Manchester to London Challenge 2014 – Rider Briefing


Key Information

Venue – Start

Manchester Velodrome, National Cycling Centre, Stuart Street, Manchester, M11 4DQ

Venue Opens



Opens 05:00
Closes 06:30

Start Times

When ready, join the riders waiting to start. The marshals will start riders in groups at regular intervals. Listen to any instructions and route information. Once you are instructed to, you may start the ride.

We respectfully ask that the slower riders (you know who you are) start as close to 06:00 as possible thus giving them the best opportunity to remain ahead of the cut off time.

First 06:00

Last 07:00


Venue – Finish

Lee Valley Velopark, Olympic Park, London, E20 3EL

Venue Opens



Pre-ride Pasta Party

The day before the ride, Saturday 6th September, join us at Montpellier’s in the Northern Quarter for a pasta party and the opportunity to meet your fellow riders, teammates and rivals, fuel up for the next day, and pick up your rider pack.

Time: Saturday 6th September, 6-9pm

Address: Montpellier’s, 42 Back Turner Street, Manchester, M4 1FR

Rider Pack

The rider pack contains your north or south cap, ride number, ride number holder, luggage tags, brevet card and itinerary. If you can’t make it to the party on Saturday evening, you can pick up the rider pack earlier on Friday 5th September between 4pm and 8pm, or Saturday 6th from 12pm to 6pm from a member of Rapha staff at Montpellier’s. If you are unable to collect your rider pack during these times you can pick it up at registration on the morning of the ride, but this is not recommended.


The registration area will be inside the entrance to Manchester Velodrome café area. Registration will open at 05:00 and closes at 06:30. The first riders will be set off from 06:00 in groups.

Bring Your Helmet to Registration

Please remember to bring your helmet to registration so a member of staff can stick your timing chip to it.

Essential Items

You should be carrying basic tools (chain tool & speed link), inner tubes, tyre levers and a pump. You should be able to fix punctures or any minor mechanical problems you may experience.  It is also recommended that you carry a small, basic First Aid kit.

There will be mechanical support, if needed, prior to the start and two neutral support vehicles will be roaming the course. There will be an additional broom wagon and mechanic at the tail end of the route.

The support at the start should not be relied on to fix existing problems with your bike, but to help resolve any problems that have occurred on the way to the event.

Feed Stops and Food and Drink

With four feed stops at roughly 50-mile intervals there will be plenty of opportunities to stock up on sustenance.  However you should carry enough food/energy products with you to supplement this and last the duration of the ride.

  • Feed station 1 – Carsington Water, DE6 1ST (45 miles in)
    Covered picnic area, close to the main Visitor Centre.
    Large car park suitable for family/friends to meet.
    First riders expected from 08:00
  • Feed Station 2 – Bosworth Hall Hotel (88 miles in)
    Not recommended for family/friends as parking and access is limited.
  • Feed station 3 – Castle Ashby, NN7 1LQ (147 miles in)
    Walled Garden Café and Grounds.
    Ample parking and activities for family.
    First riders expected from 14:00
  • Feed station 4 – Woolmer Green Village Hall (187 miles in)
    Not recommended for family/friends as parking and access is limited.

Finish – Lee Valley Velopark, Olympic Park, London E20 3EL
Ample parking, things to do and area open from 15:00 for family/friends

  • to wait for riders.
    First riders expected from 17:00
    Event closes at 00:00


A helmet is mandatory for this event and should be worn at all times throughout the ride.  Please do not confuse your event casquette/cap with a helmet.

Personal Conduct

Every rider has a duty of care to themselves, other participants and all other road users.  Therefore the use of personal stereos, iPods, or similar are not permitted during this event.

Course Signage

Once you set off from the velodrome the route will be marked by arrow signs. Small sticker arrows will be used at certain junctions as back up signage in the event of the main arrow signs being removed.  Arrow signs will be at all junctions on the route, examples of these will be shown at registration.

Signage & ViewRanger

Attention signs are used to advise riders to reduce their speed as a potential hazard is ahead of them. When you see these signs you should reduce your speed and ride with extra caution. You should also be aware that although we will endeavour to highlight any hazards to you, this may not be possible at all hazards and we advise you ride sensibly and within your ability at all times.

The route will be way-marked with appropriate signs at given junctions. There will be advance warning before a junction and a repeater after a junction. We will not be placing repeater signs where no deviation is possible. Once you have been guided onto a road, remain on that road. If you accidentally stray from the route you should track back to the last point where you knew you were on the route.

