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Cycling events round-up 2015: Fancy circumnavigating Britain?

Cycle the 6800km of Britain's coastline, take to stunning closed Scottish roads, and head over to JE James' Cycle Fest...

If you fancy a challenge, you've come to the right place. The Countrywide Great Tour lays its claim to the title of 'ultimate British cycling challenge' in this events round-up. In its defence, it does involve a lot of coastal cycling and just over two solid months in the saddle. Are you ready?

The Tour starts and finishes in Holyhead on Anglesey and does a complete lap of Britain's coastline over a 64-day period from July 4.

Other far less taxing, but equally rewarding and exhausting events feature on our round-up too, so don't worry if that sounds like a little too much.

Included in this round-up is the JE James Cycle Fest, which takes place this weekend, as well as two Scottish sportives. Firstly there's the Etape Royale, which covers some of the most beautiful roads in the country which will be closed for the occasion. Secondly there's Flying Scottsman, a dual-route Scottish sportive which will feature two of the country's most reverred cyclists in Graham Obree, and Sir Chris Hoy, who will be riding the two routes around the Loudoun Valley with you.

This list is far from exhaustive, so if 6800km of coastline cycling is a bit too much for you, there might be something for you on our full events list, here.

February 1 - December 6 - Evans Cycles RIDE IT series

Sportive rides are growing in popularity every year. Evans Cycles, who have seen huge growth in their RIDE IT series of sportives, are responding to this success by expanding their sportive schedule to accommodate a 40% increase in riders for 2015.

Beginning with a sold-out event in Bristol on 1 February, the team behind the RIDE IT series have expanded the 2015 roster by adding more rides and a variety of sportive cross rides, to attract new riders and give spots to those who missed out last year.

Entry prices start at £7.50 and the rides will be taking place all over the country, so there should be a ride close enough for anyone that is interested in taking part. Unfortunately, we don’t have quite enough space to cover all of the rides here, but you can check them out for yourselves on the Evans Cycles RIDE IT page, here.


April 25 - Tour of Pembrokeshire Prologue Ride

Three loops of Pembrokeshire in South Wales, starting and finishing in St. Davids - the UK's smallest city - are again on the cards for 2015.

The Tour of Pembrokeshire Prologue Ride already has 1,100 participants signed up to take part, and has 80, 120 and 160 km routes which cover some of the most stunning roads in rural Wales.

Not only will the standard sportive amenities of clear and abundant signage and on-road support systems be available to all riders, you will also have the opportunity to get a complimentary full sport massage after you’ve finished riding - a small donation is requested.

Entries are open at the standard price of £35 per head, and you can sign up via the SiEntries website.


April 25, 26 - JE James CycleFest

Demo rides, sportives, MTB orienteering, roller racing and even a night of cycling films are all in store for those of you who fancy a cycling day out at the JE James CycleFest over at the Norfolk Arms in Ringinglow, Sheffield, this weekend.

On the edges of the Peak District national park, the Sheffield-based cycle retailer will be running a day of cycling fun for the small fee of £7. That entry fee includes access to the event, a ticket to the evening's film screening, and the opportunity to try your hand at roller racing - not to mention the myriad of stalls, retailer booths, and the chance to demo a wide range of JE James' bike brand partners.

There will also be a MTB demo loop over an eight mile course, led by an instructor, and a 15mile road loop which will be heavily signed so no one loses their way. The weekend will also feature the JE James CycleFest Sportives, including a Friendly and a Challenger ride, which can be entered via the British Cycling site.

A percentage of ticket sales will be donated to local charity, The Ride For Eric Foundation who organised last years ‘Ride for Eric’ sportive.


May 3 - The Maserati Tour de Yorkshire Ride

Do you fancy riding the same spectator-lined roads which hosted the Tour de France last year? Maybe you’d also like to play your part in the first ever UCI-approved Tour de Yorkshire race?

Both of these desires can be met by signing up to the Maserati Tour de Yorkshire Ride sportive, which covers the same roads as stage three of the Tour de Yorkshire, just a few hours earlier than the pros.

Some of the sport's biggest names will be warming up and getting ready for the day’s racing as you’re rolling across some of Yorkshire’s most storied cycling roads. You’ll even finish your ride by crossing the very same finish line that will later welcome the pros home.

