Joe Saumarez Smith has been cycling since 1978 but first rode a sportive at the age of 39 after his wife decided to enter him in the 2011 Etape du Tour from Modane to Alpe d'Huez, via the Col du Galibier. Joe is a well known journalist and has worked for a wide range of national newspapers and magazines.
He mainly works in the online gambling industry and rides and writes about cycling in the small amount of time he has between his work and family life. He rides a Condor Baracchi RL in the summer, a Condor Fratello in the winter and an ancient Kona Lava Dome when the weather in London gets so bad he is scared to be on a road bike.
Oisin Sands is the editor of Sportive.com, and after an unpromising start (his first sportive featured hallucinations of riding a tandem) he has now at least mastered the art of attaching numbers to his bike with zip ties. 2014’s schedule includes the Ronde van Vlaanderen, Dragon Gran Fondo and One Day Coast to Coast but his long-term ambition is to climb every mountain. In between sportives, Oisin is busy trying to work out the fastest colour of bar tape.
Richard Hutchinson has been riding road bikes since the age of 15 but had a break from riding for nearly a decade from the age of 22, during which he drank and ate too much while working in London.
Now based in North Yorkshire as a freelance writer, Richard regularly rides sportives and goes on training rides two or three times a week, weather permitting (he's not very good with wind and rain). He rides a Bianchi Nirone 7 and a Lemond Chambery.
James got into road cycling far too late to be any good, so focuses instead on getting to the end of major events before the cut-off times and trying to buy enough gear to be better than at least one of the friends he rides with.
Forced to take things far more seriously after getting drunk one night and signing up to the 2013 Etape, James is now constantly looking for the next big challenge to motivate him. The idea of a Haute Route (Dolomites), a Belgian Classic or at very least the Tour of Wessex are being toyed with for 2015. James rides a Charge Plug to work and a Felt F4 at the weekends.
He blogs about his event 'training' and big rides here: http://how-im-doing-the-etape-du-tour.blogspot.co.uk.
Wayland Austin has been riding for over 25 years. He started out racing mountain bikes in cross-country races and moved to endurance mountain bike events in the UK and in Europe. He (once) finished 5th in the National 24 hour and 2nd in the National 12 hour mountain bike races. He now just rides a road bike for fun. In September 2014, he rode the 225 miles from Manchester to London in 12 hours and 28 minutes.
A new job in 2009 meant Dan was faced with the prospect of three trains and a hefty travel bill. He decided he'd give cycling a try instead. Then he bought another bike to go a little quicker, and then he bought another bike - and then he decided to try some sportives so he had to buy some more bikes.
Still steadfastly refusing to pay train fares, Dan racks up 140 commuting miles a week whatever the weather. He does a bit of running, likes fixed gear bikes and wants to see how fast he can get before age slows him down.
Emma Barraclough is Senior Sports Nutritionist for Science in Sport. Originally from Beverley in Yorkshire, Emma has in the past worked with GB Ice Hockey, as well as several rugby league and football clubs, and a number of individual athletes, cyclists and triathletes. She has always had an interest in sport, playing netball as a junior, before starting running at university. This evolved into a passion for cycling and triathlons. Since 2008 Emma has completed seven Ironman events and 11 marathons.
In her role with Science in Sport, Emma advises several professional cycling teams including Katusha and Trek Factory Racing, as well as Sir Chris Hoy, triathlete Helen Jenkins, and GB Rowing.
James Bywater is definitely a child of the 2012 Olympics cycling boom. While bikes featured from an early age as a plaything/transport to school, it is only in recent years that James recognised two wheels as a means to serious fitness and enjoyment.
Previously getting his kicks from semi-pro level football, the arrival of children forced a rethink of his physical outlets. With some encouragement from his brother and the timing of the Olympics, a new-found passion for the road was born.
After learning some early rookie lessons about going too hard too soon, James is attempting to make up for lost time by cycling as many landmark events as his family will physically allow. So far he has completed the RideLondon-Surrey 100 and Etape Cymru.
