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Ride London 2014

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Gkam84 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gkam84 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Ride London 2014
    Posted: 15 January 2014 at 1:55pm
Hello forum users.

Most of you won't know me, but I've been closely in touch with Ride London because of a petition I started, in response to one that looked to stop the ride.

Anyway, because I am also a recumbent rider, my contact kept me fully in the loop regarding the review that was happening.

Unfortunately, it has been decided that recumbents will NOT be allowed to take part in the Ride London in 2014.

I am awaiting further information about the review process, but I have been put in touch with another member of the ride team. Whom might want to get in touch with some recumbent riders in the area, to undertake a further review.

I shall post back in due course, in the mean time, I would be grateful if you could share the news around other forums you may use regarding recumbents.

Thanks

Keith
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AlanGoodman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AlanGoodman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 January 2014 at 2:02pm
Many thanks for the update Keith... Very sad though...

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JonD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 January 2014 at 11:50pm
(Yup, my old login worked, not that I've ever turned up to an event !)

>I would be grateful if you could share the news around other forums you may use regarding recumbents.

Hi, I'm currently going through the same process but was rather hoping to keep my powder dry (see bottom) until I had more information/spoken to the Event Director which I expect I'll post on the relevant facebook thread:

https://www.facebook.com/RideLondon/posts/711704792181092?comment_id=88475101

(Curiously a few other 'bent riders have made a similar query today or have found my posting, but none appear to be UK based :/).

so it may be just as well to hold off on the petition front for the time being ! - ISTR you started your petition since no-one else did.
(As an aside, I suspect most riders in Surrey just took the view - as I did - that Huggins was an inconsequential moaner and not worth the bother. The majority of drivers here are ok-ish, cycling's increased significantly in the last few years, and a recent consultation by SCC showed people to be broadly supportive of cycling - see the docs here :
http://www.surreycc.gov.uk/roads-and-transport/roads-and-transport-policies-plans-and-consultations/roads-and-transport-consultations/roads-and-transport-consultations-in-surrey/surrey-cycling-strategy-consultation )

Other than commuting in Surrey on the 'bent (Speedmachine FWIW), I ride in the Surrey Hills most weekends over most of the climbs concerned, with a small bunch of roadies, and know a reasonable amount of the terrain/roads in the area.
Funnily enough, Leith Hill isn't one of them 'cos we don't normally get around to it, tho' White Down Lane is, I suspect, rather nastier (and is one I do occasionally). Why I mention Leith will become clear(ish).

I've had a reply from the Social Media Manager, to the extent that due to Leith Hill being 14% in places and narrow, it's been deemed unsafe to mix slower climbing recumbents and uprights due to the volume of riders on the course. I've been given contact details for the Event Director, who I'll approach in due course (hopefully in the next few days). The decision was 'taken in consolation (sic) with the British Human Powered Club'.

So there are a few issues here - maybe Alan can help with the first ?

a) who did they talk to at the BHPC, and what was discussed/said ? (I suspect it's pretty innocuous and just confirmed 'bent rates of climb)

b) youtube footage for 2013 shows upright riders walking their bikes up both the wider and narrower sections (but for completeness I need to see if that's *all* footage - as I suspect - or just some). That's about minimum climbing/balance speed for a 2-wheel 'bent, any slower and I'd be walking anyway ! Certainly one club-mate in the small surrey club I ride with, rode it with no training, and walked up some of Leith herself, and said 'a fair number' of others also did. This would seem to indicate the 'slower climbing' argument doesn't have much creedance - but see d)

c) the 'health and safety' ruling is supposedly being reviewed as the event progresses (presumably year-on-year) but judging by b) I suspect that may be lacking.

d) I can get a 'more detailed explanation' from the Event Director -  the Leith Hill explanation may be only part of the story.

So until I've *got* that detail, I'm not (yet) starting along the lines of a petition  - I want the *full* facts of their decision - I don't want to get part of the story and allow wiggle room !

There's several avenues of approach, whether members of the London Assembly, SCC, my local councillor(s), or even someone like Chris Boardman, in addition to social media/petitions. Talking to the Event Director may point towards some being more relevant than others.

All that said - since we sound like we may be at similar stages of gaining information, there may be something to be said for a bit of coordination ! - are you able to say who you've had contact with so far ?

>I am awaiting further information about the review process, but I have been put in touch with another member of the ride team. Whom might want to get in touch with some recumbent riders in the area, to undertake a further review.

