1.1 EVENT - THAMES HEAD CHALLENGE
The Thames Head Challenge is a unique 130mile cycling challenge starting on the banks of the River Thames at Putney in London, bridging the river all the way back to its very source in the Cotswolds near Cirencester.
It is open to both Solo Riders [riding the whole distance]
This is the Thames Head SOLO
and Team Relay Riders [sharing the whole distance as they choose]
This is the Thames Head RELAY
The Thames Head Challenge is thus a fun Charity Bike Ride with a unique twist on the norm, providing special memories and talking points long after arrival at the Finish - the Thames Head.
In planning for the last 3yrs, the 2021 inaugural Thames Head Challenge is set to be a landmark event with places in demand from a wide cross-section of Riders.
2.1 RIDERS - PARTICIPATING RIDERS
The event is open to be ridden by cyclists over a wide range of abilities. Riders can participate either riding the whole distance themselves, as a SOLOIST or - more likely - riding their chosen stage as part of a Relay Team of 2, 3 or 4 Riders, each taking turns to carry their symbolic Relay Team Baton.
Each Team nominates a Team Captain prior to the Event Date.
Team Captains are the Event Organiser’s primary contact for the Team.
Each Rider is provided with a unique Rider Number Badge.
The badge will be provided on Event Day at the Event SIGN-IN desk.
The contact details for Ride Event Control [REC] are noted on each badge.
See also Rider Age Restriction in 11.1 below.
2.2 RIDERS – ENTRY
There is a two Stage Event Registration process.
Stage 1 reserves your place[s]
Stage 2 will be emailed following Stage 1
Place[s] are confirmed on completion of Stage 2
See Rider Entry Cost and incentives
There are 3 ways Riders can enter the Event.
1. As an INDEPENDENT Rider
With no agenda other than to finish - entering for sheer fun
See also CHARITIES – NON-PARTICIPATING, 3.2 below
To raise funds for your chosen Charity or School
See CHARITIES – PARTICIPATING 3.1, and SCHOOLS 3.3, below
3. As a COMPANY Rider
For your own or your company’s chosen objective
See COMPANIES, 4.1 below
2.3 RIDERS - RIDER ABILITY
Due to the distance involved Riders and their Relay Teams need to have the ability to cover the whole distance at an average speed of not less than 12mph. Riders also need to be confident about riding on open roads and in traffic.
This Event is thus not suitable for beginner Riders. Even for seasoned and accomplished Riders, training before the Event will doubtless be an advantage for coping on the day. It is each Rider’s responsibility to be both fit and sufficiently able enough to participate safely in the Event. It is recommended that if there are any health concerns whatsoever then Riders should seek a specialist’s assessment.
2.4 RIDERS – ALTERNATIVELY-ABLED RIDERS
If an alternatively-abled Rider can determine for themselves that they possess the stated Rider Ability requirements, then the Event Organisers place no restrictions on those Riders participating in the Event.
2.5 RIDERS - SOLO RIDERS
As the title suggests, Soloists will ride the whole distance themselves. The Event Organisers strongly recommend that each Solo Rider has a Support Vehicle shadowing the Ride – if only, and eventually, to get the Soloist home in comfort!
2.6 RIDERS - RELAY TEAM RIDERS
Relay Team Riders will switch roles at their own pre-selected Stage/Switch-Point along the Route, with non-riding Team Members moving to the next Stage/Switch-Point in their own Team Support Car.
