Passion in Events 'pie'

Passion in Events

Passion in Events ('pie' for short) is an event management company that specialises in researching and delivering high quality bespoke cycle events throughout the UK and Europe. Pie will be working with Hertford College's Development Office to deliver an amazing three day, iconic coast to coast, cycling challenge from Morecambe to Robin Hood Bay.

Farzana Aslam (1991), Bridge to Bridge Oxford to Venice:

I took on the Oxford to Venice bike ride in the Summer of 2014 expecting it to be one of the biggest, physical challenges of my life. And, it was! But what I hadn't expected was how inspiring, motivating and supportive the guides from PIE would be. The Semnoz climb on day 8 was an added extra for the pros but the tour leaders and guides encouraged everyone to do it and with their help, we all made it to the top - some of us in better time than others, but all in good time! I never dreamed I would, and frankly, without their moral (and at times physical!) support, it would have defeated me.

Throughout the 11 day adventure the PIE guides went above and beyond; they worked tirelessly into the night working on the next day’s route, checking everyone’s bike was okay, and endlessly cheering us on en route and at rest stops. If you remain concerned whether you can physically or mentally do the Tour de Hertford bike ride, just give it a go and try – you will be in expert hands, and you won’t regret it!


Training ideas from pie

Congratulations if you are taking up this cycle challenge.

Whatever your reasons for taking up the challenge, one thing is for certain the more you put into it the more you will get back. This is true as much for the training you do in preparation, as it is for the fundraising.

The more effort you put in now the easier it will be on the day. By its very nature this is a challenge and is not meant to be easy, but it is achievable if you do the preparation. That means training!

1. How often should I be training?
To get the most out of the bike ride ideally you should be training on average three times per week. It is important however, to gradually build up to this level if you are not used to regular exercise.

Listen to your body and do not do too much too soon, this can lead to injuries and illnesses. If you are in any doubt consult your doctor or a personal trainer.

2. Where can I train?
The event will be on road or cycle paths, and you will be cycling in a group. We try to choose quiet roads where possible, but in some cases we have no option other than to cycle on larger roads. As such the best training for the event is to cycle outside on the road and become used to your bike and cycling with cars and other cyclists, sometimes this is not always possible due to time and weather constraints.

Mountain biking is another way to get fit for completing the event. Mountain biking will help build strength and enhance your cycling skills; it is also a fun alternative and will take you away from the noise and congestion of the British roads.

Practising on a bike outside will also get you used to using your gears. If you are not familiar with bike gears, practise going up and down them to see how they affect the effort of cycling on the flat as well as up and down the hills. Most bikes have front and rear gears; they are there for a reason so make the most of them.

If you have access to a spinning class at a gym this is a great substitute. Spinning takes place on a stationary bike with an instructor giving instructions to simulate hill climbs, sprints and fast flats.

Any other aerobic exercise (exercise that can be performed at a moderate level of intensity for extended periods of time) will help you with your fitness for the event. This can include running, swimming, cross-training, roller-blading, skiing, skipping, rowing, aerobics etc.

Strength training in the gym can be used to compliment your other training and build strength in your legs for cycling. If this is something you wish to pursue, ask at your local gym.

3. Distance
Depending on the challenge you have signed up for you will be cycling between 70-100 miles per day, although you don’t have to be cycling consistently long distances every day in your training it would be advisable to complete at least one 70 mile ride before the event and complete 2 long rides on consecutive days.

To get an idea of how far you will be cycling, measure how far it is to your local shops. Now try cycling that distance and see how long it takes. Compare the time it took you to cycle when converted to a 100 mile journey, because this is how long our longest day is.

E.g. Your local shop is 2 miles away and it takes you 15 minutes to cycle there.

100 miles / 2 miles = 50
50 x 15min = 750min = 12 hr 30min of cycling to cover 100miles

That is if you can keep cycling at the same speed all day and does not take into account any stopping for food or water along the way. Needless to say that this is a long time and you need to do some training to be able to go quicker for the challenge.

Another way to get an idea of quite how far you are cycling is to make a note of the distance you drive on a long journey and imagine how long it would take cycling 6 times slower.

To help you judge distances while riding, a simple bike computer is a valuable tool. Wireless versions are easier to fit and use as they have no cables to worry about, these can be bought at any bike shop. In order to complete the distance, you should be looking to cycle at an average speed of 12mph / 19Kph.

4. Nutrition
On the event we will stop for a morning and afternoon tea break and a lunch break to enable you to remain well hydrated and keep up your energy supplies. It is a good idea while training to plan your long rides so that they go past shops or tea rooms, it is also worthwhile carrying food and drink with you.

An example of good food to take with you on your bike rides would include: Cereal bars, dried fruit, chocolate (if it is not too hot), energy bars/gels (although these can end up being expensive if you eat them on every ride), jelly babies. In your water bottle, water is fine however an energy drink or even a squash may encourage you to drink more.

