Any pro tips for Prudential Ride London?

So i’m doing the Prudential Ride London this year.

Does anyone have any pro tips such as how to start far enough up the field so i’m not stuck behind loads of slow people and any tips for best locations of hotels?


I did it in 2015. I was under the impression that the start times were allocated randomly? The theory was that they didn’t want large groups forming on the road so, unlike some other events, estimating a fast time didn’t guarantee an early start.

That said, I got about 6am which was great. There were still loads of slower riders to overtake though.

Had a good ride but lost a chunk of time when my front tyre had a blowout and had to walk to a hub. The Mavic guy gave me an Yksion Griplink and tube for nothing, so that was welcome.

Good luck!

I’ve never done it, applied plenty of times, but never been successful.

From what I’ve been told, you have to accept that there will be a huge variety of skill levels. It’s the century ride that seems to offer a lot of rides the realistic opportunity of a sub 5 hour 100 miler.

Hope you have a great time.

Hotels - look around the Excel and London City Airport. Lots of options and easy ride to the start.

Start times - is a lottery although (miaybe) influenced by your predicted time.

It’s not a race. It will be busy and it will be fast especially through London and inton Richmond park it then strings out. The main downside if you start late is the bottle necks on some climbs especially Leith.

I’ve done it three times it’s a brilliant route on closed roads and in the last few years they’ve introduced ride leaders/Marshall’s to try and encourage safe riding.

I’ve done it three times the last being 2016. If you get an early start you are in luck so hope you do. Best pro tip is don’t stop at the main food stops (Hampton court palace, newlands corner and leatherhead I think) as they get extremely busy and you’ll be delayed for ages. Carry your own food and stop at the smaller stops like bottom of leith hill and top of box hill and fill your bottles up there and you’ll save time. Also beware of Wimbledon hill as it looks tame on the profile but you’ll be cooked by then. The good news is after that it’s all downhill to the finish.

I’m staying in Hampstead as it’s about 5 miles from both the start and the finish. I figure it’ll be a nice warm up in the morning and not too bad after the finish.

It’s my first time doing the event (after 4 years of trying) and I’ve been told that it can be a bit chaotic due to the amount of people who’ve never ridden in a large group before. Looking forward to it though, I’ve been wanting to tick this one off for years!

I did it last year - first time entering the ballot and first time getting a place! Must be lucky. I won’t do it again though… the weather was so terrible. Torrential rain and strong winds for that weekend, right bang in the middle of the multi-month heat wave we had!

Anyway, tips… for my estimated time, I put 5 hours and got a start time just after 6 am. That was great as there weren’t too many people on the road in front to cause bunches in the surrey hills.

You do at least a mile underground so if you’re using GPS only and not a speed sensor on your wheel then you might end up with a mile or so short when you upload your ride to Strava… so be prepared for the ribbing from your mates!!

Don’t worry about the hills in surrey - they’re nothing much really! I didn’t like the descents as it was so wet, visibility bad, twisty roads, slippy… so I just took it slowly.

It’s a mixed ability ride. A lot of the faster riders seem to think it’s a race and get annoyed at people not following racing lines, slowing into corners, or just generally not riding like pros. As long as you keep aware of people around you and appreciate that not everyone is a pro it’s all good.

Prepare for the weather conditions! I didn’t too well and was fine when riding but when I got to the end and stopped I started shivering.

Plan your route home or onwards beforehand. You end up in central london and if you’re a bit dazed from the hard ride it’s not much fun trying to find your away around to a train station.

Book a hotel or room now!!! They get booked up fast and prices go up. Air bnb or similar is good as you can cook your own food. Just look for somewhere as close as possible to the start.

Actually, if you plan ahead there are places on street that you can find to park near to the start - I know a few who did this and drove down on the day, but we are only an hour out of London.

Despite the weather, I really enjoyed it! It was really awful in Surrey but otherwise really good group riding, nice people, amazing to ride on these london roads!!