As with any signed route, it is impossible to guarantee that all signage will remain in place, untampered with, after our signage team has been through.  We will also be marking certain junctions with small sticky adhesive arrows as a back up to the fixed arrows.

Riders with smartphones will be able to use the ViewRanger app. This app will indicate when you have left the course. Full details, including how to download and use the app, will follow closer to the date.

Route Navigation

1. Follow the event signage.

2. If in doubt about your location/route check using the event’s ViewRanger mapping and relocation option.

3. Due to the length of the event route it is likely that for many riders their GPS device batteries will run flat.  We suggest that you save your devices’ battery power for as long as possible so that they still have power for the latter part of the ride when, in dusk or darkness, they are likely to be of most use to you.


For the organisation of this event’s logistics we have applied a slowest rider average speed of 14mph when on the bike.  Additionally we have also allowed 15mins per feed station stop.  As long as you maintain this average and don’t linger at the feed stations you will remain ahead of the cut off time at Feed Station 2 at 88 miles.

Event Cut-Off Point 1

Is Feed Station 2 at 88 miles.  Riders must clear this point by 13:30 at the latest.  After this time you will be directed onto the shuttle bus which will take you directly to Feed Station 4 at 187 miles.

Event Cut-Off Point 2

Is Feed Station 3 at 142 miles.  Riders must clear this point by 17:40 at the latest.  After this time you will be directed onto the shuttle bus which will take you directly to Feed Station 4 at 187 miles.

The shuttle bus is also an option for anyone who is feeling fatigued so you can divert further along the route and still ride the last section into London.

These cut-offs are in place to regulate against slower riders arriving late to the finish, after midnight, and to prevent the event infrastructure from being too spread out along the route.

We will reserve the right to rest riders and to shuttle them forwards in a vehicle if they fall too far off the pace. We also reserve the right to retire riders for their own safety and the safety of other riders/road users and event staff.


Members of our team will ride behind the last riders on the route and assist any riders who may be having problems. Riders taking too long to complete the route and not making the cut-off times will be advised to take the shuttle bus forward if it is deemed necessary by our experienced team.


We will have a bike mechanic on hand between 05:00 and 06:30 at Registration to help with any last minute mechanical issues you may have. After this time the three mechanic’s vehicles will be roving about the route providing assistance.  One of these will always remain at the back of the event.

Route Clearing

Approximately one hour after the last rider starts, our team will set out to clear the route.  They will be removing all route signs and markings at this point.


If you are involved in, witness, or come across an incident requiring immediate medical attention, firstly phone 999, requesting the service/s you require and advising them of your location. Then phone the event emergency contact number to update the event organisation.

Essential Contact Numbers

You will find contact numbers on your map and on the small laminated card that is handed out at registration:

Event Emergency Contact Number: 07874 079 820

Event Mechanical, Routine Requests & Lost Rider Number: 07874 079 821

Please add these numbers to your mobile phone before you ride.

These numbers are for the uses described above for the duration of this event only.

At the Finish

At the finish, make sure you cross the finish line so your time is recorded.

North vs South Results

Timing will be calculated and available to view online within 24 hours at and on the Facebook group.

Additional Information

Parking near the Velodrome

Due to another large event at the velodrome on the weekend of 7th September, it will not be possible to leave vehicles in the velodrome car park or park directly outside the velodrome.  There will be a designated parking area for participants nearby which will be clearly signed on arrival into the area.


As there is no allocated area for changing pre-ride we recommend that you arrive at the start in your cycling kit.  There are changing and shower facilities available on site at the finish for post event use.

Wet Bags & Finish Line Bags

Wet bags are small bags that have a change of kit and any supplies you may like at the halfway point. Your bigger bag will be taken directly to the finish line.

Wet Bags

Your rider pack will be inside a musette which is perfect as a wet bag. This could contain a spare set of cycling kit.  We would recommend that your wet bag contains some wet/cold weather riding kit e.g. long tights, full finger gloves, overshoes, a warm layer and a dry base layer.  Aside from being kit you may need it also means that in the event of a retirement you will have a dry and warm layer to put on.  These may not make it to the velodrome for when you finish (your finish bag will be there) so be prepared to wait or pack kit that you are prepared to sacrifice. Wet bags will arrive at the velodrome by Xpm. If you finish earlier and would prefer not to wait your wet bag can be posted to you or be at the London Cycle Club to collect.

