's too late. I think the ballot opens in August, shuts quickly and then they take until February to announce. Absurd.
4. Excel is the far side of the moon to most people in the UK. To have to go there to collect a few stickers and a bin bag is ridiculous. I suspect the only real reason is to force us to go to the expo to buy more stuff we do not need at prices higher than online.
5. Making 20,000 people ride their road bikes across sharp grit such as that surrounding the start area is a nonsense. I saw half a dozen people fixing punctures in the starting pens and several more who managed a hundred metres from the start line before blowing out. Surely there must be somewhere with a smooth surface?
6. The telephone helpline. If you could get through you either got someone who rode a bike, knew how the event worked and gave good advice, or as I did twice got someone who probably had never seen a bicycle, could hardly string a coherent English sentence together and really didn't want to be there.
Email wasn't much better.
To the question "I am in Start area Blue and My partner is in Start area Orange. Our start times are very close. We want to meet up as soon as possible. Is it just a case of going a few hundred metres down the road and waiting, or are we on separate roads that do not join up for some time."
The answer was, "Unfortunately so I would suggested looking at the map and arranging somewhere to meet in the safest place."
Oh dear!
7. Enough was said of the 2014 thread about idiots going at speed too close to those they were overtaking. I can't see this changing no matter how much you legislate, educate, inform.
8. Getting to the start by car. The pre-event instructions advised drop off points. Supposedly if you went to one of these places the route to the start would be marked. The one I went to had no signage at all. Anywhere. It was a case of following other cyclists which worked well until the bloke in front admitted he didn't know where he was going. Mr Garmin had to save the day. Anyway, the drop off idea was stupid. The roads were empty and loads of people just drove to the Olympic park and were dropped of right there. Just in time to get a gravel puncture.
9. The start itself. Bit of a letdown really. I much prefer the way they do the Argus with more fanfare, music etc. it also seems a bit shambolic. Our start wave wasn't even announced. We were waiting for the one in front to go , walking forward and all of a sudden people jumped on clipped in and crossed the line. Timing was very off as well. We crossed the line 25 minutes late. Should have been 0700 or so. Closer to half past.
10. It was a little windy and very wet, but there seemed to be a lot of grumpy people riding. When in close proximity to strangers for an extended period of time I have been known to smile, say hello, make the odd semi-humourous comment and generally enter into the spirit of things. I got cold shouldered more often than not. Perhaps I shouldn't have worn that bright pink shirt.

Of course, there were many wonderful things but that's not the reason I am writing.
I will do the event again. Would just like to see some things changed.
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Posts

  • Curto80Curto80 Posts: 314
    I was in black A, which was timetabled to leave at 06.42. We rolled over the line at exactly 06.42. So in the 18 mins between my leaving time and your scheduled leaving time, a delay of 25 mins built up? Must have gone v badly wrong just after I left.
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  • Dippydog2Dippydog2 Posts: 291
    Curto80 wrote:
    I was in black A, which was timetabled to leave at 06.42. We rolled over the line at exactly 06.42. So in the 18 mins between my leaving time and your scheduled leaving time, a delay of 25 mins built up? Must have gone v badly wrong just after I left.

