Killer climbs. Some riders love them while others will do anything to avoid them. Well, here’s the good news.
The Smuggler is a new sportive catering for riders in both camps, with an option to tackle extra climbs around North Devon.
This inaugural event is the brainchild of Marcus Chapman and follows last year’s successful Nelson’s Tour de Test Valley — a tribute ride to best friend Nelson Pratt who took his own life nearly two years ago — which raised over £60,000 for charity CALM.
Chapman’s focus is on fun events with good food. For The Smuggler, he offers distances of 25, 50 and 80 miles and free breakfast at the start. “I wanted to cater for every kind of cyclist from the closet leg shaver to first timers,” he says. “If someone has just got their first bike for Christmas, they are welcome too.”
The event will leave from The Bike Shed at Barnstaple and venture out onto historic roads in an area where smugglers and shipwrecks have become a colourful part of the local folklore. The routes will travel on “weird, crazy bits of road” that snake above the area’s cliffs.
The iconic climb of Porlock Toll might test the legs of a few riders but if that’s not punishment enough, the option of tackling extra hills will also be on the menu. Chapman hopes to time these using Strava for a chance to win some “smuggler-style booty”.
The event will take place on June 1 with a percentage of the profits going to Devon cancer charity FORCE.