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First sportive

Thinking of doing my 1st sportive, the Suffolk spring saddle to be exact. Never rode one before and I am nearing 60 but consider myself able to do the shorter ride quite comfortably. My biggest concern is I will be joining it alone. Are there many solo riders or do most ride in groups with friends.
I am more than happy to ride in a group, probably prefer it but are lone riders usually welcome to join a group. Hear stories of cliques and elite riders etc.
Wont be going at a super fast pace so how do you find a suitable group to tag on too, or is this a big no, no.
Got to sign up very soon so looking for a confidence boost I suppose, or someone to tell me not to do it.


  • I rode my first last weekend with a work colleague, a good experience but it seemed that an awful lot of people were riding alone and wanting to do so, staring at their Garmin!
    It was the longest ride I've done for around 15 years and I'll definitely do more, I only wish that more people would chat a bit. Maybe it's because they've never done any club run type cycling?
  • SMESME Posts: 348
    I rode an Evans Ride It sportive last year. I had done a couple of charity ride before with friends and family members, but this ride I done on my own.

    I chose to do a distance that I considered a 'comfortable challenge'. It was well organised with well stocked grub stops, and I enjoyed the chats with other cyclists - not every conversation was about cycling either.

    I had a great day, enjoyed the company I was in, and finished the day with a sense of satisfaction, both at my completed milage and of having entered alone but still in the company of lovely people.

    Try it and see - I think you'll have a good time, but you'll never know if you don't do it.

    Good luck,
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Nothing to worry about. Plenty of solo riders - i usually ride with a mate but we get split up sometimes and ride with other riders or groups.

    Dont worry about elites. Unless you're elite you wont be with them.

    Enjoy yourself.
  • mrb123mrb123 Posts: 2,833
    As above, lots of people ride them alone. You'll find that you naturally join and leave little groups as you go round. There's never any issue with that and I've always found that people are happy to chat if you engage with them.

    You'll get the odd group of club types steaming past in full chaingang mode but just leave them to it.
  • crescentcrescent Posts: 1,088
    Decide on your target time and aim for an average speed that will achieve it - trying to keep up with faster riders will demoralise you, staying with slower riders will leave you a bit underwhelmed by the event, in my experience. You will find that your natural pace will coincide with the natural pace of others. At some point you will find yourself amongst riders of similar abilities and aspirations and, even if you don't make a conscious decision to hook up with them, you will all cycle along more or less together. Good luck :D
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  • phreakphreak Posts: 2,178
    Despite large numbers of participants, most sportives are spent more in time trial mode than peleton mode in my experience. Having said that, on my first sportive I rode around with a stranger who since became a good friend that I've gone around Europe to various events with.
  • figbatfigbat Posts: 680
    I always go solo. I ride my own pace but inevitably end up in and around other riders of a similar pace. Some will chat, some will ignore, just like in life really. If I have drafted someone for any time I will then go past and give them a chance to draft me.
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  • rich_erich_e Posts: 389
    I find that the food stops also play something of a part in the experience, especially if the organizers have laid on good ones, such as in cafes or pubs that people actually want to stop at.

    I typically always end up doing these things solo, but at least with good stops, you can usually have a chat with people and then even if you are on the road on your own for the next few miles, at least when you get to the next one you are back with a group of people again.

    The only time solo riding can perhaps be a problem is when things don't go to plan.
    I once did a sportive which was quite small in organisation, things had been going fine for the first three hours or so until the guidance signs suddenly disappeared. I couldn't work out where I was supposed to go from the route map that was provided and couldn't see any other riders, so in the end I just used my Garmin to route me to where the finish was.

    Apparently some angry local didn't like the signs and so decided to remove them all, so quite a few people got lost.
    I suppose though that's also down to it being a small event and having a pretty basic map supplied.
  • capt_slogcapt_slog Posts: 3,442
    You might find that you naturally join a group going the same sort of pace as you, but I've never done this and I'm guessing it can be awkward.

    I normally ride with my son. We ride together more often than we ride alone taking 1/2 miles at the front, and while I don't want to sound precious about it, our pace has become quite carefully tuned. I know if son is struggling and he knows me, we push if we are able and back off likewise, and we feel we can both shout up. We've occasionally asked people to join us, if they look like they are travelling at a like speed, or struggling alone.

    But last year on a 100 mile ride, we were joined at 20 miles by a friend of son who got dropped by the speedier people he started with. He was a strong rider but all over the place in terms of speed, I found out around 10 miles from the end that he had no GPS or even a speedo, and that was (part of) the problem. Son was bollocksed at the finish because of it.

    @ OP I see that you should have done this by now, how did you get on?

    The older I get, the better I was.

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