Below are some frequently asked questions, which will be added to. Please click on the questions to read the answers. If you have any further points to discuss, please contact us.
RACE DETAILS & KEY DATES
Is it really a race?
Ok, here’s the thing. It comes down to personal choice.
As the organisers, we have to tread a fine line on whether we call these things races, rides, journeys, adventures, tours etc. You see, by billing it as a “race”, we potentially leave ourselves open for future litigation recourse, perhaps more so than if we merely called it a “ride”. Rightly or wrongly, it is one of the facts we have to acknowledge living in the modern world we find ourselves in.
Our primary goal is to have a framework in place that allows YOU to get from the start to finish safely and having fun while you’re doing it (even if the rain comes). How you do that is completely up to you, providing you follow the rules. You may want to stop and take in all the majestic and awe-inspiring places we’ve got you riding past (I mean the Giants Causeway baby! Come on!!). Or you may want to stop along the way and sample a few wee drams of Whisky from one of the many distilleries along the route or a refreshing cold Guinness from one of the hundreds of old, country pubs you’ll be passing in Ireland.
Or, you just want to race it. Win it, compete, bag a top ten or simply beat that skinny guy who just flew past you on that steep-as-hell climb (don’t worry, you’ll get him on the descent 😉).
We know, if we called it the PanCeltic Social Ride, most people would still race it in some form or other. Competition is an intrinsic fabric of our being. Evolution has yet to scrub that primal urge from our consciousness. It can be exciting, exhilarating and makes for great tales to be had at the finish over a pint.
For some it will be a race no matter what we called it and for others, it won’t. We won’t ask or tell you how to ride it. This is your choice. We just ask that you ride safely, be considerate, take regular rest periods and abide by the rules of the Highway Code.
BE SAFE. BE SENSIBLE. BE SEEN.
Riding Solo or Pairing Up
You can choose either of the Pan Celtic Race routes as a solo rider, taking on the challenge with your trusty bike and inner determination as your guide, or you can pair up with a companion to share in the adventure and glorious challenges that await. The choice is yours.
The cost for a Solo rider Full Route is £380. The cost for each Pair rider is £360 (so £720 total).
The cost for a Solo rider Shorter Route is £350. The cost for each Pair rider is £330 (so £660 total).
Are you capping the number of race entries?
We are capping the number of riders to 99 as we want the race to be something really special for everyone involved, characterised by a sense of belonging and warm clan friendships. We want the ‘Clan’ to be just big enough so that everybody gets to know each other and there is a tangible sense of ‘family’ about the event.
What time is the registration on the 6th of July?
Registration will be taking place from 10am to 4pm on 6th July 2019. However, if people are held up, arriving late etc then we can process them as late as the morning of the race on July 7th (but obviously this is something we would prefer to avoid).
What time will the event start on the 7th of July?
We are waiting for confirmation from the local Police authority but we are expecting to be waving you folks off at 10am on July 7th 2019. We may stagger the two route starts, so the Shorter Route riders are waved off at 11am. We will confirm these details soon.
Official Finish 16th July. What if I arrive later?
RACE COSTS & PAYMENT
What do it get for my money? £380/£350 sounds a bit steep!
Yes, we may well have agreed with you some time back and asked the same question. The surprising thing, is that when you start looking at what it takes to run something like this (aside from the hundreds of hours putting it altogether) are all the hidden costs you just don’t consider being a “punter”.
One thing we want to make clear from the off, is that we are not about making a quick buck at the expense of participants and people who follow the race. The Pan Celtic Race vision, is just that, a vision without the riders, characters and personalities who will breathe life into her (yes, we see it as a her).
We have to make the race financially sustainable as we have an amazing long-term dream we want to share with you. We are stickler’s for value for money and resent paying inflated prices for anything. We want you to see the value in what we are offering and have an appreciation of some of the hidden costs we have had to factor into the pricing.
The list is far from definitive but here are a few to consider:
- Race Insurance Liability Cover
- Website Design & Hosting, Graphics, Signage etc
- SPOT Tracker hire, Platform hosting and Delivery
- Race Start Venue
- 2 Crewed Checkpoints open for 8 days
- Support staff costs at Checkpoints (payment, food, drink, travel)
- Finish Venue (with a proper party, DJ, comedian and food)
- Van Hire for transporting bike boxes, bags etc from Inverness to the finish
- 2 Ferry Crossings for every rider
- A 10-day Route Recce and assessment of the full course
- Hire of a Druid!
