Introduction: why Ken Laidlaw?

This is a social event run by cyclists

  • Yes, run by cyclists.  We know what cyclists need and we provide the facilities that you want.  The Ken Laidlaw has a special, friendly atmosphere… and we will keep it that way.

Fantastic views on routes through the Scottish Borders

  • The event is held mainly on well-surfaced back roads with very little traffic
  • The views around this Borders route are fantastic
  • The challenge takes in the Samye Ling Tibetan Monastery, the largest Buddhist centre in Europe.

Rewards and facilities

  • First class facilities at Hawick Rugby Club, including showers and changing rooms
  • A hot meal at the finish provided in the club, free to all riders
  • Lavishly stocked village hall feed stations on both routes
  • All entrants receive our excellent services and benefits
  • Photos of riders made available free online
  • Route card
  • Broom wagon, support vehicles, mountain rescue, mechanics…
  • List of finishers published on this website

Who is Ken Laidlaw?

Ian Steel and Hamish Smith

Ken Laidlaw was the first Scot to complete the Tour de France. He is also one of Hawick’s great sporting heroes and a member of Hawick Cycling Club. In 1961 he completed “Le Tour” finishing in 65th place with his most famous moment coming on Stage 16 in which he broke away from the peloton and led the stage over mountain passes until he was caught with only 7km to go. For his efforts that day he was awarded the accolade of most aggressive rider. The previous year he had represented Great Britain at the Olympics in Rome.

Every year Hawick Cycling Club celebrates Ken’s achievement by holding the Ken Laidlaw Sportive in August. It attracts 300-400 riders who take part in a procession through the town on the Sunday morning before setting off from Mansfield Park on one of three routes through the Borders countryside. The long route was Ken’s training route back in the late fifties. It is 104 miles long visiting Newcastleton, Langholm, Eskdalmuir, Gordon Arms, Ashkirk and Robertson before returning to Hawick. Ken was home by lunchtime whereas the rest of us mere mortals treat it as a good day out on our bicycles.

What charities do we support?

In 2018 money was raised through the entry fees for four charities. The My Name’5 Doddie Foundation that helps fund research in to Motor Neurone Disease and provides grant support to people with the condition to help them live their lives as fully as possible; Blood Bikes Scotland who are a committed group of motorcycle volunteers who provide a delivery service for small packages such as blood and medication for the local NHS; The British Heart Foundation that provides grants for research into heart and vascular disease; and Fresh Start Borders who help homeless people who are moving into a new tenancy.

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