Please read below for details of arrangements on the day of the Ride - these include the COVID-specific measures that have been introduced this year to enable the event to go ahead safely:
We're pleased that mass-participation, non-competitive cycling events have been sanctioned once again by British Cycling as of 5th September 2020 after detailed discussions with, and approval by, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.
Inevitably, in order to get approval for the resumption of this kind of activity in the current climate certain modifications and clear COVID-specific measures need to be introduced and implemented at events, and you can read the full guidance from British Cycling HERE.
Based on this guidance, we set out in detail here how we intend to operate the GER this year and what is expected - and required - of participants in terms of their behaviour in order to help us to deliver a safe and enjoyable event, albeit inevitably in a modified form compared to previous years.
Our approach is to try to balance the desire to deliver a 'normal' and enjoyable event with the overriding need to take reasonable steps to mitigate the risk of transmission of the virus, and compliance with the simple but clear measures and instructions below will enable us to do this.
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.
WHOLE-EVENT ADVICE & REQUIREMENTS
First and foremost, you MUST NOT attend the event under any circumstances if you are displaying the following symptoms, or have displayed any of these in the last 14 days, or have been in contact with anyone else displaying any of these in the last 14 days:
a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back;
a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual);
a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.
By attending the event, you are declaring that you are free from all of the symptoms listed above; you have been free for 14 days prior to September 6th; and, to the best of your knowledge, you have not been in contact with any person displaying any of the above symptoms in the 14 days prior to September 6th.
We've also produced a PARTICIPANT CODE OF CONDUCT for riders - it's important that everyone reads and adheres to this during the event. Similarly, we have a SPECTATOR CODE OF CONDUCT and we would ask riders to share this with any friends, family or other supporters who are planning to attend.
On the day itself, as an outdoor event the risk of transmission of the virus is relatively low compared with most other environments PROVIDED THAT everyone adheres to & follows established social distancing requirements and good hygiene measures AT ALL TIMES. Therefore these aspects are very much our focus and we set out below how we intend to incorporate them throughout the event.
So please read the following very carefully and ensure that you comply with all instructions on the day, with social distancing and good hygiene foremost in your mind throughout.
NB participants are strongly advised to carry with them their own hand sanitiser and face covering for the duration of the event to support these measures - and please note that face coverings will be necessary if you wish to use the post-Ride transport service or eg if you need to enter a shop en route to buy refreshments etc.
We normally have a very relaxed and leisurely approach at the start of the event, however in order to satisfy social distancing needs and to avoid any semblance of a large gathering at any point, this year the following measures apply:
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.
For social distancing purposes, if you're arriving by car please DO NOT park directly next to another vehicle - there are more than enough spaces available for everyone to leave an empty space between vehicles.
Please be aware that anyone who arrives very early will be expected to remain in their vehicle (or, if arriving by bike, well away from other people and away from the registration and Start areas) until shortly before they would like to start - this is a small event so there is no need to arrive particularly early, and it is imperative that we avoid any sort of prolonged 'gathering' in the Registration & Start areas.
You should only need 15-20 minutes to register and get ready to set off, so please arrive 'ready to ride' as much as you reasonably can. This would include toilet usage - toilet facilities will be available if needed, however in order to minimise contact points wherever possible we would strongly encourage everyone to use their own toilet at home immediately before setting off.
There will be a bike mechanic on hand at the start should anyone absolutely need any last-minute adjustments to their bike, but once again the expectation is that your bike should be roadworthy and ready to ride on arrival. Therefore this service should only be used if absolutely necessary due to the COVID situation.
To register for the Ride, please follow any signage or instructions and approach the registration desk one person at a time - and please don't duck under any barrier tape at any point. You're going to be cycling 66 miles so walking a few extra metres won't hurt! :) And you don't need to bring any paperwork.
If there's a small queue please ensure that you maintain social distancing by joining in single file and at a safe distance from the person in front - or even wait until the queue has reduced or disappeared.
As you approach the desk you'll simply need to identify yourself by name; you'll be marked as present by one of the event staff; and you'll then be able to collect your rider number & cable ties from a separate desk. You'll also be able to pick up a snack bar to take with you on the Ride.
Please don't approach within 2 metres of any event staff at any time, and once you've collected your rider number please continue around the building and away from the registration area.
Hand sanitiser will be readily available in & around the Registration area for anyone who needs it.
Once you've attached your rider number and you're ready to start please approach the start area by following the signage & direction arrows. We can only start people in groups of 6 max at short intervals, so if there are already several groups in the start area please wait at a safe distance until some or all of them have set off and there is sufficient safe space for you to move forward.
The start itself will consist of two parallel lines of riders that are at least two metres apart - you MUST approach the start line in single file in one of these two lines. You will then be set off together with a MAXIMUM of 5 other riders.
Our plan is not to have a start-line briefing this year, in accordance with British Cycling's guidance - route-related information & advice is contained within the 'MIDDLE' section of this briefing, and we will only convey any important last-minute information at the start.
The last time for departure is 9am, so you should aim to arrive at the Park & Ride no later than 8.45am.
The single most important new point to remember while riding the route this year is that you MUST NOT ride with more than five other people at any time and you MUST avoid forming a large group or peloton at any stage.
And when approaching another rider or riders from behind on the route you should wait at a safe distance until it is completely safe to pass and then do so quickly and continue to distance yourself from the other rider/s. You MUST NOT ride with or alongside anyone who either doesn't want or isn't comfortable with your company - please move forward or drop back to a safe distance if asked to do so by another rider.