On the event we will require you to carry 2 water bottles. We recommend that you use at least 750ml bottles (although we do appreciate that not all bikes are big enough to fit this size bottle). It is a good idea to train with 2 bottles and get used to drinking while you cycle. If you find it hard to drink while cycling, you can use a re-hydration pack (such as a CamelBak).

Hydration is Very Important. While you train you will lose fluids, even when it is cold outside, this will eventually lead to a drop in performance and can lead to heat exhaustion. Water on its own is important, however to aid its absorption, especially when the temperature gets very hot it is advisable to use an isotonic formulae. (These can be found as powder to mix with water, or ready made drinks and are available in specialist bike and running shops as well as some large supermarkets). During high intensity prolonged training your body can require up to 10 litres of water per day.

Remember. Although this is a challenge, it is also meant to be fun so enjoy yourself!


More useful advice for training and nutrition:




Meet the pie team 

Paul Rayfield

Paul Rayfield - Event Manager

After many years in advertising and management consulting I decided to get a proper job and now spend my time planning routes and delivering events.

2015 will see another great selection of new routes including: crossing The Algarve [from Sagres to the Spanish border]; crossing the UK with a small deviation for the Cote de Buttertubs; London to Barcelona and a brilliant Col to Cannes Challenge which includes both Mont Ventoux and the Gorges du Verdon.

There is nothing more rewarding than people completing a ride you have put together and being both challenged and elated by it. Equally, there is nothing more worrying than hoping it all goes to plan.

Actually the thing I love about 'pie' is that both the people you work with and the participants who come on our challenges all want the same thing. They want to achieve their goal for themselves and for others. It is an incredibly positive atmosphere to work in, and I love it.

Anyway - hope to see you on an event soon. I'm the one with the tea and the pork pies!


James Tansley

James Tansley - Tour Leader

James first came into the pie fold as a rep in Spain working in adventure-sports holidays. Since then he went on to work in France, Austria and Corsica delivering multisport holidays to people looking for thrills and action. Consequently he was also part of the delivery and planning of the first charity events-a mountain bike ride around the Portes du Soleil in France as well as the first London to Paris in 2004. Since then, the events have given him the opportunity to meet some amazing people, and help in their efforts to raise donations for their chosen charities. A bonus has been riding in some fantastic locations around Europe. James works as a guide and a tour leader on our events so can be found serving cups of tea at refreshment stops, leading groups through the Alps or planning new routes.

Having grown up in France, James moved back to the Alps in 2003, and now lives at the base of the Col de La Ramaz, his favourite local ride.

James is qualified in France as an Emergency First Responder and works in the winter with Avoriaz Ski Patrol; providing first aid and rescue on the ski slopes. 



Marc Platteuw

Marc Platteuw - Tour Leader

Since 1995 Marc has been running his own business in direct marketing. In his spare time Marc likes to go walking/ trekking and occasionally even running. He has successfully taken on the challenge of climbing Kilimanjaro and has a personal best for walking 100km non stop in 26 hours.

His other hobbies include diving with sharks and Sudoku puzzles.

Tea drinker and enthusiastic singer you will find Marc spurring you on at each refreshment stop along the way. 




Willi Moore - Guide

Having ridden a bike for over 50 years, I'm not the youngest or fastest guide around, but a racing pedigree makes up for some of that lost ground! Just a few years ago, I won medals in the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and World Championships, riding for GB in the 4,000m team pursuit event. My racing career took me all over the world, before taking up coaching, when I became National Coach in both New Zealand and Great Britain (although not at the same time), followed by a Sports Science degree in Liverpool.

A proper job then got in the way for 26 years - hey, we all have to put food on the table - working for GlaxoSmithKline in the UK and the Gulf, although it never stopped me riding my bike. Meeting new people - both clients and guides - and riding the bike is the perfect combination.

Other interests are climbing/ scrambling, running and my 7 year old gorgeous daughter.


Martin beck

Martin Beck - Guide

Martin took cycling up as a hobby whilst he was in the Royal Navy, in 1996 he left to pursue a job in the cycle industry. He worked in all areas & ended up travelling the world doing so, however missing home meant that in 2003 Martin moved back to St Ives in Cornwall.

On his return home, Martin had a chance-meeting with a Sports Co-Ordinator from a local authority; he managed to show his passion for cycling which secured him some funding to become a British Cycling 'Trail Cycle leader' & a 'Bike-Ability' instructor under CTC. He currently looks after over 45 schools delivering cycle training within Cornwall.

In 2009 Martin worked on his first ever cycle challenge, a London to Paris - Folding Bike Challenge as a general hand. By the first morning tea stop he was asked to get out on a Brompton, by the time he had ridden the group into Paris & the Eiffel, he was 'hooked'!! Since then he has worked on a wide variety of events for different activity providers, including being a Cycle Guide & Tour Leader for pie.

In 2011 Martin completed the first ever 'Leading Assisted Mountain Bike' Award Scheme (L.A.M.B) and gained a qualification as a Level 5 coach, with this qualification Martin has been keen to encourage both adults and children with various disabilities to get out and give cycling a go.


Rebecca Malcolm

Rebecca Malcolm - Guide

Rebecca has had a keen interest in sport and exercise since a young age and rowed, ran and played netball for her school, college and university. Some of her highlights included competing alongside Mo Farah in cross country at county level and achieving a top 25 GB ranking for 1500m.

It wasn't really until after graduating Oxford University that she became a more serious cyclist; completing numerous sportives, 5 London to Paris' and an amateur stage of the Tour de France. However, as her body aged, so did the need to work harder to maintain good mobility and avoid injuries, which is how her love affair with Pilates started and is now a full time Pilates Instructor and Personal Trainer.

Rebecca originally came across pie as a client, when she worked as a Fundraising and Events manager for a global sports foundation. She's therefore not unaware of the challenges involved in trying to train whilst having a regular office job.

Keen for a new challenge, she started competing in triathlons in 2011. While the bike and the run were familiar territory, the idea of a 750m open water swim was terrifying and her front crawl required many hours in the pool re-working her technique. She is therefore altogether aware of the emotional, as well as physical, demands that new sporting challenges can face and has worked with a wide range of clients: from keen, high level, amateur athletes to women of retirement age, who have not worked out since the birth of their 4th child – 30 years ago! This is why Bex can often be found guiding the more 'sedate' groups and is more than happy to take her time taking in the gorgeous surroundings that pie rides take her through.


Barrie Clark

Barrie Clark - Guide

Barrie has been a professional cyclist for 15 years, racing at the highest level and travelling the world with mountain biking, road racing and cyclo-cross. He raced with many of the mountain bikers that have become Tour de France stars including Evans and Hesjedal.

He won 5 Elite National titles in the 90s at cross-country mountain biking and cyclo-cross, not to mention numerous national series titles, the 'King of the mountains' in the Milk Race and Manchester Commonwealth Games.

These days Barrie does challenge events that takes his fancy. A regular at the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Cyclo-Cross. In 2011 he did the Keswick to Barrow (40 mile) run and the Fred Whitton Challenge on the same weekend. Barrie has been guiding for pie since 2001 on both corporate and charity events. Amongst this are; Lands End to John O'Groats; mountain bike C2C; London to Paris; Wembley to Berlin; London to Cologue; JOGLE relays events as well as tours in Italy, France and Spain.


Sue Clarke

Sue Clarke - Guide

Racing cross country and representing Great Britain since 1994, when she rode as a Junior in the World Mountain Bike Championships, Sue Clarke has been a British Champion, competed in the Commonwealth Games and is now making a return to top level racing with help from husband and XC racing legend, Barrie Clarke. 





Steve Davis

Steve Davis - Medic

For the past 13 years Steve has worked with South Central Ambulance Service, currently he is a Rapid Response Paramedic and Emergency Care Practitioner. He was one of the original founding members of the Cycle Response Unit and a Lead Rider for approximately three years.

He has always had a keen interest in cycling, initially as a mountain biker, then adding a road bike to the collection and more recently entering the world of pain that is cyclocross. Basically he is always looking for an excuse to buy a new bike or bike bits!  He loves France and spends most summers there with an enthusiasm for the higher mountains of the Alps in particular. Outside of cycling he enjoys running, rock climbing and has taken part in a variety of multi-disciplined sporting events with my team “The Fuzzy Ducks”.

He has worked on a variety of events over the past couple of years, including London to Paris, Right to Ride with Michael Vaughn, Edinburgh to Sheffield Ride to the Tour, London Nocturne and the Revolution series amongst others. Primarily he works as a Medic but always keen to muck in to ensure that things run smoothly for the enjoyment of everyone, whether that means putting up signs or making tea he's always happy when there’s bike around!


 Fuelit and training advice from alum Jonathan Beckett

Jonathan (Chemistry, 2006) was a cycling guide for the Bridge to Bridge, Oxford to Venice bike ride, and is taking part in this year's event from Morecambe to Robin Hood Bay. He has recently founded Fuelit a company which offers nutritional advice for novice to professional athletes. 


"Hello, we're a start up focused on helping endurance sports participants discover the best sports nutrition products for them, as it's a very personal thing! We have Discovery Boxes (a kind of Graze box for sports nutrition); a carefully curated box of 10 bars and gels to help you try out some of the fantastic products out there. And we also have Custom Boxes, where you can pick and choose your favourites in any combination (no need to buy massive boxes to get a good bulk price!).

We also work with top sports scientists to educate people on what these products do, right through from how and when to eat, to what supplements can help you perform even better. The first of these guides will be out in a few weeks, and we're also building a specific nutrition guide for the Tour de Hertford, which will arrive with you a few weeks before the event.

If you've got any questions, feel free to drop me an email on jb [at] fuelit [dot] co [dot] uk