A brand new cycle event covering Lewis and Harris and guaranteed to attract visitors to the islands has been organised through the Hebridean Cycle Club.
The first Audax Outer Hebrides cycling event is set to take place this summer on Saturday and Sunday, July 5th and 6th – and the 110km, 200km and 300km challenges are now open for registration.
It’s the brainchild of Lewis resident Ian Gilbert, who expanded: “The idea to organise an event came when I was helping out at a four-day cycle event – the London/Edinburgh/London 1,400km event – down in the Scottish Borders.
“I spoke to someone about a cycle I’d done on the islands and they said they thought that would make a great event. I came home and spoke to the Hebridean Cycle Club, they thought it was a good idea, and we got on organising it.”
The refreshing aspect of an Audax UK cycle event is that they are open to all and are not a race – cyclists ride to their own limitations with the primary objective of completing the ride which is designed to suit everyone from the fittest or recreational riders, to more occasional riders who have plenty of determination.
Each rider taking part carries a ‘brevet card’ which is stamped at intermediate checkpoints and the cycle finish. The brevet is then validated by the organisers and returned to the rider as a certificate of their achievement.
“The event is open to anyone, that’s the great thing,” said Ian. “Anyone can have a go and you can go as steady or as fast as you like, as long as you remain within the max/min limits.
“A lot of keen cyclists travel around to take part in events like this as so far I’ve got entries from the Midlands, Surrey and Switzerland as well as from Scottish cyclists,” he continued.
“And the control points are situated near local facilities, so the bonus is those who come up will be spending money in the local economy.”
On offer during the Hebrides Audax are a choice of three cycles of varying degrees and distances: the 110km ‘Hebridean Hundred’; the 200km ‘Outer Hebrides Island Hop’, and the big one – the ‘Golden Road and Standing Stones’ 300km.
“The attraction to cycling in the Hebrides are the quiet roads and the scenery, as well as a good variety of different terrains to cycle through,” added Ian. “And we hope that the first will prove a success that can be carried on as an annual event.”
To find out more about the Audax Hebrides event – including entry and route details – please visit www.audaxhebrides.net