So many to choose from
The 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ showed the world what everyone from Yorkshire knew all along: that God’s Own Country is an incredible place to ride your bike.
The good news is that there are more cycling sportives in Yorkshire than ever taking, so we’ve rounded up some of the best.
Wiggle Vale Velo Sportive
When: Saturday, April 1
Where: York Auction Centre, York
More information: www.ukcyclingevents.co.uk/events/wiggle-vale-velo-sportive
As you can probably tell from its name, this early season leg-tester spends much of its time in the Vale of York, meaning a flat beginning and end to all three routes. However, if you choose to take on the 117km or 157km options, then the course heads east into the Yorkshire Wolds with some testing terrain rewarded with great views towards the coast.
Ronde Van Calderdale
When: Sunday, April 2
Where: Spen Valley Sports Centre, Liversedge
More information: http://www.k-ca.org/
Taking place on the same day as the Ronde Van Vlanderen, the Ronde Van Calderdale is Yorkshire’s homage to the famous Belgian race, with countless steep climbs, many of them cobbled. Shibden Wall, Trooper Lane, and Steele Lane may not be quite as well known as the Oude Kwaremont, Paterberg, and Koppenberg, but that doesn’t mean they’re any easier.
Maserati Tour de Yorkshire Ride
When: Sunday, April 30
Where: Stocksbridge, Yorkshire
More Information: www.letour.yorkshire.com/maserati-tour-de-yorkshire-ride
The Tour de Yorkshire is turning into a huge pro race, but away from that is a festival of cycling that includes a great sportive with three different routes to challenge all abilities. For 2017 riders will tackle the route of stage three of the Tour de Yorkshire, which means lots of climbing, and a few cobbles thrown into the mix too. If you can’t cope with the long 100km route, there are two other, shorter routes to choose from.
Up North Yorkshire Sportive
When: Sunday, May 7
Where: Ilkley Rugby Cluk, Ilkley
More information: www.fatladattheback.com/sportive
Perhaps best known for its clothing range, Fat Lad at the Back also organises a sportive in the heart of Yorkshire, with three distances to choose from. The routes head north from Ilkley into the Yorkshire Dales taking in plenty of great cycling roads including Malham Cove, but generally avoiding the really tough climbs to make sure everyone has a great day out. And most importantly, the feed stops are some of the best you’ll find on any sportive.
Etape du Dales
When: Sunday, May 14
Where: Wharfedale Rugby Club, Grassington
More Information: www.daveraynerfund.co.uk/etapedudales
Starting and finishing near the picturesque village of Grassington, the Etape du Dales does an impressive job of ticking of most of the Yorkshire Dales’ finest roads over its 177km length. However you won’t have too much time to admire the view while tackling the close-to 3,000m of climbing that the route takes in. Be under no illusion – this is a seriously tough ride.
Struggle The Moors
When: Sunday, July 9
Where: Ampleforth College, Ampleforth
More information: www.ridethestruggle.com
If you’re after a real challenge to aim for in the height of the season, then this is it. Proclaiming itself as “Yorkshire’s hardest sportive”, The Struggle features no fewer than six significant climbs, a number of which have average gradients of over 10 per cent, giving an overall climbing total that’s comfortably over 3,000m. That’s more than you get in some Tour de France mountain stages, so make sure you’ve done some training!
Le Petit Depart
When: Sunday, June 4
Where: Craven Cattle Marts, Skipton
More Information: www.lepetitdepart.co.uk
Covering some of the same roads as the Etape du Dales, Le Petit Depart is a great alternative if you’re not up for the brutal experience that the Etape will offer, with a relatively short 128km route with only slightly over half the amount of climbing. The highlight of the ride is the climb of Kidstones Bank, a 3km-long climb that’s starts off relatively benign before getting harder and harder as you approach the summit.
White Rose Classic
When: Sunday, June 25
Where: Ilkley Rugby Club, Ilkley
More information: www.ilkleycyclingclub.org.uk/white-rose-classic-2017
With three different routes to choose from, the White Rose Classic should have something to offer riders of all abilities, with organisers even offering women-only start times for those who don’t like their sportive start lines awash with testosterone. There are also mechanical support riders and vehicles out on each of the routes, so you won’t find yourself stranded if something goes wrong.
Ripon Revolution Sportive
When: Saturday, July 1
Where: Ripon Racecourse, Ripon
More information: www.ukcyclingevents.co.uk/events/cycling-weekly-ripon-revolution-sportive
While there are lots of sportives that cover the roads of the Yorkshire Dales, fewer take in the equally beautiful Nidderdale Area of Outstanding National Beauty just a few miles to the east. The climbs may not be as big, but the scenery is no less spectacular as you ride past many of the beautiful reservoirs that the area is famous for.
When: Saturday, July 23
Where: Scarborough Rugby Club, Scarborough
More information: www.ukcyclingevents.co.uk/events/ukce-scarborough-sportive
Behind the relatively benign name of this east coast sportive lies an absolute beast. The longest 193km route packs in nigh on 4,000m of climbing as you traverse the best (and hardest) roads that the North York Moors have to offer. If that sounds like a little too much, then there are three shorter routes to choose from, although with even the “short” option being nearly 100km long, there is no easy way out.
Wiggle Yorkshire Tour
When: Saturday, August 19
Where: Thirsk Racecourse, Thirsk
More information: www.ukcyclingevents.co.uk/events/wiggle-the-yorkshire-tour-sportive
While the shortest of the three routes on offer sticks largely to the flat roads of the Vale of York, the other two options head for the hills of Nidderdale and the Yorkshire Dales, taking in many of the same roads ridden by the pros in the 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ. The good news for those with tired legs is that the run to the finish is generally flat, and hopefully with a tailwind to help out too.
Selby Three Swans Sportive
When: Sunday, September 3
More information: www.yorkshirecancerresearch.org.uk/events/selbythreeswanssportive
A fundraiser for Yorkshire Cancer Research (but with no minimum fundraising target), the Selby Three Swans Sportive offers distances of 48, 96, and 145km, meaning there should be a route for everyone no matter what their ability. Starting and finishing in Selby, the all three routes are generally flat, so this might be a nice relaxing way to finish the season, with a nice boost to morale thanks to a high average speed.
Wiggle Ay Up! Yorkshire Sportive
When: Saturday, September 30
Where: Thirsk Racecourse, Thirsk
More information: www.ukcyclingevents.co.uk/events/wiggle-ay-up-yorkshire-sportive
With a stereotypical Yorkshire name, the Wiggle Ay Up! Yorkshire sportive offers a stereotypical Yorkshire ride with hard roads and steep hills. All three routes tackle the tough White Horse Bank, with the two longer routes heading off further into the North York Moors to give nearly 2,000m of climbing for the longest option.