The Friendly 40

The Friendly 40

Welcome to all of our ‘Friendly 40’ cyclists. Introduced in 2014, this circular ride on safe, quiet rural roads is shorter and flatter compared to our other more challenging routes and really perfect for those new to cycling and cycling events. 

 We really wanted to encourage cyclists of all abilities to take part in The Great Shakespeare Ride and have the confidence to enjoy a brilliant sporting event regardless of the experience they might have. We would love everyone to enjoy that sense of achievement that comes with crossing the finish line… brilliant!

Starting at the fantastic ride headquarters THE WALTON HALL HOTEL & SPA we will be escorting the peloton along the first couple of miles replicating the GRAND DEPART of the most brilliant Tour de France. We will ensure you will have masses of support along the whole route, with experienced back riders, a roving mechanic, and well informed marshals at every major junction and a great feed station / water station at exactly half way. The only thing we can’t ensure is the weather… but we’ll have a word!

You will have a great day out on your bike, but don’t take our word for it, why not scroll down and read Amandine’s personal account of her very first cycling event experience last year.

In addition to the facilities as noted on the home page, on the day of the event you will be supported by:

  • Your own starting point, so you can enjoy the excitement of our mass ‘Tour de France’ style start but in a more protected environment
  • A roving mechanic to help with any punctures or problems should they occur en-route
  • Experienced ‘out-riders’ on hand for support and to help encourage you along the way
  • Well informed marshals at every major junction
  • A roving marshal, continually travelling the whole route until every single cyclist is finished



By Amandine Rich – a 2014 ‘Friendly 40’ cyclist

40 Miler - Amandine

“I have always loved keeping fit, staying active and taking on new challenges. I used to swim competitively and have taken part in numerous running events but cycling has only recently become a new interest of mine. Last summer I decided to take up cycling so a friend and I entered our first organised cycling event – the 40 mile Great Shakespeare Ride. With only a few months to train, most evenings after work were spent out on our bikes clocking up the miles in preparation for our challenge.

The morning of the GSR, we were both a little nervous as it was our first organised ride and although the weather was a little miserable, this had no effect on the mood of the staff and volunteers who remained full of high spirits and showed lots of encouragement and motivation.

The route itself was ideal being our first organised ride, a beautiful route on safe quiet roads and no major hills to tackle. The scrumptious feed station was perfectly placed at the half way point, giving us something to aim for. We were really well looked after with enthusiastic well informed marshals at every major junction and there were even four experienced cyclists riding at the rear to help with those pesky punctures and encourage those who were struggling.

Even at the finish line there were lots of people cheering you on to the end. I have since taken part in another organised cycle event and my experience was nothing compared to that of the GSR. This event was very well organised.

My friend and I enjoyed the GSR so much we have decided to sign up this year for the 100 mile ride. We’d better start training now”