Ultra-endurance, self-supported bike riding is no more dangerous than riding your bike to the local shop, providing you observe basic and common rules relating to YOUR safety.
Some of the risks associated with this type of riding are commonly attributed to fatigue, tiredness, lack of concentration and poor decision making. These are factors that result from not managing rest periods and having insufficient sleep. Inadequate clothing, poor lighting and equipment choices can also be a factor.
In order to have a fair, consistent and above all, SAFE ride, it is necessary to have some rules to help structure things. Over the years, a universal set of guidelines have been developed and are commonly adopted by other similar events.
At the PanCeltic, 10 rules are not enough, so we have turned ours up to 11….
11 PAN CELTIC RIDE RULES
1. Breath it all in! Enjoy your time riding your bike and remember it beats sitting at your desk in the office. No matter how difficult things might get at times, you’ll look back with fondness at those memories. You’ve saved up, trained for months and taken annual leave to be at the start. Make the most of it!
2. Be Seen, Be Safe We want you to be visible to other road users at all times, in all conditions. Think “lit up like a Christmas tree” and “Sticking out like a sore thumb”! Rear lights are be used and functioning throughout the entire race. Day and night. Front lights are to be used at dusk, night and at any other time that the rider deems it necessary. High visibility clothing is mandatory at night and recommended during the day.
3. Rest and Breaks You’ve seen it on countless motorway signs – “TIREDNESS KILLS”. It’s the same with riding a bike. Reaction times slow, concentration drops and your level of self-awareness diminishes. Every rider is responsible for ensuring they have adequate rest periods. A minimum of 4 hours sleep is a good starting point, along with regular breaks to stretch, re-gain focus and grab a coffee. Important Note to Self (YOU) – Essentially this is a big bike ride. Nothing more, nothing less and is certainly not the be all and end all.
4. Start and Finish Simple one this. Follow the designated route from the start to the finish. It’s not difficult.
5. Legs, Hands and Gravity These are the only methods of propulsion/ power sources recognised by the Pan Celtic in enabling forward movement on a bike.
6. Helmets ON! Unfortunately, the Pan Celtic will not be accepting top hats, bowlers, deer stalkers, bear skins, stove pipes, fedoras or sombreros as appropriate level of head protection during the ride (though the person who wears any of the listed hats at the finishers party will get a free pint courtesy of the Pan Celtic Team).
7. Air Resistance and Wind May the winds be at your back but when they’re not and your battling into a headwind, do not be tempted to shelter behind another rider or vehicle. We’re self-supported here, so NO DRAFTING! Unless, you are riding as a designated PAIR. These guys can draft all day, or not draft and just chill. They’ve got it made!
8. Checkpoints Located along the route, locations vary from year to year, these are a must for those needing a toilet break and a cuppa. Here, you’ll find firms handshakes a’ plenty, along with shelter, warmth, and some sort of hot grub! Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs manifest! Oh, and you can get your Brevet stamped.
9. Insurance It is an unavoidable factor of the modern world. Appropriate level of rider insurance is mandatory and without you having it, we wouldn’t be able to run the race. It is peace of mind for your loved ones.
10. Common Sense If you are reading this, chances are you’re a rider of some skill, knowledge and experience. You have been riding bicycles for some time and have a good grasp of the rules of the highway. You observe local guidance and laws, are polite and friendly to other users and always stop to let elderly people cross the road. The Pan Celtic requires all riders, without exception, to demonstrate these skills at all times.
11. Self-Supported Means Self-Supported The Pan Celtic is a test of skill, knowledge, self-reliance and in some respects survival. It is not meant to be easy or comfortable and so however tempting it maybe to have mum and dad follow you with food in their motorhome, or calling by friends houses for food and bed, DON’T DO IT! Acquiring any food, drink or shelter must be universally accessible to all.