As is standard with sportives these days there are three distance options of 50km, 108km, and 140km - as well as a women only Cycletta sportive over the 50km route. The two longer options have both sold out, but the 50km options are still available, costing £42. Entry is via the Le Tour Yorkshire website.


May 10, June 7, July 12 - Lapierre Cycle Classics

Bringing a thoroughly British spin on two of cycling's most famous races - the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, as well as the more recent Strade Bianche - the Lapierre Cycle Classics is set to be one of the most spectacular series of sportives on the calander.

The events' focus on surface is what sets ihem apart from other sportives. The sectors of cobbled and graveled roads and velodrome finish in the Tour of the Black Country, which will take place on May 10, looks to find some of the atmosphere and electricity that its spiritual brother Paris-Roubaix has demonstrated over the years.

The Cheshire Cobbled Classic is a Tour of Flanders tribute, will cover 105km and 12 cobbled sectors which the organisers hope will instill the same fear and excitement in the participants as Belgian roads do to the pros. This one will take place on June 7.

Strade Bianche is the final Classic to be aped in Lapierre's Cycle Classics series, as Oxfordshire's White Chalk Classic looks to capture some of the magic of the Italian race. Taking place on July 12, this sportive will cover 115km and nine sectors of beautiful white chalk roads.

Each event can be entered individually by clicking on their respective names above. Entry will cost £25 per rider, and you can expect the full range of sportive amenities.


May 24 - Cotswold Crank Up

Rolling out from Witney in Oxfordshire, the Cotswold Crank Up is set to be a glorious day of cycling up and down some of the areas most spectacular hills, and through some glorious countryside.

All three of the 40, 80 and 130 km routes will be fully marked, and catered for by roadside medical teams and feed stations, to ensure the safety of each rider taking part.

Entry fees vary depending on distance, with the 40km route coming in at £15, while the organisers are charging £30 for the longer 80 and 130km rides. You can sign up here.

The Mickey Cranks Cycling club, who will be present at the event, are supporting SSNAP– Support for the Sick Newborn and their Parents, and will be accepting donations on the day.


May 26 - July 24 - Cycle and Dine at the River Cottage

Here's something different for the tourists amongst you. Take off your racing hats, put away your road shoes, and perhaps peel off that Lycra, the River Cottage have a leisurely day of electirc bike rides and gourmet gorging to offer you.

On five occasions between May 26 and July 24 Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage HQ in East Devon will play host to a day of electric bike touring - courtesy of Dorset-based bike touring company Jurassic Electric - and fantastic feasting.

These two-hour bike rides, followed by a lunch at the Cottage, will take place on the 26th and 28th of May, the 24th ofJune, and the 8th and 24th of July. The price for the day's festivities is £70, and you can sign up via the River Cottage website, here.


May 30 - August 13 - Street Velodrome series

Ever dreamed of taking part in a televised track cycling event. While we can’t do too much in the way of helping you to your fantasy of riding the boards at the Olympics, we might be able to point you in the direction of some Channel 4, or Eurosport cameras and a pop-up street velodrome.

StreetVelodrome is the world's only urban/pop-up track cycling sport series. The idea is international, and self-contained competitions take place in a variety of countries all over the world throughout the year.

The track on which the riders ride is steeply banked on either end, with a flat section in between. Racing requires a combination of speed and bike-handling ability in order to navigate the track efficiently. This means that the fastest rider on the flat will not necessarily be the fastest rider round the track - leaving plenty of scope for amatuer-professional upsets.

The UK events start in Paisley on May 30, before visiting Stevenage, Stockton-on-tees, Lowestoft, Worthing, Ealing, and finishing up in London for the two day series finale on August 12 and 13.

The race format is something of a novelty, as professional riders are mixed in with teams of amateurs to create a pro/am competition, unlike anything in almost any sport we can think of.

As with any competition of this size - especially a televised one - places are seriously limited. It’s free to pre-register now - which you can do here - but places are not guaranteed. Successful applicants will be notified 14 days before the event; there will also be places up for grabs on the day.


