We just love riding in sportive events because not only do you have the ability to hone your skills and push your training, but it's a wonderful opportunity to meet amazing people and share an exciting experience together.
Unlike many sportives in the UK, the RIDE IT series from Evans Cycles goes beyond the one-off summer specials and runs throughout the year. With a wealth of both road and mountain bike events across the UK, the RIDE IT series is certainly the one to enter if it's your first sportive or if you're looking to meet other cyclists and of course, if you're looking to have a brilliant day out on the bike.
Although women's participation in cycling sportives is growing, there's always room to boost the numbers further to really level out the gender playing field. So what better way to do this than to enter a sportive yourself. Here are a few reasons why the RIDE IT series is perfect for beginners, seasoned riders, family and total bike novices.
Sportives aren't competitive events but that that doesn't mean you can't set yourself a challenge. With a number of different distances to choose from for each event, not only can you choose a distance to train for, but a time you want to achieve it in.
If you're new to the world of cycling, then there are short enough routes to not feel overwhelmed by, but they offer just enough to sink their hooks in and kick-start your cycling addiction.
Explore new areas
One of the best things about the RIDE IT sportives is that you get to cycle on routes you've never ridden before and ones that you didn't even know existed. With so many events scattered across the UK, there'll be a number of road and mountain adventures just waiting to be discovered - perfect if you're looking for route inspiration.
With a majority of the RIDE IT events taking place on weekends, why not extend your stay to explore the areas and turn your sportive into a weekend getaway of adventure?
Mix it up!
If you usually don the baggy mountain bike wear, why not try your hand at something a little different - and vice versa.
RIDE IT sportives come in all shapes, sizes and disciplines. From smooth undulating road rides to muddy off-road excitement, and all the gravel in between, there's something for everyone to try out for the first time. Without any pressure and with the support of a welcoming community, what have you got to lose?
Make it social
Perhaps one of the best features of the RIDE IT series is the excitable crowds of cyclists each event draws. Men, women and children descend in mass with the goal to ride bikes and have fun doing it. With so many people out to have a good time, it's the perfect environment to make friends with like-minded cyclo-holics, which easily eliminates any single-rider fears.
Do you have a friend who wants to give cycling a chance? Then there's no better opportunity to get them bitten by the cycling bug than with a sportive event.
Who here rides for their mid-stop or post-ride cake treat? We sure do. When you're flagging on energy, there's nothing quite like a slice of cake to perk up the spirit and help you crack on with the ride. The feed stations along each route are well stocked with cake, water and plenty of sports nutrition supplied by High 5.
So stop for a break, a piece of cake and get refuelled to finish the ride with ease.
These things happen. Doesn't matter how prepared you are, mechanical failures can happen to the best of us.
Fortunately, you won't have to worry about that at RIDE IT events. With mechanical support on standby, you can call in your location and bicycle's ill-health for someone to come by and get you rolling again (hopefully!), if your bike cannot be fixed on the roadside, the support team will take you back to the event site for some consolation cake.
Ride with a pro
Sir Chris Hoy will be hosting and riding the HOY 100 RIDE IT sportive which will be taking place on Sunday, July 2nd.
Riders can choose between a 100km route or a 100-mile route which will loop and wind through the beautiful Cheshire Plains and challenging climbs around the Peak District. The Olympian cyclist, Chris Hoy will be riding also so, try and keep up!
Fun for all the family
At all the RIDE IT events, kids under 16 can ride for free when accompanied by an adult so it's the perfect way to get the family out on their bikes and enjoying a ride together. At many of the events, there are fun route distances of around 15 miles that are ideal for novice and younger riders.
Adult pricing starts from just £7.50 per rider for the fun rides or from £20 per rider for the longer distances which include mechanical support, feed stations, marked out route and the opportunity to meet some great people.
If that's not your cuppa tea, then how about...
Mini Sportive store rides! New for 2017, Evans Cycles will be hosting rides from selected stores around the UK. If you're not ready to enter one of the RIDE IT sportives and nerves are getting the better of you, then a store ride is the way forward.
A group of cyclists will leave the store, cycle on fully marked out routes with a RIDE IT member of staff to guide you. Distances vary but tend to be shorter than the regular sportive series, so they're perfect for gaining the skills and confidence required to progress onto the more challenging rides. The great thing about these local store rides is that you're likely to meet other cyclists in your area - perfect if you're on the hunt for a new cycling buddy. No pressure, no fuss... no problem!
Entry for the store rides is £10 per rider with finishers receiving a £5 voucher to spend in the store on their return. To find your local store ride and to sign up, check out the website here.
So what are you waiting for? Check out the RIDE IT website here for all the sportives happening around the UK this year and if you fancy a more chilled out local ride, then head here for the store rides in your area. If you have any questions, the FAQ section of their website is full of helpful information.