With famous races like the Tour de France, Vuelta a Espana and Giro d’Italia, Europe certainly doesn’t lack for great cycling events. This summer you can add a new long distance bike ride to the list, however, and unlike all of those others, you don’t have to be a professional to take part.
Starting on August 2 of this year, the inaugural QuickEnergy Trans Continental Race will get underway from London, England, and will continue for more than 2000 miles across Europe before culminating in Istanbul, Turkey. But unlike most other races of this kind, there will be no preset route and riders are free to find their own way from start to finish. There will be a couple of mandatory checkpoints along the way, however, which will help to ensure that all the riders face similar challenges along the way. For instance, I think it is safe to say that at least one of the CP’s will be located in the high passes of the Alps.
Also unlike other bike races, this is a completely unsupported event, which means there will be no team cars following along with extra tools, gear and supplies. Instead, all of the participants are expected to be fully self-sufficient, carrying everything they’ll need for the journey with them at all times. This means each of the riders will have to make tough decisions about what is important to bring along and what needs to stay home. On a long distance race like this one, every ounce counts.The riders are free to use maps and GPS devices to help them navigate their route. They’re also encouraged to stop and get directions from the locals the encounter along the way. They may have directions to a fantastic shortcut or they could send the cyclists heading down the wrong path. Either way, it’s all about the adventure of the open road, which is always better on a bike.
The Trans Continental Race is being organized by the Adventurists, the same crew responsible for the infamous Mongol Rally and wild Rickshaw Run. Both of those have been incredibly successful and popular events, and I suspect this race will be as well. Registration is now open and the entry fee is a mere £95 ($145).
[Photo Credit: The Adventurists]