2.7 RIDERS – RIDER PACKAGE
Included in the package is the following:
1. Fully signposted Route with additional markings
2. Route map and Alpha Signage Code for markings
3. Unique Rider Number to display on each bike
4. GPS data file for digital navigation devices
5. Route Book detailing useful information
6. Barbeque feast at the FINISH Point
7. End of Ride Photo and Certificate
8. Printed Turn By Turn Cue-Sheet
9. Mechanical Assistance
10. Medical Assistance
11. Marshal Assistance
Also available at the START Point - by choice
12. Early morning cooked breakfast and beverages
Also available at the FINISH Point - by choice
14. Licensed Bar
15. Overnight accommodation available nearby
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED
Bicycle and cycling related equipment
Spares and consumables supplied as part of any Mechanical Assistance
3.1 CHARITIES - PARTICIPATING CHARITIES
Participating Charities are those which have registered Team Places for Riders supporting their cause. Riders choosing one of the Participating Charities to support will register for a Charity Place and do so at a discounted fee.
Contact us to check if your chosen Charity is participating.
A minimum fundraising target of £200 per Rider applies to this entry.
3.2 CHARITIES - NON-PARTICIPATING CHARITIES
Non-Participating Charities are simply those which have not yet registered Team Places for Riders.
Participating Schools are those which have registered Team Places for Riders supporting their cause. Riders choosing one of the Participating Schools to support will register for a School Place and do so at a discounted fee.
Contact us to check if your chosen School is participating.
A minimum fundraising target of £200 per Rider applies to this entry.
Companies are able to reserve places for their members of staff. Companies and their Riders can use the Ride for one or more purposes:
1. To simply raise funds for the Riders’ chosen cause
2. To raise funds for the Riders’ / Company’s chosen cause
In both 1+2, an element of match funding might be involved
3. To use the Event as a special Team Building exercise
Perhaps with competing Teams coming from the same Company
Bear in mind – the Event is not organised as a race!
5.1 START – THE VENUE
Our venue is the prestigious and stately London Rowing Club with the Ride starting directly below the Clubhouse balcony.
At the START external caterers and expert baristas will be serving hot beverages and delicious hand-held breakfasts. Our caterers will be pleased to serve all Riders, their Support Teams and other guests.
Vehicle parking is restricted in the vicinity of the Clubhouse and slipways. Due to this, it is recommended that good time is allowed to find temporary parking in the surrounding local streets.
Toilets are located on the first floor [ONLY] of the Clubhouse.
There are no changing facilities available to Riders within the Clubhouse.
5.2 START – THE START
The first Riders will start from Putney at 6am and the last at 7am.
For safety reasons, Riders will be released in waves. In advance of the Event Day, Riders will be allocated a Wave Slot with slower Riders given priority to start ahead of the faster Riders.
All Riders will CHECK-IN remotely on-line before the Event Day.
Then, on Event Day:
1. Riders STARTING in Putney are required to physically SIGN-IN
[for their Team’s First Stage] at the Event SIGN-IN desk
Bike Numbers, Relay Batons etc will be provided here
The SIGN-IN desk is located on the first floor of the Clubhouse
SIGN-IN opens at 4.45am and closes at 6.45am!
2. Relay Riders starting down Route away from Putney
are NOT required to SIGN-IN physically.
The remote CHECK-IN system [for ALL Riders] will open at
1.00am on Wed 18Aug21
[four days prior to Event Day].
BEFORE SIGN-IN CAN TAKE PLACE
ALL Riders must have CHECKED-IN remotely
All starters at Putney will be manually time-logged at their time of starting.
6.1 ROUTE – OUTLINE
The fully signposted Route has been meticulously planned to incorporate iconic buildings and places, stunning scenery and some of the most quintessentially English country lanes to be found in central southern England. Rider safety is the Event Organiser’s primary concern and is reflected in the chosen Route, additional road markings and position of all Stage-Points and optional Rider Switch-Points. An outline of the Route together with the actual Route profile is shown on our Map page.
7.1 FINISH – THE VENUE
Our venue is the magnificent Royal Agricultural University [RAU]. It is located on the southern outskirts of the Roman town of Cirencester. Its location is just under a mile from the Thames Head stone, marking the spring which is the river’s official source.
Riders approach the FINISH line via the beautiful tree-lined avenue leading to the venue’s main building.