More generally, 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 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.
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 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 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, however these should only be called upon if absolutely necessary to avoid any unnecessary close contact with event staff. Riders are 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 should it be needed - again, riders are asked to avoid using this if at all possible and, if non-urgent recovery is required, you should contact any family or supporters in the first instance if they're with you on the day. However, if it's needed the recovery service can be provided in a safe manner.
We've arranged for TWO refreshment stops to be available on the route exclusively for the use of our riders on the day, and both facilities are fully set up & operational in a COVID-secure fashion. Riders simply need to adhere to the existing measures when using these stops.
The first stop is at the Anchor Inn in Exebridge after about 27 miles - the Inn is in a beautiful location right by the river with lots of outdoor space to maintain social distancing, and they will be opening especially to look after our riders.
There will be toilet facilities and the opportunity to top up water bottles at the Inn, and riders will also be able to purchase hot & cold drinks and cakes 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 be offering bacon and sausage baps from their BBQ. Water will be available to fill up bottles again and there will also be toilet facilities at the Tea Rooms, and there's plenty of outdoor space for social distancing while resting & fuelling.
Please note that both stops will be operating a cashless payment service, so a bank card or electronic payment method will be needed. And the expectation is that riders should remain in an outdoor environment while using the stops (other than for the use of toilet facilities).
Finally, please remember 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 the available space to make it easy for everyone to maintain social distancing while enjoying and celebrating their achievement in completing the challenge.
There won't be a finish line 'funnel' or anything similar - instead the finish line will be wide open and when you cross the line as indicated by the 'FINISH' flags you should stop and dismount immediately.
Event staff will be on hand to greet & congratulate riders as they finish but they'll do this from a safe distance, and upon finishing you'll then be directed towards a table where you can collect your own medal and also a token for your free food from the BBQ. 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.
The medals, tokens and cider will all be purely self-collection and please endeavour to avoid touching hard surfaces where possible when doing this (these surfaces will be cleaned regularly in any case as a matter of course).
On reaching the finish you're requested to move away from the finish line area as soon as possible to allow room for others to arrive safely and, if you have family or supporters meeting you at Blue Anchor, please inform them that on this occasion they MUST stay away from the immediate vicinity of the finish line - they should wait for you instead safely away from the finish area and other people. Event staff will also convey this message to supporters on the day, if necessary.
And please remember that you MUST NOT gather or sit in large groups at the finish - the current guidance states that you should not socialise (even outdoors) in a group of more than six people from different households, and gatherings larger than six should only take place if everyone is exclusively from two households or support bubbles.
Event staff will monitor the situation proactively and if you're asked to disperse or to stand further apart at any time for safety reasons we would appreciate your cooperation and understanding.
Food & Drink
There will be food & drink facilities available all afternoon at the finish for the exclusive use of Great Exmoor Ride participants & their supporters, and the food and bar providers will have systems in place for safe provision of their services in line with COVID guidelines.
You MUST follow any instructions provided and maintain social distancing requirements at all times while queuing for these services. And once you've collected your food and/or drink please move away from the BBQ/bar area to a suitably-safe space.
Please note that family/friends/supporters etc who are meeting riders are also more than welcome to access the facilities to purchase food and drink, but they must also follow & adhere to the systems in place for queuing and safe service.
Any supporters wishing to purchase food and/or drink on the day should be aware that these will be 'cashless' services so they will need to use a bank card or electronic payment method.
There will be bins available around the finish area so please use these to dispose of any packaging, tissues, cups etc responsibly and safely. And hand sanitiser will be readily available in & around the finish area for anyone who needs it.
Portable toilets will also be available at the finish and riders are requested to use the hand sanitiser provided before & after use of these facilities.
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 up to FIVE services, with intended hourly departures from 1.30pm until 5.30pm. (Naturally, times are approximate and, as this is a shuttle service, 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).
The transport service can only operate with a much-reduced capacity because of COVID so, while we have allowed for 100% extra capacity compared with the number of advance bookings received, obviously we can't know exactly when everyone will want to travel back.
At the same time, 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. This does mean that there's the possibility that not everyone will be able to get on the particular service that ideally they would like, but if this happens they will be first on the following departure.
We know this isn't ideal but we hope everyone appreciates that we're severely constrained this year and, while we think the service WILL run smoothly for everyone, we just want to make it clear that this is a possibility.
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.
Please note that you MUST wear a face covering (unless exempt) for the duration of the journey, and we'd ask you to avoid touching anything on the coach (hand rails, arm rests, etc) if at all possible. Hand sanitiser will also be available when getting on and off the coach.
You should only board the coach immediately prior to its departure and users of the service are requested to occupy the available seating from the rear of the coach forwards.
IF YOU HAVEN'T BOOKED THIS SERVICE IN ADVANCE WE CANNOT GUARANTEE YOU A PLACE ON THE COACH.
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 6.15pm 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!
KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER
Be conscious of maintaining social distancing throughout the event, from your arrival at the start to your departure from the finish. And at no stage should you be part of a large group - keep it to six or fewer people at all times please, and remain very conscious of social distancing requirements outside of household groups.
Maintain good standards of hand & respiratory hygiene throughout the event. In particular, try to avoid touching any hard surfaces if possible where it's not your own equipment, and make sure that you sanitise your hands whenever you do come into contact with materials that aren't yours.
And please ensure that you familiarise yourself with the following important documents: