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    Top Tips for Ride London Surrey 100 Beginners!

    Top Tips for Ride London Surrey 100 Beginners!

    The Prudential Ride London Sportive is the biggest, most famous and most sought after sportive in the country, if not the world. Just ask the thousands of people who miss out on the 20,000 odd ballot places every year - competition for a spot is fierce!

    If you were one of the lucky ones this year then congratulations; now you've just got the pleasure (or pain, depending on how much training you've done) of 100 miles around the Surrey Hills to contend with. If you've ridden the course before then you will know what to expect, and will likely be trying to better your time from previous years - we wish you luck and hope you have an enjoyable day. If you have not taken part before; if you are a Surrey 100 virgin, then you'll find below some tips from us (three time veterans) and some of our twitter followers who kindly chipped in with their tips. How quickly you get around the course will not only depend on how much training you've done, but also how prepared you are and, often overlooked, how much you enjoy the ride! We hope our tips help you to enjoy the day!

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    Dirty Wknd News - 1st June 2016

    Dirty Wknd News - 1st June 2016

    Ride London 2 Brighton With Us - Sat 18th June!

    London 2 Brighton is one of the most famous UK cycling challenges you can undertake and is certainly something that needs to be ticked off your cycling 'bucket list'! There are a few more logistics to sort out than your average saturday spin so why not let us organise all the details for you? Including a professionally led ride, curated route and train ticket back (inc. bike). Chuck in a pub/fish a chip lunch on the seaside and you've got a pretty good day out! click the link here for all details and to sign up - Click Here

    Ride With Us - Upcoming Ride Info!

    Dirty Wknd London Bike Rides

    We've been so privileged to lead some amazing group rides over the last few months and things are going from strength to strength; as shown by Saturday's Box Hill Ride (details below). We've got some amazing rides coming up, starting with our Windsor ride this Sunday, led by local cycling blogger and expert Wlondoncycling. Then we've got our Tuesday climbing school and Wednesday Evening Essex Spin if you're wknds are already booked up, rounded off by a mega Surrey Hills Ride on Sat 11th - again with Wlondoncycling and UK CycleChat. Perfect practise for Surrey 100 entrants, as it takes in almost all of the main Surrey Hills on the route! For all ride details and to sign up - Click Here

    Your Next Wknd Away!

    A cycling Wknd in the Peak District

    We'd love to take you away and show you some of our favourite places in the UK to cycle! Our Wknds away are open to all abilities of cyclist with grouped rides on Saturday and Sunday to suit all levels. After the rides we will organise some group activities to do in the local area, or you can head off and explore on your own - it's totally up to you! Check out what we've got on offer by clicking the link below. Spaces already being snapped up so don't delay in booking yours - Click Here

    Route Of The Week!

    Dirty Wknd Box Hill Cycle Route

    Box Hill is one of the 'must do' climbs in the South of England and, as our hardy group found out last Saturday, it's an absolute joy of perfect tarmac, lovely views and excellent cake at the top! However it can be tricky to find a good route to Box as most approaches mean riding down long stretches of busy A roads. After much strava-geekery and research we've curated what we think is the Perfect Route to Box Hill and we'd love you to download it and have a go! All our routes can be found on our Route Database; they are free to use and we'd love to hear your feedback and see the photos of your ride. 

    Photos of Last Week's Box Hill Ride!

    Dirty Wknd Facebook Photos

    Check out the photos from our awesome Box Hill ride on Saturday and tag yourself if you were there. Whilst you're at it, give us a like on Facebook to see more photos, updates and giveaways! Click Here

     Video Blog: Do You Need To Upgrade Your Wheels?

    GCN Cycling Blog

    One of the Most common questions we get asked out on a ride is what upgrades are best to buy for your road bike. Whilst we here at Dirty Wknd subscribe to the Eddy Merckx view ("Don't buy upgrades; ride upgrades") it is almost overwhelmingly universal truth that upgrading your wheels is the best thing you can do to improve your bike. So if you've been thinking about upgrading, click this link to watch the GCN video blog on exactly why wheels make such a difference. We also really recommend subscribing to their Youtube channel as well; their videos on maintenance, kit reviews and training tips are the best around. If you're more old school and like to read things then check out this Cycling Weekly article about the ins and outs of wheels, including their list of top wheel buys - Read Here

    Join GTP on their Swiss Tour D' France Cycling Holiday!

