The Tri-Vets rides are designed to be fun, informal events and nearly always include coffee, tea and lunch stops along lovely routes in pleasant countryside. Group organisers are encouraged to plan routes that avoid main roads where they can and are not too hilly, so the rides are accessible to as many people as possible.
Very often, the routes form a figure of eight so participants return to a central location for a relaxed lunch before venturing out again for an afternoon loop. There may also be a leader for each group of riders riding at different paces and distances. This means that riders feel very supported and can also return to base more easily, if they wish.
As well as being a fun, non-competitive challenge, the rides are a great social occasion, with many groups choosing to include a sit-down lunch stop and refreshments along the way. It's a chance to catch up with old friends, make new ones and discover new routes to ride. Some groups also choose to put on a 100-km ride the same day to encourage a more diverse range of participants and many will plan a figure-of-eight route with the start and finish points at the same location so riders are never too far from base.
Although the rides may not be fully-supported, entrants set off in small groups and benefit from the presence of voluntary ride leaders, back markers and marshals. Riding groups are normally 10-12 riders, and the leaders and back markers are preferably experienced veterans who will know the route and ensure that the group stays together, as in a traditional club ride.
This year's rides
The rides that took place this year were in Coventry, Surrey, Edinburgh, Cumbria, Teesside, Chester & N. Wales, Portsmouth, Oxfordshire, Essex and West Kent.
Many riders enjoyed near-perfect weather conditions in this long, hot summer as they completed their challenges. Their ages ranged from the qualifying age of 50 up to their late eighties - some riders were completing their eleventh Tri-Vets ride!
A day to remember
Edinburgh, Lothians and Borders CTC chose a local route of starting just south of Edinburgh, into Midlothian, East Lothian, the Borders and the Tweed Valley and a return via Biggar and West Lothian. Over 40 cyclists entered and on the day 35 lined up at the start in Eskbank railway station car park.
Organiser Benedict Bate says: "The six-mile run down from the high point above Innerleithen was a joy with the wind at our backs and a gentle slope which made pedalling unnecessary." Rider Neil says: "It was a brilliant event. Thanks for everything you did to make it happen."
"I absolutely loved today's cycle. There was a real buzz about the whole event, which I think helped us all cycle faster over that distance than we thought possible.
Tri-Vets rider, Edinburgh, Lothians and Borders CTC
A fellow centurion says: "Fantastic day out - thanks greatly to the organising team for the route, food, destinations, controlled start, and arranging support with a welcoming cheery smile at numerous locations", while another one said: "I absolutely loved today's cycle. There was a real buzz about the whole event, which I think helped us all cycle faster over that distance than we thought possible. Huge thanks to Ben for superb organisation and to Janet for sending us all off at some very early time this morning. Definitely a day to remember."
Chester & N. Wales CTC had about 76 participants on the day, despite a burst water main near the village hall venue meaning a last-minute change of plan. Organiser Laurie Mason says: "The final riders arrived back in Duddon soon after 8pm having had a long but enjoyable day and the President then presented certificates to all the riders."
Participant Mick says: "Very well-organised by Chester and North Wales CTC, thanks so much for all your hard work. Good route, excellent company on the ride and lovely refreshments. This was my second Tri-Vets after Leicestershire in 2016. I will certainly try to do one again in 2025."
CTC Coventry’s Tri-Vets 100-mile ride on 12 June also had an inauspicious start, with five potential leaders incapacitated in various ways; however, on the day, 36 riders in four groups enjoyed a day perfect for cycling - dry and warm but not too sunny, with a gentle breeze to help them home.
The camaraderie of the day pulled us through and everyone enjoyed the scenery.
Bob Tinley, CTC Coventry Tri-Vets organiser
Organiser Bob Tinley said: "As usual with Cycling UK events, we lurched between feeding stations and climbed lots of hills in between. Yes, we were in Warwickshire but managed to notch up 1750m of ascent. The camaraderie of the day pulled us through and everyone enjoyed the scenery. We managed to incorporate a few gated roads and a short stretch of unmetalled road – in fact everything that makes for an interesting day’s cycling.
"We had used most of our caterers on previous occasions and that undoubtedly helped us provide a smooth operation. The route started and finished at Binley Woods Village Hall with refreshment stops at Warmington, Little Wolford and Wellesbourne. We were pleased that our life president, Gordon Mead, aged 96, was able to present the certificates at the end of the ride."
A scorcher of an event
The Essex CTC Tri-Vets held on a very hot day in mid-August was very much enjoyed by a newcomer to the event.
Phil Shelton, aged 57, says: "The first time I heard about Tri-Vets was in March this year when two members of the North Birmingham cycling club, both octogenarians, mentioned they were considering doing the 100-mile option. They had ridden the event a number of times, and mentioned there would be a Midlands event this year so would I consider entering? Being a novice cyclist, having only been back on a bike for just under a year and never covered this type of distance before, I tentatively agreed. I had read somewhere that a 100-mile bike ride was a rite of passage for a cyclist - not sure if this is true but it sounded good. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the Midlands event due to a prior commitment, but decided to try the Essex one instead.
"Leading up to the event, the weather was unseasonably hot even for August and there was some doubt if it would go ahead. However, Brian, the organiser, came up with a viable solution: participants were asked whether they wished to either attend or undertake the ride in May 2023. Fortunately, there was enough of us to comprise two groups and the ride went ahead.
"The day itself went really well - prior to the ride I put on factor 50+ with a trowel in order to provide some protection. We rode out in the coolish early morning and I soon got chatting to some really interesting and experienced riders who offered helpful advice on how to manage the ride. Fortunately, there was one other novice who had never ridden 100 miles either so I didn't feel completely out of my depth.
"The route took us from Blackemore village hall to our first stop in Great Bardfield village hall, where we were offered refreshments. This would serve as our base while we rode two loops. On the way back from the first loop, one of my spokes went on the back wheel, which proceeded to wobble and get caught on the brake blocks. Fortunately, one of the group was able to secure it to another spoke and I wobbled back to the village hall for a tasty lunch. After that, there was one smaller loop, which felt harder to do, then more refreshments before making our way back to the start.
"Whilst it was a relief to complete the ride given the heat ( I think at its height the it was 37°C) a wobbly wheel, and low energy levels, overall it was a wonderful experience. Prior to the event, I asked someone why it was held was once every three years - they wryly suggested that was enough time to forget what it was like to cycle the 100 miles! I appreciate the humour, however I would have no hesitation in doing anotherTri-Vets as it was so well-organised and the company and scenery make it enjoyable.
"I would like to thank Graham the group leader for his navigational skills and patience, the wonderful catering team, Brian for having the unenviable of organising the ride, and anyone else who gave up their time in order that the event run smoothly. I would also like to show appreciation to the group members for providing great company, and making the ride so enjoyable. See you at the next one."
Ride of the Century
Congratulations to Phil and all the other riders who successfully completed the 'century' challenge this year. Cycling UK is very grateful to all the wonderful volunteers who put time and effort into the Tri-Vets rides, enabling hundreds of people to take part in a great day out in like-minded company, completing a personal challenge and enjoying all the benefits of cycling in later life.
Participants can order a commemorative Tri-Vets badge and/or date bar to attach to it for every year you complete the ride within the time limit set by the organisers. We ask for an optional donation to the charity to cover the cost of these items plus P&P.
- Badge £4
- Date bar £2
- P&P £1
Your donation will go towards helping our mission of creating a better world by bike. Thank you!
The next Tri-Vets year will be 2025 but if you would like a challenging ride before then, keep an eye on Cycling UK's Events Guide for details of hundreds of rides throughout the year put on by our local groups.