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Bentham News – The Open Wheel West Riding Classic 2017
The Open Wheel
In 2010, me and my brother Brendan entered a sportive with some friends in the Peak District. It was a really good event but we both thought that we could organise a better event in our beautiful home county. So we did. Every April since then we’ve held The Open Wheel West Riding Classic sportive in Clapham and we’re now in our 7th year.
The West Riding Classic starts and finishes at Clapham Village Hall and there are three routes to choose from: Short (33 miles), Long (65 miles) and Extra Long (75 miles). The next event is Saturday 22nd April 2017 and costs £30 to enter.
A sportive is an organised, non-competitive cycle ride. Essentially, it’s the cycling equivalent of a 10k run, half-marathon or marathon. The routes are signed and there is first aid support, a sweeper van (that picks up anyone who has given up), a timing system, mechanical support and – most importantly of all – a feed station. Many cyclists will enter dozens of sportives a year and will seek to improve their fitness, their personal best times, their ability to climb hills etc.
We try and take as much of the ‘tech’ side out of cycling as possible because we believe it is more fun that way. So instead of a high tech GPS timing gizmo, our riders get a race card and manually clock-out and clock-in for the official times. The times of every rider are hand written in the Official Open Wheel Timing Book which has all the times for all riders over the years and can be browsed at the start/finish station. We like to call this ‘analogue cycling’.
Feed Station – No litter. No Gels.
Typically at a sportive feed-station, riders will have access to scientifically tested carbohydrate gels, carbohydrate drinks, jelly sweets and soreen cake. Often feed-stations and cycle routes can be covered in the litter from cyclists energy products. However, at the Open Wheel feed-station we provide proper home-made food such as soup, barwise bread, unlimited tea and coffee and of course Maggie McSherry’s famous parkin. Last year the very brilliant Mandy Booth of Simply Delicious ran the feed-station for us and I’m very pleased to confirm that Mandy will be doing it again this year.
We think cycling can be enjoyed by pretty much everyone and our long-term goal is to make the West Riding Classic a free-to-enter event. We’re not able to do that now but we are expanding the categories and this year we are inviting riders of electric assisted bikes to enter for the first time. E-bikes will be able to enter the 33 mile route alongside the other riders. We believe we are the first sportive to welcome e-bikes to take part.
Good Causes – Cave Rescue and Goma Cycling Club
CRO – Each year, the Cave Rescue Organisation provide first aid cover for our event. In return we donate money from every ticket to the organisation. This year, £5 from each ticket will be donated. Cave Rescue are a volunteer Cave and Mountain rescue group based in Clapham and provide vital help to walkers, climbers, cavers, bikers and farmers in the Dales.
Goma Cycling Club – I was recently sent an article in The Guardian called ‘I only dream of bicycles’ about a fantastic cycling club in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Inspired by the article I contacted the journalist who in turn put me in touch with Guy who runs the club and funds their activities himself. As a result of our conversation we are now also donating £5 from each ticket to this fantastic cycling club. The money will be used to pay for breakfasts for the young riders and to help fund trips to Rwanda for competitions and fixing bikes etc. We hope to be able to raise more than £300. You can read more about the club here – https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/15/i-only-dream-of-bicycles-the-drc-cycling-club-offering-hope-and-breakfast
We always need volunteers at the feed station and at the start/finish. Volunteers get well looked after and it is a fun day.
If you’d like to know more about The Open Wheel and the West Riding Classic or if you’d like to find out about volunteering on the day please visit our website or get in touch.
Event: The Open Wheel West Riding Classic, 22nd April, 2017, £30
Website and tickets: www.theopenwheel.com
Contact: Michael@theopenwheel.com, Brendan@theopenwheel.com
Mandy (Simply Delicious): email@example.com, facebook.com/simpledeliciousbentham
Cave Rescue: www.cro.org.uk
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