    Cycling in Switzerland

    The Giro is over, Long live Le Tour! Grand Tours Project had huge success with their Giro getaways in Italy recently, with a great group of riders getting to ride whole stages of the Giro, and then watch Nibali and co. cross the line in the mountains. From the Giro we move onto the Tour De France, and GTP have got an epic holiday package to delight any cyclist! Starting on the 16th July, this 8 day trip includes riding all of stage 17 of the tour in Bern, watching 2 stage finishes and riding multiple alpine passes in the Swiss Alps, Holidays don't get better than that! View the details and sign up here - Click Here

    Dirty Wknd Cycling Wknds

     

     

    Dirty Wknd News 25th May

    Dirty Wknd News 25th May

    Join us on our next Dirty Wknd Away!

    There is little better than getting out of work on a Friday evening (or ideally, lunchtime) and hopping on a train or into your car and heading away for the wknd! This is our favourite thing to do, and we hope that you'll join us for one of our upcoming wknds? Click the link below to see available wknds in Bath, Oxford and The Peaks. Join a Dirty Wknd Away!

    Ride a Sportive as part of Team Dirty Wknd!

    Chilterns Classic Sportive

    Just 25 minutes from London on the train, the Chiltern Classic is one of the most accessible sportives near the capital, and thankfully one of the most beautiful too! Join us for a great day's cycling as a group and a pub lunch after the ride, before heading back to London together. Click the link for full details and event sign up - Chilterns Classic Sportive

    Ride London training ride with WLondonCycling + UKCycleChat!

    Dirty Wknd 'The One' Surrey Hills Ride

    WLondonCycling.com are an authority on the Surrey Hills area, so we're incredibly pleased to be riding with them on the 11th of June on this mammoth route! At 58 miles and with 6700 feet of climbing, it's the perfect route for anyone entered into the Surrey 100 looking to practise the best of the hills. If that's you, or if you just want to test yourself against some monster climbs, then come along for an epic ride! Ride Details

    Watch a night of bike racing in central London for free!

    Nocturne London Dirty Wknd Blog

    London Nocturne is one of the coolest nights on the calendar and this year it turns 10 years old so you can expect an even more spectacular night than usual! Tickets are free with plenty of good viewing spots on a circuit that winds around the heart of the city, The programme of events start at 4pm with amateur and fun races (penny farthing racing anyone) and ending with the elite race at 8:45. Check out the details and come along - London Nocturne

    Blog Post - How to increase your Mileage without Breaking Yourself!

    Blog Post - How to up your Milage

    As sportive season is just around the corner you might be starting to up your mileage in preparation for a big ride! This is an exciting time, particularly if you've never ridden a really big ride before; however there can be pitfalls in upping your mileage too fast or too severely. Injuries can be common as your body can't cope with the sudden stress. If you're planning on upping your training, make sure to read this blog first - Click Here

    Dirty Wknd Logo

    Dirty Wknd News 18th May - Introducing Racecheck.com

    Racecheck Dirty Wknd Blog Post

    Racecheck have just launched cycling events on their platform, and we couldn't be happier about it! They opened up the Tri and running event market by not only making it easier to search by event type, distance and location, but by having the participants review and score the event afterwards. So when you're searching for a sportive or race you can now see real testimonials and scores; a definite plus when you're putting your hard earned cash and training into an event. Check out the website and sign up for the service here - Racecheck.com

    This Wknd's Ride Details - Join us for a Ride!

    Dirty Wknd Group Rides

    This wknd we've got two rides going out. Saturday takes out South East into the Kent hills, and Sunday we will set off from Richmond into Surrey for a beginner ride. Following that we have evening rides happening in the week, including Climbing School and a Beginner Ride. Check out all the rides here - Dirty Wknd Rides

    Win Press Passes to Spin London Festival This Wknd!

    Spin London Cycling Festival

    Thanks to The Blogger Programme we've got some press passes to give away to some aspiring bloggers and active social media users who want full access to the festival this wknd. All you have to do is email hello@dirtywknd.com expressing your interest and we'll get back to you with details. Check out what to expect at the festival here - spinldn.com

    Enter The Stratford Tempest Sportive - Make a Wknd of it in Warwick!

    Dirty Wknd in Warwick

    Warwick is a fantastic city to visit, and The Wiggle Stratford Tempest is one of the best sportives in the midlands - so why not combine them both?! Click here to read our blog post on the perfect Dirty Wknd in Warwick, including sportive entry details.