    Yes, clearly it is all your fault. :D

    Wasn't black in a completely different place to Orange?
  • chrisaonabikechrisaonabike Posts: 1,919
    Dippydog2 wrote:
    1. Pre-event communication. Too many emails
    Why on earth is that a problem?
    2. There was no GPX or TCX file issued officially. Yes, I know it's not a race but some of us like to see the profile, do a Google earth flyover, do some Street View and so on. Not difficult, costs almost nothing. They could do it.
    Agree with this. You can have mine from last year if you like.
    3. Ballot timing. It's too late. I think the ballot opens in August, shuts quickly and then they take until February to announce. Absurd.
    Disagree. For all we know all the hundreds of charities take a while to organise what they want - they must have their own application process. If the ballot results were announced more quickly, it would force their hand. Not hearing till Feb is a problem in what way?
    4. Excel is the far side of the moon to most people in the UK. To have to go there to collect a few stickers and a bin bag is ridiculous. I suspect the only real reason is to force us to go to the expo to buy more stuff we do not need at prices higher than online.
    No, apparently it's to get a much more accurate idea of how many people will actually be showing up on the day, so as to get the food/drink sorted out as accurately as possible.
    5. Making 20,000 people ride their road bikes across sharp grit such as that surrounding the start area is a nonsense.
    I took one look at the shite on the paths and walked my bike. No one held a gun to my head and made me ride on anything.
    6. The telephone helpline... Drop off points
    Didn't need theses so can't comment. Does sound a bit 20p for the swearbox
    9. The start itself. Bit of a letdown really. I much prefer the way they do the Argus with more fanfare, music etc. it also seems a bit shambolic. Our start wave wasn't even announced. We were waiting for the one in front to go , walking forward and all of a sudden people jumped on clipped in and crossed the line. Timing was very off as well. We crossed the line 25 minutes late. Should have been 0700 or so. Closer to half past.
    Mine (Orange M) was nicely announced, there was music, Box/Leith cancellation over the PA, started bang on time.
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • Curto80Curto80 Posts: 314
    Dippydog2 wrote:
    Curto80 wrote:
    I was in black A, which was timetabled to leave at 06.42. We rolled over the line at exactly 06.42. So in the 18 mins between my leaving time and your scheduled leaving time, a delay of 25 mins built up? Must have gone v badly wrong just after I left.

    Yes, clearly it is all your fault. :D

    Wasn't black in a completely different place to Orange?

    Dunno mate - maybe! We merged with another colour at the start, might have been yellow though. Interesting you had such a different experience though
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  • Dippydog2Dippydog2 Posts: 291
    Dippydog2 wrote:
    1. Pre-event communication. Too many emails
    Why on earth is that a problem?
    2. There was no GPX or TCX file issued officially. Yes, I know it's not a race but some of us like to see the profile, do a Google earth flyover, do some Street View and so on. Not difficult, costs almost nothing. They could do it.
    Agree with this. You can have mine from last year if you like.
    3. Ballot timing. It's too late. I think the ballot opens in August, shuts quickly and then they take until February to announce. Absurd.
    Disagree. For all we know all the hundreds of charities take a while to organise what they want - they must have their own application process. If the ballot results were announced more quickly, it would force their hand. Not hearing till Feb is a problem in what way?
    4. Excel is the far side of the moon to most people in the UK. To have to go there to collect a few stickers and a bin bag is ridiculous. I suspect the only real reason is to force us to go to the expo to buy more stuff we do not need at prices higher than online.
    No, apparently it's to get a much more accurate idea of how many people will actually be showing up on the day, so as to get the food/drink sorted out as accurately as possible.
    5. Making 20,000 people ride their road bikes across sharp grit such as that surrounding the start area is a nonsense.
    I took one look at the shite on the paths and walked my bike. No one held a gun to my head and made me ride on anything.
    6. The telephone helpline... Drop off points
    Didn't need theses so can't comment. Does sound a bit 20p for the swearbox
    9. The start itself. Bit of a letdown really. I much prefer the way they do the Argus with more fanfare, music etc. it also seems a bit shambolic. Our start wave wasn't even announced. We were waiting for the one in front to go , walking forward and all of a sudden people jumped on clipped in and crossed the line. Timing was very off as well. We crossed the line 25 minutes late. Should have been 0700 or so. Closer to half past.
    Mine (Orange M) was nicely announced, there was music, Box/Leith cancellation over the PA, started bang on time.

    Interesting, shows we had different experience. So not much consistency really.

    Emails. Someone has to dream them up, write them, send them. My issue is that they missed the needs of the target market. Not a biggie though.

    Ballot timing. I don't think this has anything to do with charities. The charity spaces are allocated separately. I would be interested to hear from the organisers about what the issues are. My charity got offered loads of places. They didn't have to confirm the numbers before the ballot announcement dates.

    Excel. If the only reason I have to go there is so they can work out how much food I need I will happily give them £50 to compensate for the £5 worth of food I got on the ride. Anything to not have to spend an entire day, and a ferry, and parking, and accommodation to pick up a bag of paper.

    I was in Orange K. 25 minutes late. How on earth was Orange M on time? Unless they didn't bother with alphabetical order.
  • chrisaonabikechrisaonabike Posts: 1,919
    Dippydog2 wrote:
    I was in Orange K. 25 minutes late. How on earth was Orange M on time? Unless they didn't bother with alphabetical order.
    My wave open, close and start times were 6.22, 6.52, 7.22 respectively.

