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Severn Bridge Sportive Rider Manual

Thank you for entering the Severn Bridge Sportive – we hope you enjoy the day.


Location start & finish: Castle Combe Circuit

Distances: 60 miles and 100 miles

Event HQ is located at:  Castle Combe Circuit, Castle Combe, Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN14 7EY

What’s Included…

  • Free car parking within easy reach of Event HQ
  • Toilets
  • Well signed routes
  • Timing chip
  • Sportive Photographer (c/o Rich Lewton – http://www.richlewtonphotography.co.uk/)
  • En route food station
  • Food & Drink available at start & finish
  • Medical provision from Medibikes on the route
  • Mechanical support
  • A free hot dish plus rider High5 goodie bag at the finish

Event HQ
The event HQ will open at 7am for pre-event registration, where you will need to sign on and collect your bike number, timing chip, and High5 gel.

  • Timing Chip – Self-adhesive – to be attached to the left hand side of your helmet in order for the timing provider to record your start and finish time
  • Bike Number and Cable Ties – please attach your Bike Number to your handle bars with cable ties. This number gives you entry into the feed stations, is your photography ID and will ensure that you are given full medical, mechanical and other support throughout the event.

The event control number will be printed on this number

Start time
The event will start at 8am, with riders leaving in manageable sized groups with approx 2 minute interval between each group, following a briefing from the event director. Riders for both the 60 mile and 100 mile routes can set off together. All riders MUST be on the road by 9am.

Safety Information

All riders must remember that they are riding on the public highway and MUST comply with the Highway Code and the laws of the road.

Highway Code

  • Please obey the Highway Code at all times.
  • It is respectfully requested that you bear other road users in mind at all times.
  • The routes will take you along country roads, back roads and some slightly faster roads – please be aware of all traffic at all times from heavy farm vehicles to horses on the road.

As well as the Medibikes out on the route, there will also be First Aid provision at the feed station.

Call the event control number for medical assistance. Please try to have a location – by mileage or a landmark.

If emergency medical support is required then call 999 as the first response.

We are pleased to be able to confirm that local cycling photographer Rich Lewton – http://www.richlewtonphotography.co.uk/– will be the official photographer at the Severn Bridge Sportive, and will be out on the course photographing every rider.


The event will offer riders the choice of a 60 mile or 100 mile routes through some of the best countryside the area has to offer – and you won’t need to decide on the route you’re taking until you get to the split point on the day! We know how important it is for riders to see their finishing time particularly when comparing times from previous editions. Therefore if you do know which route you are doing at the registration time then let the guys know and we can annotate the list accordingly. This will help us to present ride time lists for each event after the ride. Don’t forget though it’s not a race…..!!

Long Route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/27566133 – 102.1 miles – 3657 feet climbing

Short Routehttps://ridewithgps.com/routes/27566156 – 60.2 miles – 1605 feet climbing

(Routes may be subject to change for safety reasons – but we will notify riders as soon as possible if this is the case)

Route signage:

The route will be clearly and comprehensively marked, with direction arrows at each turning and road junction. We will make sure that you are in no doubt as to where you should be heading so, if there is a long time between turnings, we’ll put up some confirmation arrows to give you some reassurance that you haven’t missed a turn. However, in the unlikely event that you take a wrong turn at any point or if signs have been dislodged, retrace to the last sign you saw. Alternatively you can call the event control number for help – please try to have a mileage position to help us locate you!

Route Summary

Both rides will start and finish at Castle Combe Circuit with the route taking riders down the Cotswold escarpment, offering amazing views of the River Severn and into South Wales. The route journeys along quiet lanes to the North of Bath and Bristol, descending the Cotswold Edge between Dyrham Park and Dodingdon House before passing to the South West of Yate on the way towards Aust and the classic Old Severn Bridge crossing.

The halfway point for the short ride and the first stop for the longer route is the Bulwark Community Centre, at 28 miles. The short route then returns back over the bridge before heading north west towards Alveston, Tytherington and Wickwar. The route then crosses Ingleston Common on National Cycle Network Route 10 before a punchy climb back up onto the Cotswold Edge and the Somerset Monument at Hawksbury Upton. After crossing the A46, the riders circle the Badminton Estate and return to the finish at Castle Combe Circuit via the picturesque Cotswold villages of Acton Turville, Littleton Drew and Grittleton.

