We’re all accustomed to seeing streamlined speedsters racing round well-crafted circuits and vast velodromes, but the world of competitive cycling isn’t a one-way street. Although events such as the Tour de France and UCI Track Cycling World Championships dominate the annual sporting calendar, the community has a lot more to give if you’re willing to look beyond the norm.
“Alternative” cycling events not only offer a competitive outlet for those with special talents, but they offer fans of two-wheels a different form of entertainment. Although the competitors may not be as finely tuned as the athletes competing in the top cycling events, they are all out to have a good time and that makes for some highly engaging competitions.
Every country in the world has its own cycling quirks, but the UK has, by far, the most options and if you check out the alternative sporting calendar collated by betfair, you’ll get an idea of the lunacy that manifests itself across the nation.To give you some insight into some of the main events you’ll find on the roster, here are three of the most interesting cycling events.
1. The Brompton World Championship
If you’ve ever spent any time in London, you’ll not only know that cycling can be a danger to your health, but that the majority riders use Bromptons. One of the top manufactures of folding bikes, Bromptons have become so popular that the world’s riders now converge on the Goodwood Motor Circuit to see who is the fastest in the west. A shirt, tie and jacket are all compulsory and the winner is the rider able to complete four laps of the track in the fastest time.
2. The Welsh Wobble
Not far from England and in the neighbouring country of Wales, the Real Ale Wobble is possibly one of the most unstable bike races in the world. Testing the participants’ powers of concentration, balance and perseverance to the max, this race requires riders to complete an off-road course and, here’s the twist, try to hold their alcohol. The main premise is simple. Riders collect beer tokens for every checkpoint they reach. At the end of the race they can then swap their tokens for real ale beverages. For those racing once, that’s all well and good. But for those who opt to take part in the two-day event, the previous night’s excess often makes for an interesting turn of events.
3. The Tweed Run
Following a similar trend pushed by the Brompton World Championship, The Tweed Run combines class, style and a dash of competition. Unsurprisingly, the participants in the annual London cycle run are expected to dress to impress in as much tweed as possible. Harking back to the glory days of cycling, the event regularly attracts hundreds of participants and thousands of spectators for what is, undeniably, a thoroughly British affair. Although the racing element in this event is somewhat lacking, the marvellous outfits and obligatory cups of tea make for an impressive spectacle on an April afternoon in London.