Author Topic: Beginner-friendly 200s  (Read 1884 times)

Beginner-friendly 200s
« on: February 03, 2020, 08:20:34 pm »
Hi everyone,

I'm looking to put together a bit of a blog post on my website as a resource for beginner-friendly 200s. I've done plenty of 200s in my time so far but would love a few in every region of the UK so that people have a few options to choose from.

They don't necessarily need to be flat, just well organised, manned controls, decent size group to potentially find riding buddies etc. Would prefer calendar or perm events to recommend so that people can actually enter or do the route itself.

Thanks for your help!

arabella

  • no se porque yo no lo se
Re: Beginner-friendly 200s
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2020, 08:48:10 pm »
I suspect that the answer may depend on the beginner.
My first 200 was 2 loops from HQ with helpful organiser explaining info controls etc.
There was 100km running round the first loop which meant, as I'm slow, people catching me up which meant friendly faces as they passed.  2nd loop was a bit quiet though, I don't recall if I was last or not.
My 2nd 200 it was pissing it down but I had VAlerie and Andy on their annual (local norfolking good) 200 which was nice.  also 2 loops with WI feedstation in the middle.
Alas neither of these 200 exist any longer.

I'd suggest loops rather than an out and back. ymmv
In the dark, all views are the same.

telstarbox

  • Loving the lanes
Re: Beginner-friendly 200s
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2020, 09:13:26 pm »
Anything organised by the Mid Essex lot has been friendly, not too hilly and has a catered or pub finish IME. The organisers sent out useful notes and you can get to the start point by train. Essex is underrated for scenery too!

When I was starting out I wouldn't have considered Perms beginner friendly - think they're more of a "step up" once you're used to the idea of controls, time limits, navigation etc.
2019 🏅 R1000 and B1000

Re: Beginner-friendly 200s
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2020, 09:30:06 pm »
The Stevenage Start of Summertime Specials always attract a range of types of rider. Did my first 200 on the event one year.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Beginner-friendly 200s
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2020, 09:51:31 pm »
The Stevenage Start of Summertime Specials always attract a range of types of rider. Did my first 200 on the event one year.

This was not my first 200 (though I thnk I did the second running of the event in 1995) but it's a good ride foe beginners.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Beginner-friendly 200s
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2020, 10:07:17 pm »


My first 200 was the Bunnik 200 "Onder N.A.P.". By UK standards it would be considered an X rated event. 2 commercial controls, a GPX, and coffee at the start. And it's in January.

If you're willing to expand your list to include .NL, the. I would say the 200 from Amsterdam in March is a good beginners ride. Pretty sheltered from the wind, benign terrain, and good controls (tho commercial).

But I may be biased, may be you should all come ride it and see :p

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

FifeingEejit

  • Not Small
Re: Beginner-friendly 200s
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2020, 10:33:17 pm »
Looking at the 200s with Scottish starts I'd pick:

Eilean Dubh - Facilities at start and finish, 2 café controls (doesn't mention what the control is at Cromarty), <1%
Monster Munch - Again good facilities start and finish, good route even in the snow last year... and also not too hilly
Rothes Reccie - Newtonmore Grill's a good start/finish, surprisingly fast and flatish except for Brig O' Brown, that hurts...
Long Dark Tea Time of an Audax Soul - Relativley gentle out and back from Gala, good community centre start/finish; Snow Hare is another Gala contender.

Oddly that's also the gentlest 4, anyone wanting to start with some climbing would look at ARgyll Alps, Bens, Glens etc. and Deelechtable.
I'll also note that the Selkirk rides are good routes but X rated so not necessarily beginner ideal. And I've never managed the Hawick or Huntly ones.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: Beginner-friendly 200s
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2020, 12:26:01 pm »
Anything organised by LVIS is guaranteed to have excellent catering and friendly village hall type controls. In terms of 200s, Barry's Bristol Ball Buster (not running this year but should be back next year).
I do not ride a great big Mercian, gangster tanwalls, fixed cog in the back.

fboab

  • It's a fecking serious business, riding a bike
Re: Beginner-friendly 200s
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2020, 02:02:23 pm »
The Stevenage Start of Summertime Specials always attract a range of types of rider. Did my first 200 on the event one year.