    Vulpine Kit Mega Sample Sale - Up To 80% Off

    Vulpine London Sample Sale

    Vulpine have been lighting up the cycling kit world with their striking designs and performance fabrics; even giving the likes of Rapha a run for their money. However, like Rapha, the kit's not cheap! So it's great news that Vulpine are having a sample sale this wknd in London. With up to 80% off it's definitely worth checking out. Held at the Truman Brewery and opening at 9am on Friday, we'd recommend getting down there early! Details here - Vulpine Sample Sale

    Help Others by Reporting your Cycling Incidents!

    London Cycling Safety

    Whilst much is being done in London and other UK cities, there is always more to do to keep cyclists safe on the road. That's why we're so pleased to announce a new app that easily allows you to report any incidents that occur on the road. They then report that incident to the authorities for you - taking a lot of the hassle out of the process and making the streets safer at the same time! Check out what they're doing, and report any past incidents so they can pass those on too - Collideoscope App

    If you have any feedback on anything we're doing please email hello@dirtywknd.com - we love to hear from you and we love improving even more. Many thanks!

    Dirty Wknd Logo

    A Dirty Wknd in Warwick for the Wiggle Stratford Tempest Sportive

    A Dirty Wknd in Warwick for the Wiggle Stratford Tempest Sportive

    Warwick might not be the first place you think of when booking a wknd away, but this quaint midlands town combines the perfect mix of an historical Norman setting with a vibrant and cosmopolitan nightlife. The castle is worth a visit alone (more on that below) and the surrounding countryside makes for the perfect place for a sportive, and therefore the perfect place for a Dirty Wknd!

    The Wiggle Stratford Tempest on the 16th July is fast becoming the best sportive in the midlands; starting and finishing at Warwick race course in the centre of town, it’s the perfect sportive to combine into a wknd away with loved ones and/or friends. See below for details and to enter.

    Travelling To Warwick

    Trains leave London Marylebone every hour and take roughly an hour and twenty minutes. Bike spaces are available on most trains, but it’s best to phone thetrainline.com and book your bike and train reservation at the same time. If you book an open ticket, you will still need to book a bike space before arriving at the station.

    The drive from London takes just over two hours depending on traffic, and parking in Warwick is easy with most hotels having free parking.

    Dirty Tip: We recommend taking the train. The town is wonderfully compact so you can walk everywhere, and the sportive start line is walkable from the city centre.

    Accommodation @ The Tudor House Inn

    The Tudor House Inn Warwick

    The Tudor House Inn offers comfortable and affordable rooms in an authentic Tudor houseDirectly opposite Warwick Castle, this quaint tudor house come hotel conversion is the perfect base from which to explore the town. The hotel has free parking for guests, or is only a 10 minute walk from the train station. Breakfast is included, and the hotel has free wifi throughout, so you can upload your strava data as soon as the sportive is over!

    Dirty Tip: Multiple room formats are available, so if your in a group, a pair or just on your own, you’ll find what you need here. 

    Friday Night — Dinner @ Micatto

    Miccato Italian Restaurant Dirty wknd Warwick

    Micatto Cusina Aperta, meaning open kitchen, is Warwick’s best Italian restaurant, and the perfect place to take on a few last minute carbs before the sportive. Located in the picturesque market square; the decor and vibe have an industrial feel inspired by the Soho district of New York. There isn’t a cooler spot in Warwick to relax from the week, and prepare for the next days ride.

    The menu is expansive, with all ingredients either sourced locally or imported direct from Italy, and the chefs are all Italian. All the pasta is homemade on site that day and, thanks to the ‘open kitchen’, you can watch your meal being prepared in front of you whilst enjoying a glass of Italian red. A little extra iron in your blood will help on the ride!

    Dirty Tip: The restaurant often books up, so make sure to book ahead, and let them know you’ll be travelling in that night, so might need to book a later table.

    Saturday Morning — Wiggle Stratford Tempest Sportive

    Wiggle Stratford Tempest Sportive Dirty Wknd

    Warwickshire’s roads are some of the best for cycling!With 3 routes to chose from this sportive has something for everyone; whether you’re a hardened pro or a relative beginner, the Warwickshire countryside offers quiet Roman roads, sleepy towns and beautiful scenery. That’s not to say that this sportive won’t test you; with a couple of good climbs on all routes, you’ll definitely feel it in the legs! Start times are between 8am and 9:15am and as you’re staying right by the start line, you won’t even have to get up that early!

