Here's where you'll find all the latest news and developments regarding the 2020 Great Exmoor Ride:
GER EVENT UPDATE
You may or may not know it, but the 2020 GER is actually one of the very first mass-participation non-competitive cycling events IN THE COUNTRY to be allowed to go ahead this year under new guidance agreed between British Cycling and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.
Naturally we're pleased about this, not least because we never wanted to be beaten by the virus if we could possibly help it, but of course this also means we have a great responsibility to demonstrate that this aspect of our 'normal' lives IS something that we can get back to safely and something that we can all enjoy once again.
We've looked very carefully at the official guidance that's been provided in the last 10 days or so and, while over time we've formulated numerous scenarios & outline plans in anticipation/hope of the official go-ahead, we're now in the process of finalising the exact details & arrangements for the day of the event in light of this guidance.
We appreciate that it's pretty last-minute, but that's simply a consequence of this very strange and imperfect set of circumstances that we're having to operate in - we do hope that people understand that, and also that our utmost priority is to ensure that we can deliver a safe AND enjoyable event.
Our aim is that the measures we deploy should be as simple as possible, but also as clear and as effective as possible in terms of mitigating the risks around possible transmission of the virus.
To that end, entered riders will receive a detailed pre-event briefing via email a few days before the event itself - we want to do this in a timely manner, but also in a way that hopefully requires no further revision or amendments to avoid any possible confusion or misunderstanding about how things will need to operate on the day itself.
So it may be a lengthy read with just a few days' notice, but it's essential that ALL participants take a good look at the information that we provide and adhere to the instructions therein on the day. And hopefully reading this shortly before the event will mean that it's fresh in riders' minds on the day and, therefore, easier to comply with the necessary measures & behaviour.
In the meantime we have updates on several other aspects of the event, as follows:
2020 GER ROUTE
We've finalised this year's route as of 29th August and it's available to download via our Route Details page. Please note that it does include a minor change from 2019, so anyone who has downloaded the route prior to 29th August 2020 is advised to do so again to ensure that they have the most up-to-date version.
There will be further route checks up to the day of the event and, while we don't anticipate any further changes, any last-minute adjustments will be notified via email to registered riders or, if absolutely necessary, on the day of the Ride itself.
Having agreed a set of COVID-specific measures with our traditional refreshment stop in Brushford, we were informed 48 hours ago that there's a significant degree of apprehension within the local community and, as a result, they have now decided that the facility cannot be made available.
It's a disappointing development for obvious reasons, however we fully respect their decision and we understand that, in the current environment, people have to feel safe and therefore we fully accept and support this decision.
We're now in the process of putting alternative arrangements in place, and we expect that further information & exact details on this will be included in the pre-event briefing instructions. But riders can rest assured that we WILL have suitable facilities & arrangements in place, and they WILL be fully COVID-secure.
Inevitably, while we can still offer this service this year, it's at a much-reduced level - simply because coaches are only able to have 50% occupancy to comply with COVID-secure guidelines.
Consequently, we've now taken as many bookings as we reasonably feel we can for this year and the service is now CLOSED for advanced booking. Obviously, if we find that we have space(s) on the day we'd be happy to accommodate people, however we can't guarantee this and we trust that anyone who hasn't booked this service has alternative plans in place for their journey home.
We still have a number of places available for any last-minute entries, however these do need to be made soon as we'll be closing the entry shortly and we WON'T be taking any entries on the day as per the guidance from British Cycling.
It's also a very sensible measure to have everyone fully pre-registered so that we can be sure that we're as prepared as we can be in the event that we need to comply with any vital Track & Trace requirements.
Accordingly, we expect that entry for the event will close on Wednesday 2nd September LATEST.
We hope all of the above makes sense and is clear, and further information will follow shortly for entered riders.
New GER Cycling Jersey - UPDATE
You may have seen that back in March we came up with our very first GER cycling jersey design and it was very well-received, with lots of people expressing an interest in buying one at the time.
Then of course the virus struck and everything went on hold, including our jersey plans. And during the lockdown period we determined that it just wouldn't be practical (or indeed remotely possible) to proceed with the idea, owing to many factors including lead times and workplace shutdowns etc.
However, we've just re-visited the idea alongside our GWR cycling jersey and our supplier assures us that they can work with us to turn an order around in 6-8 weeks if we want to go ahead, meaning that we can get jerseys in before the day of the Ride.
On that basis, and because of the level of interest that people expressed previously, we've decided to give it a go and make the jerseys available for anyone who wants to order one.
However, please note that we can only do this strictly 'to order' as our overall financial position has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus situation, meaning that unfortunately we're not in a position to be able to carry stock and so it has to be advance purchases only.
But the plan is still simply to supply and deliver the jerseys at cost plus a modest amount on top as a donation to our charity partner, Prostate Cancer UK, so the purchase price is just £35 - which includes VAT, P&P and the charity contribution.