On the long route, after leaving Bulwark Community Centre, the riders pass through the Old Roman Town of Caerwent before turning right to climb past the Wentwood Reservoir, made famous by the 2007 UCI Ladies World Cup race. After a fast descent, on National Cycle Network Route 42, the route turns left under the A449 through Llantrisant crossing the River Usk at Newbridge-on-Usk. Riders then take a northerly route along the Western flank of the River Usk into Usk town itself. Remaining on National Cycle Network lanes, the route continues to Clytha Park and turns right toward Raglan and its famous castle. Upon leaving Raglan, the riders pass through Llansoy and begin to climb Star Hill before the amazing descent back through Devauden and Itton Common on the way back to Bulwark Community Centre for the second Feed Stop. The long route then follows the same roads back to the finish as the short route.

Feed Station(s)

Bulwark Community Centre is our well-stocked feed station on the route, which will have a variety of food – cheese and ham rolls, flapjack, cakes, biscuits and bananas, plus High5 energy drink and bars and gels. The feed station will be the halfway point for the short route and will be used twice by the long route participants.

Distance to Feed Station on Short route:

Half way – 28 miles

Distance to Feed Station on Long Route:

1st time – 28 miles

2nd time – 71 miles


  • Ensure that your bike is in good working order pre-event and that it is both efficient and comfortable.
  • Please carry essentials with you (2 spare inner tubes/pump/puncture repair kit etc) in case of need en route. There will be a mobile mechanic on the course who will support riders as required… always good to have basic essentials with you though just in case!


  • Who knows what the day will bring weather wise so be prepared and dress appropriately. The routes cover varied terrain with the route over the Severn Bridge being pretty exposed so bring layers and a decent waterproof jacket!
  • Eat and drink little and often. Eat lots of quality carbs and drink plenty of water or energy drink whether you feel hungry or not. Little and often is best, so stuff you can eat on the move is great.
  • Feed Stations. There will be a well-stocked feed station out on the route, which will have sweet and savoury food plus High5 energy drink and bars and gels.



The finish of both routes will culminate with a partial lap of Castle Combe Circuit (to hopefully cheering friends and family!)

Your time will be recorded and you will be given a Goodie Bag.

A complimentary bowl of pasta will be provided in the main Sportive HQ.

You can then ride around the Circuit a few more times if you like, as part of the Family Cycling event that will be taking place all day whilst you’re out on the road.


Photos and rider times will be available post event – a link will be sent to all participants and will also be posted on the event website, https://www.severnbridgesportive.co.uk/

Don’t forget to enjoy yourself: Make a pact with yourself to avert your eyes from the Garmin every now and again and take in the scenery.


taken from feature written by Eddie Allen, www.britishcycling.org.uk

Riding a sportive isn’t just about getting on and pedalling. You can make life a whole lot easier if you employ some tactics. Just as pro road riders make an art form of conserving and metering out their energies throughout a stage, you should aim to do the same when approaching a sportive or indeed any long ride.

Prepare for the ride: Sounds obvious but you’d be amazed at how many riders turn up to an event at the very last second, running around trying to get themselves ready or who set off with no food, tools or waterproof in the hope that they’ll make it round thanks to the food stations. Big mistake! A Sportive should be undertaken with the same preparation as you’d do for a normal cycle ride. Having the feed stations is great for back up but it’s well worth tucking some food and a gel into your pockets should you get a bit peckish. Likewise with tools – most feed stations will have a pump and a supply of patches at most so you’ll still need to carry the usual spares. Check the weather forecast beforehand and dress accordingly. A lot of Sportives take place in pretty hilly regions and a warm day in the Lake District valleys can quite easily turn to a shivering gale atop the highest passes

Don’t come out of the blocks too hard: It’s difficult not to go hard and fast at the start of the ride. You’re excited about the ride ahead and if you’ve started the ride in a big group, you’re probably getting swept along on a bow wave of adrenalin! However, you’ll pay the price later in the ride as the lactic acid accumulates in your legs.

A nice easy gear and a good spin will warm up the muscles and help prevent aches and pains later on. Shivering in the car park or the signing on queue isn’t the best way to warm up for a long ride, so you need to incorporate some warm-up into the ride itself. Remember that even pro-stage races have a neutralised section at the start of every stage to allow everyone to run their legs in nicely. Also savvy sportive course designers tend to keep the opening few miles of their rides relatively easy.