Finish Line Bags

Your personal bag should weigh no more than 10kgs and be labelled with the rider tag provided in your rider pack. Unless you are making your own arrangements please hand your kit bag over to our kit van marshals based at registration before heading to the start. Your finish line bag will be at Lee Valley Velopark awaiting your arrival.  Your bag should not contain any liquids.

First Aid

There will be First Aid kits and First Aiders at each of the feed stations and in the broom wagons. Medibike will be providing mobile First Aid cover around the route via motorbike and 4×4. Emergency contact details are shown above.

We’re Here To Help

If you have any queries please email or call 01768 778848.


Toilet facilities are available at the start/finish and at all of the feed stations.  You will also pass a number of pubs and hotels en-route but please ask before using their facilities.  We ask all participants to be respectful of the local environment, residents and other riders in all sanitary matters!

General Information

➔ When riding on open public roads it is essential for your own safety, and that of all other road users, that you comply with the Highway Code.

➔ Any route marshals are there to indicate the direction of the route. Marshals cannot stop traffic.

➔ Please ride considerately at all times, ride no more than two abreast and let traffic past.  Be traffic aware and do not allow traffic to build up behind you.

➔ Particular attention should be given to the road surfaces on the route.  You should expect the unexpected at all times e.g. blind corners, steep descents, livestock crossing the road, gravel and stone wash-out from potholes, cattle grids and road gutters, etc.

➔ Please note that approximately 11km of the route is on the smooth, hard packed gravel of the Monsal Trail Cycle Route and is perfectly suitable for road bikes.

➔ The event roaming support crews are there to assist you in the event of a mechanical breakdown only. They cannot assist with mass withdrawals due to bad weather.

➔ Should you withdraw from the event under any circumstances it is your personal responsibility to contact the Event Organiser to let them know.

➔ There will be a member of the organisation team that will riding the route at the rear of the event. They will be wearing a Rapha hi-viz gilet and are able to assist you with any minor First Aid or mechanical issues en-route.

➔ Whilst the challenge is timed, it is not a race.

 Your Bike & Personal Kit

The London to Manchester route is designed to be ridden on a road bike. Your bike should be fit for purpose and should be checked/serviced prior to the event. Your bike should be in good working order and legally roadworthy. We recommend 25mm tyres for added comfort and compact gearing.

Friends and Family Support

As we are providing back-up facilities we ask that your supporters, friends and family do not bring any vehicles out on the route to follow as this will create congestion and will be a danger to cyclists and other road users. We are keen to encourage support at the start and finish and at Castle Ashby (near Northampton) where there is plenty of parking for all.

Kit List

With the distance in mind, and potential weather changes along the way we advise:

  • Helmet (mandatory)
  • A lightweight packable waterproof jacket
  • Oversocks
  • Your north or south cap (in the rider pack),
  • Repair kit including spare inner tubes, pump, multi tool & tyre levers
  • We suggest you bring some change with you on the ride, just in case you decide on an impromptu café stop
  • Lights are also a must


All participants are asked to come prepared with both front and rear lights, which are fully charged and will last for 6-8 hours.  Riders should test their lights at night to ensure they are powerful enough, and carry extra batteries/back up lights in case their main lights run out. In the case of low lighting conditions we would recommend that you have a rear light on throughout the ride.

At Feed Station 3 there will be a light check prior to departure.  At this point we will have lights available for purchase/hire.  As all riders will appreciate we have to err on the side of caution and allow for unforeseen delay to your journey beyond this point.  Therefore no rider will be allowed to progress beyond Feed Station 3 – regardless of their estimated finishing time – without suitable lighting front and rear.

Throughout the event we recommend that riders consider their visibility and choose their clothing and lighting accordingly.  For the night ride sections luminous/reflective/hi viz clothing is strongly recommended.

Post Ride

At the finish bikes can be left in a secure bike parking area and riders can enter the recovery area to shower, refuel and add your time to the North or South leadboard.

The full North v South leaderboards and photographs from the event will be published on shortly after the event.

Travel Back to Manchester

For riders interested in returning to Manchester immediately after the ride, a coach will be leaving Lee Valley VeloPark at midnight on Sunday night, heading for the Manchester Velodrome car park. Please note the time has been changed from the original departure of 11pm to midnight to make it fairer for all participants.

Click here to book your ticket »

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