Spring Sportives: Cotswold Cogfest
by Andy Brown, posted 8 May 2017
Contact JRtB on twitter @justridethebike
Andy rides his local sportive - and finds a lot of people having their cake, and eating it.
Cotswold Cogfest is exactly what sets out to be: a warm, friendly celebration of cycling that is inclusive and welcoming. It is for anyone, of any age or ability and physicality that fancies the idea of riding a bicycle. It resists definition. It is not like other sportives, because whilst there is a sportive involved, it is not at the core of the event. It is not for cyclists, but it consists of two very well signposted and planned routes of 30 and 60 miles. What it is about is family. That’s at its heart. In a sense there’s no surprise there, after all, Cogfest is a fundraiser for medium sized local primary school: Minchinhampton CofE Primary Academy - to be precise. Turning up for the sign-on is a relaxed and easy process. Unlike at some cycling events I have taken part in there is no macho posturing in the queue or in the car park as numbers are zip tied to handlebars, brakes tested and gears tweaked. In fact, full carbon aero machines are notable by their absence.
There are more bulging waistbands and entry level bikes than I’ve seen outside of Halfords or Evans. But, skipping the ride itself for moment, on returning to the Cogfest base after the 30-mile route had been dealt with the atmosphere was more like a cycling themed school fete. Children were everywhere. Bikes of all sizes were being used, played with, tweaked and gazed at. The scooter area was amazing: what a great idea to introduce kids to pedal power and an alternative to a car. There was a buzz like I’ve not experienced at any cycling event. I loved the ride itself. I know the roads so there were no surprises, but the route was clear, a mix of some challenging climbs (in part) and an opportunity to spin the legs and chat and test yourself, or kick back and turn the pedals.
It is important to note that the feed stations are high quality. Unlike some events that are almost double the price, the choice of food, the service and taste were superb value. I know one rider who, bearing in mind he does 100-miles in around four hours, has declined all invites to local 100km sportives as the food is nowhere near worth his while to stop off for. He would certainly eat his fill at Cogfest. I defy anyone riding at Cogfest not to stop and over eat!
Credit: Lemon house photography, 2017
Last year I did the 60-mile route and felt the same excitement on the ride. But the return to base was taken to another level this year. Cogfest raised the bar as an event that doubles as an early season stretch of the legs and serves as an inclusive, fun, family friendly celebration of life on two wheels. Can’t wait for next year. (Sunday 20th May - get it in your diaries) Well done all at team Cogfest and their support crew.