From the Mountain Biking UK dirt jumps to the Cycling Plus Sportive, the crowds built up around every event at BikeRadar Live to watch pros and amateurs alike compete for prizes and the glory of a successful ride.
Some of the most impressive viewing was the unbelievable skills of the Animal Relentless Bike Tour team, who wowed the crowds with stunts ranging from tailwhips and bunnyhops to backflips and leaps of faith. One member of the crowd said: “I loved all of the demos. [BikeRadar Live is] an absolutely brilliant idea and the weather is stunning!”
The MBUK Dirt Jump Invitational heats were also a crowd pleaser. The speed and height of the jumps and tricks that the riders managed was incredible. Even in the first heat on Saturday, the competition was fierce, as the riders performed no-footers and 360-spins.
A steady stream of riders headed down the dirt jump start ramp
There was something for riders of all ages and abilities at Donington Park, and it really was an impressive sight. Awash with biking enthusiasts, the Bikes & Gear exposition area was like a treasure chest full of helmets, wheels and bike frames. You could talk to bike manufacturers and distributors, and get tips on bike parts and advice on maintenance.
Then there was the Wattbike challenge, where you could test yourself on one of six British Cycling-endorsed static training bikes over a 200-metre sprint. In temperatures of over 25 degrees, this was no mean feat – especially if you were competing against family and friends to see whose turn it was to get the next round of ice-creams in!
The DHL Wattbike truck was the ideal place to decide whose turn it was to buy ice-creams
The sportive events were just as impressive. Riders covered either 100 miles or 100km, starting and finishing on the Donington Park race track, and it was great to see children and adults taking part.
If that wasn’t enough, to test the hardcore cycling enthusiasts there was also the Whyte Night four-hour and 12-hour enduros. One of those enthusiasts was Lucy Tanner, who said: “I’m absolutely shattered, but I think BikeRadar Live is great! I’ve never seen so many trail bikes, roadies and recumbents all next to each other. I’ll definitely be back next year, camping with my family.”
More than 700 riders entered the Cycling Plus sportive, which took in the Donington circuit
The gloriously hot weather, the presence of many cycling pros and the unending stream of people through the gates of Donington Park all contributed to the success of BikeRadar Live. With so much happening throughout the weekend you really needed all three days just to see and experience everything.
Leanne Wellings, one of the distributors at BikeRadar Live, summed up the prevailing feelings about the weekend: “What a great event BikeRadar Live was. Well done Future [BikeRadar's publishers] for putting this on for the first time. The location was superb, there was some great racing and demos, and the weather was perfect. We'll definitely be coming back in 2010!”
World hour record holder Graeme Obree seemed equally impressed, saying: “The whole cycling scene is getting bigger and bigger. The last proper cycling festival was probably on the Isle of Man in 1996 or 1997, so it’s been almost a decade of no festivals, and now there’s BikeRadar Live. It’s great!”
World hour record holder Graeme Obree was particularly impressed with the catering staff
He also seemed to be a big fan of the caterers – he told us how he’d asked for a custard pie on Saturday and they had instantly rushed off to get one for him because they didn’t have any on-site.
So, with renewed inspiration to ride more trails, test out all of the newly acquired biking equipment and possibly apply more sun screen, the next BikeRadar Live event looks set to be even bigger and better than the first.
There was plenty to see and do in the Bike & Gear Expo at Donington Park