I hated this ride (I've done it twice). There were an awful lot of riders with little in the way of skills- by which I mean road awareness and courtesy to other riders. The organiser went to a great deal of trouble to ask if you were riding with anyone... and then put my half and the other half of our tandem in different start groups. I also got a bit narky with them regarding the annual spam to persuade me to enter again.

There's an assumption that new audaxers will be slow. That isn't necessarily the case. All you need for a ride to be beginner friendly is a lack of cliquey-ness and good organisation. Laying on a load of food doesn't always mean those requirements are met.

Deano's rides are good- in that he's always very clear what you're signing up for. He has a top team of helpers to call on, too.
TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Beginner-friendly 200s
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2020, 02:16:27 pm »
The Ditchling Devil is probably one of the best entry level 200s in the UK. It starts in London so no silly am train trips required for Londoners, plenty of bail out points if things get dramatic, lots of quality controls etc and a great time of year to give the game a go.
YACF touring/audax bargain basement:
https://bit.ly/2Xg8pRD


telstarbox

  • Loving the lanes
Re: Beginner-friendly 200s
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2020, 02:19:52 pm »
The Stevenage Start of Summertime Specials always attract a range of types of rider. Did my first 200 on the event one year.

I hated this ride (I've done it twice). There were an awful lot of riders with little in the way of skills- by which I mean road awareness and courtesy to other riders. The organiser went to a great deal of trouble to ask if you were riding with anyone... and then put my half and the other half of our tandem in different start groups. I also got a bit narky with them regarding the annual spam to persuade me to enter again.

To be fair I could say the same about some riders on my commute - not sure the organiser can do much apart from advice in the notes, which may or may not get read. 
2019 🏅 R1000 and B1000

Re: Beginner-friendly 200s
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2020, 03:58:00 pm »
I wouldn't say ACME events from station-less Dunmow were the best entry level 200 for those without a car. [their 100s are better in that regard]     Try the Jetsetter from Potters Bar, now in its second year, which is easily reached by train, nowhere near  as hilly as the Ditchling Devil but  not without a few challenging stretches.    Sunday rail services can  be unreliable to Chelmsford which  hosts several gentler 200s on that day of the week.

Re: Beginner-friendly 200s
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2020, 04:11:02 pm »
The Ditchling Devil is probably one of the best entry level 200s in the UK. It starts in London so no silly am train trips required for Londoners, plenty of bail out points if things get dramatic, lots of quality controls etc and a great time of year to give the game a go.

Think I'll throw this one in. Haven't had a recommendation from anyone for an event that stretches down that neck of the woods. Fee also includes food en route which might eliminate the whole saddlebag/luggage debacle for many. Paul Stewart is also a great organiser as far as my experience of DIY validations goes!

Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: Beginner-friendly 200s
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2020, 04:11:17 pm »
All you need for a ride to be beginner friendly is a lack of cliquey-ness and good organisation.
In that respect, Will Pomeroy's rides are good. Very well organised and clear about what you're getting (which is often bastard hilly, but the route info lets you know in advance).
I do not ride a great big Mercian, gangster tanwalls, fixed cog in the back.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: Beginner-friendly 200s
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2020, 04:12:25 pm »
The organiser went to a great deal of trouble to ask if you were riding with anyone... and then put my half and the other half of our tandem in different start groups.
You win the AUK Pantomime Horse Award!
I do not ride a great big Mercian, gangster tanwalls, fixed cog in the back.

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Beginner-friendly 200s
« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2020, 04:14:04 pm »
The Ditchling Devil is probably one of the best entry level 200s in the UK. It starts in London so no silly am train trips required for Londoners, plenty of bail out points if things get dramatic, lots of quality controls etc and a great time of year to give the game a go.

