Manchester to London Challenge 2014 FAQ


Ride and raise money for autism

View the 2014 results »

Held on the 7th September the Manchester to London Challenge is a unique one-day road cycling event taking riders through the heart of the UK. Setting off at dawn from Manchester Velodrome, the route will traverse the spine of central England over a 220 mile parcours finishing at London’s Olympic Park.

Email archive for riders

If you have just signed up for the challenge, or if you have perhaps missed one of the Manchester to London Challenge emails that Rapha has sent out.

  1. Email June 11 »
  2. Email June 25 »
  3. Email July 28 »
  4. Email August 13 »
  5. Email August 22 »
  6. Email August 29 »


Q1. £750 is quite a lot of money, what if I fail to reach the target?

  • Our goal is to raise £250,000 for Ambitious about Autism and the suggested target of £750 per participant will help us reach it. That said you will not be kicked off the challenge if you fail to reach the target. You don’t have to have raised all the money by the day of the ride.

Q2. Where is my money going?

  • Your money will go towards securing a brighter future for young people with Autism. For more information about the charity, Ambitious about Autism see here »

Q3. What can I do to fundraise?

  • You can set up an online donation page. They’re a really quick and easy way to get people supporting you.       
  • Krispy Kreme donut sale at work. For a charity sale you can buy a dozen box for £8.95 which you can sell on at £1.45 a donut making you a profit of £8.45 a box.
  • Speak to your employer – some companies will offer a matched giving scheme where they will match any donation given to you up to a certain point
  • Go social – promote your online fundraising page on Facebook and Twitter
  • Hit the pub with a sponsorship form
  • One of the biggest things is to ask, ask and then ask again! Everyone is busy, so often they mean to support you but simply forget, it often takes up to three asks for people to remember to support you
  • You can get more ideas and download sponsorship forms from Ambitious about Autism

Getting to the ride

Q1. What do I need to take with me for the ride?

  • The ride is fully supported, however if you have a preferred energy brand or any particular food that you enjoy whilst riding long distances, please bring enough with you. It’s also advisable to bring a small tool kit and spares (see Q8).

Q2. Will the Manchester Cycle Club be selling ride bars and other food prior to the ride?

  • Sadly, due to circumstances beyond our control, the Manchester Cycle Club will not be open in time for the ride. We are instead hosting a pre-ride pasta party at Montpellier’s in the Northern Quarter the night before the ride where riders can fuel up. There will also be plenty of ride food available at the start and on the route at the four feed stops free of charge.

 Q3. Will there be any transport to the velodrome on the morning of the ride?

  • There will be no transport to the velodrome due to the scattered nature of riders locations and the fortunate nature of the velodrome being in a central location.

 Q4. Are there any hotels you recommend in Manchester?

Manchester has many accommodation options. Some of the big hotels near the start are listed below.

  • Premier Inn Manchester Piccadilly (2 miles from start)
  • Travelodge ManchesterAncoats(2 miles from start)
  • Ibis Manchester (3 miles from start)
  • Holiday Inn Manchester Central Park (2 miles from start)

Q5. Can I leave a bag with the organisers at the start?

  • Yes. Your bag will be left with the registration staff and transported straight to the finish line. You will also have the option of filling a wet bag (the musette your rider pack comes in) with dry kit and spare supplies that will be taken to the half-way feed station for you to collect if necessary.

The Ride

Q1. What if I have a mechanical issue between two feed stops and the light is fading?

  • The ride will have plenty of mechanics available, either based at the feed stops or on the route itself. There will be numerous support vehicles dotted along the course and all vehicles will be contactable

Q2. What happens if I am unable to finish?

  • All riders will finish. We will advise on time checks at each feed stop and if we feel that you need to be ‘bumped’ up the course, we will discuss that with you. You may want to ride past a certain point on the course so can choose where you are bumped up, however, in all circumstances any riders falling short of the time checks will be driven further up the course towards London.

 Q3. I’ve never ridden 220 miles in a single day before. Realistically, can I complete the challenge if I have only ever ridden 100 miles in a day?

  • Yes, however it would be advisable to ride around 140 miles in a day prior to the event. The good news is that you do not have to have ridden 220 miles before the event. Normally the first discomfort starts with your saddle and feet and if you can confidently complete 140 to 150 miles in a day, then the additional distance should be manageable.  See our training guide »

 Q4. What type of food will there be at the feed stops?

  • Each feed stop will feature something local to the area but having a bias towards sustenance. There will be water, with or without electrolyte/energy, and do remember that if you have a certain preferred energy brand that you know agrees with you, please bring enough to top-up what the feed stops will offer – there’s no use in feeling hungry and having to wait until the next stop, you’ll only dip into your reserves. Try not to eat too much sugar too soon, as many riders find that long rides are better fuelled by real food. Remember, it’s all personal. Get to know yourself and your bike.

 Q5. What time does the ride start?

  • The registration area will open at 5:00hrs and the first riders will set off at 06:00hrs, in groups of 25 every two minutes. All riders will be on the road by 07:00hrs. 

Q6. Can I have my own support car, driven by a friend or my partner?

  • 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.

 Q7. Can I ride around the velodrome in Stratford?

  • We have access to the road track and the ride will finish on it. The indoor velodrome track unfortunately will not be open.

Q8. What spares do I need to carry?

  • Inner tube x2 (if you ride on tubs, carry a spare tub and some sealant)
  • Tyre levers
  • Patches
  • Multitool (with chain breaker)
  • Split link
  • Pump and/or CO2
  • Tyre boot
  • Latex gloves (optional, handy for staying clean during repairs)

Most importantly, know how to use all of the above. Whilst we have support vehicles out on the course, it will be much quicker if you can fix things yourself. Make sure your bike is in good working order. Bikes should be silent, you don’t want to ride 220 miles with a worryingly squeaky bike.

Getting home from the ride

Q1. Can I shower after the ride?

  • Yes. There are facilities at the VeloPark. Your bag will also be waiting for you.

 Q2. Is there secure bike parking?

  • Yes. There is a designated area at the VeloPark, and this will be marshalled.

 Q3. What happens when I finish the ride at the VeloPark?

  • There will be hot food, a large bottle of beer (or three) and a chance to analyse the North v. South leaderboard.

 Q4. Will there be transport home from the VeloPark?

  • There is a coach available for anyone wishing to travel back to Manchester. This is an additional cost and you can book a seat on it here

 Q5. What about trains etc?

  • Being a Sunday, availability is very dependent on what time you finish due to trains finishing a little earlier. Once the train timetable is known we will share this information with the most popular routes.

Q6. Are there any hotels you can recommend near the VeloPark?

  • Yes, thanks to the 2012 Olympics, there are lots of options in and around Stratford:
  • Premier Inn Stratford (less than 1 mile fromVeloPark)
  • Holiday Inn Stratford City (1 mile fromVeloPark)
  • Travelodge Stratford (1.5 miles fromVeloPark)The Railway Tavern (1 mile fromVeloPark)
  • The Railway Tavern (1 mile fromVeloPark)

For any other queries please email

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