Ben has been playing out on bikes since 1977. This self styled 'baroudeur' enthuses in all things cycling, coffeehouse culture and lives by the fundamental rule of 'N + 1'.
Having ditched a healthy career as a triathlete due to sore knees, lack of training time and ultimately a downward spiral in form he took up cycling more seriously. Specialising in very very flat courses with a decent tailwind, he loves the idea of hills but the feeling is unfortunately not reciprocated.
Ben is currently cultivating an outrageous handlebar moustache and riding a Basso Astra, but dreams of one day owning a Colnago C60 and a decent pair of legs.
Our very own cycling centurion, Dave is on a quest to ride 100 centuries before he becomes a sexagenarian. An ex-runner, he switched to cycling back in 2012 after a serious injury ended his days of pounding pavements. Not one to rest on his laurels, he fell in love with two wheels, rode his first century in 2014 and hasn't looked back.
Emmie's life has always revolved around bikes, coming from a cycling-mad family that played out their own mini Tour de France every summer. She was always after the polka dot jersey, and she usually big-ringed her way to the front of every climb.
That passion for Grand Tours was actually what inspired Emmie to become a translator, and today she works as a freelance translator, photographer and journalist within cycling. She's now based in northern Italy at the foot of the major climbs, racing for GPMs (that's Italian for KOMs) and tentatively working on her descending skills.
Jim is a serial gran fondo racer, Haute Route ambassador and writer. Having dabbled briefly with UK racing, he retreated promptly for the sanctuary of the high cols - his favoured terrain - and heads to the mountains whenever possible for training and racing. He writes his own blog, and can be followed on both twitter and instagram.
A converted (casual) mountain biker, Alistair has been an enthusiastic road cyclist since 2012. With a tendency to overestimate his own abilities, he can usually be found cycling long distances, but has recently found joy in going shorter distances faster.
Living in the Surrey Hills, Alistair is moderately good at climbing hills - but still has a lot to learn about descending at speed.
Being Italian, Laura has always felt an affinity with cycling and grew up listening to the amazing stories of Coppi and Bartali, watching Il Giro, getting excited about Pantani's climbs, and having a laugh about Cipollini's outfits!
After moving to London Laura began cycle commuting, before joining her local club Islington CC where she developed a passion for road cycling. As well as local TTs and criterium races, Laura can often also be found riding sportives in the south of England. This year will be her first European challenge and first time riding in the Alps with the Stelvio Granfondo.
Laura writes about cycling and her training experiences at justanothercyclingblog.wordpress.com
Having played semi-professional football for 10 years, in 2007 following the birth of his daughter James decided to hang up his boots. He took up running marathons to fill the void, and this led to him getting the old mountain bike out of the shed in 2009 and having a go at a super-sprint triathlon.
James realised it was the bike riding he loved, so he got a hybrid and started commuting. He then got a single speed, then a Bianchi which was his first love. Six years and several bikes later he has ridden to Paris in 24 hours, competed in Ironman events and ridden Paris Roubaix. And his daughter just asked for her first road bike...
James is a news journalist who has found a passion for cycling, therefore has decided to write about it. Unfortunately, his talent does not quite match his passion, so he's likely to be found somewhere in the middle of the pack in club rides or sportives across the south east. He's based in Bromley and regularly rides loops into Kent, Sussex and Surrey.
James took on Ride London last year, triumphantly charging past hundreds of riders on the two main climbs (if he does say so himself) and hopes the ballot will be kind again this year. Although he has also just signed up for his first triathlon, so he's probably got enough on his plate...
Dan spent many years riding offroad and working in the MTB industry, but all that changed with children and a move into the wine trade.
Cycling took a back seat for a few years, until 2012 when a new mountain bike brought Dan back into the cycling world. A road bike the following year was a tactical move to get fit over the winter, but then the world changed. Twenty thousand miles later, and only six hundred of them offroad, he's now hooked.
