With the rising popularity of cycling, the organisers of the Eastbourne Cycling Festival have decided that the time was right to expand their event to two days. After last years successful edition and with a stage of the Tour of Britain passing through the town, interest in cycling is high and there should be plenty of spectators and hopefully, a rise in the number of locals having a go at the various events…
And there is no shortage of events! With just about every cycling discipline covered, you could challenge yourself to see how many events you can take part in.
There’s the Tri Store Sportive with the long route being ‘only’ 65 miles. You could be forgiven for thinking this will be a soft touch but the organisers have found some tough climbs to squeeze in and with strong coastal winds, you may struggle to get that gold time.
If nobbly tyres are more your thing, Evolution Cycles will be running a MTB sportive on the Saturday. Starting from the Festival and heading out onto the downs for a 31 mile trip around the local trails. Why not come down for the weekend and do both?
Criteriums will again take place on Eastbourne’s sea front. With nine different races taking place over the two days on a tight, technical circuit, there will be at least one you can ride. Races will include the South-east Youth Championships, a women’s only race, Elite/1st/2nd cat racing, and separate 3rd and 4th cat races. All races will have King of the Mountain primes and lap primes, so there should be a chance to earn your entry fee back.
A new addition to the Festival is the Eastbourne Cycling Festival Stage Race for 2nd/3rd cat riders. Over the two days of the Festival, riders will tackle a 40 mile first stage that includes 1000 metres of climbing over the exposed Beachy Head circuit. Stage two is a time trial around the criterium circuit. Short and with some tight bends, riders will need to be confident in their cornering skills to post a good time. Pointy hats and aero bars are unlikely to be of much use. The third stage on Sunday will be an hour long crit.
Races aren’t limited to shaven legged racing whippets either, as unicyclists and Penny Farthings will get a chance to strut their stuff. Watching last year’s Penny Farthing races was amazing and left me wanting to have a go; maybe we can ask for a have-a-go event next year?
Cyclo-cross racing will finish off the Festival, once again sponsored by the 360° Brewery, who are kindly donating a pint to every finisher. Riders will have a Le Mans style start, running to pick up their bikes, before tackling a circuit that will include part of the crit course, before heading onto the grass arena and a short shingle section – well you are beside the seaside!
On top of the sporting events there is the Event Village which will be busy all day with trade stands, a Go Ride skills challenge from British Cycling, a Watt Bike Challenge, trials riders doing some amazing things with their bikes, Vintage bike displays and many other events. The 360° Brewery will be running a beer tent and there will be various catering suppliers to keep your energy levels topped up.
To keep the Festival feeling going on the Saturday night, there will be roller racing and with the 360° Brewery on hand competitors and spectators should be well lubricated! There are plenty of options available on the accommodation front, with hotels, B&Bs, a Youth Hostel and camping – some of who are offering Festival discounts – why not make a weekend of it? Last year’s weather was glorious, so you could bring the family to play on the beach while you enjoy the cycling!
Watch the video of last year’s Festival to get a feel for the event.
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Compare prices and buy cyclocross bikes from:
|Chain Reaction||Leisure Lakes||Evans Cycles||Wiggle|
|Cyclestore||Hargroves Cycles||Merlin Cycles||ProBikeKit|
|Ribble Cycles||Rutland Cycling||AW Cycles||Scotby Cycles|
|Cycle Surgery||Westbrook Cycles||Biketart||HandslingBikes|