Bike To Bestival 2012

  • 18 September 2012
  • POSTED BY Duncan
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This year’s scorchingly hot, stunningly fine Bestival wasn’t just notable for wall-to-wall sunshine and an improbably delicious line-up of topper bands… It also marked the first-ever Bike to Bestival – a hardy band of 40 cyclists who’d decided to eke out their Bestival experience by a few days and pedal all the way from London to the Isle of Wight – and raise a huge amount of cash for Cancer Research UK in the process.

As organiser Warren Howard, who organised the ride with Dominic Ball and Sophie Ariss, explains…

We pushed off on the Tuesday before the festival from the delightful surroundings of Lambeth Palace (massive thanks to the folks there) and made our way out of the Smoke, taking in the glories of Richmond Park, the cool riverside paths of the Thames and – naturally – a good chunk of the Olympic road-race route, where Wiggins, Cavendish and Co had somehow been denied gold a month or so earlier.

Fifty miles in, the B2B peloton stopped off at the (appropriately monikered) Mellow Farm campsite just south of Farnham, Surrey, for a barbecue, beers (never more deserved) – and a good old “Kum Ba Yah”-ish sing-song around the campfire in preparation for the group’s starring slot on the Big Top stage on Thursday afternoon.

A tough ride on Wednesday (who put those hills there?) nevertheless brought us triumphantly sailing in to Southampton – and then sailing out of it, across the Solent, bathed in sunshine, to the Waverley Park campsite on the Isle of Wight for a pre-Bestival knees-up. The Waverley bar also had the distinct privilege, that night, of witnessing the (stunning) live debut of the B2B band…

A short(ish) cycle the next morning took us to the Bestival site – and the small matter of summoning up whatever energy we had left to haul our guitars, ukuleles, melodicas and banjoleles (don’t ask) on Bestival’s Big Top stage to bash out (all 40 of us) a short set of classic singalongs to a baying crowd of, ooh, tens of people. We opened for Alabama Shakes and Hot Chip and no one – no one – can ever take that away from us. So don’t try.

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    Bike To Bestival open the Big Top at Bestival

It was a huge honour to be involved in the organising of this – and a real delight to get to know the disparate gang who came together as a group of strangers on bikes, and wound up as firm friends.

We were also delighted to have on the trip a lovely bunch from The Times, there to film us as we went along – and to raise awareness of their brilliant Cities Fit for Cycling campaign, an initiative dedicated to making sure that cycling, wherever you choose to do it, is a safe and joyful pursuit.


So look out for us next year – and if you’ve got the legs and the heart for it, sign up for Bike to Bestival 2013; surely the only proper way to get to the Isle of Wight.

And in the meantime, why not (please!) add to our growing fund in aid of Cancer Research UK. We’re aiming for £10,000 – and blimey, we’re almost there..!

Go on, help to push the Bike To Bestival Team over the finishing line here:

Or if you know an individual Bike to Bestival rider you can sponsor them individually here:

Also, BIG thanks to VELECO ethical cyclewear for providing the riders with organic Fair Trade t-shirts and cycling caps.