    I wasn't paying attention, but my OH who was with me till just before I set off says that K went after M. So I guess they must have buggered up the loading around then.
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • chrisaonabikechrisaonabike Posts: 1,919
    Dippydog2 wrote:
    Excel....Anything to not have to spend an entire day, and a ferry, and parking, and accommodation to pick up a bag of paper.
    You could register on the Saturday - presumably you were staying that night anyway? How did the registration requirement mean you had any more expense than you already had by having to be there the night before anyway?
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • Curto80Curto80 Posts: 314
    Dippydog2 wrote:
    Excel....Anything to not have to spend an entire day, and a ferry, and parking, and accommodation to pick up a bag of paper.
    You could register on the Saturday - presumably you were staying that night anyway? How did the registration requirement mean you had any more expense than you already had by having to be there the night before anyway?

    I think the OP makes a fair point. I work in canary wharf and it was a bit of a pain even then. They could easily post the pack out with not a lot of effort. On the other hand this is the way it's been done in all the big city marathons I've done so it's hardly unique to Ride London.

    Personally I thought the organisation was decent enough. I knew better than to brave the bag drop facility but that did look a bit chaotic when I went past at 10.45 so can imagine it only got worse after that.
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  • chrisaonabikechrisaonabike Posts: 1,919
    Curto80 wrote:
    I think the OP makes a fair point. I work in canary wharf and it was a bit of a pain even then. They could easily post the pack out with not a lot of effort.
    So 5 minutes up the DLR is a bit of a pain? Rule 5, dude :)

    Picking the pack up in person also goes a long way to ensuring that the entrant is actually the rider. I bet there are loads of possible scams otherwise.
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • Curto80Curto80 Posts: 314
    Curto80 wrote:
    I think the OP makes a fair point. I work in canary wharf and it was a bit of a pain even then. They could easily post the pack out with not a lot of effort.
    So 5 minutes up the DLR is a bit of a pain? Rule 5, dude :)

    Picking the pack up in person also goes a long way to ensuring that the entrant is actually the rider. I bet there are loads of possible scams otherwise.

    :D yeah ok you got me. I actually went on the boat and the cable car to keep it interesting. Thoroughly pleasant experience. Guess I was just trying to make the OP feel better.
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  • chrisaonabikechrisaonabike Posts: 1,919
    On the subject of organisation, I'd make one change - enforce the no aero bar rule. It's possibly the one potential safety measure that would make a real difference, and be really simple to enforce.

    There are at least 3 opportunities to spot them - at the bag drop, at wave loading, and at the start line. You only need someone looking out for them and saying "you ain't riding with those, chum".

    Sure, some would get missed, but hoiking a few tw4ts publicly out of the start arena would solve the problem overnight.
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • Curto80Curto80 Posts: 314
    Does make you wonder what sort of total muggins reads that on the entry form and then thinks "nah, that can't apply to my aero bars" and goes ahead anyway. But then judging by some of the descending of Newlands Corner I saw on Sunday there are always a few total morons who just don't give a fook about anybody else.
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  • chrisaonabikechrisaonabike Posts: 1,919
    Curto80 wrote:
    there are always a few total morons who just don't give a fook about anybody else.
    Yes. By definition, total morons are not amenable to any form of reasoned argument. Sadly we don't live in a society where total disregard for other people stops you from breeding, but the next best thing would be to ban their arses.
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    Curto80 wrote:
    Does make you wonder what sort of total muggins reads that on the entry form and then thinks "nah, that can't apply to my aero bars" and goes ahead anyway. But then judging by some of the descending of Newlands Corner I saw on Sunday there are always a few total morons who just don't give a fook about anybody else.


    Turns out Jason Bradbury from my twitter (The Gadget Show) but he seemingly did the London Tri the week before, who's to say if they were used or not and he's just lazy...
  • Rich_ERich_E Posts: 395
    To add my own input on some of those points....

    4. This event can only happen if they have the backing of charities, sponsors and partners. They need something like an exhibition in order to get something out of it themselves. It would be nice if they could do it somewhere more central, but I can't think of anywhere that would work that fits the requirements. A similar exhibition space, like say Wembley Arena or somewhere is again not going to be very central. The other thing to remember is that they are expecting the actual numbers to be lower than the number who have actually signed up, so it makes sense that anyone registering a day or so before is highly likely to take part, compared to sending them by post all over the country and having no idea if they will show. It also means they can check the person registering is the correct person and there aren't issues with registration packs not arriving. There is at least some stuff to look at, plenty of freebies and there were some good deals (last year Conti had a good deal on tubes).