Are you collecting Full Entry Payment or can I pay a Deposit?
We recognise that it can be a tall order to pay the full entry in one go, therefore if entering before April 30th, you can opt to pay a deposit of 1/2 payment, then the remaining payment must by made by 31st May 2019.
Entrants also have the option of making payment in full at any time until 31st May 2019.
How detailed are the maps?
The map and routes are very accurate. We have planned the routes for nearly 12 months and are about to embark on our second recce to make sure we are completely happy with it (which we are) and to get some cool photos. It may be subject to the odd last minute tweak (if a road has closed for repair for example) but any changes will be reflected in the map GPX files which are available to download from the website.
Will there be direction markers along the routes?
No, but don’t let that put you off! The spirit of these types of races is a reliance on being self-supported. This covers finding places to eat, sleep and also your navigation. We will provide the route for all riders to follow and the most commonly used method for doing this is to have a GPS bike computer. There are a few really good devices to consider – Garmin and Wahoo being the more popular. A mobile phone can also be utilised, which involves having an app like Ride With GPS and basically it’s like a car navigation but for your bike. With the route being as long as it is, it would be impractical for there to be signs all the way along. ‘Old school’ riders will tend to use maps on which they have marked out the route.
Is there a shorter route?
The short answer is Yes, you can view the Shorter Route here.
There will be some people who have never tried this kind of race before and aren’t sure of the distance, profile etc. A 1000+ mile ride is no small undertaking and will take some training and preparation to get them in shape. Other people just won’t be able to take too long away from work or their families and so perhaps a 4-5 day adventure is perfect for their schedules.
Whichever it is, we know from personal experience that you don’t have to be away for a week or so and traverse 1000+ miles in order to get that road trip / race vibe / sense of wanderlust / inner peace / deep sense of satisfaction gained from overcoming adversity. All under your own steam, on your bike.
ACCOMMODATION & LOGISTICS
Accommodation at the start?
Yes! There are plenty of Hotels and B&B’s, AirBnB’s in Inverness, very close to the race brief and start.
Also, we are taking over the Highland Backpackers Hostel with 50 beds in it. It is situated right in the heart of Inverness and will be ours to come and go as we please. It is close to the train station, really close to restaurants and pubs and not too far from a bike shop for any last minute spares. There will be a large open kitchen to prepare drinks, food, chat with other racers and generally mill about and be sociable and also a lounge area. The hostel also has WiFi, storage for bikes and luggage and is right next to a conveniently placed car park.
Accommodation at the checkpoints?
We have 2 checkpoints in the race, so riders can take some rest, take a shower, meet up and share stories of the journey so far!
Checkpoint 1 (Full Route only): Ullapool, Scotland
The Checkpoint will be open 8th – 10th July. There is no accommodation provided by the Pan Celtic Race at this checkpoint, however riders are able to make their own booking. Riders who choose not to stay over at the Checkpoint will be able to grab a shower, freshen up, etc. by using the facilities of the Race team. These are shared and may be subject to waiting in-line.
Checkpoint 2 (Full & Shorter Route): Glendalough, Ireland
We have booked a 6-bed hostel room from 9th – 14th July so riders can take a few hours sleep at this checkpoint. If riders want to stay longer at this hostel, it’s advised to book a separate bed:
Accommodation at the finish?
Llandudno is a Victorian seaside town; chock full of hostels, B&B’s, AirBnB’s, Guesthouses, Hotels, etc. Whatever level or type accommodation you need, Llandudno will be able to provide.
The finish will be on St David’s Rd, Llandudno, North Wales. Postcode – LL30 2UL. There are a number of B&B’s dotted along this road.
Dependent on interest levels, the Pan Celtic Race Team do have the option of a large group booking and taking over a hotel right in the centre of town. We are mindful of keeping costs as low as possible for the entrants and so we will wait to hear what the interest is before we confirm the reservation with the hotel manager.