Now found mainly in the Chilterns riding with Amersham RCC, top 20 finishes in both the Tour of Cambridgeshire and RideLondon provide the motivation to continue to see what’s possible.
Mary Gallagher is an aspirational cyclist. Currently largely afraid of her road bike, she aims to be able to descend hills sans brakes and approach sharp bends without terror/sound effects.
Previously a rower and a runner, cycling won her over first as a practical mode of transport for long distance commutes and now presents itself as a good weekend activity for facilitating multiple café and pub trips. She has learnt that no one wants a smelly lone runner in a pub (groups are even worse) but the British seem quite happy with padded bottomed sweaty cyclists.
She has her sights on some long distance cycling in Scandinavia but is starting with the Midlands.
Keith enjoys grinding up the hills, and indeed has the look of a natural hill climber and semi professional cyclist. It's a shame his Strava data tells a different story!
This has never stopped Keith having an over-inflated belief in his cycling abilities, resulting in entries in the Vatternrundan, Paris Roubaix Challenge, Marrakech Etape and Rhxdue Fundacion Contador (featuring an ascent of the Passo Gavia), along with cramp-inducing sportives around the Cotswolds and overseas training camps.
His pathetic attempts to emulate his cycling heroes have been reported in various cycling publications and websites, including Cadence.
Kate Gordon took up cycling 'seriously' in 2013, and is now all about trying new things and trying to build some strength and power, especially uphill. She has her first 100 mile ride coming up in August which is proving to be a considerable driving force behind her riding this year.
Michael Hale is a London-based journalist. A relative newcomer to cycling, a recent trip to Mallorca is the highlight of his two-wheeled career to date. Michael can be found riding into Kent via Biggin Hill most Sundays.
Beth hails from the glorious riding country of Wales and did her first sportive on her brother's 10-year-old rusty Marin back in 2009. Since then she has acquired a full to bursting stable of well loved metal and spends most weekends riding, cleaning or talking about them, much to her family's despair.
Beth has completed several sportives and highlights include the Etape Cymru and the Wiggle Dragon Ride. She is also partial to tackling some 'proper' hills and has completed the Route des Grandes Alpes along with several other mountain classics in France and Switzerland. Beth is always game for a spot of controlled drowning and a jog either side of a bike section, and has grand plans for undertaking some time trials, road racing and adventure racing in 2015. She once cycled home after a ski season in the Alps, and is on the hunt for the next big adventure...
Abby dug an old bike out of her shed a few years ago. She had a go at mountain biking but soon realised it would be easier without all those pesky rocks in the way, so she got herself a road bike.
Abby has ridden a few local sportives, relishes a hill climb and still hasn't mastered the art of mountain biking.
She aspires to ride some really big road climbs one day.
Paul is teetering on the brink of being the rider with all the gear and no idea. He has been cycling to work for over 10 years but only taken up sportives in the last two. 43 years old and from Bristol, Paul's control freak tendencies make him a terrible descender. His ambition is to finish the Etape du Tour. Keep an eye on him on Twitter @WurzelRed
Robbie commuted 20 miles a day on his bike for a number of years before he discovered you could actually ride a bike "for fun". In 2012 when on holiday in the south of France he was bored and decided to hire a Cannondale road bike for a ride around a lake. He was instantly hooked, and as soon as he got back to the UK he immediately went about buying a road bike and entering a sportive.
He now rides a Felt F5 and keeps a Scott Speedster for the winter months. He has recently moved up to Sheffield from Brighton and is yet to find a piece of road in the area that is flat.
Sean Lacey is an IT Project Manager by day, and when the weekends roll around can be found all over the UK and Europe riding, working and writing about the events he covers.
Following 25 years or so of abandoning the sport for other interests (mainly eating and being lazy), he returned in 2010 to pick up where he left off, tentatively getting up to mid-distance sportives and by the end of the first year riding a number of centuries. In the last few years Sean has written for most of the UK’s leading cycling publications and worked with leading companies in the mass participation cycling event field, from manning feed stations and HQs to riding Land's End to John o' Groats as a ride captain - four times (and counting).
