After a bit of a break from the calendar 2014 sees us return to Essex and a rather unique new venue for Ride It! Essex Sportive on Sunday 22nd June.

We’ll be based from the grounds of the ‘not so secret’ Secret Nucleer Bunker near Kelvedon Hatch, now no longer in use by the military and open for public visits. If you’ve got the energy after the ride it’s well worth taking the tour through the bunker and if you’ve got family coming to the event with you there’s also a Rope Runners adventure course and paintballing on site to keep them entertained.

As the cycle ride takes place close to the summer solstice we’re taking advantage of the long daylight hours and have upped our ride distances slightly so there’s the chance to bag a century ride on some relatively flat, fast and flowing Essex country lanes. As well as the 100 mile option we also have several shorter distances starting from 14 miles for our fun route so all abilities will be catered for.

In July the Tour de France heads through Essex on it’s stage 3 route between Cambridge and London so we’ve taken the opportunity to include some of the same roads in our Essex Sportive giving riders the chance to sample the same roads that the pro teams will be riding a few weeks later.

More details and entry links can be found at - Ride It! Essex Sportive

You can also keep up to date with the latest event information here and via the Ride It! Essex Sportive Facebook Event Page.


By Car – The Secret Nuclear Bunker is located near the small village of Kelvedon Hatch a short distance from Brentwood. For those using a sat nav the venue owners recommend using the postcode CM15 0LA rather than their address. In some sat navs the postcode takes you to the rear of the venue rather than the main entrance which is on the A128 Chipping Ongar to Brentwood road, once you get close follow the brown tourist information signs to find the entrance.

By Train – The closest train station is Brentwood which has good connections to central London stations. It’s around a 7 mile ride from the train station in Brentwood to the event centre.

By Bike – Unfortunately Kelvedon Hatch isn’t on the Sustrans National Cycle Network, the easiest and most direct access is via the A128 which can get busy but not usually on a Sunday morning.


The event will be hosted from the grounds surrounding the Secret Nuclear Bunker, when you arrive please follow the parking signs and directions from our marshalls. Parking, registration and the start/finish for our event will be up by the main entrance rather than down by the bunker.


Registration will be open from 8am to 10:30am but long route riders should aim to arrive and register before 9:30am. Please follow the signs for registration after you’ve arrived.

Please ensure you bring your helmet with you to registration, you will not be allowed to register without one so bringing it with you will save a trip back to your car or bike collect it.

Once you have registered and are ready to ride please head to the start area near the main entrance.

The main event centre is planned to close at 6pm which gives you over 10 hours to complete the ride if you start with the first groups.


The venue owners are providing at catering van for the event so food and drinks should be available to purchase before and after your ride.

One the course there are a number of feed stops (how many depends on your route distance) that will have energy drink, water, cake, flapjack, jelly beans, bananas, gels/bars, etc. Food at the feed stops is included in your entry.


The roads around Essex offer some great flowing country lanes and whilst it’s not completely flat there are no really big hills to slow your progress. We’ve upped our ride distances slightly from usual so there’s a chance to bag a century ride for those that fancy it.

You’ll also be riding some of the roads that stage 3 of the TDF will be heading down in a few weeks time so let your imagination run wild with dreams of leading the peloton as you weave through the Essex lanes.

Fun – 14 miles
Short – 36 miles
Medium – 68 miles
Long – 101 miles

After completing the route please head back through the finish timing point to register your finish time. If you don’t head through the timing point you won’t register a finish time and will show as a DNF when we publish the rider times.

PLEASE REMEMBER THIS IS NOT A RACE – There are no rankings or prizes on offer, all times will be displayed in a non-sortable format in rider number order. Please help us to continue running popular and friendly events by not riding in such a way to obstruct the road and upset other users. The majority of the ride is on the public roads so please obey the Highway Code, stop at junctions where appropriate and obey any traffic lights. Do not ride at silly speeds around blind bends or on steep descents. Although we have event insurance it does not insure you for your actions so if you do hit a car or pedestrian you will be responsible for any damages caused by your riding.


The weather forecast is looking good at the moment (although that’s probably put a jinx on it!). If it’s hot make sure you slap on the sun cream and drink plenty whilst you’re out on the ride.

Whilst most roads in Britain suffer from some potholes at some points the roads around Essex seem a lot better than some of the areas we visit, as always keep alert and if riding in a group signal any hazards to riders behind you. We’ll be doing our final course inspection on Saturday so will update if we find any areas of caution.


All riders will be given a hard copy of the route map at registration. Please keep this with you, even if you’re using a GPS, as it has useful information such as emergency contact numbers and the location of the ride splits and feed stations.

Everyone who has pre-entered will receive a pre-event mail on Thursday evening with links to the final GPX files. If you do not receive this please remember it will have been sent to the email address you used when booking the ride and do check it hasn’t been trapped in your junk emails folder. If you still don’t have them then email me on mark.gregory@evanscycles.com I’ll check your entry and send you a copy.


If you have any queries or questions relating to the ride that aren’t covered then please email rideit@evanscycles.com or get in contact with us via the facebook event page.

You can also keep up to date with the latest event information here and via the Ride It! Essex Facebook Event Page.