Roughing it, Camping or B&B during the race?
It’s for you to decide as adventurers as to how you want to rest each night. Everyone has their own preference for travel, be it sleeping out every night beneath the stars, bedding down in a Bed & Breakfast Inn or relaxing in a luxurious Spa Hotel! There is no right or wrong with these choices, it just comes down to asking how do would you like to experience the journey? Don’t be put off by the idea of finding somewhere to sleep – it’s part of the adventure!
Bike box and clothes bag?
Transported to the finish:
We know the last thing you want to worry about is how to get that bike box, change of clothes, track pump or pretty much anything else to the finish in North Wales. Rest assured that the Pan Celtic Race Team will transport it to the finish line and have it waiting for you, for when you arrive.
When arriving in Inverness:
Bike boxes can go on trains easily enough as luggage. If you’re just bringing your bike on a train, that will need to be booked in. Our experience is that this can be done 20 mins before the train departs or in advance over the internet:
What’s with the ferries? Isn’t it just a race to them?
If we want to visit the many corners and areas of the Celtic Nations, we are inevitably going to have to utilise water transport – ferries. For the Pan Celtic Race Team, we see the ferry crossings as an integral aspect of the race. For one, it forces every rider to take a mandatory break / rest from racing. This time can be used to catch up on some sleep, eat or just accept the temporary rest and chat with the guy you have been chasing for days.
They may well be a factor in the final race positions and so riders will have to plan carefully and tactically and make sure they don’t miss the last ferry of the night! Strategically, the ferries may well end up being a sort of leveller between riders. If you land lucky on the first crossing, you could lose this advantage by missing out on the second, while your nearest rival does in fact catch it. Lots to play for and will certainly add that random, dynamic edge to the racing. Ferry timetables are linked on the Scotland and Ireland route pages.
You will need ID at Ferry ports to confirm who you are. We will be watching your progress and when we see you are approximately 15-20 miles out from the ferry port, our Dot Watching, Logistics, Ferry Booker extraordinaire Rebecca will book you in online. What we may ask riders to do, as a back up, is to ping a text to Rebecca (we’ll give out all of our contact numbers in the Rider Manual) just to confirm that they do want to be on the next available ferry.
The costs of the 2 ferry crossings are included in the entry fee!
What airports can international riders fly in and out of?
- Glasgow would be a good choice.
- Manchester and then a train to Inverness would be another good option.
- Heathrow or Gatwick and then the overnight train to Inverness is also a viable option.
If you are struggling in this area, let us know and we will help you figure something out.
Will there be a race manual?
Yes there will be a race manual, which we’re calling The Race Scroll. It is currently work-in-progress and will feature key race information as well as some helpful advice and interesting points along each route. We’ll announce more about this soon.
Will Brexit affect the race?
There is no intention of building a Wall between Northern and Southern Ireland. The people will still greet strangers with open arms and the Guinness will still taste divine. Beds are likely to stay as comfy as they always have been, ferries will still operate and the sun will (hopefully) still shine!
Why is the race during the summer and not earlier/later in the year?
We’ve chosen the July date for a few reasons:
- Our race will be completed before the main UK School summer holidays begin and the height of UK summer tourism is late July into August. We note that both the Scottish and Irish holidays start earlier.
- The race will avoid the Half-term and Easter holidays earlier in the year (April/May) when roads are busier.
- As a race team, we’re not available to organise the race in June, so that wasn’t possible.
- The long days will provide good light from early morning to late into the evening, ensuring as much rider visibility/safety as possible, noting that riders may opt for the minimum 4 hours sleep each night.
- The warm weather and drier climate will provide better, safer cycling conditions than early spring or later summer.
BIKE KIT AND GEAR
Each rider is going to need a basic set of gear to get them safely through the Pan Celtic Race. How much gear is up to each rider and how they set up their steed (bike!) Here’s a basic list of items you should plan on taking, which we’ll add to as we get closer to the race. You will also receive race instructions soon covering this and more.
