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.
A Northumbrian in London, Beth’s passions include cycling, heavy metal, cake, and raising one eyebrow in a diabolical fashion. Follow her tweets on all of the above @roseofwinter.
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.
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.
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.
Dave wrote his first two cycling books Tales of a Centurion in 2016 and My Tour of Wessex in 2018. He is currently working on book three and is the rider behind the Cycling Centurions website and Strava club.
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...
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.
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.
Jeremy Humphries lives in Portugal and has a wealth of knowledge of cycling in Europe - organising cycling trips to France, Italy, Spain and of course Portugal, along with the popular Black Rat Sportive which has been held in Bristol for the last 10 years.
Riding European sportives gives him a chance to see how it's done on the continent, using the best bits to improve the Black Rat.
He enjoys riding up mountains and is well on his way to completing 500 famous climbs across Europe - but he enjoys the coffee stops just as much!
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
Para-cyclist turned founder and owner of Estrella Bikes. Six times Paralympic champion, 17 times World champion and some loose change.
www.estrella-bikes.com Twitter: @darrenkennyobe Instagram: darrenkennyobe
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 got into cycling, and writing about it late in life and as a result has a wealth of pop culture references to tangentially weave into word soups, along with a host of dad jokes and non-sequiturs. Firing this seemingly endless lava stream of semi-consciousness is a passion for all things cycling that is far in excess of his ability to actually do it.
Too old and slow to be a decent road rider, too clumsy and cowardly to be a competent mountain biker, Andy instead puts all of his pedaling eggs in the basket of solitary gravel riding - where epic adventures involve lifting his bike over a stile without putting his back out and getting home without crashing into a holly bush.
Having tried all cycling frame materials except wood, his stable of mediocrity has been now forged out of the material he feels he cannot (yet) break - all steel, all single chainring, and all over-engineered. Pride of the harras is Dusty, the All-City Space Horse - a gravel monster and winter commuter kitted out with all the toys that won't be going to his kids when he dies. For winter gravel and trail park crashes, Lord Percy, the Surly Karate Monkey takes care of any woodland frolics, and Ron Burgundy, a Genesis Volare gets rolled out when (relative) speed is of the essence.
He used to do running, but having completed a couple of half marathons he's decided he likes the way his knees bend and a casual jog is all they'll tolerate now.
Famously failed to do the Etape even before the big climbs started, Andy nonetheless still takes on ludicrous challenges on two wheels and then instantly regrets them. Would like to build (and presumably, break) his own bamboo bike one day.
Once described by his editor as the 'Marina Hyde of cycling clobber reviews', but this may've been the result of a concussion.
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
There's nothing on the bike Eoghan doesn't like doing - touring, sportives, hill climbs, time-trialling - but there's nothing on the bike he's good at! Since 2016, when he cycled around Ireland (before he even knew the word bikepacking) he's been hooked on multi-day, self-supported cycles.
In 2021, Eoghan is planning an epic 14,000 mile spin from his homeland in Ireland to Singapore, arriving for his nephew's fifth birthday.
Asha is fairly new to the cycling scene. Until last year, she hadn't sat on a bike in almost 10 years, but after completing the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 she has a new-found love for cycling - well, she has at least overcome the fear of falling off! With this new passion, she is now aspiring towards diversifying the sport and encouraging those of different and unlikely demographics to have a go too.
Asha is a freelance writer and her work can be found at www.ashamodha.com.
Jess works at Rapha, rides for the North London ThunderCats Black Metal Bicycle Club (NLTCBMBC for short), and is inventor of the legendary Scoot's Rocket Fuel™
Follow Jess on Instagram: @scoot__
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.
Having spent most of his adult life following sport from the comfort of his armchair, Caven discovered the joy of cycling late on but has tried to make up for this since.
Working in the industry has allowed Cav to spend more time not only on his bike but talking about cycling 24/7 – who wouldn’t enjoy that? There have been many adventures along the way, first riding off-road in the Alps and Mountain Mayhem before road took over.
Multiple sportive classics have been tackled, with L’Etape du Tour, La Marmotte, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Amstel Gold race topping an impressive palmares. UK epics haven’t been forgotten either with the Dragon Ride, Etape Eryri and RideLondon ticked off, and Velo South to come. Cav has even represented Great Britain in his age group at the amateur road World Champs in Denmark.
Always up for a challenge, Cav has conquered 300km+ one-day rides including the London Revolution, Chase the Sun and Bike vs Boat. The journey is still in progress, but it’s about having fun and sharing that experience with others.
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!
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...
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
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.
Andy Tomkins is the director of Sportive Cycle Coaching, specialising in helping ordinary folks improve their overall comfort, efficiency, fitness and delivery of power for riding their bikes.
As well as being a Level 3 Cycle Coach under the Association of British Cycle Coaches, he is also trained as a bike fitter, using the BikeFit systems and approach.
