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The Very Best Cycling Events and Sportives for 2015

Get your fill of road races and sportives with this comprehensive guide to the best cycling events in 2015


You will find a couple of steep climbs in the Chilterns

Chiltern 100 Sportive, Bovingdon (MIXED)

May 31st

www.humanrace.co.uk

Take on what’s often referred to as ‘the toughest sportive close to the capital’ and cycle either 76 or 110 miles across challenging Chiltern landscapes as you complete the highly prestigious Chiltern 100 Sportive. Participants will enjoy a real sense of camaraderie as they tackle the tough Whiteleaf Hill and Wardrobes climbs together and will be rewarded for their efforts with spectacular views. Entrance costs £40 for the shorter route and £42 for the full hog.

Otley Sportiva, West Yorkshire (WOMEN ONLY)

May (exact date TBC)

www.otleysportive.wordpress.com

Undergoing a huge rebrand for 2015, the exact routes for this year are yet to be determined but organisers promise they will be better than ever. Following the same format as the original Otley Sportive, the Sportiva is a women’s only event that is split into two routes – one medium in length and one slightly longer. Female cyclists of all ages are welcome to take part so long as they are reasonably competent on the roads. Entrance costs £18.

Tour de Yorkshire (MIXED)

May 1st-3rd

www.letour.yorkshire.com

An immensely exciting new international cycling race will come to Yorkshire in May 2015. The Tour de Yorkshire is set to be a 2.1 Europe Tour world-class cycle race which will feature three stages, a women’s race and a mass participation sportive. If ever you needed an excuse to race around the beautiful Yorkshire countryside, this is it.

Women V Cancer Cycle the Night, London (WOMEN ONLY)

May 30th

www.actionforcharity.co.uk

A challenging ride that also happens to be heaps of fun, the Women V Cancer Cycle the Night route sees hundreds of women pedalling 100km around the capital city after dark. Passing Big Ben, the London Eye and Buckingham Palace, these women will be out in force raising money for Breast Cancer Care, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and Ovarian Cancer Action. Registration costs £39 and each participant is also expected to raise a minimum of £199 in sponsorship money. For a night of camaraderie and giggles all in the name of charity, book a place for you and your best girlfriends now.

Fern Britton’s #Challenge57, John O’Groats (MIXED)

May 1st-21st

www.fernbrittonchallenge57.com

TV personality Fern Britton is cycling the 1000 miles from John O’Groats to Lands End to raise an epic amount of money to help Genesis Research Trust to end miscarriage. Over a period of 21 days (with two rest days) Fern will average 57 miles a day as she pedals from Scotland, through the Lake District and the Cotswolds, down into Cornwall. You can choose to take part in all or part of the gigantic ride by raising a minimum amount in sponsorship money. The amount needed varies from £360 for a two day stint to £3550 to take part in the full tour.

Somerset Hills Gran Fondo, Cheddar (MIXED)

May 3rd

www.somersetgranfondo.co.uk

After listening to participants’ feedback from last year, the organisers of Somerset Hills Gran Fondo have adapted routes this year to include less main roads and busy towns. They’ve also improved signage, food stations and mechanical support so it’s set to be the best year ever to compete in this sportive. Not for the faint hearted, the longest route option spans 119 miles and is a mixture of fast descents and challenging climbs starting with the infamously steep climb up Cheddar Gorge. Two shorter routes are also available at 44 and 82 miles in length and all three cost £22 to enter.

Cycle for Amy, Cheshire (MIXED)

May 3rd

www.cycleforamy.com

John and Lydia Watson-Wright invite you to cycle through the picturesque Cheshire countryside in memory of their daughter Amy, this May. It costs £25 to register and all participants are encouraged to raise money for either Amy’s favourite charity, Childflight, or one close to their own hearts. However, it is not compulsory to ride for a charity, completing the challenge in Amy’s memory alone is enough. There are three different length rides to choose from – 27, 55 and 100 miles.

Preseli Angel, Pembrokeshire (MIXED)

May 3rd

www.velo-teifi.org.uk

Starting from Newport Boat Club, the Preseli Angel sportive features the most spectacular climbs and speedy descents that the Preseli Mountains have to offer. Participants on either of the 40 or 70 miles routes will enjoy incredible views over Pembrokeshire as they pedal around the classic British countryside setting. Entry costs between £10-£15 in advance or £15-20 on the day and includes use of showers and a hot meal after the ride.

Norwich Cycle Swarm, Norfolk (MIXED)

May 4th

www.cycleswarm.co.uk

The Norwich Cycle Swarm event features three different routes all of which head out into the Norwich countryside from Norwich City Football Stadium. Entry for the 35 mile ride costs £17 and the 70 and 100 mile routes both cost £20. A fun event perfect for creating those special cycling memories, a photographer will be snapping away throughout the day and participants will be able to download the images for free from the site after the event is over.

St Bees 50, Cumbria (MIXED)

May 4th

www.westcoastchallenge.weebly.com

A not for profit sportive, any money leftover from the registration fees after covering the cost of putting on the event will be donated to local charities. Participants of the St Bees 50 can choose to cycle a 25 mile or 50 mile route around the western part of the Lake District for a fee of £10. Both rides are open to cyclists of all ages and abilities but participants need to be prepared to tackle sharp ascents at Cold Fell and Cauda Brow.

