How to get involved

Ride 220 miles through the heart of England in one of the most demanding and rewarding events of the year, raising money for Ambitious about Autism along the way.

Now in its fourth year, the Manchester to London challenge will be taking place on Sunday 3rd September 2017. Up to 300 riders will set off from the Manchester Velodrome at dawn, riding down the spine of the country through the Peak District, Midlands and the Chilterns before finishing at London’s Olympic Velodrome. Over the past three years the ride has raised over £500,000 in support of Ambitious about Autism and this year we want you to help us reach a million.

Thinking of riding next year? Guarantee your place by pre-registering now – we’ll let you know as soon as the payment opens later in the year.

In the lead up to the event, riders will enjoy help with their fundraising and training. The day itself includes a fully signed route, four feed stops serving locally sourced food, timing chips and a fleet of support vehicles and broom wagons to ensure no rider is left on the road or falls too far behind.

Riders must choose to represent the North or the South in a friendly competition to discover which region will establish the lowest average ride time. For the past two years the South have won, will the North come back stronger this year?

Entry costs £150 and places are limited to 300, and we’re asking each rider to raise £750 for Ambitious about Autism.


  • 220 miles of hard British riding
  • Support with fundraising and training
  • Fully signed and mapped route
  • Four feed stations serving British fare
  • Support vehicles and broom wagons
  • Limited edition North and South Caps
  • Party at Rapha Manchester the evening before the event

The Route

The route takes riders down the spine of the country, moving through the Peak District, Midlands, and the Chilterns on the way to London. This route offers varied terrain, quiet roads, and stunning views. The feed stations are positioned every 50 miles or so, allowing for regular refreshments of locally sourced food and drink. The final leg of the journey skirts across the northern side of the capital and down into East London, to finish at the Lee Valley VeloPark at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford. The roads are predominately low-traffic country lanes, and are fully signposted throughout.

North vs South

We split all riders into two teams – the North and the South – with riders from the Midlands required to announce an allegiance. The total ride times of all riders are collated to see which region earns bragging rights as fastest overall. For the last two years the South have been the victors by a small margin – will this be the year of the Northerners?


Our aim is to raise money for Ambitious about Autism. Autism is a lifelong developmental disability which affects 1 in 100 people and the charity is one close to Rapha CEO and founder Simon Mottram, whose son Oscar has autism. The best place to start is with an online fundraising page. It will allow friends, family and colleagues to see what you are raising money for and why, and they will be able to give a donation on the spot. If you have any questions about fundraising, or just need a spot of inspiration, download the fundraising pack from Ambitious about Autism, or contact Jay Hunt.

Find out how the money raised for Ambitious about Autism is used in our blog piece ‘Ambitious for good reason‘.


How much money do I have to raise for Ambitious about Autism and how much is it to enter?
It costs £150 to enter and we ask each rider to raise £750 for the charity. There are many ways this can be achieved and it’s much easier than you think.

Does the registration fee go towards the sponsorship target?
No. The registration fee covers the event running costs. Any remaining money will be donated to Ambitious about Autism. This is a not-for-profit event.

When do I need to have hit my fundraising target by?
We ask that you raise the majority by the 4th September, but you can continue fundraising if you wish to raise more to hit or exceed your target.

Where does North start?
North starts from Birmingham up. If you live or hail from Birmingham or the Midlands, you must pick an allegiance.

How should I train for this ride?
We will be providing training tips to all participants in the build-up to the ride. Our Clubhouses will also become hubs for advice and inside knowledge of the route.

How will I hit my target?
There are lots of ways to raise money and some great suggestions can be found on our fundraising sub-page. Ambitious about Autism can also support you and give you one-to-one advice to increase your chances of reaching the target.

Are Rapha creating a special edition jersey?
No. We are doing a range of special edition North and South caps and musettes, and a roundel for each rider who completes the ride.

What if I can’t complete the ride? Will there be a broom wagon?
There will be roadside support and no rider will be left on the road.

Thinking of riding next year? Guarantee your place by pre-registering now – we’ll let you know as soon as the payment opens later in the year.

From the Rapha Blog

  1. From Manchester to London

    Words: | Photography: Wig Worland | Date:

    Rapha hosted the inaugural Manchester to London Challenge, an event that saw 136 riders complete a 220-mile trip over the Peaks, through the Midlands and into London in just one day, raising funds for Ambitious about Autism. Here Emma Osenton, the route’s designer, and Simon Mottram, Rapha CEO, share their thoughts on completing the ride, followed by a video of the day’s action.

    Read the entire post »

  2. Manchester to London Results 2014

    Words: | Date:

    The results are in after Sunday’s Manchester To London ride, and it appears that the North are, on average, three minutes slower than their friends from the South. A more in-depth round-up of the day will follow shortly, but until then here are the day’s results. As always, we’d like to thank the marshals, mechanics and medics who did so much to make the day run so smoothly, and the riders who raised money for Ambitious About Autism.

    Read the entire post »

  3. The Road More Travelled

    Words: David Harmon | Photography: Elliot Jones | Date:

    There is a part of me that eschews gadgets and gizmos, rejects outright the reliance of riders on Garmins, Strava and even at times on the humble map. A belligerent part of me instinctively bridles at the facility of these devices to control me and take away my freedom to sit up, look about, and enjoy the journey rather than the efficiencies of getting there.

    Read the entire post »