Well, they can find me on facebook for a start ! I'm the only 'bent rider that I'm aware of that rides the surrey hills regularly  - tho' there's a few guys on cyclechat that make the occasional foray (from which has sprung the london recumbent facebook group IIRC, which both I and Alan are members of). Other than in the Surrey Hills there's a mebbe 3 members of yacf that are in south london (and occasionally ride FNRTTC), and there's a Fujin rider in Chertsey (also surrey) that I've ridden with once, that commutes into London.
The facebook group has 62 members, tho' some are outside the SE (or even the UK), there's a least one other in surrey (Guildford)

Err..I think that's it for the mo' ;)

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gkam84 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 January 2014 at 12:21am
So you have spoken to Penny and gotten the same information as me, she's put to you to Kevin and he doesn't have much more to say about it ;)

As for the decision being taking in consolation with BHPC, that's bull...they only reason Penny know about BHPC, was through my conversation with her.

You won't get a more detailed explanation, because he doesn't seem to know much more than, Leith Hill is narrow and with the increase in numbers, they feel its dangerous to mix recumbents and uprights.

I'll post back if I get anymore information.

P.S. I'm not going to start a petition to get recumbents into Ride London, I am not that worried about it, just posted here to let fellow riders know.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AlanGoodman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 January 2014 at 8:40am
I'm not aware of any official (or unofficial!) discussions with BHPC.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JonD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 January 2014 at 1:02pm
Oh, I forgot another point - these may have been time-based - ie only opened after a certain time - but there was a short-cut across the the top of the Leith loop along the A24. Although this post:
http://www.cyclechat.net/threads/ridelondon-guide-and-info.136099/

would seem to indicate they *could* be taken at any time, and were mandatory after a cut-off time.
(FWIW there's also Pasture Wood Road that's a little further down the loop but misses out the main route Leith climb and and roadie 'traffic', but that's probably too much to organise..)


Gkam: - you have different contacts to me. The Event Director (and that of the London Marathon - it's the same organisers*) is Hugh Brasher, and I have a tel. no for him. The Social Media Manager was Helen Newman - tho' it's quite possible there may be more than one with the same job title title.

Who were the Penny and Kevin that you were in contact with ? - was that via email or phone ? I guess it's possible that Penny have known of the BHPC but that others did (I guess I could ask Helen Newman).

*there's also an issue with the way the organisers handle registration, and they've received criticism of it - you have to turn up at a London site to register - in the same way as with the London marathon. Which is unlike any other cycling event I know of, and would appear in part to have resulted in a high number of dropouts..
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cyclesafety/article3817614.ece
Further to the above article, I actually got the nod of a late place at the end of last may, but could find little on transport/parking or the supposed bike courier service, even posting on Ridelondon FB - seemed very poor for such a late stage. With going on holiday the day after the event, I had little option but to not confirm my spot :( Not that it would have helped, it seems..

Alan: - anyone else that might have been contacted, do you think ?

Jon

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JonD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 January 2014 at 1:33pm
And just to confirm the seemingly arbitrary nature of their restrictions, from
http://www.cyclechat.net/threads/ridelondon-surrey-100-anyone.127542/page-4#post-2505895
 - I'm henshaw11 up the thread and missed this later post:
"There's a bit in the magazine which says that recumbents aren't allowed. Neither are hand-cycles, and tandems are only allowed if the person on the back is visually impaired. "

So kinda lip service to the right sort of disability, but two normal bods on a tandem aren't allowed ? Bizarre..

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GeoffBird Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 January 2014 at 11:06pm
Many thanks to Jonathan and Keith for keeping the organisers of Ride London honest and not letting them get away with any lazy prejudice. Without wanting to blow this up into a major human-rights issue, it is exactly through the sort of 'reasonable' and 'practical' arguments the organisers are using that unconscious prejudice operates.

You could put forward a fairly sound argument (notwithstanding Mike B's experiments) that the same rider would climb a very steep hill slower on a recumbent than a lightweight racing bike but this is absolutely no valid reason to ban recumbents from the event. You might equally say that uprights shouldn't be allowed because they may impede recumbents on the downhill sections. The argument that this is not equivalent, because upright riders vastly outnumber recumbent riders, goes against the basic principle of social justice that people should not be excluded simply because they belong to a minority.

