Cycle-touring at the Olympics

There’s a lot of cycling at the Olympics. On the road, on the track, BMX and mountainbiking too. But there is one aspect of cycling that is quite neglected by the UCI and the IOC: cycle-touring.

I propose for the 2016 Rio Olympics a new cycle-touring discipline. It will take the form of an Omnium, with the following eight events:

– Riding a bicycle with fully-laden rear panniers up an exceptionally steep hill, without getting out of the saddle and without lifting the front wheel off the ground. Any gearing permitted.

– Fording a stream, climbing a stile and safely crossing a field occupied by a bull.

– Removing an Ordnance Survey map from a handlebar bag-mounted map case, unfolding it, refolding it and returning to the case, while riding downhill at speed with a cross-wind.

– Effecting a surprise roadside bicycle repair task, with insufficient tools.

РConsuming a four course lunch including an Ile Flottante and half a bottle of ros̩ and then cycling a further 100 kilometres before nightfall.

– Putting up a tent in the dark without a torch.

– Cooking a tasty three course camp supper using the following ingredients: ramen noodles, a tin of sardines, a sachet of Cup-a-Soup, an egg, a malt loaf, Kendal mint cake and anything foraged from the roadside.

– The final, tie-breaker event is a roadside encounter with another competitor in which each must deploy false modesty to establish superiority in terms of distance travelled, physical prowess and choice of equipment.

To ensure faithfulness to the Corinthian ideals of the Olympics and old-fashioned fair play, the IOC will enforce a strict prohibition on the use of lycra and any other performance-enhancing clothing.

Will you add your voice to the campaign to have cycle-touring at the Olympics? What other events would you add to the cycle-touring Omnium?

12 thoughts on “Cycle-touring at the Olympics

  1. I would add buying a list of products from the local market in a language not familiar with and with a maximum budget which would be insufficient for normal tourists so that downplaying the price is obligatory. Of course this can be combined with the three-course-camp-supper-event.

    Another event which can’t be absent is navigating over terrain with a map that clearly displays an unpaved track that clearly isn’t available in the desert wadis in between some hills.

  2. Bonus points available for number of verified detours off the planned route to tea shops / local odd attractions while still making it to the campsite / B&B before the gates are securely locked for the night.

  3. There might have to be different weight categories, from super-lightweight (a single pannier, only a bivi-bag to sleep in and holes drilled in toothbrushes, etc.) through to fully laden (bulging panniers both front and back, bar bag and a tower of stuff on the back rack – huge tent, sleeping mat, leg of ham etc.).

  4. I wonder if the CTC still do competitions at their York Cycle Show (formerly The York rally).
    I remember when we went there in the mid 1990s, they had prizes for people who had ridden the furthest to get there, a sort of beauty contest (The Bicycle Belle), and a prize for ‘best turned-out family’.

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