    As with all Wiggle UKCE events the organisation is second to none. All participants benefit from mechanical and medical support, full route marking and generous feed stops. All finishers also receive a t-shirt, a medal and power bar goody bag. As the sportive finishes in the centre of Warwick, you’re only a short walk away from your hotel and the delights of exploring the town for the rest of the wknd!

    Dirty Tip: The elevation of all 3 routes is considerably less than many other sportives, so if you’re looking for a ride to increase your mileage on, this is it. At 101 miles, the epic route is the perfect opportunity for anyone thinking about riding a century with as few hills as possible. So go for it!

    Saturday Afternoon — Visit the Mill Garden

     The Mill Garden Warwick

    Obviously your first port of call will be refuelling, being the athlete that you are! After an exerting all that effort on the ride, you really need something like a burger to reward yourself for all the hard work! The Warwick Arms Hotel has a massive burger menu, and is located in the centre of town. You can’t go wrong!

    Once you’ve refuelled and deconstructed the sportive with your companions, we recommend heading to Mill Street, in the shadow of the castle and straddling the River Avon, and the famous Mill Garden; a beautiful place to while away a few hours. Sit an soak in the sun, and rest your tired legs!

    Dirty Tip: The Market Place is also a beautiful part of the town, and has a couple of great bars where you can get a drink, sit outside and watch the world go by. Head here after the gardens, you deserve it after the sportive.

    Saturday Evening — Dinner @ Tailors

    Tailors Restaurant Warwick 

    Tailor’s, also in the Market Place, is one of Warwick’s more upmarket restaurants, and the quality of the food is what brings people back again and again. Owned and run by two young local chefs, the menu is innovative and changes regularly. Service is of the highest quality, with everyone from the owners down to the wait staff helping to ensure that a friendly, local atmosphere is maintained. Saturday’s fill up quickly, so make sure to book in advance.

    Dirty Tip: After dinner head around the corner to The Globe for a cocktail to round off an epic day!

    Sunday Morning — Visit Warwick Castle

     Visit Warwick Castle Dirty Wknd Blog

    Dominating the town is Warwick Castle. Originally built in 1068, the castle in it’s current form was completed between the 12th and 14th centuries, and turned into a family home in 1608 by the Greville family, who lived there until the 70’s. Now the castle is open 7 days a week, and is one of the finest examples of it’s kind in the country. As well as the castle and grounds, visitors can view the beautifully restored interiors and watch daily medieval reenactments. Tickets start from £18 for the day, and discounts are available if you book online.

    Dirty Tip: Real history buffs, or anyone feeling particularly decadent, can actually stay in the castle! Starting at £550 per night, suites are available in the Tower. If you ever wanted to live like a Norman conquerer…

    Sunday Lunch @ The Rose & Crown

     Roast at the Rose and Crown Warwick

    The Rose and Crown is a Warwick institution having served locals and visitors alike in it’s current guise for over 10 years. Regularly named one of the UK’s top 10 pubs,  there’s nowhere else to go for a roast on a Sunday. This 17th century coaching inn treats it’s food like it’s decor; a wonderful mix of classic and contemporary styles. The Sunday roast is plentiful and very reasonable, with a choice of meats and a vegetarian option. There is a wide selection of local beers behind the bar, and the wine list is extensive. As we said before, we recommend getting the train, so you can enjoy a relaxing Sunday with a drink or two!

    Dirty Tip: After Lunch, walk off all that meat in nearby St Nicholas’ Park. You can hire boats and row down the River Avon in the shadow of the castle.

    Dirty Wknd In Warwick

    Cycling in Tokyo - A Tale of Two Rides

    Cycling in Tokyo - A Tale of Two Rides

    Cycling in a new and interesting country is a special kind of riding. The possibility of experiencing something completely new really fuels the desire to get out on the road. With adventure travel and active weekends growing in popularity, getting a ride in whilst you’re away is becoming easier, and the chance to ride in an exotic and unfamiliar location should never be missed!

    How you go about researching, planning and executing that ride, however, is just as important as where you go. If you’re on holiday and are planning just one or two days riding, then it’s even more important to get it right. Recently I travelled to Japan for a two week tour of the country, and never has the importance of good planning been more apparent.

    Cycling in Tokyo Blog Post

    Three days in Tokyo marked the end of the trip; the grand finale and the last chance to do some proper road cycling in this wonderful country. I had two full days set aside for riding so had meticulously planned my rides, and they could not of been more different! It wasn’t until half way through the second ride that I realised what the difference was, and why that ride, against the odds, was more enjoyable than the first.

