Raising a Glass to Butcombe!
We're firming up on arrangements now for what is only the second-ever Mendips Lakes and Lumps Ride and, as part of that, we're absolutely delighted to announce that Butcombe Brewery has confirmed that it will be supporting us again this year.
We're pretty sure that everyone's aware just how difficult the last 12 months have been for the hospitality industry as a whole, and for pubs and breweries in particular, but Butcombe has a strong affinity with the West Country and, like us, as a Bristol-born entity they're very keen to promote the local area as a great place for leisure activities.
This is because, as well as their excellent beers, there are also numerous lovely Butcombe pubs & inns dotted around the South West, and of course the wonderful Mendip Hills AONB area that hosts the Ride is right on the brewery's doorstep.
It's also worth noting that, as a cycling-friendly organisation, their pubs & inns are always pleased to welcome people on bikes for a bit of refreshment and refuelling when they're out & about.
The brewery even organises its own (very responsible!) in-house cycling tour of a number of Butcombe pubs, so they're definitely on the same page as us when it comes to enjoying a great day out on a bike! :)
And the really great news for our riders is that this partnership means that Butcombe will be providing every rider in the event with a FREE BOTTLE OF BEER at the finish - so a great day out exploring the wonderful Mendip Hills by bike in June just got even better!
We'll also be looking at other ways to get the most out of this great West Country partnership, but the bottom line is that we're going to have some of the best beer in the country available for our riders - and we'll certainly drink to that!
Roadmap Out Of Lockdown
As we begin Step 1 of the Government's four-step 'roadmap out of lockdown' for England, here's our take on what it means for the 2021 Mendips Lakes and Lumps Ride.
Firstly, we're pleased to see that the plan as a whole anticipates a material change for the better from here on in and, while no doubt people will have their own views on the pace at which various lockdown measures will be lifted, obviously the overall picture constitutes very welcome news.
And it's certainly encouraging to see that the Government and its scientific advisors actually appear to be able to envisage a complete end to legal restrictions in relation to social contact by the Summer.
Obviously we note that the final Step 4 'unlock' date - even as it stands currently - falls just after the Ride so we now know for sure that we'll still be subject to some COVID-secure requirements (albeit seemingly 'light touch' by that stage), and it's actually helpful to have this clarification. We always felt that this was likely to be the case, and it's the basis on which we've been preparing to date anyway.
The important thing is that, based on the information provided in the roadmap, we're very confident that the Ride WILL be able to go ahead as planned on Sunday 13th June 2021 in a COVID-secure form and, as a small outdoor event, it seems very unlikely that we'll have to concern ourselves with restrictions on the number of participants.
So at this stage we're going to continue to proceed cautiously but proactively with our event planning - we're very encouraged and certainly feeling quite optimistic about the outlook, however we're not taking anything for granted and we look forward in due course to receiving greater certainty around the timelines & dates that have been announced.
In summary then, overall this feels like we're entering a more positive and encouraging phase and so for now we'll just continue to monitor developments and the relevant official guidance. And as the situation develops further we'll adjust our thinking as necessary and update accordingly.
We hope this note is of some help, and please feel free to let us know if you have any queries regarding any of this.
And get your entry in for the 2021 Mendips Lakes and Lumps Ride ASAP if you haven't done so already - we're into Spring now, the weather's improving rapidly, and the Ride will soon be here!
Come on - Rise to the Challenge with us! :)
We're Back & Raring To Go!
We're delighted to say that the Mendips Lakes and Lumps Ride is returning on Sunday 13th June 2021 after the event was cancelled last year (along with so many others!) due to the coronavirus restrictions that were in place at the time.
So this will now be the second outing for this fabulous challenge ride - and this year we're very confident that it WILL be happening! :)
We say that having successfully delivered two very safe COVID-secure cycling events in 2020, and the knowledge gained from those experiences will stand us in good stead going forward and will inform & underpin preparations for the 2021 Mendips Lakes and Lumps Ride.
Obviously the short-term outlook nationwide is still pretty bleak and currently we all find ourselves subject to significant restrictions once again, however we firmly believe that the prospects from the various vaccine options DO provide genuine grounds for hope and optimism, and the consensus among experts seems to be that we should see a material change for the better from Easter onwards.
This means that we fully expect the Ride to be able to take place in a COVID-secure fashion as scheduled in June and we're planning on that basis.
The Ride will form part of the National Trust's revised 'Top of the Gorge Activity Weekend' this year, along with the established running and mountain biking events that also take place as part of the Trust's overall 'Top of the Gorge' concept.
Notwithstanding the current situation, the National Trust team and its local partners are still very keen to promote the Mendip Hills AONB as a wonderful area to explore and to be active in, and the range of outdoor challenge events that normally would form part of the traditional festival weekend - including the Mendips Lakes and Lumps Ride - are very much central to that.
Inevitably there is considerable uncertainty with regards to some other aspects of the wider festival idea as a whole, to the extent that current expectations are that it probably won't be feasible for it to proceed in its "normal" format. Therefore the plan at this stage is to focus efforts instead on offering the activity features of the programme.
So while it seems unlikely that camping and other 'socialising' elements will be possible again this year, there's a real determination to keep the Top of the Gorge spirit alive by ensuring that at least the challenge activities go ahead and provide what is likely to be some much-needed fun and enjoyment.
And that's certainly what we intend to do - we already have initial COVID-secure plans in place and, while these mean that there will be a cap on the number of entries (there are around 200 places available), we're also actively looking at options to maybe add a bit more 'spice' to the event and broaden its level of challenge to ensure that it has plenty to offer for everyone taking part.
More news will follow in due course regarding the new elements of the Ride and we will, of course, continue to monitor coronavirus developments and the relevant official guidance & instructions in the coming weeks & months and, where necessary, we will adjust our plans in response and will advise further as required.
But the bottom line is that the Mendips Lakes and Lumps Ride WILL be a great day out, and our aim is to make it an excellent way to get the Summer started! :)
Please feel free to let us know if you have any queries regarding any of this, and do sign up as soon as you can to secure your place for the return of the Mendips Lakes and Lumps Ride.
And in the meantime please stay safe, follow the official guidance, and remain as positive as you can while we get through this latest difficult period.
Don't forget our motto - Rise to the Challenge! :)