Some­what strange events

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - OUTDOORS -

Off-road CC re­cently voted Scot­land’s own Strath­puffer moun­tain bike en­durance race, which takes place next week­end near Con­tin, as one of the 11 tough­est moun­tain bike or gravel events in the world. Along­side it are events such as the Tour Di­vide, The Yak At­tack and an­other Scot­tish event, the High­land Trail 550.

All of these events cer­tainly have the cre­den­tials to back up the claims of their tough­ness and the old adage, “You don’t have to be mad but it helps” fits the men­tal­ity of those who en­ter.

There are, how­ever, lots of other cy­cling events around the world, that may not re­quire the same rugged de­ter­mi­na­tion and tenac­ity as those above, but cer­tainly at­tract the more ec­cen­tric cy­clist. From naked bike rides to un­der­wa­ter ped­als, no mat­ter how strange an event is, there is al­ways some­thing even stranger.

The Dutch Head­wind Cham­pi­onships at­tracts ama­teurs and pro­fes­sional rid­ers who bat­tle against 100kph winds along an 8.5km storm bar­rier fac­ing the North Sea. Each rider is given a sit-upand-beg-style bike and or­gan­is­ers plan the event at short no­tice to en­sure it co­in­cides with a big storm to give the worst con­di­tions pos­si­ble.

Bring Your Own Big Wheel takes place on the twisty down­hill street of Ver­mont in San Fran­cisco. Ev­ery Easter hun­dreds of peo­ple race down the street atop kids’ low-rid­ing, big-wheeled, three wheel­ers of all shapes and sizes.

Need­less to say, the com­pet­i­tive el­e­ment is out­weighed by the fun, with the rid­ers and the spec­ta­tors wit­ness­ing the crashes and spills on the way down.

Slightly more se­ri­ous are the Bromp­ton World Cham­pi­onships, which, as the ti­tle sug­gests, are the cul­mi­na­tion of 15 qual­i­fy­ing rounds of races held around the world where hun­dreds of rid­ers come to­gether to crown the Bromp­ton Bike World Cham­pion at Good­wood Mo­tor Cir­cuit.

The Red Bull Goni Pony takes place in Slove­nia and sounds mad and bru­tal all at the same time. Rid­ers use bikes sim­i­lar to Bromp­tons called pony bikes – 20-inch, sin­gle-geared fold­ing bikes. Rid­ers race up a 13.5km Slove­nian moun­tain pass that has an av­er­age gra­di­ent of 10.8%.

Some races are slightly more con­ven­tional, such as the Junk­yard Cross in Philadel­phia – a cy­clo-cross race that takes place in a scrap­yard and where rid­ers take on a course re­designed each year, but which al­ways fea­tures a track full of scrap metal, shards of glass and erod­ing ve­hi­cles.

In North Carolina, cy­clists gather to ride a 40-me­tre course from a ship­wrecked boat to a sunken Se­cond World War U-boat.

You may have heard of bogsnorkelling be­fore, but now you can do it on a moun­tain bike. Rid­ers are even al­lowed to fill their tyres with wa­ter to give them ex­tra weight to sink to the bot­tom. An­other event tak­ing place in Wales is the World Moun­tain Bike Char­iot Rac­ing Cham­pi­onships, where two rid­ers pull a “char­i­o­teer” in a spe­cially-de­signed char­iot. There is a time-trial and a Ben Hur-es­que mass start race and, as with many of these events, fancy dress is highly en­cour­aged.

All these events sound great fun and are a good way to get in­volved in bike events with­out the com­pet­i­tive pres­sure. Many events in Scot­land are more con­ven­tional in their ap­proach, of­fer­ing fun, fam­ily rides, but of­ten there are fes­ti­vals at­tached with lots of fun things hap­pen­ing. An in­ter­net search will bring up many events close to you in 2019, all de­signed to get you out on a bike and hav­ing fun.

Join the Blaz­ing Sad­dles Strava Club at strava.com/clubs/ Blaz­ingsad­dlesweek­end­courier

Where to ride: Muckmed­den 6hr

Where: Pitmed­den MTB Trails Perthshire

When: April 7 2019

De­tails: Open to solo rid­ers and pairs with an in­ter­me­di­ate level of MTB abil­ity the event chal­lenges rid­ers to cy­cle for 6 hours along sin­gle track trails. As with all Muckmed­den events there is a fes­ti­val at­mo­sphere with mu­sic and food avail­able.

The Red Bull Goni Pony.

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