Frequently Asked Questions

From what time does it start to can I wear a fancy dress costume – all the most commonly asked questions are answered here. If you can’t find your answer please send us a message ASAP.

The Ride

HOW LONG IS THE RIDE?

The Fred Whitton Challenge consists of a 114 mile sportive around the Lake District, starting at Grasmere and taking in climbs of Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands, Whinlatter, Hardknott & Wrynose passes. See the ROUTE page for more details

HOW MANY METRES ARE CLIMBED?

The ride takes in an astonishing 3950m of climbing – that’s over a third of the climb to Everest!

WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM GRADIENT WE ENCOUNTER?

The maximum gradient is 30% at Hardknott Pass. The pass is described as one of the most challenging roads in Britain. A series of hairpin bends make visibility difficult in various places with challenging 1 in 3 gradients.

CAN MY FRIEND DRIVE ROUND AND GIVE ME DRINKS OR SUPPORT?

No following (or leading) cars or motor cycles are allowed. See Terms & Conditions page for more info

IS THERE A MAXIMUM TIME LIMIT I’D HAVE TO COMPLETE THE RIDE IN?

There’s a cut off time at Braithwaite at 12 noon and 3.30pm at Calder Bridge, but if you start early (you can start from 6am) you’ll have at least 12(?) hours to do the ride.

IF I CANNOT FINISH THE EVENT WILL I BE COLLECTED AND TAKEN BACK TO HQ?

We do have staff placed around the course but we cannot be in every place at once, we will do our best to help. Please refer to the riders notes, where it states: ‘it is the responsibility of the rider to organise themselves back to HQ’. This is part of the challenge, always have some money with you so you can book a taxi or find a place to have some food while help arrives.

WHAT IF I HAVE AN ACCIDENT ON THE ROUTE?

Even though we have lots of marshals stationed on the route we cannot be everywhere at once, in case of accident call 999. Be aware that most roads are rural and it may take time for emergency services to arrive.

Equipment & Kit

CAN I RIDE A MOUNTAIN BIKE?

we do allow mountain bikes but advise to use slicks. Tandems are also allowed.

We DO NOT ALLOW the following —
Small wheel bikes, Choppers, Fat bikes, Electric bikes, Fold up bikes, Fix Bikes.

DO ALL RIDERS HAVE TO WEAR A HELMET?

Yes, Helmets are compulsory and to be worn at all times, this will be strictly enforced.

CAN I USE TRI-BARS?

No, we consider them dangerous for this event, so tri-bars are not allowed on your bike. This rule will be strictly enforced.

WHAT KIND OF BIKE CAN I RIDE?

This is specifically a normal Road Bike event, we do allow Mountain Bikes but advise to use slicks. Tandems are also allowed.

We Do Not allow the following —
Small wheel bikes, Choppers, Fat bikes, Electric bikes, Fold up bikes, Fix Bikes.

ARE TANDEMS ALLOWED?

Yes

Facilities & Food

ARE THERE CAMPING FACILITIES ON THE SPORTS FIELD?

Sorry, there is no camping allowed on the showfield. Unfortunately, even though this is the Lake District there are no camp sites in Grasmere – but there are plenty withing a short distance. See our Accommodation page for details of some alternative sites.

ARE THERE TOILETS AT THE EVENT GROUND?

There are toilets on site, however there are no showers or changing rooms facilities.

HOW MANY FEEDING STATIONS ARE THERE?

There are two feeding stations on the route – at Buttermere YHA at 50 miles and Calder Bridge at 86.6 miles.

WHAT FOOD IS AVAILABLE AT THE FEEDING STATIONS?

All types of sandwiches, cakes, fruit & drinks

IS THERE AN AFTER-RIDE MEAL PROVIDED?

Yes, for all riders

ARE THERE CAFES AND RESTAURANTS NEARBY?

Yes, Grasmere village has plenty of both, all within walking distance of the event HQ.

IS THERE YOUTH HOSTEL ACCOMMODATION IN THE AREA?

Entry

HOW OLD DO I HAVE TO BE TO ENTER?

The minimum age requirement for entry is sixteen years old

DO WE / I HAVE TO BE IN A CYCLING CLUB TO ENTER?

No, Cycling Club membership isn’t a pre-requisite for entry.

CAN WE RIDE AS A TEAM?

Yes, up to 4 riders can enter on one entry form

CAN I ENTER ON THE WEEKEND OF THE EVENT?

No, you must enter in advance. Entry normally happens in December & January – for details see our website in the December before the event. Some cancellation places are usually available later, typically in April, but these are first offered to people who didn’t get a place in the event and asked to be put on our reserve list.

IF I HAVE TO CANCEL WILL I GET MY ENTRY FEE BACK?

If your entry is successful and you later cancel, then after a small administration cost all of the rest of your fees will go to the event charities. However if you can’t ride the event and let us know and cancel your place in time for us to find a replacement rider (who pay their own entry fee), then we will save you a place in next year’s event (entry fee payable again next year if you take up that place). Note that we might not have time to do a replacement unless you cancel at least three weeks before the event.
See our event terms & conditions for more information.

IF I RAISE MORE THAN £500 DO I RECEIVE A FREE ENTRY THE FOLLOWING YEAR?

Only if the money raised is for one of our own special charities.

DO I NEED A RIDER PHOTO ID?

Yes all riders must produce Photo ID at registration

Organisation

WHO ORGANISES THE FRED WHITTON SADDLEBACK CHALLENGE?

The Fred Whitton Challenge Steering Group runs the event in partnership with the Lakes Road Club. The event was started by the Lakes Road Club, a racing club in South Lakes, with the help of many Cumbria clubs, riders and volunteers.

WHAT HAPPENS TO THE CONTACT DETAILS I PROVIDE

The Fred Whitton Challenge treats any data received with the utmost care in line with GDPR guidelines. Please look at our PRIVACY POLICY for more information.

Want to get involved?

It takes over 350 registered volunteers to keep the Fred Whitton Challenge going. If you’d like to help out at the event jobs for volunteers vary depending on location, time of day and skills. Please register your interest before the event. All volunteers are guaranteed a place on the following years' ride.

Or you can donate to any of our chosen charities. All donations are well received and go to helping fund these fantastic services in the community.