Andy's palmares includes ascents of over 65 Alpine & Pyrenean Cols, Lands-End to John O’Groats (1000 miles), Pyrenean Crossing West to East (400 miles), L'Etape du Tour, Paris-Roubaix, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Tour of Flanders, Vatternrundan and Pikes Peak in Colorado, USA.
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.
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.
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!
Jon is a man with more bikes than sense. Whether it's road, cycle-touring or MTB, Jon can be found hanging off the back of the peloton and looking for the nearest pub. You can find him complaining about bikes, beer, and fatty foods at @pork_adventures
Neil is the Creative Director for The Handmade Cyclist, purveyors of cycling art and design that express his lifelong love of the sport and its stories, heroes, villains and glories.
Michael Oyibo has been riding for 14 years, favouring road riding and mountain bike trails. Starting in cycle retail, he became a mechanic after a year. He has gone on to teach bike maintenance at events such as British Cycling's women-only Breeze rides. As a technician with havebike, Michael specialises in off-road bikes and brake bleeding.
Graeme is the Marketing Head at Evelo, a data nerd, and an E-bike enthusiast who is always excited about testing new bikes. After years of riding and coming from a career in cycle sales, he is still passionate about bicycles. Based in Vancouver, he enjoys riding everything from solo adventures in the mountains to big social night rides.
Pete is a passionate photographer, programmer, dad, designer, cyclist and owner at Brainy Bikers. He once paid a rickshaw driver to sit in the back while he rode it all over Delhi. Pete loves a good bike race and sharing his love for anything two wheels. He is working on his Level 2 coaching exams and spends nearly every Saturday at the velodrome teaching youngsters new skills.
After a failed career in competitive cycling (with the only entry on his palmarès being KOM in the Lakeland 3 Day), Henry then took to mountain biking and founded Not The Sunday Run (NTSR) - a MTB group which meet most weeks to explore the mountains around Rostrevor, County Down.
Notable rides include the Transalp stage race in 2002. Henry is also founder of the Slieve Martin Slaughter Challenge, which tests riders with four different climbs of Slieve Martin (485m) over a 47km route. This year Covid has done him no harm with a dozen or more centuries under his belt including the Dragon Ride Gran Fondo.
A recent conversion to gravel riding has resulted in the necessity for a new bicycle shed to accommodate the fleet of new and old bikes which are “just too good” to sell. A firm believer in the formula 2(N+1) being the optimum number of steeds at any one time, the 2 refers to doubling up caused by an equally addicted wife Liz.
Rapidly eyeing up E-bikes as an evil necessity for advancing years and keeping up with fitter, younger cycling companions. The Andorra Classic MTB event is in the sights for 2022 to celebrate a scary birthday with a 6 in it.
Watching E.T. being whisked to safety in a bike basket in the early '80s got Alex hooked on BMX cycling when he was just twelve years old. A few years later it was Channel 4's nightly Tour de France highlights show on the small screen that led to him selling his beloved BMX and buying a Dawes 'Racing' bike. A Saturday-job in a local bike shop introduced him to the joy of fettling, getting his hands dirty and lusting after unaffordable bike bling.
A life-long cyclist, it's only in the last decade that he's taken the plunge and had a go at road, track, TT, cyclo-X and even indoor racing. A dodgy back and a lack of talent has led to him reluctantly hanging up his racing wheels for good and trying to find pleasure in taking it a bit more easy on the bike. Having contributed to The Face, Arena and the Tokyo Journal in the 1990s, Alex now enjoys writing about all aspects of cycling.
Peter returned to cycling in 2018 and quickly set about terrorising local MTB and gravel crews with his 'full gas' attitude and love of epic rides.
Highlights to date include Malin to Mizen (Ireland’s coast-to-coast), Swiss Epic, GranGuanche Gravel Audax and An Turas Mor - an offroad bikepacking adventure to Scotland's far north coast.
2022 also saw Pete tackle his first road sportive, Ireland’s Wicklow 200 where he rolled in with the lead group - on his gravel bike, of course.
David got back into cycling in 2012 when his then-girlfriend said he was running out of excuses not to do the London to Brighton bike ride. It has been a love affair ever since.
When he isn't working, you'll often find David (gingerly) commuting up and down the South Downs, where he is fortunate enough to enjoy one of the world's most picturesque commutes when it isn't raining.
Chris Bloomer is an architect by day and a cyclist by… well, also by day. He loves maps, particularly the dotted lines and contours that inspire his adventures.
Although he has ridden in the Alps, Pyrenees and Dolomites, on the cobbles of northern France and Belgium, and throughout the UK - from Cape Wrath to the South Downs - he feels very lucky to live and ride in Northern Ireland, where there are many wonders to behold.
He generally avoids clubs but makes an exception for Audax Ireland, who are a similar bunch of sociable loners. He has completed Paris-Brest-Paris and the Míle Fáilte 1200.