Some cycling events are real ‘must-do’ events for your bucket list. We’ve picked six of the best to enter in 2019.
All of these events are worthy of the term ‘iconic’, but they’ve gained the status for different reasons: they’re either incredibly hard, long, sociable or historic. Take your pick, there’s something for everyone here!
What: Fred Whitton
Why: Possibly the hardest sportive in the UK and definitely on par with anything Europe can throw at you, including La Marmotte or Maratona dles Dolomites. This Lake District event is a lengthy 112 miles and with arguably harder climbing than the Alps or Dolomites… the climbs are certainly steeper! This is a sportive that will really challenge your ability to climb with gradients of up to 33% on Hard Knott Pass and Wrynose Pass.
What: L’Etape du Dales
Why: The beautiful Yorkshire Dales are becoming an increasingly popular spot with cyclists since they were showcased by Le Tour de France in 2014, but this is the original and best sportive in the area. 110 miles covers stunning landscapes with tough climbs. For the ultimate double whammy, do the Fred Whitton in the adjacent Lake District National Park before heading over to the Yorkshire Dales.
What: London to Brighton
Why: One of the UK’s oldest challenges, the first recorded London to Brighton bike ride was completed by John Mayall in February 1869. It is also the route for Britain’s biggest and longest-running charity ride. The British Heart Foundation’s annual 54-mile event is a ride for everyone – for some, it’s the biggest challenge they have ever completed, for others, it’s a fun and relaxed day out. Ditchling Beacon, close to the finish, is a serious challenge for even the best riders with an average of 9% for 1.4km.
What: Ride London
Why: Prudential Ride London 100 was the original closed-road London sportive, but the weekend has grown to festival proportions with all kinds of events for cyclists and their families. There are now three ride distances, the Brompton World Championships, a mass-participation FreeCycle aimed at beginners and children, and of course, the professional road race to watch. A jam-packed weekend of cycling celebration!
What: Tour of Wessex
Why: A three day sportive stuffed full of climbs that will really test your ability to ride and recover for back-to-back days. The full distance is 330miles over three days, although there is the option for a shorter route, or to only ride one day. It’s a small taste of what the professional riders go through in stage races and a good introduction to multi-day sportive events.
What: Dunwich Dynamo
Why: It’s basically a big overnight party on bikes! The Dunwich Dynamo is a 200km night ride from London to the lost city of Dunwich on the Suffolk Coast. It’s free to enter and is always on the Saturday nearest a full-moon in July. Expect music, camaraderie and a festival atmosphere. Enjoy a full English or fish and chips on the beach in the early morning light before heading home again.