Merton residents will line the streets of Wimbledon and Raynes Park this summer to get a glimpse of the cyclists taking part in the Prudential RideLondon cycle event as it races through the borough on Sunday 10 August.
Cyclists will pass through Merton on the return leg from the Surrey Hills, having already travelled from the Queen Elizabeth Oympic Park, out to Surrey before heading back to the finish line at the Mall via Raynes Park and the last incline of the race, up Wimbledon Hill towards Wimbledon Common. Merton Council’s Noelle Simmons is representing the Mayor of Merton’s charities in the 100 mile event. We caught up with Noelle about the RideLondon 100 and how she is preparing to take part.
Why are you taking part in the RideLondon festival?
I have run the London Marathon a few times as well as the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon, and a few 5km and 10km running races and I really enjoyed them. I wanted to try something different and I was lucky enough to be chosen as the Mayor of Merton’s sponsored cyclist for the 100 mile RideLondon event.
My place in the ride is sponsored in aid of the Mayor, Councillor Agatha Akyigyina’s two charities, Shooting Star Chase and Merton Street Pastors and I hope to raise as much money as possible for these charities because of the essential support they provide to our residents in the borough. It is an honour to be riding for these worthy causes.
Have you ever done a cycle like this before?
I haven’t completed a cycle event of this distance over one day but last year I cycled 141 miles over three days from Whitehaven to Tynemouth. Over the summer, I’ve cycled from Dorking to Brighton via Worthing and Dorking to Littlehampton with my club, the Wimbledon Windmilers.
What are you doing to prepare for the festival?
I am a runner, so cycling for me is a cross training exercise which I enjoy doing as I love being out in the fresh air and I find it really relaxing. I’ve been doing long cycles over the last while and in May I did the Stroke Association’s Thames Bridges Bike Ride and in June I completed the London Nightrider race. It was really interesting to go around London cycling through the night.
What time are you hoping to do it in?
I hope to complete the ride in nine hours but it all depends on the day and what the weather is like.
What tips would you give people attending the race?
Make sure you plan where you’d like to watch the cycle event from. If there’s a crowd there when you arrive just move along the route, there should be plenty of room for you to get a good view. If it’s hot on the day remember to follow Merton Council’s heatwave guidance so you can fully enjoy the event.
You should also think about your parking and travelling arrangements on the day as some roads may be closed around the local area. There will be parking available in Wimbledon as the town centre is open for business as usual, but not along the route itself. All vehicles are required to move off the route just for the day. You can check the Prudential RideLondon website to find information about road closures and parking restrictions in the area. If you have any questions, call the Prudential RideLondon helpdesk on 020 7902 0212.
Most importantly, come in good voice and cheer everyone on, especially me!
If you would like to support Noelle and donate to the Mayor of Merton’s charities, please visit Noelle’s Just Giving page.