- Bike (wouldn’t much use without this)
- Helmet with proper fitting strap
- Cycling shoes
- Cycling clothing (shorts, jersey, socks)
- High-vis gilet or jacket
- Chamois cream
- Sun cream (yes, even in the UK)
- Working front and rear lights
- Dynamo recommended
- Backup rear light (battery powered)
- GPS computer and/or map
- Powerbank, cables and plugs
- Bike pump
- Tyre levers
- Spare inner tubes
- Puncture repair kit
- Tools and bike cleaning kit
- Spare chain or links
- Elastic bands / electric tape
- Bike bags (to put all the stuff in) with waterproof lining / inner
- Causal clothes; Shorts/trousers, t-shirt, thin jumper, beenie hat, socks, shoes/saddles
- Tent, bivvy, sleeping bag
- Wash bag and small towel
AT ALL TIMES
- Food; Always have something with you to keep you going, or if you need to stop
- Drinks bottles; water, juice, energy drinks. Keep hydrated!
- Emergency contact information
- Race insurance information
- Credit /debit card. International users – advise your bank before you travel
- Some currency; Sterling in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Euros in Republic of Ireland
- Mobile phone and charger: International users – check your usage policy
Power and Charging
INSURANCE, SAFETY & TRACKERS
So why do I need to get Insurance?
You have insurance for your car, your house, your phone. All of the important things. Well, the insurance you need to ride the Pan Celtic Race is there to provide cover for you if you happen to have a mishap. Let’s be clear from the off, there are generic risks associated with riding bicycles. They can range from a simple scuff of the elbow, through to a head injury, paralysis and potentially death. We can mitigate these risks by taking necessary precautions and introducing control measures but all risk cannot be eliminated. Cycling long distances, over a long period of time, increases the risk of something happening. By its very nature, endurance self-supported riding has a greater risk of something happening in comparison to popping to the shop on your bike.
The insurance is there for you and your loved ones should you find yourself involved in an accident.
Insurance with Yellow Jersey
We have secured event specific Travel Insurance at a great price through a group purchase with Yellow Jersey. Details to follow but to give you an indication, fully comprehensive Travel and Third Party Insurance will cost £25 for EU riders and £50 for non EU.
Do riders need to wear reflective vests by law?
You will need to wear a reflective vest/ tabard/ gilet, etc to comply with the Race Rules. It is a judgment call of the rider, whether to wear one during the day. However, in poor light conditions (overcast sky, dusk etc) and especially at night, they must be worn. Wearing one will make you more visible, which makes you more safe. Safety is the Boss.
Is it safe as a single female cycling solo?
How old do I have to be to ride this? (can a child pair up with an adult?)
You have to be aged 18 by the 6th July 2019 in order to take part as a solo rider.
We have sought guidance from the Event Insurance Providers for the 2nd part of the question following a question from a parent asking if their child could ride as a pair with them. The underwriters responded and confirmed they were happy to allow minors to ride. As parents ourselves, we have had to think long and hard about this. Would we take our child with us? Would we be happy for parents to take their child along with them?
We are mindful of the incredible experience it could be for a young person. A life defining undertaking that will shape them and live with them forever.
So, do we accept people under the age of 18? The answer is Yes. However, they would be required to abide to additional rules and procedures.
- They are to be accompanied by a suitably experienced, responsible adult/ parent
- They do not ride for more than 3 hours without a 30 min break
- They do not ride between the hours of 22:00 – 06:00
- They do not exceed 30mph
- They are allowed to draft
- They utilise additional and enhanced lights, reflective and high visibility materials
Further, each entry will be reviewed by the Pan Celtic Race Team on a case by case basis. Parents/ guardians will need to provide supplementary evidence to support the application of the minor, covering areas such as past cycling achievements, ability, distances ridden, self-supported experience, etc.
Spot Trackers are included in the price? Nice!
Yes, that’s right. SPOT Trackers are an important element of an event like this. It gives people at home an insight into your progress and allows DOT Watchers the world over to have the opportunity to track and analyse every decision you make. They are also essential for the Pan Celtic Team to monitor your progress and keep our beady eyes on you at all times. We will know when you have stopped at the pub for lunch, or called in at a local supermarket to stock up on essentials. They transmit and record all of your ride telemetry and is an important tool to help ratify results at the end of the ride.
If you have you’re own SPOT Tracker, you can use coupon codes when purchasing entry to the race. See each Race Entry listing for more details.