Think I'll throw this one in. Haven't had a recommendation from anyone for an event that stretches down that neck of the woods. Fee also includes food en route which might eliminate the whole saddlebag/luggage debacle for many. Paul Stewart is also a great organiser as far as my experience of DIY validations goes!
I was a controller with Grams last time, it was really encouraging to see so many first timers having such an enjoyable ride. I really want to do it myself this season it looked like a real hoot. Lots of riders weren't lugging carradice or anything like that at all. The real race snakes were just doing it like an extended club ride and were at the control's door right on opening time.
YACF touring/audax bargain basement:
https://bit.ly/2Xg8pRD


Re: Beginner-friendly 200s
« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2020, 04:16:53 pm »
All you need for a ride to be beginner friendly is a lack of cliquey-ness and good organisation.
In that respect, Will Pomeroy's rides are good. Very well organised and clear about what you're getting (which is often bastard hilly, but the route info lets you know in advance).

Have pointed out GWR Audax as a font of rides if people want to get involved. Got PTNA as a fixture on the list as well.

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Beginner-friendly 200s
« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2020, 04:20:51 pm »
Oh and Ian's Willesden's rides are very good too, They're within training distance from London and the routes are fab.

http://iansaudax.blogspot.com/
YACF touring/audax bargain basement:
https://bit.ly/2Xg8pRD


Re: Beginner-friendly 200s
« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2020, 04:46:14 pm »
One caveat with the Ditchling Devil is that it's pretty hilly.

I'd add Wilkyboy of-this-parish's Cambridge Autumnal and Pork Pie 200s, for the accessibility of the start, wide selection of riders on the road and the hospitality at the finish. Only one manned control between them, however.

The Steam Ride (London-Oxford-London) belongs somehwere on the list too.

Re: Beginner-friendly 200s
« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2020, 04:51:37 pm »
One caveat with the Ditchling Devil is that it's pretty hilly.

I'd add Wilkyboy of-this-parish's Cambridge Autumnal and Pork Pie 200s, for the accessibility of the start, wide selection of riders on the road and the hospitality at the finish. Only one manned control between them, however.

The Steam Ride (London-Oxford-London) belongs somehwere on the list too.

Got LOL on there  :thumbsup:

I haven't shied away from hilly routes (I've had to put at least a couple from the North East so it's unavoidable) and I sometimes think that despite the hilly terrain, good company can still get you round these rides.

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Beginner-friendly 200s
« Reply #20 on: February 04, 2020, 04:59:27 pm »
Cheltenham New Flyer 200k? Though one year it did drop to freezing and start snowing as it got dark. That was fun. There are a couple of steep hills (at least one where I'm walking on fixed) but overall not extreme. Good catering, with two village hall controls providing food, and the cafe at Lacock for the final run in.


Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: Beginner-friendly 200s
« Reply #21 on: February 04, 2020, 05:12:15 pm »
All you need for a ride to be beginner friendly is a lack of cliquey-ness and good organisation.
In that respect, Will Pomeroy's rides are good. Very well organised and clear about what you're getting (which is often bastard hilly, but the route info lets you know in advance).

Have pointed out GWR Audax as a font of rides if people want to get involved. Got PTNA as a fixture on the list as well.
:thumbsup:
I do not ride a great big Mercian, gangster tanwalls, fixed cog in the back.

Re: Beginner-friendly 200s
« Reply #22 on: February 04, 2020, 05:31:56 pm »
Here's the link then folks...

https://www.graceqom.com/journal/choosing-your-first-200/

Hope some of you find it useful. As I say, it's not an exhaustive list but more of a distillation of the calendar for those more unfamiliar with organisers and the typical audax jargon we're more fluent in.

Re: Beginner-friendly 200s
« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2020, 05:58:48 pm »
It's excellent, what a fine job, thanks!

Re: Beginner-friendly 200s
« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2020, 06:05:11 pm »
My first 200km was the Kennet Valley Run (Late March), and still fastest calendar 200km.  Start is just south of Reading.  50-150km is 'linear' Hungerford <-> Bratton; wind direction can make a difference.   
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.