view of edinburgh from calton hillCycling

London Edinburgh London 2025

Yes, 2025. I did have to double-check that myself when I received an email earlier this week from the organisers of ‘the UK’s biggest ultra-endurance cycling challenge’. It takes place every four years and the last time it was held was in 2022 (I assume it was a year late because of COVID). 1,000 mikes in under 125 hours from London to Edinburgh and back. I’ve long been tempted to sign up for something like this as an incentive to get very fit but, well, never have. And I already have my excuses lined up for not signing up for this, mainly that by August 2025 I might be thinking of doing another big trip (Japan?). But if you fancy it yourself, here are the details from the mouth of the organisers:

ENTRY BALLOT OPENS 3 NOVEMBER FOR LONDON EDINBURGH LONDON 2025

Endurance cyclists wanting to take part in the 2025 edition of London Edinburgh London will get their first chance to sign up on 3 November 2023 when the entry ballot opens. The long-distance challenge attracting riders from around the world is always massively over-subscribed.

London Edinburgh London takes place every four years and involves pedalling the 1,530km (950 miles) between the two cities in under 125 hours. It is not a race but a test of physical and mental stamina; just completing is the main goal for most people.

The ballot opens at midday on 3 November and successful entrants will hear two weeks later if they’ll have a place on the start line in August 2025.

Entrants ride with only each other to support them apart from at the 22 controls where an army of volunteers provide help, food and a bed. The ethos of challenge and community is one of the reasons that interest in the event has increased dramatically in the last decade and why places are in high demand.

Running the ballot ensures that people new to endurance cycling and groups that are normally under-represented have a chance to get a place. Opening up so far in advance also allows people to plan their training and preparation throughout 2024 and 2025. 

A number of places have been pre-allocated to people who volunteered during the 2022 event and to paid-up members of Audax UK, the club for long distance riders. Bookings for these places will open 3 January 2025.

As well as making small changes to the route from 2022, a number of other innovations are planned. Support vehicles will not be encouraged and all riders will have the same time limit (rather than effectively running a separate event for faster riders). The organisers hope to build on the spirit of shared endeavour and community which is the hallmark of London Edinburgh London.

“Taking part in London Edinburgh London is, for many cyclists, a long term ambition” says LEL Event Director Danial Webb “so opening the first entries now gives people time to prepare and train for the UK’s most popular long distance challenge.”

“We’re excited that interest in the event has really taken off in the last decade or so and we’re really hoping that we continue to see the growing diversity of riders signing up. Although it’s not easy to complete, the support of the community of volunteers and other riders is what makes it possible for ordinary people to do something truly extraordinary.”

Information about how to enter and details of the route can be seen at https://londonedinburghlondon.com 

Click here for more details

London Edinburgh London is Britain’s biggest organised cycle endurance challenge and has been held every four years (pandemics permitting) since 1989. It is a test of physical and mental stamina and is ridden in a spirt of collaboration and camaraderie. It is not a race.

It has grown from a bare bones ride with just 29 entrants to a spectacle that attracted 1,500 starters in 2022 from 54 countries. It is run as a not for profit event and brings together over 1,000 volunteers up and down the country to support the riders.

Outside of the 21 control points and 14 refreshment stops, riders are self supported. There are no support vehicles and, in the spirit of audaxing, if riders encounter problems, they have to fix them themselves or rely on the help of other riders and people along the road.

Most of the 2025 riders will begin their five-day journey from a new start point at Writtle (outside Chelmsford) in Essex working northward through Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, East and North Yorkshire, Cumbria, Dumfries and Galloway. With the exception of routing through the Scottish Borders and in Cambridgeshire, the ride back follows largely the same roads.

There are over 600 km of new roads on the 2025 route, old favourites including North Yorkshire and Cumbria along with climbs like Yad Moss are still in the mix. In Scotland, riders will take a new route climbing to Hawick, the moorland traverse and Devil’s Beeftub climb to Moffat.

Although up to 2,000 cyclists are expected to take part, the field becomes very spread out as the event progresses. In 2022, the last riders were still reaching Edinburgh as the first finishers came home. 

Riders have 125 hours to complete the mandatory course which includes 12,800 metres of total climbing. Finish times are not published and racing or record setting are discouraged.


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