The BCQ (or to use it’s full title British Cycle Quest) is a competition set up by Cycling UK with the aim of promoting cycle touring in the UK by challenging people to visit over four hundred different points of interest all over the country on their bicycles and answer a question about each ‘Checkpoint’ to prove that they have been visited.
The word ‘competition’ implies that there is a competitive edge to the BCQ, but nothing can be further form the truth. There is no time limit to completing the quest, indeed many questers take several years to complete the entire quest. Also there are no specific routes that a quester needs to take, or specific order the checkpoints need to be visited in. All you need to do is download the book and start riding, and with six checkpoints in every county in the country, your first checkpoint won’t be far away.
The only real rule of the BCQ is that you should visit each checkpoint on a bicycle, and have made at least a significant part of the journey to each checkpoint by bicycle. (You are allowed to drive or take public transport to the general vicinity but must then get to the point by bicycle – A good example is my day xx where I travelled by train to London and used a combination of folding bike and the tube to get around).
Visiting checkpoints can also become something you do when visiting relatives or being away on business – many of my checkpoints have been collected by making rides when staying away, if you’re away, have a look to see if there is one or more near where you’ll be and take your bike with you and hey presto, more ticked off the list.
The quest itself is essentially free of charge to participate in as the question book can be freely downloaded from Cycling Uk’s BCQ web page at https://www.cyclinguk.org/british-cycle-quest. However, to provide some funding for the project, for a modest sum, Cycling UK sell question cards that can be completed (ten questions per card) and then sent to Cycling UK for validation and awards gained. At ten and fifty checkpoints a free certificate is issued with the submission of the appropriate number of answers, and for those reaching one hundred, two hundred, three hundred and the full four hundred and two Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum medals are awarded, these again incur a modest cost to cover production of the medal.
If you’re a keen cyclist who likes to tour and see different places then the BCQ could certainly be the inspiration to ride and tour in places that you would have never thought of, and see some great sights you may see by no other means than visiting by bicycle (my favourite to date is also my 50th checkpoint, the pub at the south end of Sapperton Tunnel would be easily missed by any car driver or someone who didn’t know it was there).
It’s free to start so why not download the book, give it a go and see if the bug bites – I bet you won’t be disappointed.
For full details visit Cycling UK’s BCQ page here https://www.cyclinguk.org/british-cycle-quest