On the lawns, alongside the FINISH gantry, is positioned the Event Village, bicycle racking and end of Ride catering. Showers and changing rooms are located just a few metres walk away.
The RAU affords a large, private and safe space for picnics and games on grass. It is the perfect spot for all non-riding supporters to join us for a magical and fun-filled afternoon culminating in a BIG welcome home for the Riders.
There is ample car parking on-site, located in the main car park.
Riders and supporters get a special discounted Bed & Breakfast Rate at the RAU! With Double, Twin and Single ensuite rooms right at the Finish Venue, you can make the most of your venture to this Cotswolds cycling paradise!
7.2 FINISH – THE FINISH
Riders approaching the finishing line are welcomed by friends, family and fellow Team Riders to a fanfare of Ding Dong Bells.
Finishing photos are taken with Team Riders at the FINISH line. The photo is reproduced for each Rider’s Certificate delivered soon after the Event.
All finishers will be time-logged at their time of finishing.
8.1 VEHICLES – TEAM SUPPORT CARS
Each Solo Rider and Relay Team will provide their own Team Support Car. In the case of a mechanical or other non-medical difficulty, the Team Support Car will be a Rider’s FIRST reactive support. Team Support Cars will convey non-riding Team Riders between Stage/Switch-Points and the FINISH in Cirencester.
9.1 ASSISTANCE – ROUTE DIRECTIONS
Assistance is provided for both the Riders and their Support Teams.
Fully signposted Route with additional markings
Route map and our Alpha Signage Code for markings
GPS data file for digital navigation devices
Printed Turn By Turn Cue-Sheet
Telephone guidance from Ride Event Control [REC] - as a last resort!
9.2 ASSISTANCE - MECHANICAL ASSISTANCE
Mechanical Assistance will also be provided as SECOND reactive support by a Mobile Team in addition to Fixed Point Support at the Event Stage-Points.
Mechanical assistance will be available by telephone where the opinion of a qualified mechanic might be all that is needed to get underway again.
9.3 ASSISTANCE - MEDICAL ASSISTANCE
Medical Assistance will also be provided at Fixed Point Locations, being the Event Stage-Points. Medical assistance will be available by telephone where the opinion of a qualified medic might be all that is needed to reassure the Rider and their Support Team. This medical assistance however is no substitute for situations that require emergency road-side attention or conveyance to hospital. Nearest hospital A+E departments to the Route will be advised to Riders and their Support Teams by Ride Event Control [REC]. .
9.4 ASSISTANCE – MARSHALS
Marshals will be positioned at Stage-Points and other key points on the Route. The primary role of Marshals is to signal caution to motorists. Marshals are not responsible for directing vehicular traffic or to control Rider maneuvers.
Their secondary role as Marshals is to help indicate direction.
Riders must decide at all times whether their own movement is safe.
The Event Organisers are CHARITY BIKE RIDES, a group of passionate bike riders with strong support of charitable causes. The Event Organisers have been designing and leading events of this kind since 2008 and have amassed a good deal of experience and expertise in the process.
10.2 ORGANISERS - CHARITY BIKE RIDES
Charity Bike Rides will later this year be merged into a newly formed entity to better serve a much wider range of Charities. The new entity is being established to provide Charities with support in Collaboration, Development and, most importantly, Fundraising.
Further news of the merger will be published in the coming months.
11.1 RIDER RESTRICTIONS – AGE
Riders must be at least 14yrs of age at the Event Date. Riders aged under 16yrs may be required to be accompanied by an adult Rider. This restriction is related to the Event Organisers’ insurance cover. Cycling on open roads is not without risk and our own Public Liability insurance is effective when ONLY age qualified Riders participate.
12.1 DOS AND DON’TS
Abide by the Event Organisers’ RULES and CODES [Alpha Signage Code]
Do apply common sense to all things
Don’t breach the Event Organisers’ RULES and CODES
Don’t be late for your feast at the FINISH
13.1 EVENT TERMS, CONDITIONS AND RULES