Isle of Wight Randonnee 2014

Another year past, another randonnee ridden. I've blogged about this several times now and, as usual, I spent the day at the Whitwell checkpoint helping to supply refreshments to hungry riders and, in the process, raising around £650 for a local children's charity. We couldn't have asked for better weather for it – dry, light winds and a bit of sunshine and so it was no surprise that we had a record entry of 2152 riders. However, with only a few days to go before the event things were looking far from rosy.....!

A key feature of the randonnee is the chain ferry that carries cars, cyclists and pedestrians across the river Medina from Cowes to East Cowes. Every April it is taken out of service for a few days for routine maintenance and replaced by a small launch. This year it needed major attention and had to be taken to dry dock in Southampton but would, we were assured, be back in time for the randonnee. We crossed our fingers and hoped but it was no great surprise when we were informed 5 days before the event that the repairs were taking longer than anticipated and it would not be back in time. The replacement launch is far too small to carry the necessary numbers of cyclists and so the event had to be rerouted to cross the Medina at Newport. Three members of the randonnee committee met with the council to agree the alternative route and the council agreed to supply additional signage and to provide marshalls on the day. It added a bit of distance and included some busier roads but it did miss out a couple of hills. In the end it went like clockwork with many riders commenting on how well signed it was and some even saying that they preferred it to the normal hilly route through Cowes.

I was a little more involved in the organisation this year and quickly discovered how much work the committee put into making this event such a success. Apart from the obvious headaches of risk assessments and insurance there were simple things that I hadn't considered. Certificates and brevet cards arrived from the printers in large boxes (there were 3000 of each) and had to be counted out. Actually only 100 were counted out, they were then weighed and the remainder sorted by weight for distribution amongst the six check points. Somehow it hadn't occurred to me that we would have to do this!

All the hard work paid off with the cyclists having a great day and many commenting on the 'carnival atmosphere'.

There are some excellent photos here with more photos and comments on the facebook page.

4 comments on “Isle of Wight Randonnee 2014”

  1. Patrick wrote:

    On the Whitwell checkpoint again eh? Good work with the fundraising. And well done the Isle of Wight, and the cyclists of course. I enjoyed the photos.

  2. Kern wrote:

    The organizational effort behind events such as these is appreciated but never fully realized except by those who do the actual work. I like the distribution-by-weight solution – very clever!

  3. Chris wrote:

    The organizational effort behind events such as these is appreciated but never fully realized except by those who do the actual work

    I persuaded myself to organise a ride this year. I soon realised that the scale of my original plan was just too great so I have been less ambitious – certainly for 2014. There are just so many things to think about – I almost wish I hadn't bothered, but there are three skinny loops that I've put together that I think cover some good riding – with a little sting in the tail. The food is intended to be a cut above the usual cyclists' grub. I had thought about calling the ride the 'Good Food Ride', but then I feared being sued for 'passing off' or something. (I had thought about fiddling about in some Adobe software to morph the cutlery from the logo of the 'Good Food Guide' into a mini pump, a set of tyre levers and a spanner or something.) Still looking for a name for the ride...

    Is that £650 just on your stall, Hilary? With my chopping and changing of ideas we'll be lucky if we break even. Good stuff. Did you ever do Dave Barter's ride on the Isle of Wight? Or were there some roads you didn't care for? Can't remember.

  4. Hilary wrote:

    The £650 (actually the final total was £677) was from the sale of cakes, chocolate bars and teas and coffees all at 50p. It required a team of 6 including the thankless task of constantly washing and drying mugs – I had the easy option! I did a little cake wrapping the night before but Jackie spent 3 hours buttering and wrapping hot cross buns! Riding is much easier! :)

    I've never actually followed Dave Barter's ride to the letter but I regularly ride a route that includes about 97% of it plus a little extra up to the Needles Battery. The Randonnee route is also quite similar altho Dave's route sticks more closely to the coast in places and is slightly longer.

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