The cold, picturesque one – MAPIC ride, 2019

Wembley Park Cycle to MAPIC crew battle through the big freeze to the sun

The cold, picturesque one – MAPIC ride, 2019

What’s the record number of layers you’ve worn on the bike when it gets cold? Three? Four? No, wait. Five? Really?

Well, we have some breaking news for you. Matt Slade of Wembley Park went two further than that, donning a mighty SEVEN layers as temperatures dropped to -5 degrees Centigrade during the three-day ride to MAPIC in Cannes that finished yesterday. Wembley Park was a ride sponsor.

"Yep, I peaked at seven," Slade said, detailing how, as temperatures plummeted and the cold penetrated even his three layers of gloves, two pairs of heavy socks and overshoes, the mood still remained impressively upbeat. "I could have fallen off and bounced back up again," he laughed. Incidentally, Slade's previous all-time layer record was five.

Some in the peloton had only been riding for three months beforehand but still managed to complete the 520km course, with its not unimpressive 6,000m of climbing. The ride was managed expertly as usual by Club Peloton, Slade said. It included a real col and some snow, but no "offs", despite Slade's own record of regular dismounts. "I've now completed five and not crashed on three!"

The group of 43 riders set off on the charity ride raising funds for Coram and other beneficiaries from Le Puy en Velay, passing through the Ardeche, the Cevennes and the Vedon, before making it to Cannes where the retail conference MAPIC is taking place. Slade was struck by the beauty of the landscapes he and the rest of the peloton passed through. "It lucked out on scenery and some of the descents were amazing. You know, if Carlsberg did descents, they'd be like that."

The three-day format was also more manageable than previous four-day formats, Slade considered. Expert event organisation meant it was a perfect way to "defrag" from day to day life. "France has got so much bloody scenery it's shocking," he joked.

Speaking to Velocity from the show, the day after arrival, Slade said that MAPIC this year was proving busier than he had expected, with a high proportion of Chinese delegations.

Along with Nash Bond and U+I, British Land was a team sponsor of this year’s Cycle to MAPIC, putting forward a team of nine riders including five women. That diversity was due in part to the determination and "pressganging" of the Roger Madelin, head of the company's Canada Water development in London. He talked to everyone at British Land who rode a bike, along with colleague Jess Ford, who persuaded as many as she could to take part.