When not on the bike, work, walking the dog and spending time with the family fills the gaps between that next glorious trip out on two wheels.
Andy is a part-time runner, keen road cyclist and full-time Fat Lad, happiest when compensating for his appalling diet and huge calorie intake by sourcing ever-lighter toys for his bikes.
Hills always have a downside, it's getting up them that's the struggle. Getting off and pushing is NOT an option.
Andy rides a SAB Master XC he built himself after the seat tube on his previous bike surrendered. Loves Campagnolo but hates that most mechanics hate it, so rides a Giant Defy as well so that his friends and family will talk to him.
George Pickering is a cycle commuter with sportive and touring aspirations. He enjoyed cycling as teenager, but after a 20 year hiatus restarted as a means of getting fit and keeping up with his cycling enthusiast wife. He now owns three bikes: a Brompton, a Koga Miyata Traveller and a Cannondale Quick Carbon 1. In addition to the Prudential RideLondon Surrey 100, previous exploits include London to Brighton on a Brompton, the Lon Las Cymru and the Whitehaven to Newcastle C2C as well as avoiding inconsiderate drivers on the South Circular on a weekly basis. George's day job is as a lawyer with a large pharmaceutical company.
James MacMahon is an Irish accountant and fair weather cyclist. He has never actually set out for a bike ride when it is raining, but has occasionally has been caught out in a rain shower, at which point he doesn't mind because "you’re wet anyway".
Although riding bikes all his life, James didn't own his own bike until he was 21, surviving to that point on hand-me-downs with no gears and borrowing/stealing his older brothers' bikes.
The nearest he came to being a professional cyclist was using a bike for his first job... on the local paper round.
After completing his first 100 miler in 2015, he decided to take the whole cycling thing a little more seriously and even plans to cycle in the winter time at some point in the future.
Dan McCausland is an overweight occasional gambler who returned to road biking in middle age after a gap of 20-odd years. The Etape du Dales 2014 was his first proper sportive. It was part of his preparation for the Marmotte - he blames his entry on drink.
Chris has never considered himself to be sporty, and is frankly amazed to be writing for anything with 'sport' in its title. After a career as a TV producer - during which he took lack of activity to almost Olympic levels - Chris left the bright lights of London and settled in Devon. He now writes for advertising and various publications.
In a last-ditch attempt to get fit, Chris took up cycling and was soon a contender for the Westcountry's coveted 'Fattest man in Lycra' award. Chris likes nothing more than long-ish rides followed by even longer stops at local cafes. His perfect day on a bike is any that doesn’t involve a cleat fail and tumbling into shrubbery. @McGuireski
Josh Mott is relatively new to sportives and road cycling in general, having migrated from mountain biking. He undertook his first sportive in April 2014, diving into the deep end with the Paris Roubaix Challenge. As a full-time student Josh is afforded plenty of hours riding and is looking forward to his next major challenges: the Tour of Flanders 2015 and the Etape de Tour 2015.
Jo is a keen horse rider who accidentally started cycling in January 2015 after having entered Land's End to John o' Groats with Threshold Sports. Having discovered cycling she is very keen, but is also starting to realise that increasing the number of sports you do doesn't increase the amount of time available to do them in.
Her targets for 2016 are to complete the Fred Whitton Challenge (hopefully) and to spend a bit of time with her family!
Callum routinely deconstructs and analyses his life through the medium of cycling and all of its magnificent colours. He works as a cycle guide based in Bristol, UK where he regularly races for Dropouts Cycle Club. Callum is fascinated with the mechanics of a bicycle and began documenting his bicycle experiences to spread the bicycle love and velo-culture.
Favourite rides/races: Red Hook Crit, TCR, Tour Divide, Paris-Roubaix, any riding in Andalusia.
