If you’re thinking of participating in the QECR, you won’t regret signing up – it’s a fun weekend and a great challenge....but don’t just take our word for it, hear what it’s like from a cyclist’s perspective in these useful FAQs:
Why should I join the ride?
You will be directly supporting the brilliant work the Connection at St Martin-in-the-Fields does with homeless and vulnerable people in central London, through the sponsorship you raise. You will have a chance to ‘get away from it all’, with four days of cycling on a route full of interest, mainly on quiet roads, footpaths, towpaths and cycle ways, with lovely and varied scenery. You’ll learn something of another little chapter of English history, the funeral procession of Queen Eleanor, with (when possible) a talk in the evening from local experts. You’ll socialise with a great bunch, eat a great deal of home-made cake, and enjoy unexpected pleasures such as an organ recital, specially for us, in Woburn Abbey church. What more can you expect from a Bank Holiday weekend?!
Who will I be with?
30 people rode in 2021. They range from young to middle aged, but all share an interest in the cycling, the route, the history, and socialising in the evenings. There are a number of regulars who come every year, but always new people as well, and fresh faces are always welcome.
Do I need to be very fit and have an expensive bike?
No. Clearly if you are fit and have a half decent bike, the ride will be easier, but anyone who is a regular cyclist, and done some preparation will be fine. This year we are planning a couple of practice rides,
Will I keep up?
Almost certainly. We divide into groups according to the speed people prefer to go, and there is always an experienced back marker bringing up the rear, so no one gets lost. There are lots of scheduled stops for refreshment. There is only one significant hill on the route with the reward of a gold star on your completion certificate – if you get up it without walking. If necessary there are support vehicles to pick you up if you have a breakdown or injury.
Where do we eat and sleep?
Overnight accommodation is mostly in Church Halls, sleeping on a mat with a sleeping bag. And you can book your own B&B if you want more comfort. Breakfast is prepared by the support staff – who pride themselves on the quality of their porridge! Supper is cooked for us by local volunteers – last year a local pub donated an evening meal for us all. Morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea stops are planned on the route every day, again in church and village halls, with an amazing supply of home baked cakes and scones.
How do we get to the start, what happens to baggage?
We assemble at Harby near Lincoln at midday on the Friday. Some people find their way there, others come from London by train. Those coming from London can be met at Newark North Gate station on the East Coast line. Baggage is carried on the van between overnight stops. You can put your bike and baggage on the van in central London before travelling to the start, or bring it with you on the train.
What if the weather is bad?
You get wet! However, if it’s really wet, a decision can be made to cancel a section, but we haven’t had to do that yet (though it was close one year, when it rained all day on the Monday!). Mostly we are lucky with sunshine, and the odd shower.
And how does it all end?
Happily, on Monday. we cycle into Central London to Westminster Abbey where we are met and shown to Queen Eleanor’s tomb to pay our respects. After a short ceremony we return to The Connection near Trafalgar Square to be reunited with our luggage, have a shower, and enjoy a short après ride party before dispersing around 6 pm.