CYCLING: 100-mile bike race adds up for Martin

Martin MacGregor
Martin MacGregor

A Donington maths teacher is aiming to inspire his students to be a part of the Olympic legacy as he prepares for Britain’s biggest cycling race for a generation.

Martin MacGregor, assistant headteacher at Thomas Cowley High School, in School Lane, could not fail to be carried away with Olympics fever last summer.

A regular cyclist and fan of the sport, he sat in a bus stop to see Brits Lizzie Armitstead, Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome zip past on the roads of London at the Games as well as watching Sir Chris Hoy claim his fifth gold medal in the velodrome.

Keen to be a role model to his pupils, the 38-year-old applied to take part in this summer’s Prudential RideLondon, and will be among 20,000 amateur riders tackling a 100-mile route that finishes on The Mall.

The ride starts from the new Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and is just one of a series of events taking place in the capital on the weekend of August 3 and 4, with an eight-mile FreeCycle around the city’s iconic landmarks as well as a Grand Prix for aspiring young cyclists and the London-Surrey Classic featuring some of the world’s best riders.

Despite only receiving his spot in the race four weeks ago, Martin hopes his preparations and race can help be the springboard for others.

“We normally take part in the national ‘ride your bike to work week’ where we look to encourage more children to ride their bikes,” he said. “But we couldn’t do it this year unfortunately because we were having building work.

“My aim is to try and take a video camera around on my handlebars.

“I want to share it with the children and talk about it when I have to do my school assembly in early September.

“It’s about reminding them that the Olympics were not that long ago.

“I went down to the Olympics and found the whole thing so exciting, I was buzzing for weeks afterwards.

“We are talking about the Olympic legacy and this is one of those events that will hopefully go on for the next few years. It’s about showing some of that spirit. We are in quite a rural area and it’s really difficult for people to do things.

“It’s a nice opportunity and a chance to keep that Olympic spirit going and hopefully encourage people to do things, like get on their bike.”

Organisers are aiming to make the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 the largest charity fundraising cycle event in the world, with the route taking place on closed roads through the capital and into Surrey’s stunning countryside.

Closely following the route of the Olympic road race, the course will feature leg-testing climbs made famous by some of the world’s best cyclists – who will take to the road later that day on August 4.

And having taken part in the London Marathon ten years ago, Martin was looking forward to taking on cycling’s equivalent.

“It’s different to London as it takes a longer time,” said Martin, father to nine-year-old Spike. “But I’m hoping there is still that sense of carnival.

“I’m still hoping that it will be hard. I’m more concerned about the distance. Those last 20 miles, the legs are tired.

“But just getting back out on the roads and seeing London with no cars around will be great.”

Prudential RideLondon takes place on 3 and 4 August. If you’re inspired to ride, visit and sign yourself up.