Tracy thinks she's a trail runner, but nevertheless has three bikes - one is black and good for going up and down mountain trails, one is blue and ok on roads, but her favourite bike is a silver Koga Miyata that she rode from Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan to Flores in Indonesia that probably weighs more than the other two bikes put together. Her day job is helping to run the epic Tour de Force cycling event and she's ridden a few stages of the tour, most years, as a perk of the job. In 2016 she'll be riding the final five stages to Paris, including the 2016 Etape stage 20 in the Alps while fundraising alongside her fellow riders.
She hates turbo trainers... I mean she really hates them. Which is a pity, because she's going to be spending an awful lot of time on one this winter in Edinburgh.
After many years of mountain biking, Liam accidentally became just another lazy git with a car in his twenties. That all changed in the summer of 2014, when efforts to keep up with local roadies on his ancient Rockhopper prompted the purchase of a Cannondale Synapse 6. He took to the road, and has never looked back!
Gerry, a converted bike tourer, has been riding (mostly French) sportives since 2011. He competes in 5 or 6 a year and has done 4 Etapes du Tour, plus the big daddy 7-day stage sportive, Haute Route. He runs a cycling tour company in the south of France, conveniently located near Mont Ventoux - a pretty effective training hill!
While lycra holds little appeal for Alan, he is happy to embrace technical kit that will keep him warm - and visible - while riding around Brighton. Most of his rides start or end at his Hove allotment; the next step is to persuade him to lose the plot, and ride a sportive...
Peregrine started road cycling in 2013 in order to complete the Etape. Two more Etapes, a Maratona and some other hilly holidays later he realised that, whilst not very good at going fast or uphill, he was quite good at cycling for a long time and not sleeping much... so he threw himself into the world of Audax.
He completed his first Super Randonneur series (200/300/400/600k rides in one year) in 2017, on the way to his long-term goal of riding the 1200k Paris-Brest -Paris event in 2019.
John lives and rides in the mighty Peak District, and as such has a love of hills and a corresponding hatred of rain and appreciation of warm European cycling holidays - current favourite spots are Girona and the Basque Country in Spain. Touring, club runs, commuting, the odd bit of racing and the not-so-odd cafe stop - that's how John rolls.
In 2014 John aimed for and qualified for the National Hill Climb Championships, finishing a healthy 82nd, and he has placed on record he will not do that again. But you never know...
Monika Sattler, aka Rad Monika, is a travelling adventure cyclist and writer who is always exploring on the bike while highlighting cycling destinations, events and products. Follow her adventures and endurance challenges on Instagram @rad_monika, and on her website. If you want to get in touch, drop her a line at [email protected].
Michael Savage is your classic johnny-come-lately cyclist, inspired by the UK’s spate of cycling successes. He is desperately trying to turn a love of watching the pros into a hobby to keep his heart in shape and his waistline in check.
He hopes his attempt to turn from fair-weather rider to hardened rouleur will be assisted by his Cannondale Supersix Evo.
Philipp bought his first road bike as a fascinated teenager watching the Tour de France. Since then he has taken part in many sportives across Europe. Climbs cannot be long or steep enough for Philipp; he does not like sprints though.
Besides sportives Philipp also enjoys crit racing and riding his MTB or cyclocross bike. As Sales Manager for ASSOS UK he is lucky enough to combine his hobby with his job.
Always looking for new challenges, he will tackle the Transcontinental (http://reportage.transcontinental.cc/) in 2016, a self-supported race from Belgium to Turkey.
After 21 years serving as a Medic in the Royal Navy, James retired and launched Primal Europe. Now a firmly established cycling clothing brand, riding sportives gives James an ideal opportunity to put the Primal range through its paces.
Having raced during his Navy days and after, James even launched his own pro cycling team - so if there is suffering to be done, he is probably the right man. @RUTrainingToday
So new to the roadie scene that his profile pic shows him driving a car, Sandeep is an inveterate explorer keen to exploit the potential of pedal powered transport. With a recent cycle tour of Italy and the Balkans under his belt, look out for Sandeep on a sportive near you in 2018. Spanking new lycra, good beard, better chat - you can't miss him.
