By Matt Lamy
The days might be getting shorter but that doesn't mean Britain's summer of cycling has to end just yet. Here's a few great events to keep the bike juices flowing.
September 9 - Etape Cymru, North Wales
Now under new management, this year's Etape Cymru promises to live up to its potential with a unique 92-mile entirely closed-road route climbing 9,000-feet. Participants will also have the chance to ride alongside an Olympic hero: silver medal-winning rower Chris Bartley - who used cycling as part of his training - will be participating. Entry is open until next Wednesday (September 5) and costs £55.
September 9-16 - Tour of Britain
With home fans given the chance to salute King Wiggo in person, this year's ToB will be more buzzing than ever. The race starts in Ipswich on Sunday September 9 and finishes in Guildford a week later, visiting Norfolk, Nottingham, Knowsley, Jedburgh, Dumfries, Carlisle, Blackpool, Stoke-on-Trent, Welshpool, Caerphilly, Barnstaple, Dartmouth and Reigate en route. There are five Tour Ride complementary challenge rides to enjoy across the country as well.
September 23 - Ibbo's Cake Quest, Surrey
Another sportive worth doing to raise money for a worthy cause, have a nice day's riding and eat lots of good cake. John Ibbotson died of Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy and the fund was set up in his name. The Cake Quest goes over the roads John trained on and is billed as the friendliest sportive in Surrey. The best thing about it is undoubtedly the plethora of cakes to welcome you at the finish. Entry is £20
September 26-30 - British national track championships, Manchester
We don't know how many Olympians and Paralympians will be on show at the track champs. It won't be too many, but there'll be plenty of young talented riders bidding to be selected for this winters world cup campaign. Tickets are available through the Ticketmaster website.
September 28-30 - The Cycle Show, NEC Birmingham
The UK's biggest annual bike show returns to the NEC this year with a eye-watering range of new products on display, including major exhibits from Trek, Madison, Chicken CycleKit and Specialized will even be building its own concept store in the exhibition hall. There will also be personal appearances from cycling stars, such as Olympic track golden girl Joanna Rowsell, mtb legend Steve Peat and Sir Chris Hoy. And of course there will be the usual attractions, such as demo areas, presentations, and this year for the first time, the show's own sportive.
September 29-30 - Manchester to Blackpool Night Right
Proving that the British Heat Foundation's fund-raising efforts aren't just focused on London to Brighton ride, this northern jaunt starts at the Trafford Centre at 11pm on the Saturday night and takes riders 52 miles on starlit Lancashire lanes to finish at the illuminations - which will be left specially alight - at Blackpool in time for sunrise on Sunday. Entry costs £30.
October 14 - Cycling Weekly Sportive, Dorking
The second running of our very own sportive will take in some of the toughest climbs the North Downs have to offer. Organised by UK Cycling Events, it's a fully supported top-quality event through Surrey and West Sussex. There's a choice of routes - 44, 66 and 101 miles, with entry costing £20 for the shortest, and £30 for the two longer options. We'll be riding, so come and keep us company on the hard road up Leith Hill.
October 20 - RideIt Epping MTB sportive
And now for something a little different. Evans Cycles RideIt calendar of events hold pairs of correlating off and on-road sportive rides throughout the year. This visit to Essex visits the ancient woodland of Epping Forest, with a mixture of bridleways and more natural off-road surfaces passing by under tread. Entry costs a very reasonable £12.50 and there's a choice of 15, 25 or 30-mile route options. If you're really keen you could sign up to do the road event the next day too.
November 16-18 - Glasgow Track World Cup
Okay, so all the tickets may be sold out and Sir Chris Hoy won't be riding in the velodrome that has taken his name, but it's still something to look forward too. The next generation of track stars will be given their chance to shine in front of a home crowd as British Cycling start their next Olympic cycle (no rest for the wicked). The TV schedule will be confirmed nearer the time.
All year - Ride the National Cycle Centre Velodrome, Manchester
If you've never had a crack at track riding, but the Olympics have got you interested, why not learn the ropes at the National Cycle Centre in Manchester - the very track where Hoy, Pendleton, Wiggins et al have honed their own abilities? The road to getting full track accreditation begins with a Taster session, where you'll ride alongside 15 other cyclists and learn various skills over the course of an hour. Taster sessions are held Wednesday to Sunday each week and bikes and helmets are provided. If Manchester is too far to go, there's always Calshott or Newport velodromes.
2012 Cyclo-sportive calendar
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