    Ride No. 1 — Cycling alone in the Tokyo Mountains

    Not having Japanese maps on my Garmin meant that I was navigating old school — paper map in my pocket and town names written on my hand. As long as I followed the road signs (Tokyo is fantastically sign posted) then I would be fine. Granted, I did get lost a few times, but that was part of the fun! There was no reason to get back at a certain time or worry about getting lost; just a whole day to ride up into the mountains and around Miyagase Lake.

    Navigating Whilst Cycling in Tokyo

    Tokyo is a sprawling metropolis around 3 times the size of London, so whilst getting out to the mountains takes a fair bit of time, it really is worth it. The mountain roads leading up to the lake are smooth and challenging with plenty of decent climbs. Miyagase Lake is the perfect cycling location — the roads wind around the lake, crossing the water over two bridges before disappearing through a series of short tunnels under the mountains, finally emerging into daylight with an incredible view of the Miyagase Dam. The descent back down the mountain was breathtaking, before meandering through the Tokyo suburbs into the city. Sounds perfect, right?

    Lake Miyagase Dam Tokyo

    140km, 2,500 metres climbed and 9 hours of exploring some of the most incredible cycling I’ve experienced was an unforgettable day, but something was missing. The amazing roads, the massive climbs and the incredible views were great, but I had no one to share them with. Sitting at the top of the lake, marvelling at the view, I felt a bit sad without a friend to experience it with (and posting on Instagram doesn’t count!)

    Cycling alone can be a great break; a few hours of alone time to unplug and destress is incredibly valuable. However it really struck me during the ride just how important it is to have some mates to ride with, especially when exploring a new area. No matter how perfect the route, you need someone else to share it with! That’s why I was so glad that I had arranged ride number two in advance.

    Ride No. 2 — Rapha CC Tokyo Saturday Ride

    Riding with Rapha Cycle Club Tokyo

    Getting up at 6:30am wasn’t ideal, but I’d been looking forward to this ride for weeks, and wasn’t going to miss being led around the city by some local experts. The cafe was full when I arrived, with 2 rides going out that morning. I had booked onto the longer ride, with 12 others, all local RCCTYO members, bar myself and one other tourist.

    Our ride leaders, Hiroki and Masataka, led us out of the city centre quickly and easily, a completely different and much better route than the one I had formulated for ride one. Where it had taken me around 2.5 hours the day before, they made sure we were out of the city and in the Tama Hills in no time; embarking on one of the craziest routes I’ve ever had the pleasure to cycle!

    Urban Cycling in Japan

    Even with a functioning Garmin, this route would’ve been very hard to follow! We twisted and turned through tiny winding streets; up short sharp climbs and down long winding descents. For the locals in the group this was normal; but the “oohs”, “ahhs” and “wows” continually being uttered by the tourists as we twisted, turned and climbed showed just how amazing this ride was! Complete faith in our ride leaders was easy as they corralled the group in Japanese and in English, attacking every climb and descent with massive smiles on their faces; infecting us with their enthusiasm.

     Country Roads on Tokyo cycling route

    Whilst Lake Miyagase may have been more spectacular area to cycle; the camaraderie and local route knowledge of ride two made it a much more enjoyable day. Learning Japanese cycling customs, chatting with the local cyclists and being shown their world was an invaluable experience.

    One of the most satisfying aspects of the day was learning that cycling has a language of it’s own! Once we’d identified the usual hand signals and protocols, we fell immediately to chatting about bikes, rides, parts etc. My Japanese stretches to about 3 words, so the fact that these guys had a good grasp of English really helped. Whenever language did fail us, pointing at a cool component and giving a thumbs up always works!

    Cherry Blossom in Japan in Springtime

    So my advice is this — if you’re going on holiday or for a weekend away, and you intend to do some riding, find a group to ride with! The RCC is a great place to start if there is one in the area. You don’t have to join the club, but if you do then hiring a bike from them is really easy if you don’t want to travel with your own. In some countries (like Japan for instance) hiring a good road bike is not always easy, so joining the RCC eliminates that hassle.

    If you’re not into Rapha, or there isn’t a club where you are going, then get on google and find a local ride group. There are usually plenty, and if you drop them an email in advance, they’re normally thrilled to have you along. Exploring a new area is always best in a group, and everyone knows that local knowledge trumps Strava every time. So join a ride group, and let the experts show you around their home town!

     Dirty Wknd Active Travel Guide