Also, so that we can get the jerseys to people prior to the GER taking place, orders need to be placed by Sunday 5th July 2020 latest - we know it doesn't give much time and we apologise for that, but we hope that people will appreciate that we're doing the best we can to ensure timely production & delivery in fairly difficult circumstances.
The jersey, available in sizes XS to 4XL, looks great and comes with three rear pockets to carry your ride essentials AND an additional small zipped pocket for valuables, and there's a level of customisation that includes zip options (short or full-length) and a female-specific cut.
Have a look at the male & female size charts below for measurements and, if you'd like to buy a jersey, please visit our Online Entry page where you'll be able to select your size & zip preferences:
NB these jerseys are described as 'club fit' and we can confirm that they're definitely a pretty snug fit so if you're borderline between two sizes or unsure - or if you just prefer a slightly looser fit - you may want to opt for one size up.
They also have fairly tight-fitting sleeves but that's so they don't 'ruffle up' and, Heaven forbid, result in uneven cyclist tan lines! :) :)
And remember - if you want one PLEASE don't miss the order deadline (Sunday 5th July)!
Firstly, with the effects and impact of the Coronavirus pandemic still being felt widely, we very much hope that you're staying safe and coping as best you can at what is proving to be a very testing time for everyone.
Obviously we've all been affected by this in some way already and it seems pretty clear that there's still quite some way to go overall - the return to anything closely resembling our old 'normal lives' is not even on the horizon just yet, so we're all going to have to learn to adapt and behave quite differently for some considerable time to come.
However, the latest update and guidance from the UK Government outlining its proposed 'recovery strategy' does represent the first very tentative steps towards the lifting of some restrictions and, specifically, a resumption of some activities and, if this is well-judged, it should give grounds for cautious optimism.
As you would expect, we've been monitoring developments in terms of how they may impact our plans for the 2020 GER and thus far, with the event still some way off, we've taken a 'wait & see' approach rather than trying to speculate or blindly predict how things might unfold. Hence our 'radio silence' to date.
Now, given the Government's signalling of the beginning of the easing of restrictions - together with the fact that there are still some four months until the GER - for our part we're confident enough to say that we fully expect the GER to be able to go ahead as scheduled, and so we continue to plan and prepare accordingly.
Naturally, at the same time we do also fully expect that the event will inevitably need to happen in a modified form this year and social distancing requirements & measures etc are currently under active consideration, and these will of course form an appropriate part of the overall event plan and delivery.
But we firmly believe that the situation in the country WILL eventually improve and we hope (and expect) that enjoyable social events like the GER will actually help people to recover physically AND mentally - so please have the confidence to come and join us!
In the meantime, we'll continue to be guided by the prevailing conditions and advice etc from Government and we'll update further as & when we receive notice of any additional significant developments that might affect our plans.
We hope this helps but please feel free to let us know if you have any queries that aren't covered here and, first & foremost, please stay safe, follow the official expert guidance, and try to remain just as positive as you can through this thing.
And remember our motto - Rise to the Challenge! :)
Sheppy's Cider joins the GER!
We're absolutely delighted to announce a fantastic new West Country partnership for the GER, as Taunton-based Sheppy's Cider joins us as our newest 'Event Partner'.
We're really pleased to welcome Sheppy's as the 'Official Drink' of the Great Exmoor Ride and, as part of the agreement, Sheppy's Cider will be available from the GER's exclusive event bar at the seafront finish in Blue Anchor, so riders can look forward to a refreshing pint (or two!) to celebrate their achievements after a very rewarding and enjoyable day in the saddle.
And that's not all though - Sheppy's has also very kindly agreed to give riders a FREE bottle of Sheppy's Cider to take away with them to further aid their post-Ride recovery and celebrations! :)
Sheppy's House of Cider HQ is just a stone's throw away from the GER start in Taunton so it really is a strong local partnership, and the company is one of the oldest premium craft cider making families in the world with a history that goes back more than 200 years.
Today, from their orchards between Wellington and Taunton and under the watchful eye of David Sheppy, their sixth-generation Master of Cider, they continue to champion the same methods used centuries ago, blending their rare traditional crafting skills with the very best of modern technology to create an acclaimed range of award-winning ciders.
So, as you can see, Sheppy's Cider is Somerset through & through and we really couldn't wish for a better Partner - the GER is a celebration of what Somerset has to offer for people who want a great day out by bike and, at the end of this wonderful cycling challenge, everyone will now be able to toast their success and achievement in style with a glass of the very best local cider! :)
Great news for our riders, so if you've not entered yet......now's definitely the time to do it! :)
A Summer of Cycling - Sorted!
In case you didn't know, the GER is actually the final act in a three-Ride series of fabulous West Country cycling challenges that span the Summer.
