What is SW300?
It's a free to enter, semi-organised, 24 hour 300 mile road ride around the beautiful but little known South West Scotland coastline. It‘s three main purposes are;-
1. to raise money for Children’s Hospices Across Scotland and Cancer Research UK,
2. to take on a whacky challenge and
3. to have fun.
The route is loosely based on and inspired by the South West Coastal 300 driving route, but more cycle friendly. There will hopefully be voluntary mechanical back up by Sam of The Breakpad and the ethos is to help each other, but don’t expect to rely on it. Once you start you are independent and having to look after yourself.
When and where is it?
The main start is at midday on Saturday 16th June from Dock Park, Dumfries. We strive to finish within 24 hours of starting.
Who can do it?
Anyone that wants to.
In the spirit of inclusivity we welcome you all and special kudos will be given to the following 3 categories;-
1. Ladies. Endurance cycling is something the fairer sex can take the men on and beat them at. Just ask Beryl Burton who rode 277.25 miles in 12 hours, handing a liquorice allsort to the male national champion as she passed him to set a record that stood for half a century!
2. Young uns. Under 18s. Must be over 14 and accompanied by a responsible adult. In our twilight years we look back with pride at our teenage achievements. Conquer this and then conquer the world!
3. Anyone on a steel bike. Because.
Can I leave my car / van at Dumfries overnight?
We RECOMMEND you find suitable parking out with the area of the start and cycle to Dock Park.
At the start in Dock Park is free car parking, however unfortunately there is another event, Guid Nychburris, happening at the same time which will likely make this car park unusually busy, even for a Saturday. It is a large event that will also involve parking and road restrictions in the local area. There will be around 150 horses passing through the start area at 10:30am
We have organised LIMITED parking in Halfords car park along the river side of the car park to the side of the building. PLEASE DO NOT park in the area in front of the main entrance as Halfords require use of this for their customers. We ask that you respect this as we are extremely grateful to Halfords for their support and generosity. Halfords is located roughly 100m from the start on the opposite river bank.
Another option is a carpark behind Troqueer Primary School DG2 7LR (on the route 1/2 mile from the start - turn onto Hill Ave from A756) or local side streets
Dumfries can also be reached by train and bus.
Or you could always just ride to the start....
What if I break down or my bike does?
The ride is unsupported and it's a condition of participation that you accept responsibility for your own safety and recovery should you be unable to complete the ride. This isn't a race or sportive, it's a ‘turn-up-and-go’ group ride on public roads - think of it as a mad ride with your mates. If you break down be aware there is a “No Waiting” policy and it is down to you to catch back up at the next food stop. Sam of The Breakpad has kindly volunteered to be backup mechanic, but do not rely on this. We have provided a list of phone numbers for taxi companies on the Route page. We’d also recommend cycling with a pal or in a group so that someone is always watching out for you. If your legs have given up there are opportunities along the route to take short cuts to the finish.
How much training do I need to do?
We are not qualified sports coaches or medics so can only share with you our opinion based on the limited personal experience of half a dozen rides of between 250 and 370 miles. Decide for yourself (and speak to your doctor / coach) what is suitable for you.
Our general advice is to slowly build up the distance of training rides.
We suggest to aim for the 1st 100 mile ride of the year by mid April and to get a three figure milage ride each week thereafter, culminating, at the beginning of June, in two back-to-back 150 mile rides at an average 16mph.
We personally aim to do;-
Core strengthening and stretch exercises throughout January, February and March
100 miles a week in January
150 miles a week in February
200 miles a week in March
300 miles a week in April
400 miles a week in May
This is more than many of you need to ride - we need to shed the love handles lol. Just remember that the fitter you get the more enjoyable the challenge. Don’t overtrain though...
What lights will I need for this event?
Our recommendation (based on previous similar experience) for the night section of this event - assuming you are riding within the group - is for a cheap basic rear light that is not too bright (or a posh one set to dim setting) and NOT SET TO FLASH as this will annoy other riders in the group (and may potentially cause an epileptic fit in another rider).
Save your money for the front light which needs to be decent. We suggest minimum 600 lumens for a minimum of 6 hours on constant (usually will also have a higher setting for a shorter period).
When riding solo, or right at the back of the group, we recommend bright / flashing rear lights.
We recommend having spare batteries / back-up lights.
Ensure lights are firmly, legally and safely attached to your bike. It is a requirement of participation that your bike meets all legal requirements for lighting and reflectors for night riding.
Worried you may not be seen? The brightest lights in the middle of rural Galloway will be the very(!) occasional car headlight. We recommend reflecting this back at the driver, particularly from around your ankle area where the pedalling movement increases driver attention.
Sam at http://www.thebreakpad.com can give you better advice than us and 10% discount if you quote sw300
What do I do if I have to cancel or pull out?
Please let us know as soon as you can.
With limited spaces your loss could be someone else’s gain and we also need to know numbers for organisation.
If you start but fail to finish the event please text us a.s.a.p. to let us know.
Is this the only semi organised cycle ride in the world, where a sacrificial offering is made to Ra as the sun sets from Scotland’s most South Westerly point, so that it may rise again and spur us on to the finish?
We are pretty confident to say yes it is!
Who are the organisers?
Nipper Varney. A keen but overweight and over-the-hill cyclist whose enthusiasm far outweighs his talent. He isn’t even a proper member of a cycling club but just someone who has a habit of taking on crazy cycling challenges for the hell of it.
Oh, and anyone else mad enough or weak enough to be leaned on to help.
Please see the CONTACT page for a list of our supporters.
Please note “organisation” is both a loose term and ongoing. Expect little and you won’t be disappointed, but watch this space...
With thanks to the Exmouth Exodus and Ride To The Sun (Scotland), whose FAQs we have cribbed.