Ride in a group: If you and your mates are tackling a sportive, consider putting personal ego battles aside and agree to ride as a group. There are loads of benefits. The camaraderie of group riding is hard to beat and can get you through tough times on the road. I’ve done a few long solo rides and trust me, they can take you to dark places!

You can better judge your pace when riding in a group. Ride solo and you end up battering yourself, no matter whether you’re going uphill or riding on the flat. In a group, you’ve got other people to moderate your pace when you’re in danger of blowing up, or give you that added incentive to keep going when you’re slacking.

Riding in a group will also save you a huge amount of energy. If you get organised and take turns at the front, you can really reap the rewards – it’s possible to save over a quarter of your energy by slipstreaming other riders.

If you’re attempting a sportive on your own rather than with a group of friends, don’t despair. You’ll find that groups form on the road and with them a kind of natural selection – inadvertently you’ll find yourself in a group travelling at a pace that you’re comfortable with. Don’t try and hang onto a group that is clearly faster than you are – you’ll only wear yourself out.

Plan ahead and meter your effort: If your route has got some big climbs (and most do), don’t blow your doors off on the flat sections or the first big climb. Conserve your energies wherever you can and keep your powder dry for when you really need the firepower.

Mix it up and stay flexible: Many riders find that stiffness and soreness in the back, neck, wrists and derriere puts paid to their efforts long before muscle fatigue. Consciously varying your position, alternating between the tops, hoods and drops can really help to stave-off aches and pains and allow yourself to ride to your full potential. Getting out of the saddle regularly also helps to loosen up the back and alleviates soreness and numbness. Relax on the bike and you’ll find yourself going faster for less effort. This is something that really only comes with practice.

Eat and drink little and often: Eat lots of quality carbs and drink plenty of water or energy drink whether you feel hungry or not. Little and often is best, so stuff you can eat on the move is king. If you do make a lengthy stop at the pub or at a feed-station, go easy for the first few miles afterwards, your body will be thinking “phew, it’s all over!!” and will need some persuasion to continue. The act of digestion will also redirect blood flow from your muscles to your stomach. Indeed many riders will try to make stops as short as possible, keep the muscles warm and not allow the body to go into recovery mode.


All riders should understand that by entering the Severn Bridge Sportive they will be agreeing to the following terms and conditions:

  1. Participants will be responsible for the roadworthiness of their own cycle.
  2. No accompanying vehicles are allowed to follow riders. Any participant failing to observe this regulation will be withdrawn from the event.
  3. This event is not a race or trial of speed, but a personal challenge and as such there will be no list published which sorts riders either in finishing time or finishing position order. An alphabetical list of finishers and times will be published.
  4. As the event takes place on the open road, riders must abide by the Highway Code at all times. Riders should be aware that when riding on a public highway the function of marshals is only to indicate direction and that riders must decide whether the movement is safe.
  5. The wearing of Hard Shell Style Helmets is compulsory for all riders under UCI regulations for 2018.
  6. All participants under the age of eighteen must gain the consent of their parent/guardian prior to completing their entry. Participants must be a minimum of 16 years old, and a parent or guardian must accompany riders under the age of eighteen.
  7. The use of triathlon handlebars is discouraged. However, where riders do have them fitted they are not to be used when riding in a group.
  8. Riders participate in this event entirely at their own risk, and must rely on their own ability in dealing with all hazards, and must ride in a manner which is safe to themselves and others.
  9. No liability whatsoever shall attach to Severn Bridge Sportive, Family Cycling Day, Castle Combe Circuit Ltd, Andy Cook Cycling Ltd, the promoting club/organisation, event sponsors, British Cycling or any event official or member of British Cycling or member of the promoting club/organisation in respect of any injury, loss or damage suffered by riders in or by reason of the event, unless such injury, loss or damage is proven to be caused by the negligence of the aforementioned. If riders do not abide by these terms and conditions the organisers will make all reasonable efforts to remove them from the event, and British Cycling will use all efforts to restrict participation in future British Cycling competitive and non-competitive events.


Applications are strictly personal, firm and binding and fees shall not be refunded for any reason. Applications can, under no circumstances, be transferred to another person, whatever the reasons.


The Severn Bridge Sportive and Family Cycling Day is organised by Andy Cook Cycling Ltd

Questions specific to the Sportive should be directed to Andy Cook Cycling at:

Tel:                         01249 783399

Email:                    admin@andycookcycling.com