After almost 30 years in the RAF Bob is a born again pedaller, following a few years dabbling in running, duathlons and one small triathlon. The British cycling successes of 2012 inspired him to get bike-borne once again, despite being in his mid 50s.
Having taken part in a few sportives now, Bob's favourite has got to be Coast 2 Coast in a Day. He's even tempted to try it again, although he'll probably still have to walk up Hardknott.
George is a jack of all trades and a master of Physics.
After graduating university George decided to ride bikes as much as possible, whilst working for a local bike shop. Having ridden BMX for years, he has now conceded that the big bikes are also worth a crack, riding both mountain and road bikes regularly.
George rides a BMC Roadmachine and a Trek Remedy, both in red, since it's the fastest colour.
Until quite recently Olly would have said he was a mountain biker. Luckily he's now seen the light, and is trying day by day to become less pigeonholed. His main cycling passion these days is cyclocross - for some reason he loves the mix of speed, skill, luck (and pain) and can be found riding an inappropriate bike on unsuitable terrain whenever possible.
In a former life Olly was paid to travel the world as a mountain bike guide in exotic places like Everest base camp in Tibet; these days you're more likely to find him on his cross bike, trying to ride a steep set of concrete steps in exotic Newcastle.
James is the co-owner and host of 44South Cycling Holidays based out of Morzine in the Haute-Savoie region of the French Alps. Originally a mountain bike enthusiast, James defected to the world of road cycling in 2007 and his legs have never forgiven him.
James spends his summers with 44South looking after their guests in and around Morzine, ensuring they get the most out of their stay. He also has a passion for the Spring Classics, which culminated in his riding the full routes of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and Liege-Bastogne-Liege sportives in 2016.
While Flanders and Liege have become a regular annual pilgrimage, James has now set his sights on the Strade Bianche and Milan San Remo... What's that?... Shut up legs!
Rob is a fully qualified Level 3 Cycling Coach with the Association of British Cycling Coaches and founder of Propello, a cycling-focused health and fitness business delivering performance training programmes and bespoke coaching to cyclists anywhere in the world. In his spare time Rob can be found riding the local Devon lanes in training for his next European sportive.
Chris Walker is a late convert to road cycling, having purchased his first proper road bike via the Cycle To Work scheme in 2009 aged 59 and got well and truly hooked. Since then, Chris has managed to complete, very slowly, La Marmotte, Mont Ventoux, London to Paris, the Quebrantahuesos, the Etape du Tour and two Prudential RideLondon 100s - and sometimes wonders why on earth he bothered.
Chris is also a keen member of his local club, Team Milton Keynes, and enjoys shouting at fellow club members who half-wheel, ride three abreast and do other stupid things. He has blogged for British Cycling in the past.
Despite his advanced years, Chris is still in full-time employment to fund his cycling habit. His bikes are a Trek 1.9 and a Ribble Sportive Racing, plus a half-built time trial bike in his garage which has been languishing there for three seasons.
Dalany started cycling in 2015 when she moved to London and used the bike as her main mode of transport. Her love of the sport grew and grew and she started competing across a mixture of disciplines from road races to time trials and also some track racing.
Dalany works for ASSOS over in Switzerland and is always on the lookout for a cycling adventure!
Clare Willan is a commuting cyclist in London. She got into cycling whilst at university and took up road cycling after her move to the capital in 2012. Amongst a handful of amateur sporting events, Clare has participated in the Windsor Triathlon and London to Brighton challenge in 2014 and is due to take on her biggest mission yet by completing a half Ironman in 2015.
Originally from Nottingham, Clare favours the Peak District for English rides and gets back there as often as possible, taking to the bike, walking through the hills or hopping into a lake or river for an open water swim.
Employed at an architectural company in central London, Clare works to promote the awareness and safety of cyclists within the built environment.