Okay, maybe the last bit was a bit too Martin Luther King, but, on a more practical level, the link Jon gives to the forum suggests Leith hill is similar to Ditchling Beacon? I did the London to Brighton a number of times and always rode up Ditchling, mainly because, having riden the 50 mile to get there on a recumbent, I had more energy left than those on mountain bikes, who were mainly pushing their bikes up. I'm not sure of the fitness range of riders doing Ride London (The website says "The route of the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 is perfect for both club and recreational cyclists. Slower cyclists can enjoy a challenging ride while faster riders will relish the opportunity to pit themselves against the country’s top amateurs."), but I guess it would vary more than the climbing capabilities of the bikes. Why don't they take a lead from Audax UK, who have been doing this a lot longer and seem to have no issues with recumbents?

The organisers of events like this need to ask themselves if they are really encouraging cyling or just supporting the burgeoning and very profitable Tour-de France-Replica industry. After all, if we are going to tackle the prejudices against cyclists then we must first face up to the prejudices within cycling

Edited by GeoffBird - 16 January 2014 at 11:08pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JonD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 January 2014 at 5:48pm
Thanks for all that, Geoff - so far they *are* getting away with it, but I shall see what I can do..

>You could put forward a fairly sound argument

That's exactly it - there's no real criteria for uprights or the ability of their riders, so that extent their argument is an utter crock - and youtube footage goes to prove it. And indeed, I'm always sitting on the brakes behind uprights on descents. In terms of general fitness I expect that the majority might climb ok, but of ~20k riders there would be far more walking than probably the total number of 'bent riders applying - let alone actually getting a place through the ballot.

Yeah, it's not exactly a human rights issue or quite making it over into a straight 'disability' argument, perhaps, but in addition to the 'not the right sort of bike' nonsense there's also the point that of the handful of 'bent riders I've met or chatted to, the majority had some sort of issue - neck/spine/nerves/saddle sores etc - that meant riding a road bike difficult or impossible. Mine is neck muscles which go into spasm. Although having not knowingly met any of the bhpc members, I don't know if that's true for much/any of the membership..my interest in 'bents was piqued *years* ago via an article on trikes in Cycling Plus, well before any injury.

I'm not entirely sure whether banning handcycles doesn't fall foul of disabilty legislation, but the fact that there's a separate handcycle GP event establishes a distinct separation I guess. Yet there's no equivalent for amateurs..or to quote from their website:

"Celebrating the legacy for cycling created by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games"

...so where do the Paralympics figure ?


>The organisers of events like this need to ask themselves if they are really encouraging cycling or just supporting the burgeoning and very profitable Tour-de France-Replica industry. After all, if we are going to tackle the prejudices against cyclists then we must first face up to the prejudices within cycling

I had something similar in mind, but that's better ;) One point I was hoping to accentuate was along the lines of the quote you gave re inclusivity (or lack thereof).

I guess the other thing that hacks me off is that c/o the UCI and much mainstream cycling, 'bents are seen as a bit oddball and weird - which in itself doesn't bother me - but there's no need for that to be the case, and for some it could be the difference of maintaining some level of fitness or not at all. Hiding them from view* via the Ridelondon policy just compounds the issue. One could argue that the Freecycle event is a better ..err..avenue for public awareness, but there's the risk of them as appearing as funny/novelty/circus bikes and no more that that. Far better to see a few doing some - ok, maybe *trying* in my case - roadie-chasing ;)

*I was going to write ' - albeit it limited', but one guy in my cycle club spent a lot of time slapping kids hands - in a good way ! - along the barriers..and of anyone, it's kids that you hear 'cool bike' from..

Anyhow..I shall try to collect my thoughts, a few postings, assorted scribblings which I've held back from Ridelondon, review youtube footage and formulate a script  - with anticipated answers/weasel-words - for calling 'em next week !

(edit - almost forgot - I used to be a bhpc member but never got my lazy backside along to anything - not mention feeling slow ! Mebbe I still am, but hopefully I'll make it along to Hillindon at least, this year, and maybe as a member ;) )


Edited by JonD - 17 January 2014 at 5:53pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GeoffBird Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 January 2014 at 11:12pm
Would be good to see you at Hillingdon Jon. You may well find that you are faster than you think, partly because few of us are that fast and because the thrill of racing brings out reserves of strength!

You make a good point about how recumbents add greatly to the inclusivity of cycling, by giving people with medical conditions that make conventional cycling impossible or at least very uncomfortable the opportunity to ride, whether it be with 'standard' recumbents, adapted trikes or handcycles.
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