A new sportif for me (Sunderland Big Bike Ride)

After having competed in the Cyclone every year and taken part in the Great North Bike Ride I wasn’t intending n entering any sportives this year.

Until a Facebook group I’m in called ‘Cycling Around the North East (UK)’ started talking about a ride leaving from Sunderland on 11 June.

It’s organised by Active Sunderland and comprises of 20 or 35 miles (which is way shorter than I’m used to) but I thought if I cycle there and back from my home in Gateshead it would be nearer 70 and it only costs a tenner!!.

And of course it wouldn’t be a challenge unless I was doing it on the Chopper.

Anyway, I entered but foolishly left it until the day before to do some much needed maintenance on the bike. this comes with its own issues as , if anything goes wrong I can’t just go and buy parts off the shelf. Thankfully it all went well and the bike was ready to go.

I decided that as registration was from 8am I’d get dropped off at the start which is what I did and soon had quite a few people coming to talk about the bike and seemed really surprised I’d take on the ride on a heavyweight 43yr old kids bike.

Registration complete I hung around talking to many riders before the off. There were only 450 riders taking part and 90% must have been on MTBs. I didn’t know the route so wasn’t too sure what to expect.

I was asked by Peter Noone (I think) the organiser if Doris (lord Mayor) could have a photo so got them taken and rejoined the back of the group.

Off we set along the C2C route on what was probably a little too rough conditions for my bike but hey ho it’s a bike ride. I’ll have to include my strava link as I’m not au fait with the area so couldn’t tell you where I was for most of the time. Riders were talking of a couple of hills Moorsley and the quarry climb at Hetton lake.

conditions luckily stayed dry all day despite massive black clouds but I must say the SW wind was testing and seemed to be in our face most of the way out and fairly strong. Soon I came to the Moorsley Climb and as I don’t have gears like modern bikes I just grit my teeth and power up, passing quite a few riders in the process. At the top I stopped for a snack and to chat to other riders who had made it or pushed up. Dropping down from Moorsley I soon skirted the lake and started on the quarry climb which seemed steeper to me with even more pushers but thankfully I made it.

From there we seemed to head down towards the coast with at least a couple of miles of freewheeling before picking up Sustrans route 1 heading back towards Sunderland. When we approached Sunderland we passed a Metro station with a marshal on but after that the signs seemed to disappear (and others commented later on it) so I headed through the town centre over the bridge and dropped through the car park and through the finish line to pick up my medal, rucksack, waterbottle, bottle of water and most importantly chunky kit kat 🙂

chopper finish

I sat around chatting to a few riders for quite  while before heading down to Faustos cycle cafe on the seafront for a coffee . Finishing off my ride I cycled up to south shields, ferry across to North shields and followed the C2C route on north side of the tyne on my detour back to Gateshead.


Thanks to the organisers and the participants I had a nice ride out.

I was contacted by a couple of riders following the ride who asked if I’d beaten them on the climbs so I sent them my strava link and yes I had. but it wasn’t a race.


And here is the link to my strava :


About barneybear69

'middle aged' cyclist from North East aiming to do the LEJOG in August 2011
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