Bike Shed are pleased to announce entries for the 2015 ride on Sunday 7th June are live now.



We were so chuffed with the turnout and feedback from last year, there’s no way we couldn’t put the event on again. It was an amazing day with over 500 riders taking to the stunning N Devon roads. We can’t wait to welcome you guys back this year.

For 2015 we’ve added a new 40 mile distance for another option and for anyone who wants a step up from the 25 mile ride. They’ll be the same amazing food from last year and the booty climbs will be back – free beer up for grabs!

Don’t take our word for it, here’s what a few people told us about last year… 

” The Smuggler was as an enjoyable a ride as I can remember having. The route is simply glorious and the two stretches on the toll roads are absolutely magnificent. It’s a hard ride, no doubt about that but immensely stunning.  The two stops with hot tea were wonderful and the mechanical support was brilliant too. To complete the ride and get a free beer was the icing on the cake. A truly great day and hopefully you have established a classic event that can continue in the future. Don’t change the route! “ MARC MILLION.

” Thank you for a brilliant day yesterday! I did the 50 mile route and the hills on that were fun, but more than enough! I thought the organisation was brilliant, and some fantastic scenery that I haven’t seen before (even though I work in N Devon and live in Bude). This is only my 2nd sportive but definitely makes me feel brave enough to try a few more and even on my own next time!  The flapjack was lovely and very welcome, as was the porridge at the beginning! Thanks again, good job guys, looking forward to next year!! “ CLAIRE CARDOO.

” I just wanted to say again how much I enjoyed the whole experience and to thank you and the rest of the Smuggler Team for putting on such a great sportive which was quite clearly made possible through a lot of hard work and commitment. As you said, Barnstaple now has its own sportive; something that you should all feel very proud to have achieved.” JAMIE ADAMS, TAW VELO.

” Hi Guys, great event thank you, fantastic and really enjoyable route. The bell ringing Smuggler at the top of Lee Abbey hill kept me going with his encouragement and to grind them gears! Great.” NEIL MEDLAND.

Come and join us on Sunday 7th June.






Ahoy Smugglers!!!

I just wanted to say a humongous and slightly emotional thank you from me (Marcus) and The Bike Shed to everyone that rode and supported The Smuggler yesterday. You made it a truly memorable day and one I will never forget.

From 6am to finish the atmosphere was incredible and helped make the day feel so special, there was such a nice buzz and that was down to you. A massive high five to all riders, those routes were tough so you should all be very chuffed with yourselves – feet up time for a couple of days! I can’t believe how many people took on a conquered the savage Booty climbs either – Chapeau indeed!

It would not have been possible without the amazing help of all our amazing marshals, Tom’s catering team, Claremont Marquees, Boston Tea Party, FORCE Cancer Charity, North Devon Hospice, Barnstaple Mayor, James the Smuggler!, Craig Bulley & Sue Rawle from Barnstaple Town Management, Petra and Lynne from North Devon Council, David & Jackie from Boevey’s Tea Room, Phil Park from Lee Abbey, Julian and Phil Vanstone, Nigel Honey from Hell Cats, all Taw Velo and many many more. We are very chuffed and Barnstaple now has it’s very own sportive!

I will post the Sportive Photo images as soon as they are live, and anyone that took on the Strava challenge please submit your time via the website by next Sunday.

I really hope to see you all next year, strangely I can’t wait to do it all again.

Thanks again, you’re all heroes. I will post another proper thank you in next couple of days.

The Smuggler Team, Marcus & The Bike Shed.



Hello there Smugglers…. 

Can’t quite believe it but the countdown is on – we’re just under two weeks until The Smuggler takes it’s maiden two wheeled voyage from the fine shores of Barnstaple Square. Here at Bike Shed we’re getting ourselves fully prepped to ensure we give you an epic day on the bike. We’re really excited to welcome you to the start line for this inaugural event and show you some of our favourite North Devon roads. We’ve also had a quiet word with the Big Man upstairs to slip the weather gods a fiver to do us a solid – fingers crossed it’s well spent.

All riders who have entered online through British Cycling will receive a ‘riders brief’ 3 days before Sunday 1st June, this will tell you everything you need to know for the day including car park info, start times for your ride, sign on / registration details, Strava challenge info, Booty climbs, feedstation locations etc etc. Everything you need to know will be in the brief, the info will also be posted to this website.

We are only a few riders shy of 350 riders entered, Bike Shed and our charity partners are so grateful for your support and helping get this event afloat! Online entry closes on MON 26TH MAY AT MIDNIGHT – if you know anyone who wants to ride and hasn’t entered yet give them a friendly nudge.

There will be two car parks available on the day – both FREE and under 5mins from Ride HQ. All details/maps will be in the brief. These are Barnstaple Park & Ride, and at Barnstaple Leisure Centre on Severn Brethren.

