This year Ride the North has two start/finish points. Let me attempt to clarify! There is a 175 mile circuit. Everyone will complete the same circuit over the weekend. If you start in Oldmeldrum you will ride to Forres (from where there will be transport to local accommodation – including to Nairn) and you will resume from Forres the next day …and you will finish in Oldmeldrum. If you begin in Oldmeldrum, Castle Fraser (where others will begin) will be your first refreshment stop. Riders who start at Castle Fraser start will ride to Elgin (from where there will be transport to local accommodation) and will ride Elgin-Castle Fraser on Day 2. There will not be transport to Elgin area accommodation from Forres, nor to Forres area accommodation from Elgin.
Has this helped? I am very grateful to Jill Greenlees, who clearly took on the tricky task of explaining this idea to her team and sent me the graphic on the left that she prepared to illustrate! Simple!?! The objective for me is to use the accommodation we have available and to spread the benefits of visiting cyclists to a number of towns and villages. My rationale was that, if you were booked in a Forres B&B it seems better to stop/start in Forres rather than wait for a coach from Elgin and travel 13 miles, then have to reverse this in the morning. The tricky part about the middle night of a 2-day cycling event is that nobody has transport …other than a bike! I will admit at this stage, it makes it a little more challenging to organise logistics and I cannot really eliminate bus transfers – I can just try to make them shorter and more regular. The effort to spread the benefits is (just a little bit) an invite to local authorities (or other interested parties) to consider whether they can help with that objective!
Oldmeldrum will be a new location for the event. In the early days of RtN we had gathering points as out of the way as I could arrange, so Oldmeldrum is an effort, to move on from this and to have an event that can take place in the heart of a community. Aberdeenshire Council have (I think!) provisionally agreed that The Square in Oldmeldrum will be closed to traffic to make a finish-line and refreshment stop. Oldmeldrum has a road network (bypass) that means closing the Square should not stop other road users going where they need to go, but getting all this approved is still a work in progress!
I’ve been asked when you will have to decide …is it Castle Fraser or Oldmeldrum? The truth is that I don’t think I am requiring you to declare this. Registration packs will be sent by mail in early August and my intention is that you just attend the start location, load your bags on the truck, stamp your card at the check-point …and then go!
The route of the event is always presented as being ‘intended’ as it is here. The route that we plan to use is presented here. There will be further updates as we go, that will detail final arrangements and the final route will be confirmed in early August (once I am satisfied that all roadworks that could impact us are complete).
* I have to spell out bus connections and will do so later on – as it doesn’t work to have people ask the driver to drop them at individual addresses. There will be specified set down and pick up points as follows:
From Forres – Forres, Findhorn, Nairn, Auldearn, Brodie and The Loft.
From Elgin – Elgin, Lossiemouth, Rothes, Fochabers and Craigellachie.