Taunton Flyer Sportive, Somerset (MIXED)

May 9th

www.tauntonflyer.com

With a fun ‘vintage class’ option as well as the usual 100km and 54km routes, anyone that chooses to participate on vintage bikes and in period attire will be in with a chance of winning an array of great prizes. The Taunton Flyer Sportive is made up of primarily flat open roads but there are a few challenging climbs thrown in there too to keep things interesting. You’ll also pass through several historic wartime airfields to make those dressed up in their 1939-1945 gear feel at home.

The Etape du Dales, Grassington (MIXED)

May 17th

www.daveraynerfund.co.uk

One sportive not to be underestimated, The Etape du Dales features some of the most challenging stretches that were used in the 2014 Tour de France. Only for the most experienced of riders at optimum levels of fitness, the circular route begins in Threshfield and consists of several serious climbs and technical descents. Organisers warn participants to expect multiple punctures during the ride and to ensure that they have adequate clothing and gear for such a high-intensity event. The 112 mile route costs £49 to enter and should be on any serious cyclist’s bucket list.

Sedbergh Sportive, Cumbria (MIXED)

May 17th

www.sedberghschool.org

Featuring three different length rides, participants of the Sedbergh Sportive can opt to cycle 30, 50 or 70 miles. The two shorter routes are suitable for all keen cyclists but the longer one incorporates the arduous Buttertubs climb that was featured in the Tour de France and as such requires slightly more experience to complete. Entry fees vary between £25 and £35 and all money raised goes to the Roger Lupton Scholarships Fund. To celebrate all of the cyclists’ successes, everyone is invited to a free BBQ after finishing the sportive and anyone who raises more than £100 on top of their entry fee will receive a voucher for Brown of Sedbergh.

The CC Giro Midland Monster Sportive, Derbyshire (MIXED)

May 17th

www.midlandmonster.com

Set right in the heart of the National Forest, the CC Giro Midland Monster Sportive features three different route lengths – 40, 75 and 103 miles. Each of the routes start in the relatively flat surroundings of the Trent Valley before passing into more undulating terrain in the Dove Valley. The longer routes then become more difficult as they climb into the Weaver Hills and out into the Peak District. Entry for any of these three routes is £25.

Little Lumpy, Surrey (MIXED)

May 17th

www.littlelumpy.co.uk

Participants of the Little Lumpy sportive have to choose between the sport, challenge and epic routes. The sport route is just 39 miles in length and includes 600 metres of climbs. The challenge route is slightly more intense; 59 miles in length riders have to combat 1241 metres of climbs. Finally, for the more advanced riders the epic route is 100 miles in length and includes 2231 metres of climbs. All of these routes pass over the Downs taking in beautiful scenery and undulating terrain.

Continental West Wild Welsh Sportive, Aberystwyth (MIXED)

May 24th

www.abercyclefest.com

Day four of the Aber Cycle Fest gives avid cyclists the chance to pedal away from the urban lanes of the early stages of the festival and explore the countryside of Ceredigion. There are four different length routes to choose from – the 114, 70 and 45 mile routes all cost £30 to enter and the much easier 27 mile route costs just £20. Cyclists completing any of these routes will get to experience some tough terrain and stunning scenery.

Bruno 200, York (MIXED)

May 29th-30th

www.bruno.ampleforth.org.uk

A truly epic sportive, the Bruno 200 (as the name suggests) is 200 miles in length and is open for 200 riders. It costs £90 to take part and everyone is expected to raise a minimum of £200 plus gift aid in sponsorship money for Bruno’s Bursary Fund. Setting off from Chatsworth House, participants will cycle through the Derbyshire Peaks, the Yorkshire Dales and the North Yorkshire Moors en route to the finishing point at Ampleforth Abbey. Not to be underestimated, this sportive is challenging as well as lengthy and it incorporates more than 60 miles of last year’s Grand Depart route including the strenuous Buttertubs Pass.

3 Pistes Cycle Sportive, Perthshire (MIXED)

May 31st

www.3pistescycle.co.uk

The highest sportive in the UK, the 3 Pistes challenge requires extremely high levels of fitness and experience. As the route passes through the Grampian Mountains, participants need to be prepared for tough climbs and steep descents with plenty of switchbacks to manipulate. There’s a high chance of punctures along this route and although there are mechanics on hand to help out with anything else that may go wrong, riders are responsible for fixing their own punctures. This 103 mile sportive costs £35 to enter at the flat rate or £59.50 with a coach transfer.

Peak Epic, Bakewell (MIXED)

May 31st

www.peakepic.co.uk

Starting and finishing in the quaint little Peak District town of Bakewell, the Peak Epic is the hardest sportive in this corner of the country. The 100 mile route includes an incredible 4000 metres of ascent, a figure almost unheard of in a UK-based sportive. Shorter 63 and 38 mile routes are also available for those less keen on the continuous arduous climb of the full route. Registration fees vary between £22.50-£30 depending on the length of the route chosen.

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