They’ll be plenty going on at Ride HQ on the day as well for riders, family & supporters. Country Life Brewery will be opening a bar in the marquee from midday, Boston Tea Party will be on the square from 7am selling there amazing coffee & cakes, and our event caterer Tom will be serving food all day – including a FREE breakfast for all riders. Even the Mayor’s coming down!

All riders will receive a FREE ‘Smuggler Ale’ on finishing, we really hope riders and families will hang about and sink a few beers with us. The bar will be open till 9pm.

There will be entries available on the day, just follow signs to ‘registration’. If possible though we would really encourage everyone to enter online, it really helps us with numbers for food so god forbid no-one goes without!

This is charity sportive with all proceeds going directly to charity, Bike Shed will not be profiting from the event. If you are able to raise a few pennies for one of our fantastic charity partners (FORCE Cancer Charity & North Devon Hospice) that would be incredible and support their tireless work in North Devon. Click on the ‘partners’ section on the home page and set up a giving page now. Sponsorship forms will be sent out with the ‘riders brief’ also.

In the meantime hope you manage to sneak out on a few last training rides, there are some lumpy bits in the routes so get those legs ready – we’ll be giving you plenty of food to keep them turning so have no fear. This is not a race!

One last thing – if anyone knows someone who may be prepared to help on the day, any extra volunteers would be massively welcome. Food, drink and a Bike Shed voucher up for grabs for anyone who lends a hand, or two.

Any questions at all in the meantime please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Thanks again for your support. Ride on…







The Tale of Two Tolls & few bits in between….

Here’s a few snaps Bike Shed took of the 50 & 80m rides, gives you a better what’s in store for you guys.

As we’ve said before the two toll roads are the major highlight, but in between there’s some incredible riding with what we reckon are some of the best stretches of road in the UK. Obviously we would say that though but the pics do a good job of backing our boast.

For any cycle geeks like us at Bike Shed, the Porlock Toll’s magical sweeping hairpins and smooth track should get the legs twitching in excitement and the fingers dancing towards the online entry button. ‘Pista Magica’ even! Just been out on the route made us want to jump on our bikes so that has to be a good sign!

Thank you so much to everyone that’s entered all ready, FORCE Cancer Charity and North Devon Hospice are truly grateful.

Happy riding Swashbucklers. Watch out for Customs!



The Smuggler news story in CYCLING WEEKLY

Bike Shed were chuffed to bits last week with a news piece in Cycling Weekly on The Smuggler. Seems like they like the sound of the event and they will be down to ride the sportive in June!

Thank you so much for everyone who have entered already, we’ve had nearly 100 entries already so we are so pleased – THANK YOU!

Next week we’ll be announcing some exciting news about a new local charity partner and we will also post some more info on the routes etc. Lets hope this bonkers weather is on it’s way out and we can all get out on the road.


NEWS FLASH! The Smuggler news story in Cycling Weekly….

NEWS FLASH! The Smuggler news story in Cycling Weekly….

The Smuggler ‘bonus booty’ points. Prizes to be won!

The Smuggler sportive has a couple of extra twists up it’s shifty sleeves, aiming to make it a little different from the average ride.

On the day riders will have the chance to win free beer and drinks, this will be done by bagging some smuggler style ‘booty’ for tackling extra climbs and notching a few extra feet on the altimeter. They’ll be fellow smugglers cheering you on and ringing cowbells to get you up that tarmac!

Last years ride we gave away 132 free beers, 15 coffees and 19 soft drinks to riders who took on the challenge. Amazing effort! 

More news on the climbs and added sections for 2015 coming soon.




Force Cancer Charity

This event is for a truly worthy cause. FORCE Cancer Charity has been helping North Devon residents deal with the life changing consequences of Cancer since 1991.

The tireless work FORCE does relies entirely on voluntary contributions, with 1/3 of it’s income coming from events like The Smuggler. Without people like you raising money, FORCE wouldn’t exist.

FORCE has a designated fund to purchase state of the art equipment to improve cancer treatment, and their centre in Exeter had 15,500 visits in 2013.

Please dig deep and help this truly worthwhile work continue. It is helping lives all across N Devon.

Download your Virgin Money page on this site and get rattling those cans!

Bike Shed recce the route

The Bike Shed team have been out checking the route, it really is a cracker. The Lee Bay toll road is a definite highlight, a really fun climb with some epic views and a truly bonkers bit of road perched high on the cliffs. The start of the climb through the Valley of the Rocks has to one of the most atmospheric bits of road in the UK. The end has a great hairpin that brings you back out onto the moor, this is close to where a historic smuggler battle took place and passes the spot called ‘Smuggler Leap’ where a villain and his nag plunged to their death after a long battle with the law.

We’ll keep putting bits of news up here in the next few weeks, closer to the time the routes will be available for GPS downloads.Continue reading