Please read below for details of arrangements on the day of the Ride:
Hopefully everyone appreciates and understands that the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved with the event is our #1 priority & responsibility, and therefore participants MUST read and adhere to the measures & instructions set out here in connection with the event.
We're returning this year to our very relaxed and leisurely approach at the start of the event, so the following measures apply:
Arrival at the Park & Ride
Riders will be able to set off any time between 8am and 9am so you're welcome to arrive at Silk Mills Park & Ride (TA1 5AA - see 'Event Info' page for map) from 7.30am onwards to get ready for the Ride.
This is a small event so there is no need to arrive particularly early, and you should only need 15-20 minutes to register and get ready to set off, so please factor that in to your plans for arrival at the start.
Toilet facilities will be available at the start area, and mechanical support will also be on hand for any last-minute checks or adjustments prior to departure (although all riders are required to ensure that their bike is roadworthy in advance of the Ride).
On arrival at the start area you simply need to turn up at the Registration desk to check in; collect your rider number & some cable ties; attach your number to your bike; and then, when you're ready, just make your way to the start line. And please remember that you don't need to bring any paperwork.
We'll be starting people off in small groups at short intervals, and there will be a very short start-line briefing to cover the most significant &/or last-minute notifications - otherwise, route-related information & advice is contained within the 'MIDDLE' section of this briefing below, and we'd ask you to pay particular attention when reading this.
The last time for departure is 9am, so you should aim to arrive at the Park & Ride no later than 8.30am.
Please remember that riders must abide by the Highway Code at all times, and it is incumbent on everyone to ride in a careful and considerate manner throughout. These are key parts of our CONDITIONS OF ENTRY - and it also makes the day so much more enjoyable for everyone.
And please remember not to drop any litter, wrappers, tissues or face coverings etc during the event - please keep such items with you and dispose of them responsibly in a bin at the earliest opportunity.
Please note that the first 20 miles or so of the route consist almost entirely of quiet, narrow, country lanes and riders are advised to proceed carefully - there will be very little traffic, however it's advisable to ride in single file for the most part through these narrow lanes. You should also bear in mind that these are country lanes and therefore you're likely to encounter some wildlife - pheasants, in particular. Proceed with care when you do see any animals in or near the road.
The remainder of the route is on wider roads but riders should still be alert to the possibility of animals appearing in the road. It's also the time of year when there's a lot of hedge-trimming going on, so please be mindful that there may be areas that have been recently cut and therefore there may be some light debris lying around.
The route direction will be clearly marked with large YELLOW signs with black arrows bearing the 'Great Weston Ride' logo, and the golden rule is to stay on the road you're on until/unless you see one of our signs indicating otherwise. There are several long, straight stretches so you may feel like you haven't seen a sign for a while, however don't be alarmed - there will be a sign every two miles at least (even if it's just a 'Straight On' confirmation arrow).
And you'll see a few 'CAUTION' signs along the way - these typically appear where there is a fast descent or narrow section coming up and they're there to help you to prepare yourself. Please make sure that you take note of these.
There will be experienced and fully-equipped mobile medical and mechanical support services available along the route - you're asked to be self-sufficient as much as reasonably possible while taking part in the event, however if you do encounter any sort of problem then please contact Event Control via the phone number provided (see below).
There will also be a broom wagon service available - please avoid using this if non-urgent recovery is required (instead you should contact any family or supporters in the first instance if they're with you on the day). However, the recovery service is there & available if needed.
We've arranged for TWO refreshment stops to be available on the route exclusively for the use of our riders on the day.
The first stop is at Brushford Parish Hall after about 27 miles - there will be toilet facilities, free tea & coffee, and the opportunity to top up water bottles at the hall, and riders will also be able to purchase hot & cold food & drink (bacon rolls, cakes, biscuits, etc). NB riders are strongly advised to stop here to top up on water at the very least before heading up onto Exmoor itself.
The second stop is at Exford Bridge Tea Rooms after 40 miles, and they will be open purely for GER participants. It's likely to be around lunchtime when most riders reach this point so, as well as a selection of cakes, they'll also have bacon and sausage baps available to buy. Water will be available to fill up bottles again and there will also be toilet facilities at the Tea Rooms.
Finally, please remember when cycling that it's most definitely not a race - so feel free to just go at your own pace and enjoy the route and the sights it has to offer.
The finish area has lots of open space and we'll be making full use of it to accommodate riders as well as any friends and/or family who would like to come along to cheer the riders home.
Event staff will be on hand to greet & congratulate riders as they cross the finish line, and upon finishing you'll be presented with your medal and also a token for your free food. And if you show your medal to the welcome team again just before you depart you'll also be able to collect a FREE bottle of excellent Sheppy's Cider to take away with you and enjoy at home.
Food & Drink
There will be food & drink facilities available all afternoon at the finish for the exclusive use of Great Exmoor Ride participants AND their supporters - so family/friends/supporters etc who are meeting riders are also more than welcome to access the facilities to purchase food and drink.
There will be bins available around the finish area so please use these to dispose of any packaging, tissues, cups etc responsibly and safely. Toilet facilities and drinking water will also be available at the finish.
Families/friends who are meeting riders at the end are able to park very close to the finish area - there are free parking bays along the seafront immediately outside the finish area and this is where people should park if possible, however we may also be able to allow vehicles to park inside the finish area but this would need to be at the far side of the field and well away from the main finish area.
Anyone who has booked transport back to Taunton after the Ride will have the option of three services, with intended departures at approx 1.15pm, 3pm and 4.45pm. (Naturally, times are approximate and we're somewhat at the mercy of the traffic - we'd ask riders to understand that we can't control this, but will do our best to run as close to these times as possible).
We don't want people to be tied to a set travel time and the possible anxiety that could cause, so the service will simply operate on a 'first come first served' basis for people with bookings. We've also allowed for over 100% extra capacity compared with the number of advance bookings received, so people will also be able to book the service on the day - however, priority goes to those who've pre-booked, so anyone booking on the day may have to wait for an available space.
To access the service, if you've pre-booked simply turn up at the coach when you hear the announcement that it's ready for passengers - you don't need a ticket, simply identify yourself (you'll be on the transport list), and then hand over your bike for loading onto one of the vans.
Or, if you're booking the service on the day, the transport manager will take your details and will get you boarded at the earliest opportunity.
Rider Support Number - 07956 858851.
If you need to contact us FOR ANY REASON please use the phone number above. This number will be printed on the front of the individual rider numbers collected at sign-in, but riders are also advised to enter this number into their phones in advance.
And all riders please note - vehicles left at the Park & Ride MUST be removed by 6pm latest (or when the last coach arrives, if later), after which time the barriers will be lowered & locked and exiting will be difficult.
Finally - enjoy the Ride, stay safe, be considerate of others, and have a great day out!