June 7 - The Smuggler

Arrr, me hearties, The Smuggler sportive is back, both bigger and better, for its second year on North Devonshire roads. Last year’s two-route day of riding has had another added to its repertoire, this one a 64 kilometer (80 mile) ride, to give a bit of variety for cyclists who fancy a hearty day of cycling.

There are other rides on offer: the longest 128.7km (80 mile) ride features a whopping 2707m of climbing, the 80.5km (50 mile) ride has 1698 vertical meters, while the 64.4km (40 mile) and the 40.3km (25 mile) rides feature 1214m and 280m of climbing respectively.

Alongside those normal climbs, the ‘Booty Climbs’ are back - this event’s speciality which offer extra climbs for the confident cyclists whose legs are feeling fresh, or the greedy ones who fancy getting their hands on some ‘booty’.

In this case ‘booty’ means free drinks and prizes - the idea being: the more miles you manage going up, the better the booty and the greater your opportunity for reward.

Obviously, the alcoholic rewards are only available to participants over the age of 18; those who are between the lowest entry age of 14 will have to make do with a soft drink.

The price of entry is the same for all rides apart from the shortest 40.3km ride. £25 will see you right for the three longer rides, while a discounted £15 will get you onto the shorter ride.

Typical sportive amenities are part of the entry price - including route signage, feed stations, mechanical and emergency health support, and more. Not only that, but if you get to the Bike Shed early enough, a free breakfast will be available to you!

The longer ride sets out at 8am, so keep that in mind if you’re desperate for your breakfast. the two rides of intermediate length leave at 9am, while participants on the shorter route can expect to roll out at 10am.

You can sign up here.


June 20 - The Bristol Grand Prix Cycle Race

Still in crowdfunding, the cycling event that's set to put Bristol on the British cycling map is looking for your support and your attendance as organisers prepare for its introduction on June 20.

Aiming to become a staple on the national race cricuit, the Bristol Grand Prix Cycle Race will offer a fantastic day of city-centre cycle racing on a high-octane figure-of-eight circuite right in the heart of Bristol.

Each race will bring in up to 50 participants from a variety of cycling backgrounds. There'll be professional competitors, right down to those competing at a licensed amateur level, all vying to become the first Bristol Grand Prix champions.

The closed-road route will be open to the public for half an hour before the racing begins at 3pm with the junior/youth race.

The event is still looking for funding on Crowdfunder, so if you're interested in attending, get funding - you can do so here.


June 20, 21 - Harrogate’s new Big Bike Bash

Fancy another taste of Tour de France fever in Harrogate? Well, the two-day Harrogate Big Bike Bash will be the closest you’ll get this June.

Bringing competitive and leisure-based cycling events back to the town’s streets, the Big Bike Bash is set to host a busy weekend of festivities, including an entire events village featuring live entertainment and refreshments.

The village will be located alongside the Parliament Street finishing line of stage one of last year’s Tour de France’s - the same street which saw Mark Cavendish’s Tour end - and is also the finishing line for Saturday’s professional elite closed-road town centre race.

The course won’t only be restricted to professional use. Once the day’s racing is done, the closed car-less roads will be opened to the the two wheeled general public to ride on during the late afternoon.

The Sunday sees the arrival of three organised rides, which will give riders of all abilities to get out on their bikes.

More information will be available regarding the length of the Sunday rides, as well as the live music entertainment and exhibitors at the event village on the Saturday, over the coming months. So make sure you’re keeping tabs on the Big Bike Bash website for updates.


June 21 - The Flying Scotsman Sportive

The 2015 Flying Scotsman Sportive, named with a tip of the hat to celebrated Scottish cyclist Graham Obree, is set to take place on Sunday 21st June 2015. Obree isn't only involved in this sportive in spirit, his presence will be felt on the day as he teams up with fellow flying Scot, Sir Chris Hoy and the sportive participants to ride the two-time Hour Record holder's training roads.

Starting and finishing at Loudoun Academy, in the Loudoun Valley in Ayrshire, Scotland, the two routes, named Old Faithful - in homage to Obree's record setting bike - and The Beasite, incorporate a mix of climbs and tricky descents, roads guaranteed to test everyone's cycling skills as well as their fitness.

