As part of our sponsorship of Cure Leukaemia’s London 2 Paris: Inspiring the Revolution ride, we sat down with Dan Solley, who is in charge of the support team for the event.
Dan has been producing major events for over 15 years. His knowledge and experience ranges from organising public art exhibitions and gala dinners to producing large arena shows and, of course, big sporting events. Over the past nine years however, he has specialised in cycling, developing and staging Europe-wide cycling events that offer amateurs the professional team experience.
For an event of this magnitude, Dan’s expertise is very much needed and the the support team is crucial to ensuring the riders are kept safe, refueled and out of trouble. To find out exactly how important the support team is to such an event, we quizzed Dan on all things relating to the ride.
How many people is the support team made up of?
Approximately 70 people, this includes mechanics, physios, motorcycle outriders and the Cure Leukaemia crew.
What are the specialities of the support team?
The support team consists of general helpers through to those with specialist skills such as mechanics, sports physiotherapists, a paramedic, ride captains (pro cyclists) motorcycle outriders and those authorised to control traffic and close junctions.
What kit will you be carrying?
Everything the cyclists could possibly need! This means all of the spares they will need for their bikes, loads of Soreen Malt Loaves, loads of Torq Energy Powders and 4200 Mr Kipling cakes!
How will you be ensuring that the cyclists are constantly being refuelled for the ride?
Well we are sure the malt loaves, energy powders and cakes will help! However, when they are not making their way through these, they will be being refuelled in the form of lunch provided by Pret a Manger in Bromley on day 1 and lunches provided by various local suppliers throughout France for the rest of the days.
What measures will you be putting in place to ensure the safety of the cyclists?
When we are in the UK, we will have the services of the National Escort Group. To say they are experienced in cycling events would be an understatement! These are the guys that control the traffic for the likes of the Tour of Britain, the Tour de France (when stages are held in the UK) and Ride 100.
Once across the channel and over in France, we will have rolling road closures and the assistance of the motorcycle outriders who will be providing security for the riders.
What do you think the major differences will be for cyclists as they ride on the road in France?
The French adore cycling, so riders will definitely notice that drivers’ attitudes towards cyclists change as they begin cycling in France!
What rides have you previously been part of the support team for?
I have been running these events for almost 10 years and during this time I have organised rides for charities such as The Royal British Legion and Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.
What is your one piece of advice for cyclists ahead of the ride?
Just enjoy it, don’t worry, we’ll make sure you have the experience of a lifetime.