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Oh yea and pack your jersey with enough food for the whole ride! I didn’t stop at the food stops as I wanted to keep warm (it was that cold!!) but they didn’t actually seem too busy, but then I did start at 6 am and was finished by 11 am (thanks TrainerRoad!).

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I did it a couple of years ago, great experience but echoing what others have said the range of abilities/experience is vast. Shouldn’t really be a problem but there are a few idiots like any event. My only piece of advice is don’t do what I did and go off way too fast! The start is really wide and flat so tempting to push too hard (especially as it’s very busy at this point).

The last few miles riding into central London are absolutely epic though. One of my favourite cycling moments.

I have done it a couple of times. The first time it was cut to 87 miles because of the rain in 2014. Box Hill is easy, Leith Hill is the one that is hard. Check it out on YouTube it will give you some idea. It is quite narrow and easy to get stuck behind people.

The ride is normally done in a good spirit, but from my experience you will always be surrounded by others. When I did it again in 2016 there was a big crash that the air ambulance had to attend, after that it was all bunched up. Took me over 9 hours with 7 hours of move time.

For me it is the logistics of starting at the Olmypic Park and finishing at Buckingham Palace that makes the day hard. I would get that sorted first and then work on the training :grinning:

Thanks Everyone,
Some good info here. I have a fantasy of doing this at high speed in a paceline of competent riders on closed roads and being suitably in front of the masses… looks like i’ll have to adjust my expectations slightly…

You might be lucky and get in a pace line!

Might be a possibility, rather than the reality. Sure it’ll be a great experience either way.

Anyone received their start time? Email due today apparently.

My start time is 06:04… well pleased with that

My start time would be 06:16.

I’m going to bin it i think. I’m not really in the mood for going all the way to london to plod along with 10000’s of other riders. I did Velo Birmingham earlier in the year and was about 50m from the front at the start and enjoyed 4hrs 38mins of fun fast riding. I’ve got into road racing recently so i’m more into head-down fast pacelines and nailing it. Weaving in and out of 3000 riders in front of me has the potential to ruin my day :frowning:

IMHO it’s jumped the shark, and you’d probably be disappointed.

Did it in 2014 which was hillarious but short and a bit of a crash fest due to the rain, not quite sure how I stayed on… Did it the following year on a club place and started in the second wave. That was a case of riding WAY over sustainable for the first hour just to stay in the pack, as I recall averaged over 40kph through london out to richmond park, whereupon the waves merged and settled to something a bit more sensible - 30+ in a group and really flying. The hills are short, you can punch over and keep going. 2 bottles and a few things in pockets was just enough, had a bit sub 4:30 off not much form, and fitted with the proper paceline (alwas a few sketchy ones), flat out blast fantasy. It was properly awesome.

BUT… Mrs has done it the last couple of years ( funny that she gets a place every year and I don’t :wink: ), and it’s becoming more and more of a mass participation event. Last year they were stopping riders to let traffic through - perhaps understandable, but it’s no longer a chance to go hard over 100 miles, very much targetting the ‘100 miles as a challenge’ crowd. She got a place and ditched it, I didn’t bother applying this year.

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Yeah. I reckon you’re right. 99% of the people on these things are thrilled at the thought of the challenge of riding a century. If you want it as a “pretend you’re in a Spring Classic day” then it would really suck to be going along at 80W for 9 hours. :frowning:

I’ll save the hotel money and go find a race on the British Cycling website instead.

I’ve never done it so I have to do it once… I’m going in with the mindset that if it’s just too busy with recreational cyclists that I will just ease off.

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I have applied in the ballot since its inception and never got a place…until this year! But this year it falls on the same weekend as the Ardrock MTB Enduro race which I’m doing so have had to defer it. Typical!

I have a few mates that have done it a number of times. I think you just have to treat it as a ride, not a race. You WILL get held up, maybe even stopped for portions of time due to bottlenecks and accidents etc. Just try and enjoy it for what it is. :slightly_smiling_face: