Welcome to the PPA funride information section, and a special welcome if you are new to cycling and/or the PedalPower Association 😉 We hope the following will help you to really enjoy your event:
PPA oversees a full annual calendar, with over 60 road and mountain bike events. When you enter a PPA-approved event, you know that the event conforms to certain minimum safety and organizational standards!
Please be aware that events sometimes do get cancelled, while routes may on occasion change due to, for example, road works in the week before an event.
1) Before you leave home
Check that you have everything you need: Your bicycle (remember to pack both wheels!), a puncture repair kit, your helmet (no helmet, no ride), your timing chip/transponder, your PPA seeded funride number, securely pinned to the back of your cycling jersey, your water bottle (we recommend that you take two bottles with you – one filled with plain water and the other with your energy drink of choice), an energy bar or gel sachet (or two, depending on the length of the ride), and some clean clothes to wear afterwards.
Although security is provided at most events, we recommend that you do not leave any valuables (including your wallet) in the car.
2) Entries and entry fees
You can enter PPA funrides either by Pre- (online), or Late (on the day) Entries.
Note that the online entry fee is generally the cheapest way of entering an event. Online entries usually close at noon on the Thursday before an event, although some events have an earlier cut-off date. These will usually be indicated as such.
Some events do not accept entries on the day – make sure you do not miss the event cut-off.
3) Entering an event
You need to enter or complete your entry at the Registration tables at the funrides, for the route/distance you wish to ride. If you entered the event online, there will be a special table where your name will be marked off .
You’ll then receive an event sticker as confirmation of payment, even for online entries. These stickers change from event to event. Please place this sticker in the relevant block on your funride number as proof of payment/entry.
* * * Please make sure that you do receive your event sticker at registration, as the start line marshals will ask you to go back to the registration tables if you do not have it with you, and you could then miss the start.
4) Check/collect your funride number
Before heading off to the start chutes, make sure that you have your PPA funride number securely pinned to your cycling jersey (do this at home; not all events have spare pins at the registration tables!) When you join PPA, you’ll receive a PPA funride number valid to end-June when the membership year ends. You can collect your funride number from the PPA Office, or from the first PPA event that you participate in. If at all possible, collect your funride number during the week from the PPA Office so that there’s one less queue for you to stand in on the morning of the event.
If you forget your seeded number at home, you need to get another number at the registration tables before you leave for the start chutes.
This can either be a temp unseeded number (R5) or a temp seeded number (R30, provided that a seeded number has already been allocated to you and has been saved on the database).
If you join PPA as a new member and there are no results linked to your name, you’ll receive a Z seeded number. Please see below for more information on seeding and seeded groups.
5) Going to the start chutes
Once you’ve entered the event and received your event sticker, please make your way to your designated start group (as per your PPA seeded number which you must pin securely to your back, without folding the number in any way), which will be indicated by the alphabetical start category boards. These boards will be placed in alphabetical order with “A” being nearest the start line.
The first group will leave at the time advertised for the ride and the rest of the field will follow at staggered 2-5 minute intervals. You have to line up with your seeded group, or you may line up with a “lower“ seeded group.
While you may start with a “lower” group, you will be disqualified if you start with a faster group. For example, if you have a “V” seeding, then you can ride with a friend in “X”, but not with a friend in “S”. Our PPA marshals will be on hand to assist with this process – please do ask them should you have a query in this regard.
6) Go over the timing mats
Transponders are electronic timing devices used to record your funride results, which are then displayed on the PPA web site. You will need to purchase one from PPA if you wish to receive an official finish time for a PPA event. Only the results of paid-up members wearing a transponder will be recorded on our web site, as timed results is a direct benefit of PPA membership. To this effect, PPA subsidises the electronic timing system annually. If you forget your transponder at home, you can purchase another one from the Racetec staff at the start line – you can own several transponders, but cannot give one of your transponders to a friend to use as they are linked only to your profile.
Please fasten your transponder as per the instructions when you receive it and make sure that you ride over both the start and finish mats. If you do not hear your transponder ‘beep’ as you cross the timing mats, please speak to the crew at the mats and/or cross the timing mat a second time.
No transponder – no time!
7 Receiving water at water points
For safety reasons, cyclists must STOP and get off their bikes at water points, should they wish to get a drink or refill a water bottle. Cyclists can be disqualified for receiving water ‘on the go’, as in the past this practise has caused terrible falls when a cyclist reaches out for some water, wobbles and either falls or causes another rider to fall.
In road rides, there is generally a water table every 30km, but we recommend that you always carry two water bottles with you and fill up as you pass a water point so that you always have enough water with you. At MTB events, there is generally a water point every hour based on an average of 15 km/h.
Most water points offer only water, although the bigger events also offer Coke. Take some energy gel or an energy bar with you and refuel when you stop at the water point – please dispose of your used energy gel sachet or wrapper at the water point rubbish bin, or take it back to the venue. Please do not litter.
8) During the ride: Funride rules and general behaviour
Certain funride rules have been compiled to assist in keeping cyclists safe on the road, while others govern general behaviour on the day. In particular, you may not cross the middle (median) of the road (the centre white line), you may not ride with an ipod or cell phone earpiece (we have seen cyclists nearly get hit by cars or bunches coming from behind because they did not hear them over the music), you may not ‘draft’ or receive any assistance from vehicles, you may not litter, and any children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Cyclists will also be disqualified for contravening municipal bylaws like urinating at the start chutes – please visit the toilets closer to registration on your way to the start line.
Please note that you can be disqualified without a prior warning, should you be reported by a marshal for transgressing any of the funride rules. Read more in the PPA Funride rules section of the site.
