SEG's 75
SEG's 75 attracts many riders to an early season challenge

Ride reliably with Essex CTC for 75 miles

A popular annual cycling event, the 'SEG's 75' takes place in February. It is used by some of the Essex racing community as one of the first 'warm-up' rides of the year, and frequently attracts over 130 riders – despite the weather, which is usually very cold and windy! The ride, organised by Essex CTC, takes place on Sunday 28 February.

The idea behind a 'reliability' ride is for participants to complete the route within one of three time limits (five, six or seven hours). It progresses through country lanes to Great Bardfield and back via a series of five checkpoints. 

Southeast Essex's ride organiser John Steer explains the background to the SEG 75:

"The Essex CTC 75-mile reliability event started back in the late 1950s or early 1960s. It was intended for the local racing clubs to stretch their legs and stamina over 75 miles without support from any teammates in cars or vans, they had to carry their own spare tubes, puncture repair kit and tools while working from a route sheet. Originally organised by the Brentwood section of the Cyclists' Touring Club (CTC) Essex DA ('District Association'), the SEG's 75 was formerly known as the 'Jack Sharp Memorial Ride' (aka 'Brentwood 75'). In 2007, the event was for the first time run by the South-East Essex Member Group (SEG) of the CTC Essex DA. Thus the present name, which reflects these changes in organisation.

"In my memory the event has always taken place in early February. This generally meant frost, freezing rain, strong winds and fog. When I took over running it, I moved it to the end of February, after talking with some of the racing clubs, in the hope of better weather. I'm still waiting for that to happen! Even with bad weather though, of the lads and lasses that turn up to ride the event, most make it back in time before the cut-off point."

Even with bad weather though, of the lads and lasses that turn up to ride the event, most make it back in time before the cut-off point. You just need to be like the Scouts: motto 'Be Prepared'." 

John Steer, South East Essex 75 CTC ride organiser

There are three start times: 08.30 for the 7 hour rides; 09.00 for the 6 hour riders; and 09.30 for the 5 hour riders. Checkpoints are where you stop to get your card signed and time checked as you make your way from Wickford. These checkpoints are part of the reliability checking to ensure that nobody gets lost, however the reliability of your bike is your responsibility.  Note that if you use gas canisters for your punctures, Southeast Essex CTC urges rides to please take the empty ones home with you and not just to throw them into the nearest hedge or gutter!  

At the halfway stage, there is a stop for a hot drink and some nibbles at Great Bardfield Town Hall before your return to Wickford.

John Steer continues: "You will need a warm waterproof, windproof jacket and maybe some overtrousers - who knows what the weather will be on the day? You just need to be like the Scouts: motto 'Be Prepared'."   

The entry fee is £6.00 for postal entries, or £7.00 'on the line'. 

For more information on how to enter, take a look at the ride details

Julie Rand