All three provide absolutely stunning routes and, importantly, they share the same relaxed, all-inclusive ethos, and they're also specifically designed to work individually AND collectively, according to how much challenge and incentive participants are looking for.
As standalone events each Ride has its own distinct identity and each one offers a different level of physical challenge, so there should be something for pretty much any adventurous person who's prepared to hop on a bike and rise to a challenge.
But the series as a whole is also quite deliberately designed to become more challenging as the Summer progresses - so, for those who want it, there's the opportunity and motivation to push themselves and their cycling to ever-higher levels if they choose to tackle two or even all three of these fab cycling events.
Here's how it works:
The Mendips Lakes & Lumps Ride gets the Summer underway as part of the National Trust's Top of the Gorge outdoor festival (recently ranked as one of the UK's best 'Adventure & Wellness' festivals by The Guardian newspaper).
It's the shortest of the three Rides and deliberately so, as it includes free entry to the festival (worth £15) so the aim is to get people back in good time to also enjoy some of the festival activities (as well as the FREE food & beer that we provide!).
The route showcases & explores some of the very best parts of the Mendip Hills AONB, but just be warned - with 850m of climbing (50% of which comes in the final 12 miles) it's quite deceptive and definitely still adds up to a very decent challenge.
The mid-Summer Great Weston Ride is massively successful and extremely popular with 1,000+ participants - it's a stunning route and a wonderful day out and, with EIGHT route & distance options to choose from, it has something for pretty much anyone on its own, as well as providing the opportunity for a step-up in distance and climbing for those who want it.
And, to round things off, there's the Great Exmoor Ride which is undoubtedly the sternest test - a spectacular route with fabulous views and simply a great way to end the Summer, but at 66 miles and 1600m of climbing it's not for the faint-hearted.
It's certainly do-able for determined people with a level of fitness and definitely well worth it for the HUGE sense of achievement, but even fairly experienced cyclists tell us it's a really good test of their legs & lungs so you need to be prepared to really earn your stripes on this one!
Now if that isn't a Summer to look forward to we're not sure what is - so come & join us for one, two, or even all THREE great days out!
NEW! GER Cycling Jersey!
With the GER now well-established and into its fourth year in 2020, we think it's about time to produce our very first GER cycling jersey - and here it is! :)
We hope you like what you see and we're now just waiting on final samples to make sure that we're happy with everything and, once we are, the plan is to make them available to buy through our website (provided that there is sufficient interest).
If we go ahead our aim will be simply to supply and deliver the jerseys at cost plus a modest amount on top as a donation to our charity partner, Prostate Cancer UK. The actual cost will ultimately be determined by the size of the overall order but, assuming that there's a good level of interest, the purchase price is likely to be in the region of £33-£36 (tbc shortly) including VAT, P&P and the charity contribution.
The jersey, in sizes XS to 4XL, will come with three rear pockets to carry your ride essentials AND an additional small zipped pocket for valuables and, initially, we'll be able to offer a level of customisation that includes zip options and a female-specific cut.
Subsequently, it's likely that there will just be a very small stock of standard jerseys available in a more limited range of sizes on a 'first come, first served' basis and once they're gone - they're gone!
So, to help us with the order size & to get the best-possible price (the bigger the order, the lower the cost per jersey) we'd appreciate it if you could just indicate your level of interest in the jersey (obviously no commitment at this stage), and we'll then keep you posted:
Thanks - we'll confirm full details ASAP & (hopefully!) make the jersey available to buy at the earliest opportunity.
2020 GER Rider Medal
We've finalised the design for our 2020 rider medal and one of these little beauties will be waiting at the finish for everyone who completes the 2020 Great Exmoor Ride :)
Previous participants will tell you that the Ride offers a spectacular but also pretty challenging route and, while it's eminently do-able if you're properly prepared, once the climbing starts it keeps coming at you and it's undoubtedly a good test of anyone's cycling legs, so the medal will serve as a permanent reminder of a great day out AND also of a great personal achievement.
Trust us - you WILL know that you've well & truly earned this particular medal when you cross the finish line (but you'll also feel very pleased that you did it!). So, to get your hands on one of these:
- make sure that you get signed up for the Ride (enter HERE if you haven't done so yet);
- get some training in beforehand (the more you can do the easier it will feel!);
- and then just go out and rise to (& enjoy!) the challenge on the day.
And another top tip is to see if you can get a few pals to do this with you - you'll be glad of the company, especially if (when?) the going gets tough, and it just makes a challenge like this even more enjoyable when you've got a few mates along with you.
We had a few groups of colleagues taking part together last year and it was clear what a difference it made and also how much fun they had while doing it, so it's definitely the way to go!
So sign up NOW and make sure that one of these fab medals has got YOUR name on it!