Thursday the 6th of August, I receive a call from my friend Marc, owner of LBS Bournemouth Cycleworks after confirming my attendance on the shops ‘Ride Like a Pro’ facebook post. “How is your fitness at the moment Jon?” to which I laugh, as I have an idea of where this is going; “not too bad for me at the moment, I can hold about 18mph average over 30 miles.” Marc “OK, so I might need you to lead out a group……..see you at 7:30am?!”
Jaguar ‘Ride Like a Pro’ is a series of national events in which Jaguar dealerships around the UK provide a Team Sky branded Jaguar XF Sportbrake as a lead out vehicle for a group of road cyclists. The aim is to simulate what it is like to ‘Ride Like a Pro’ in a peloton with a support vehicle. They partner with a local bike shop for help with the lead out and for cycling advice on the day, plus one entrant from each local ride out will be entered into a prize draw to win the opportunity to ride with Team Sky, take home a Pinarello Dogma, and go on an all inclusive 8 day cycling trip to Tuscany. So, a complete dream prize then! The event I attended was at Westover Jaguar Poole, near Poole Quay and Sunseeker International on W Quay Road.
On the day, the weather was bright and with about 50 riders present we separated into two groups. One at 18mph+ and one at 15mph+. Seeing as I wasn’t up for a complete beasting I opted into the slower group. From the dealership we headed out across the new Twin Sails bridge, though Hamworthy and Upton, over the A35 to Huntick road and through Lytchett Matravers onto Colehill road. Then following the B3075 down to East Morden, across the A35 again and down to Sandford. Right turn at the roundabout and through Wareham and Stoborough, across the roundabout to Furzebrook Road and up to the climb at Cocknowle. This climb was the most challenging on the route and was pretty good fun, with a nice switch back halfway through and a great view at the crest. We stopped for five minutes to allow the group to catch their breath and grab some mid ride fuel. Once refreshed we carried on down through Church Knowle and across the junction onto the B3351 New Road before you enter Corfe. New Road is a fun bit of cycling with a nice mix of short climbs and descents, riding past the golf club, down the fastest section of the ride into Studland, and then along to the chain ferry. Catching the chain ferry across is a welcome break for some of the less experienced riders but, with the weather the way it was, enjoyable for all. The final leg of the ride took us round the Sandbanks peninsular and west around the harbour into Lilliput on Sandbanks Road, taking the left onto Turks Lane then following the cycle path around Parkstone harbour, through Baiter park, across Poole quay and back to Westover Jaguar.
Arriving back at the dealership we were met with fresh pastries and coffee, and the chance to chat to fellow riders about the experience. I thoroughly enjoyed Jaguar’s ‘Ride Like a Pro’ event. There was no fee, a great atmosphere, and great cycling. Events like this do not happen this often and was a nice breath of fresh air. New friends were made by all, for some of those newer riders it was a great opportunity to meet with other cyclists in their local vicinity and for some of the more experienced it was a chance to put names to faces of local Strava compatriots! Looking forward to the next event!