Sportives and Audaxes


Sportives in the UK are non-competitive road cycling events in which participants are often motivated to test their cycling endurance capabilities. Many continental European sportives are races, though some are not officially timed and are non-competitive. A typical distance for this sort of event is around 160km / 100miles, though there are often shorter routes for the less adventurous and many events are well over 200km. Terrain is varied, but generally somewhat hilly. The best non-cycling analogy for a sportive is the marathon, in that the highest profile events tend to be won by former professionals or semi-pro riders, making the chief competition for many riders themselves rather than the rest of the field.  Entry is normally online.  Riders are either sent or need to collect on the day a timing chip which automatically logs times.

Some local 2022 sportives:

29 May     London         Ride London-Essex       100 miles

18 June    Oxford          Chiltern Classic              50/91/122 km

10 July      Amersham   Tour of the Chilterns       50/100/150 km

17 July     Chinnor        Chiltern Beast                105/161 km

4 Sep        Marlow        Red Kite                         50/80/100 miles


As in previous years a number of members are also travelling to Sweden to ride the Vätternrundan in June, a 315km ride around a Swedish lake in the company of around 20,000 other cyclists.



An Audax is similar to a Sportive, but there are differences.  The joke goes that Sportives are ridden by people pretending to race and Audaxes by people pretending not to race.  They are usually smaller scale than Sportives but a lot cheaper due to the key of self-sufficiency.  You will be given a routesheet (and usually a GPS download) and have to make your way between various controls that are usually cafes that you check in at and can buy your own food.  There are also information controls marked on the route sheet where you have to record, for example, 'the name of the pub in the village square' to prove you were there.    You can't expect official mechanical assistance, although you will always get an offer of help from others on the ride.  The 'standard distance' tends to be considered as the 200km, but there are plenty of 100km rides as well.  Rides build up to 600km classics and the four yearly London-Edinburgh-London (next in 2022) and Paris-Brest-Paris (next in 2023).

The site gives the calendar of Audax events.

Some local 2022 Audaxes:

22 Jan     Chalfont                Willy Warmer                   200km

26 Mar     Ruislip                  Steam Ride                      200km

2 Apr       Chalfont                London-New Forest         300km

9 Apr       Grazeley               Kennet Valley                   100/200km

23 Apr     Reading                Tribute Rides                    50/100/200km

30 Apr     Chalfont                London-Wales-London     400km

7 May      Ruislip                  London Circuit                  400km

21 May    Rickmansworth    Tour de Ricky                    50/100/200km

29 May    Maidenhead        10 Thames Bridges           50/100km

4 Jun       Reading               Pints for Phil                     50/100km

2 Jul        Beech Hill            Rural South                       300km


Why would I want to ride one of those?

It is a great excuse to travel with your bike and ride other than on the same roads you regularly use to train. Much of the world's best cycling is a few short hours from the average Londoner's doorstep, yet this person may need the extra motivation of having paid an entry fee and been assigned a race number just to go use this amazing cycling resource. Having a sportive marked on the calendar can be this motivation. Seeing a different part of Britain or another country by bike is a great way to tour any destination. You will get a better sense of the terrain, the sounds and the smells than you ever would traveling by car. If your event takes you to continental Europe, you will be exposed to cultures that readily embrace cycling and are keen to make a festival of a cycling event.


John Parfitt Sportive Trophy Results

A Sportive championship is organised aimed at distance based events rather than time used for most other forms of cycling. The rider who completes the most miles in Sportive (UK and overseas), Reliability Trials and Audax rides over the year is deemed the winner and is awarded the John Parfitt Sportive Trophy.

                1st                                  miles                      2nd                                miles                     3rd                            miles

2010       Neil Turner                          633                     Sarah Davies                  585                     Ian Blatchford             519

2011       Heather Mackay               2,432                     Alex Hughes                1,145                     Matthew Blagg         1,087

2012       Heather Mackay               5,880                     David Dyer                  1,053                     Sarah Davies              877

2013       Heather Mackay               3,728                     David Dyer                  1,526                     Sarah Davies           1,294

2014       Sarah Davies                    1,033                     David Dyer                    909                      John Irwin                   799

2015       Heather Martin-Dye         3,216                     Mike Henley                 3,045                     John Irwin                1,673

2016       Mike Henley                     2,544                     Heather Martin-Dye     2,241                     Sarah Davies              836

2017       Sarah Davies                   1,651                     David Dyer                  1,466                      Peter Loveridge          433

2018       David Dyer                       1,075                     Sarah Davies                 939                      Mike Henley                572

2019       Sarah Davies                   2,372                     David Dyer                  2,325                      Mike Henley             1,806

2020        not awarded

2021        not awarded