Old Faithful is a 71km route, while The Beasty covers a monsterous 125km of Ayrshire countryside.

You can sign up here. Entry costs £35.


July 4 - September 5 - The Countrywide Great Tour

Does circumnavigating Britain's coastline by bike over 64 potentially sunny days sound like the perfect way to spend your summer this year?

Well look no further.

Starting and finishing in Holyhead on Anglesey, this 64-day, 6,800-kilometre challenge will see a core team of cyclists tackle the nation's coastline by bike - being joined by other riders on different legs of the journey as they go.

Up to 250 riders will be able to participate on each day of the Countrywide Great Tour, with a core group of riders completing the entire challenge.  Along the way they will be joined by members of the public wishing to ride a day or week of the route, plus riders from corporate and charity partners, using the event to raise funds for good causes.

Among the charities to have already signed up to the Countrywide Great Tour as a fundraising and awareness platform are Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research; Anthony Nolan; Macmillan; and Alzheimer's Society.

Ordnance Survey are involved, and will be mapping each day of the Countrywide Great Tour, publishing an official route app to be used alongside the ride.  Whether riders have completed the circumnavigation in one go, or over a prolonged period, they will be able to join a special club set up by the organisers.

If you want to join in, you can sign up here, it'll costs you £50 per day.


July 5 - Birmingham Bikeathon

Whoever you are, whatever you ride, the Birmingham Bikeathon and Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research want you to come and join 2,500 other cyclists for a day of cycling and fund raising.

There are three routes for riders to choose from, which range from a 42km short ride, up to a 161km ride, with an intermediate 84km ride in between. This means that there’ll be a ride for everyone, no matter how fit or unfit they are. Also, if you sign up today to you’ll receive a 25% discount on your entry fee.

Starting and finishing at Cannon Hill, all of the rides wind their way through some of Brimingham’s most popular and picturesque suburbs, and then out into the beautiful Black Country countryside. The longer rides will take in some tasty hills, as well as some beautiful chocolate box towns.

The event website - which you can find here - not only permits you to sign up to the event, it also provides prospective riders, and those already signed up with a general bike guide, training tips, and a handy nutrition plan.


August 9 - Mark Cavendish’s Rise Above sportive

If closed-road riding in Cheshire, jaunts up Welsh countryside climbs, and fantastic forested roads sound like your thing, then 25-time Tour de France stage winner Mark Cavendish has something up his sleeve for you - he’ll even ride along with you if you can find his back wheel.

There will be three routes on offer, each of which has been designed by the former World Champion himself. The rides are named Enthusiast, Purist, and Extremist and cover 75km, 120km, and 185km respectively.

As well as the chance to ride with Cav, and the opportunity to enjoy some cobbled closed-road riding in Cheshire, participants will also have the advantage of an extensive list of added event amenities.

Those are event centre facilities and parking, mechanical support, full route marking, rider public liability insurance, free energy drink and energy snacks, electronic chip timing, food and refreshments after the ride, web results service, emergency support, on site catering, event photography, post-event massage, pick-up wagons, and an exclusive gift bag.

You can sign up now via the Rise Above Sportive website, here, for the relatively reasonable price of £31.50 - which is the same across all three ride distances.


September 26 - Lord of the Lochs sportive

With the loss of one of their 2014 sportives for the 2015 season, No Fuss Events have rallied to boost their one remaining Scottish ride with improved routes, more frequent food stops and a broom wagon to sweep up any stragglers.

The Lord of the Lochs sportive will take riders on a scenic tour of a list of beautiful lochs, Scottish Highland scenery and a number of different perspectives of three of the region’s most spectacular peaks, Ben Nevis, Aonoch Mhor and Carn Mhor Dearg.

The three route options offered to participants will cost £32 for entry, regardless which of the 180km Elite, 156km Standard, or 100km Tonne rides are chosen.

Entries are open now, and can be made through the No Fuss Events website, here.


September 27 - London Legacy sportive

London’s is continuing to look to build on the impact of the Olympic Games and the Tour de France visiting the capital’s streets, and event organisers Human Race have introduced a brand new sportive, called the London Legacy Sportive.

