A round-up of the best 2017 cycling sportives to have a go at near Cambridgeshire and East Anglia

Cambridge and East Anglia may not be the first place one thinks of for a challenging ride, but there is plenty to keep the cyclist interested.

The wind permanently whips across the Fens and away from this flattest area you will find enough undulating terrain to keep you interested.

Along with some beautiful villages and easy access by road, why wouldn’t you?

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Wattbike No Excuses Cambridgeshire Sportive

When: Sunday February 26
Where: East of England Showground, Peterborough
More information: www.ukcyclingevents.co.uk/events

Starting on the edge of the Fens, neither the 82 or 54 mile routes are flat, though the hills you will find are far from testing. There are some steep digs, but nothing a fit cyclist can’t deal with, even in February. If you turn up to ride the event your entry fee will be refunded, but there are ‘no excuses’ if you don’t arrive.

Ware’s Cambridge?

When: Sunday March 12
Where: Allenbury’s sports and Social Club, Priory St., Ware, Hertfordshire
More information: www.sportiveuk.co.uk

The chalk downs of Hertfordshire are the scene for this three route sportive which, despite the name, never quite reaches Cambridge. The 80 mile route skirts the southern edge of the University city, while the 30 and 50 mile routes find their challenges closer to home. There are decent climbs in the southern half, so don’t take this early season test too lightly.

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Wiggle Spring Saddle Sportive

When: Sunday March 26
Where: Rowley Mile Racecourse, Newmarket, Suffolk
More information: www.ukcyclingevents.co.uk/events

A gently undulating course which winds and rolls through the lanes of the heart of East Anglia. Expect picture book thatched cottages on all three routes which vary between 100 and 40 miles. A perfect way to begin your season.

Richardson’s Rumble

When: Sunday April 9
Where: St Ivo Sports Centre, West wood Road, St Ives, Cambridgeshire
More information: www.wheelsinwheels.com

Another three distance sportive, with the 100 mile route a decent challenge for this part of the country. It may start in the Fen edge town of St Ives, but the route takes you north to the shores of Rutland Water, taking in all the inclines that area presents.

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Tour of Cambridgeshire

When: Sunday June 4
Where: East of England Showground, Peterborough
More information: www.tourofcambridgeshire.com

The country’s first true Gran Fondo, the Tour of Cambridgeshire’s 75 mile route is largely over pan-flat Fenland countryside and may not be overly testing, but it is unique. Held on entirely closed roads, it is also part of the Union Cycliste Internationale’s Gran Fondo World Series. This year there is a 54 mile leisure ride, tough it does not qualify for the UCI’s series.

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Evans Essex Road Sportive

When: Sunday July 9
Where: Secret Nuclear Bunker, Crown Buildings, Kelvedon Hall Lane, Brentwood, Essex
More Information: www.evanscycles.com

This close to London you really can get lost in the lanes of Essex, something this event seeks to do. It’s not flat either, you’ll be up and down all day, though none of the climbs are long or steep. And don’t worry, the Secret Nuclear Bunker isn’t secret anymore, so you should be able to find it.

Evans Cycles Cambridge Road Sportive

When: Sunday July 16
Where: Wimpole Estate, Arrington, Royston
More information: www.evanscycles.com

Organisers have worked very hard to find every foot of ascent possible on the roads and lanes near Cambridge, producing a route with nearly 4000 feet of climbing. Most of that comes in the first half as you head first into Essex, then towards Newmarket in Suffolk. There’s a 15 mile Fun event as well as short and medium routes.

Cycling Weekly Suffolk Spinner Sportive

When: Sunday July 30
Where: Otley College, Charity Lane, Otley, Suffolk
More information: www.ukcyclingevents.co.uk

With the Tour de France just finished, late July is time to get away from the television and back on the bike, and what better place to do it than on the quiet roads of Suffolk. A well established event, it’ll take you through beautiful coastal towns as well as though picturesque inland villages.

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Wiggle Steeple Chase

When: Saturday August 12
Where: Huntingdon Racecourse, Brampton, Cambridgeshire
More information: www.ukcyclingevents.co.uk

Though the name evokes horse racing and the event begins at a racecourse, the three routes of this sportive are about church spires. Heading towards the Midlands this is not the normal flat East Anglian fare, with a fair bit of climbing as you pass the eponymous church steeples heading through Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire and Bedfordshire.


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Tilting at Windmills

When: Sunday May 28
Where: Alconbury Sports and Social Club, Great North Road, Alconbury
More information: www.glynsfund.org/127/tilting-at-windmills

This may be a charity event, rising funds for local schemes, but the route certainly gets the best from the local terrain. A short family ride compliments the three main routes, the longest of which is quite a challenge. Over the 89 miles you will encounter some short steep climbs and some idyllic villages.

Wiggle Royal Flyer

When: Sunday October 29
Where: The Racecourse, Fakenham, Norfolk
More information: www.ukcyclingevents.co.uk

An easy way to wind down your season, the three routes of the Royal Flyer take in the gentle roads of North Norfolk. Wind often blows in off the North Sea here, but there’re are plenty of woods and hedgerows to shelter behind. The shortest route is only 28 miles, perfect for a first timer, or even the children.

Evans Cycles Thetford Road Sportive

When: Sunday November 26
Where: High Lodge Forest Centre, Brandon, Thetford, Norfolk
More information: www.evanscycles.com/evans-cycles-thetford

A perfect ride for the time of year, there is little ascending any of the three routes, with the 74 mile event only climbing 2265 feet. Clearly not completely flat, none of the climbs are long or steep as you wind through the countryside from the forested roads near the start and finish to the more open countryside near Diss.