What's the ethos of the Tour of the Roses?
The Tour of the Roses is intended to be an antidote to the increasing commercialisation of amateur cycling in the UK. We want to create an event that’s small-scale, social and challenging where participants feel they’re a name, not a number.
Sportives in the UK are getting bigger and attracting bigger brands, but not necessarily getting any better. In fact you increasingly feel like you’re being processed by a machine. You turn up, register, ride and go home. Riders rarely acknowledge each other, and there’s little sense of shared achievement. If you’re travelling across the country for a big one-day event it can feel anti-climactic having to just climb in the car and drive home at the end of the day.
Private tours are great, but not everyone has a group of six or seven cashed up mates who are into cycling. The Haute Route builds incredible cameraderie between the riders, but it’s eye-wateringly expensive. Perhaps the nearest thing is the Tour of Wessex, but they’re now attracting more than 500 riders, and coping with those numbers is beginning to show.
We grew up in Lancaster, never appreciating the amazing countryside right on our doorstep. So this is also an opportunity for us to give a little back to the area. We’ll stay in local hotels, drink in local pubs, and attempt to involve the community as much as possible, so there’s no-one campaigning against us, or throwing tacks down on the road.
There will be no synthetic gels and bonded sawdust bars cast before you at feedstations. We’ll get proper home-cooked food sorted - the kind of things you genuinely fantasise about as you’re riding.
Riding in small groups means you’ll get to talk to each other - more than once. We’ll put names instead of numbers on bibs to help you out. There’ll be a WhatsApp group for chat, and a private Strava club to compare times up climbs and give Kudos to each other, long after the event is over. Then at the end of the day, you can have a pint (coke, beer or wine) together and dissect the day’s ride, share your highs and lows, and maybe make a friend or two.