    5. With the grit at the Olympic Park, I didn't ride this year, but last year when it was more unfinished than it is now, they had some temporary walkways which you could use. Did they not have those this year?

    6. Nobody from the organisers is going to tell you that you can wait for friends somewhere, which is why they have the policy on not being able to switch waves, or missing the start etc. They don't seem to be enforcing this as they claim they would do, but if they made it public knowledge that you could swap start groups or wait at the side of the road as soon as you cross the start line, it would be chaos with everyone doing it.

    9. Last year there was music and a PA with MC hyping everything up.

    With the comments on friendliness, perhaps the weather got people down?
    There were of course less people out cheering and wanting high fives too.
    Plus last year, most of the chatting I did was with people at the stops while waiting for water or the toilet. If you were on a mission and weren't stopping, there is less time to appreciate that aspect of a sportive.
  • GrantmkGrantmk Posts: 39
    Dippydog2 wrote:
    I am now an expert as I did the ride this year. :D

    So, here's my list of things I would like changed next time around.

    1. Pre-event communication. Too many emails
    2. There was no GPX or TCX file issued officially. Yes, I know it's not a race but some of us like to see the profile, do a Google earth flyover, do some Street View and so on. Not difficult, costs almost nothing. They could do it.

    If you had read the emails you would have seen the reason they didn't issue a GPX file :wink:
  • PeatPeat Posts: 1,301
    The main thing that puts me off entering again next year is the faff of getting to ExCeL tbh. Last year I registered on the Saturday evening and it was 'alright', but due to other commitments, I had to go in on the thursday night from Oxford. That's 5+ hrs of my life i'm never getting back.... I literally only had time to walk in, pick up my bag and leave again if I was to make all my connections.

    Selfishly, how about having it at Earls Court? ;)
  • Curto80 wrote:
    Personally I thought the organisation was decent enough. I knew better than to brave the bag drop facility but that did look a bit chaotic when I went past at 10.45 so can imagine it only got worse after that.

    Having spoken to one of the many great volunteers, the bag drop was affected by the shorterned route as it meant riders started arriving an hour earlier where under normal plans they would have used that hour to sort out the bags.
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  • jrduqueminjrduquemin Posts: 795
    Dippydog2 wrote:
    I was in Orange K. 25 minutes late. How on earth was Orange M on time? Unless they didn't bother with alphabetical order.
    My wave open, close and start times were 6.22, 6.52, 7.22 respectively.

    I wasn't paying attention, but my OH who was with me till just before I set off says that K went after M. So I guess they must have buggered up the loading around then.

    I was in Orange M and although it was scheduled to leave at 7:22, we didn't start until gone 7:30 according to my Garmin. Still, it was a bloody good ride, and although it hooned it down most of the day, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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  • carbonclemcarbonclem Posts: 929
    Everything I witnessed worked really well. Sign on at the Excel was efficient (Saturday PM), bag deposit and collection was easy, start wave was bang on time (Blue M at 0700) with some music and banter from the MC. Route facilities and support were brilliant, though I didn't use anything but a couple of portaloos, and the secure bike park at the end did its job.
    The whole thing, for me, is a logistical pain living way out of London and having to get a hotel, drive into London on a day the roads are closed :lol: and then drag out to the Excel, but thats the nature of the beast. I can do a local sportive for £20 and drive there and park outside a changing room facility .... but its not anything like the same, so you put up with the hassles involved I guess. Maybe those who live and ride in the area see it differently?
    Anyway, I hope to do it again, and can't really think of much that could realistically be improved on. :D
  • JohnW52JohnW52 Posts: 34
    The Excel centre is a bit out of the way but as others have said any other viable location would be too and at least the Excel is pretty close to the ride start so that most staying over on Saturday night are in or around East London. I'm lucky in that although I live 230 miles away my son lives in London so I can get free accommodation. He's even now been good enough to find a lovely girlfriend who lives only a mile from the start and has a spare sofa bed!
    I was in Yellow H at 8am and left pretty much bang on time.
  • ManOfKentManOfKent Posts: 392
    To get this thread back towards the original topic, the ballot opens next Monday and will close after 100,000 entries. I think I read somewhere that there will be 36,000 riders next year.
  • chrisaonabikechrisaonabike Posts: 1,919
    ManOfKent wrote:
    I think I read somewhere that there will be 36,000 riders next year.
    Clearly not enough crashes this year for the organisers' liking.

