Skoda cycling: swapping car for bike in the 100 mile Prudential RideLondon

Skoda-cyclingTomorrow, I’m getting up at 5am to apprehensively line up with thousands of other riders to take part in the inaugural Prudential RideLondon 100.

Skoda is the official vehicle sponsor, supplying 30 liveried models: I’ve driven down in an unliveried Octavia today to join in and see them in action. The current apprehension is having me questioning my logic.

100 miles is my commute to work, and that can take two hours. 100 miles is the goal of many an enthusiastic cyclist, something of such significance they’ll tick it off the bucket list. 100 miles is 84 miles longer than my frustratingly irregular training route. 100 miles sounds a very long way indeed.

In for a penny, though. I’m not the only motoring journalist doing it, mind. Just this evening, I’ve seen Richard Yarrow, Ollie Marriage, Chris Knapman and Rory White. Nick Gibbs will be on the wave tomorrow too; there’s a lot of us taking part.

Why so many of us? Well, motoring journalists simply like cycling. It clicks with the same part that makes us worship cars (see – motorists and cyclists can get on). We’re just as enthusiastic about this as we are about motorsport challenges (maybe even more so). So tomorrow should be good.

So what is the Prudential RideLondon?

RideLondon itself is one of Boris’ initiatives, another Olympic legacy event that seems to have caught on: apparently, 70,000 people will be taking part over the weekend. There are four events wrapped into one, which you can follow via @ridelondon, but it’s the London-Surrey 100 that I’m focusing on. Particularly the bit where we turn off the A24 and go through (the notorious) Box Hill Village. Actually, if you enjoyed the London 2012 Olympic cycling, be sure to catch some of this, because a big part of the route is the same.

Despite doing a couple of triathlons in the past, I’m actually pretty to this road cycling competition lark (hence the apprehension). Luckily a brochure in my room tells me Skoda isn’t; like many car makers, it started in bikes before going into cars, first opening shop in 1895. Today, it tells me this history ‘puts cycling at the very heard of Skoda’s brand identity’. Supporting cycling (and doing it with genuine enthusiasm) is one of the pillars of Skoda’s sponsorship activities.

Which is how this motoring journalist finds himself staring at his bike propped next to his bed in his room, wondering just what cycling 100 miles feels like.

Hopefully tomorrow, I’ll be able to tell you.