9) When you finish
You need to cross the timing mats again at the finish in order for your time to be recorded. If you did not complete the full route for whatever reason, then please do NOT CROSS the timing mats, or you could be disqualified for more than one event. Then proceed to the Coke and medal tables, and enjoy ‘re-riding’ the event with your friends!
All PPA members who live in and around the Western Cape will receive a seeded number to wear at PPA events when they join/renew. If you do not live in this region, but intend to participate in Cape-based PPA events; simply request a number to be sent to you.
As a new member, if you have not yet completed the Cycle Tour or a Cycle Tour seeding series event in the last year, then you will automatically receive an open seeded number (Z-category).
Please note that NOT ALL EVENTS are used for seeding. For instance, “listed MTB events” are mostly not used; while the medium and short routes of funrides often do not conform to all the required checks and balances to be used for seeding. You’ll find more info in the “SEEDING” section on our website.
You can check out your seeding on the PPA web site at any time – just follow the prompts from the “SEEDING” link and contact the PPA office when you see that you qualify for a new number. Please note that you will be required to return your existing number in order to get a new one, and that there is an admin cost associated to reseeding.
Please do not fold, cut or modify your seeded number in any way, but simply pin it securely onto the back of your cycling jersey.
FORGOTTEN SEEDED NUMBERS
Forgotten your seeded number at home? If you do not have a seeded number or if you have left yours at home, then you will need to pay R5.00 for a temporary number. However, please note you will not be allowed to start in your usual seeded start group, but you will have to start in the temporary category at the back of the field. Some temp seeded numbers are available at events, at an additional cost of R30.
WATER POINTS AND ENERGY DRINKS
On average, there will be a water point every 25 -30 km on a road event, or every hour on a MTB event. We recommend that you ride with at least one big (750 ml) water bottle, which should last you for just over an hour, although it would be preferable to ride with two full water bottles; or one bottle and a “Camelbak”. Fill one water bottle with an energy drink with a 10% carbohydrate solution (no more, or it could cause stomach cramps), and one with plain water or more energy drink.
Do not experiment with new energy drinks on race day; try the different solutions out during training as some drinks may not agree with your stomach. If you run out of energy drink solution on the morning of an event and do not want to ride with plain water, try a solution of half fruit juice (eg Apple or Grape) and half water. This will also give you a roughly 10% carbohydrate solution.
It is often recommended that an event where the total duration is less than two hours, can be done on plain water. For an event longer than two hours, it is recommended that some form of energy supplement is taken – either as part of your drink or through taking an energy gel.
If you are running low on water and/or it is a hot day, rather stop at a water point and refill your water bottle to make sure you have enough to drink right up to the finish line.
After the finish, keep on drinking water until your urine runs clear.
ENERGY BARS & GELS
Check how long it takes for your chosen energy supplement to be absorbed – it does not make sense that you start eating energy bars during the latter part of your race, but the absorption rate is longer than the remainder of the event. Then rather go for a quick-acting gel. On average, bananas and fruit take a while to digest.
What should you wear at a funride? The padded cycling shorts will do wonders to protect your bum – these are designed to be worn without underpants. A tight-fitting cycling top is far more aerodynamic than a flapping t-shirt, and if you can get hold of a cycling top made from a fabric that will wick moisture away from your body, you’ll find that much cooler than a cotton shirt. Top cyclists usually wear two tops – an undershirt (made from cycling fabric) as well as an outer shirt. In the unhappy instance of a fall, the two shirt rub over each other and provide your skin with a little more protection from the tar.
Take your arm warmers with you as a matter of principle – you may even want to wear them to protect you from the sun. If the weather looks dicey, than a rain/wind jacket can be rolled up in your back pocket – rather be safe than cold!
Make sure that you have a pair of comfortable gloves to help protect your hands from road shock, and in the case of a fall.
EMERGENCY NUMBER AT EVENTS
The PPA event co-ordinator always carries the following cell phone: 083 414 1442. In case of any emergency en route, please phone this number (save it in your cell phone!). If the number is busy, please try again.
If the funride takes place in the City of Cape Town Metropole, than the City can also be contacted in case of an emergency: From a cell phone, call 021 480 7700.
Please note that the official event sweep vehicles will carry the appropriate PPA signage, and will mostly be open bakkies or bakkies with trailers. If you are in doubt as to whether a sweep vehicle is part of the funride, please phone the PPA emergency phone on 083 414 1442 to check.
START AND CUT-OFF TIMES
Please note that the starting times indicated on the calendar are a guide only, and that a start may at times be delayed for safety reasons. The cut-off time for a road event is calculated at 20 km/h from the estimated starting time of the last group to leave in the long route, while the cut-off time for MTB events are calculated based on the degree of difficulty of the route. If you are uncertain as to whether you’ll complete the long route within the cut-off time, we recommend that you participate in the medium route instead.
VISITING RIDERS (NON-MEMBERS)
Seeding and seeded starts are a benefit and privilege of PPA membership, which means that non-members start behind the PPA members. However, visitors are welcome to join the Association on a short-term basis, and receive a seeded number to use in one or two events. Please contact the PPA office no later than the Thursday preceding an event for which you would like short-term seeding (this cannot be organised only on the morning of the event!). Cyclists who have never before been a member of the Association, can enquire about free membership for the remainder of the first year in which they join.
VISITING RIDERS: LEAGUES/RACING
Please note that there are various requirements in order to enter the PPA leagues, including seeding and licensing criteria. Please note that special league numbers are required to ride in the racing group.