    It took them two and a half hours to get 24000 away this year. What next, a 4am first wave departure?
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • Dippydog2Dippydog2 Posts: 291
    ManOfKent wrote:
    I think I read somewhere that there will be 36,000 riders next year.
    Clearly not enough crashes this year for the organisers' liking.

    It took them two and a half hours to get 24000 away this year. What next, a 4am first wave departure?
    I don't see the problem. The Cape Argus has 33,000 or so cyclists. First start 06:15, last start 10:00

    The one thing they do differently is a lot of seeding, so the faster riders are at the front. They have about 25 events that you can use to establish your times. No reason why we can't do that with UK sportives. And, if you have done a big overseas event, like Ride London, you can submit a time for them to use in seeding.
  • chrisaonabikechrisaonabike Posts: 1,919
    Dippydog2 wrote:
    ManOfKent wrote:
    I think I read somewhere that there will be 36,000 riders next year.
    Clearly not enough crashes this year for the organisers' liking.

    It took them two and a half hours to get 24000 away this year. What next, a 4am first wave departure?
    I don't see the problem. The Cape Argus has 33,000 or so cyclists. First start 06:15, last start 10:00
    Well a 10am cutoff would push the elite race back by an hour and a half, that may be ok.

    But I was more thinking about the congestion with 50% more bikes on the lanes - and in particular the hills. Even spreading it out more, there are plenty of choke points. With 50% more bikes, there will probably be a more than 50% increase in crashes, and the slightest hold up will cause big queues. Even last year with nowhere near as many, it still took a long time to get past some of the crashes.

    It will be a shame if you have to start at 6am to avoid a guaranteed walk up all the hills, as is the case now for the L2B. It will completely disenfranchise people like me - strong enough to make it round without having to walk, but not fast enough to get a really early start.

    If I have nothing but the prospect of walking up Leith Hill to look forward to, because of the mass of people on foot blocking the way, then I won't want to do it any more. It will become an event for the racers and the numpties.
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    Richmond Park felt congested with a start of 6:15! even with a very quick group Newlands was heading that way too.

    Can't imagine what 36,000 would look like. I'll be putting down a very fast ballot time to be clear of that mess.
  • paul2718paul2718 Posts: 471
    Start between 0600 and 0900. Last finisher at 17.00, pro-race finishes 17.45-1800. Minimum time limt is therefore 8 hours. How many riders can ride 100 miles in 8 hours on closed roads?

    If you do accurate seeding then the rider density constantly falls along the course, so you need to figure out the part of the course that limits the rider density, I guess the area about Leith hill, and set the departure rate to match.

    I would have thought 36000 is perfectly plausible. But the seeding or gridding needs to be honed, and not dependent so much on self-declaration. And it's more important not to have 'fast' people starting late than it is not to have 'slow' people starting early.

    It would be possible from a complete set of start/waypoint/finish times to make quite a nice model of actual rider density around the course. There's probably an academic paper in it for somebody.

    Paul
  • Dippydog2Dippydog2 Posts: 291
    edited August 2014
    The Argus has the elite riders going off first, not at the end in a separate race. Not so good for TV coverage, but I don't think that's an issue. The people that want most to watch it are recording it anyway as they are there. These days live watching is not necessary.

    This is what the start looks like.

    920d0b8223a1bdb141137707e9682035.jpg

    I think it's 500 per group. This picture is half. There is another 500 on the other side. Worked well. We arrived at the venue 45 minutes before the start, straight into a pre load pen and ended up right at the front of our group. And we started about 08:00
  • chrisaonabikechrisaonabike Posts: 1,919
    Have you noticed the relative widths of the roads in the two events?
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • Dippydog2Dippydog2 Posts: 291
    Have you noticed the relative widths of the roads in the two events?
    Of course. And as I just edited this picture is only half.

    And no sodding gravel either.

    We have a wonderful city. I am sure we can find a suitable start place.
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