About the rides
The Dorset Coast is a 200km ride, organised under the rules of Audax UK – the UK’s long distance cycling association. 200km is the starting distance for long distance riding, and non-competitive audax events are organised all over the world at the standard distances of 200km, 300km, 400km, 600km, 1,000, and 1,200km. The blue riband, once-every-four-years event for the sport is Paris-Brest-Paris a 1,200km epic that is the longest continuously running cycle event in the world and has over 5,000 riders taking part! For the UK the peak is London-Edinburgh-London (LEL) which is 1,400km, and again is held once every 4 years.
The Dorset Coast is a Brevet des Randonneurs Mondiaux (BRM) event, validated in France which means that completing in 2018 will probably allow early entry to Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) 2019, and in 2019 it will be a PBP qualifying ride (to ride Paris Brest Paris you have to complete a series of 200, 300, 400, and 600km BRM events). The Dorset Coastlet is a 100km ‘Brevet Populaire’ also organised under the rules of Audax UK and is designed as an early season leg tester, and introduction to long distance cycling.
The Dorset Coast 200km is an historic and classic event, one of the original UK Paris-Brest-Paris qualifying rides, now in its 43rd year, the Dorset Coast Audax is the UK’s longest continuously running calendar audax event! The route has a bit of everything, and with over 2,800m of ascent it has a LOT of steep hills. It is considered by many long distance cyclists to be pretty much the perfect tough 200km course with perfectly placed controls / control towns, varied scenery, awesome views, challenging climbs, rewarding descents, and a lovely run in to the finish from the top of Eggardon Hill.
The ride is inexpensive to enter because the organisation, start, finish, and intermediate controls are all staffed by volunteers from CC Weymouth, Wessex CTC, West Dorset CTC and The Axminster Community Primary School Parents, Teachers, and Friends Association.
Included in the entry fee are:
- Your Audax UK Brevet card, and both AUK and BRM ride validation;
- Tea and coffee at the start and finish
- Your ferry ticket
- A hot drink voucher for the Criterion Café in Weymouth,
- Soup, roll, tea, and coffee at the finish (full bar menu and drinks also available);
- and (for the 200km riders) an amazing lunch put on by the Axminster Community Primary Academy Parents, Teachers and Friends Association (PTFA), and
- The Top of Town café in Dorchester also kindly stays open until 8pm so that all riders can buy tea, coffee, snacks and a choice of classic café menu items before the final run into Wareham.
The Dorset Coast was founded by Wessex CTC rider Keith Matthews – who still organises the validation by Audax UK of the ‘permanent route’ version of the Dorset coast – and there have been just 4 organisers of the calendar over the years:
- 1978 – 1999 Keith Matthews
- 2000 – 2006 Annemarie Manley
- 2007 – 2017 Peter Loakes
- 2018 – Present Andrew Preston
In the early days of Audax in the UK the Dorset Coast was one of the first Paris Brest Paris qualifying rides, and in the days before there were lots of events used to attract large numbers of riders from all over the country. The field is a similar size today, but with more local riders, although still quite a few travel down from other parts to enjoy this classic event.
New Organiser and new website. The start finish control moved to the super helpful Allstars bar above the Sports Centre at Wareham school where we have parked for some years, a Sunday of relatively fine weather sandwiched between weekends with heavy snow (before) and heavy rain (after). Route diversion on the Axminster leg of the 200k took us passed a riders house, and an impromptu Paris Brest Paris style Jaffa cake and tea stop!
2018 was the biggest field for many years – for for the 200km event there was 137 starters, of whom 118 finished / handed in their Brevet card at the end (14 entered on the day). The 100km Coastlet had 187 entries (including 44 on the day), and 140 finishers.
1981 – The Snow Year
For the fourth event, a group of French cyclists Keith knew had decided to come over on the ferry to Dorset and ride in the event. A good group duly arrived and enjoyed a catered lunch and a slide show given by Audax UK member Neville Chanin. When they awoke the next morning there was a thick covering of snow right across Dorset. The reputation of “The Coast” was made – no longer a soft southern ride it there were hills, and the possibility of extreme weather. The French party were mortified and turned at Weymouth for the ferry and home, but 69 riders of the main field completed despite the weather.
Dorset Coast 200km
Take part in the longest continuously running annual calendar Audax event in the UK: now in its 41st year The Dorset Coast is a classic and challenging 200km event.
The Coastlet 100km
The Dorset Coastlet 100km event is a great day out, with some impressive hills making it an ideal early season leg tester. Click below for details.