The ride will cover much of the 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ route, which weaved its way from Cambridge to the centre of London, as well as finishing up with a celebratory lap of the Lee Valley VeloPark in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which hosted the track and BMX cycling events during the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The event has partnered with children's charity, Access Sport, which provides opportunities for disadvantaged and disabled children to take part in sport. While none of the entry fees go directly to the charity, Human Race are encouraging each of the entrants by providing fundraising packs, and multiple opportunities to donate both through the sign-up process and on the day of the event.

There will be three routes available to participants, covering 188km, 148km, and 68km depending on whether you choose the Long, Medium, or Short route.

Entry fees start at £40 for the short route, rising to £46 for the Medium, and £48 for the long route, and you can sign up via Human Race’s ticket partner, here.

Don’t worry if your legs aren’t feeling up to the longer distances, because you won’t miss out on any of the legacy sights. All of the rides come together to follow the Tour de France Stage Three route from Saffron Waldon through to the finish at the Lee Valley VeloPark.


September 27 - Etape Royale

The Etape Royale is a brand new event set in the regal surroundings of Scotland’s majestic North-East. The 102-mile circular route will start and finish in Ballater taking cyclists across Aberdeenshire and Moray’s breath-taking scenery, through the heart of whisky country and Royal Deeside.

The event is organised by Scottish company WildFox Events (, which was founded by Scottish adventurer, David Fox-Pitt in 1999. The company has pioneered some of the UK’s toughest outdoor challenges helping to raise more than £30 million for charity causes, both here in the UK and internationally. The WildFox team are passionate about supporting local communities and charity projects and are working closely with the communities along the 102-mile Etape Royale route to ensure the funds raised from the event prioritise local initiatives.

The route will pass through a number of Aberdeenshire villages including Tarland, Muir of Fowlis, Bridge of Alford and Rhynie before heading west into Moray.

The route will continue back into Aberdeenshire as it passes over the Lecht and through Corgarff before travelling south to Glen Gairn and returning to Ballater.

A number of roads in the Marr area will be closed for the event on a rolling closure basis allowing for fifteen minutes before the first riders arrive and fifteen minutes after the last rider leaves. You can view further information on the route, the road closure timings and frequently asked questions on the Local Community section of the event website Full details of the final road closure timings will be made available to everyone ahead of the event.


October 17-18 - The Trafalgar Way sportive

The Trafalgar Way is an enormous 500km team sportive that follows a famous route which carried important information of British victory at the Battle of Trafalgar - and the death of Admiral Lord Nelson - from Falmouth to London.

Here’s a quick video that gives a rundown of what you can expect if you decide to take part in the challenge, as well as a rough idea of the Trafalgar Way route.

If you’re not quite up to the Colossus challenge - the name shared by the 500km team ride and one of the largest ships to take part in the Battle of Trafalgar - then you can join up with those taking on the larger ride for one of three sections along the way.

The first section, from Falmouth to Exeter covers 172km and features 2,812m of climbing. The second section covers 168km of roads from Exeter to Salisbury, climbing 2,243m in the process, and the final section, with 137km left on the clock from Salisbury to London is somewhat flatter, with 884m of climbing.

You can apply to take part in the event now, via the Trafalgar Way website, here.

Add new comment


Edinburgh Festi... | 9 years ago

Missed out the Capital Trail, part of the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling, now there's a really challenging ride.

badback | 9 years ago

No mention for Eroica-Britannia on June 19th -21st ?

Gkam84 | 9 years ago

PLEASE don't come to Etape Royale, we have another event here, all be it not on closed roads following THE SAME route called the King of the Mountain sportive,

There is also the 3 Pistes Sportive.

All taking in wonderful roads up here. I was initially fully behind the Royale as I live in Ballater, but looking into various things, I want it to fall flat on it's face....those jumping on bandwagons to make money need to fail...

NorthEastJimmy | 9 years ago

For something a bit different how about the 'Dunoon Fullmoon Dynamo'

4th July (Glasgow to Dunoon) 77 / 109 mile routes. Sets off at 21:30 with a beach BBQ at the end at 04:30 with the option of a boat ride back to Glasgow!

ianrobo | 9 years ago

In a couple of these events and especially looking forward to the tour of the black country and seeing how I cope with cobbles/pave

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