By Owen Rogers
Bristol is a real gateway part of Britain. Whichever way you head from the city there is countryside to interest the cyclist, with Wales, the Cotswolds and the Malvern Hills just a stone’s throw away.
If hills aren’t your thing, the Somerset Levels aren’t to far away either. In short there’s something for every cyclist near Bristol.
UKCE Wiltshire Wildcat sportive
When: Sunday March 8, 2020
Where: Salisbury Racecourse, Netherhampton, Salisbury, Wiltshire
More information: UKCE Wiltshire Wildcat sportive
You’ll find the longest, toughest climbs at the start of this early season event. At 73 miles (or 43 on the short route) this is decent work-out for the time of year, and with over 4,000 feet of climbing most will need at least a little preparation. Heading west, you’ll cross Salisbury Plain, then enter Dorset before heading south, in a loop back to the start.
UKCE Jurassic Beast Sportive
When: Saturday May 16, 2020
Where: National Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorset, BH20 6JG
More information: UKCE Jurassic Beast Sportive
A longstanding favourite from Cycling Weekly's sister company UKCE, this sportive promises to loop riders through unspoilt Dorset villages, hitting the edge of menacing looking climbs before heading through the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to tackle some of the beasts. Riders head towards the coast for views of Corfe Castle, Lulworth Cove and Poole Harbour, before beginning the return journey.
Black Rat Challenge
When: Sunday May 17, 2020
Where: Marlwood School, Alveston, Bristol
More information: www.blackratcycle.co.uk
Very few sportives take you through two countries or allow you to ride over a suspension bridge, but the Black Rat Challenge does. Starting just north of Bristol the ride takes you across the Severn Bridge into Wales, before heading north and looping back through the Forest of Dean. Despite a stiff climb early on, it is here you will find the main ascents of the day.
There's three distances available: 87km, 120km and 181km.
Where: The Recreation Ground, William Street, Bath
More information: www.bikebath.co.uk
Bath itself is surrounded with hills, and though the 2020 routes are yet to be announced, we expect routes to include plenty of ups and downs. A long standing calendar fixture, organisers of this event promise a free medal for all participants, and a post ride bar.
UKCE Cotswolds Sportive
When: Saturday May 30, 2020
Where: The Fire Service College, London Rd., Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire
More information: UKCE Cotswolds Sportive
Boasting some steep climbs, the Cotswolds is one of England’s most beautiful areas. While riders on all three of the available routes will visit some of its picturesque climbs, those tackling the 102-mile Epic will face the pleasure of eight arrow straight miles along Buckle Street, an old Roman road, before tackling the toughest ascent of the day.
UKCE Mendips Sportive
When: Sunday July 12, 2020
Where: Strode College Sport Centre, Church Road Street, Somerset
More information: UKCE Mendips Sportive
This sportive may start and finish on the flat lands of Somerset, but the middle miles of the 74- and 36-mile routes contain some serious climbing, tackling the Mendip Hills. Though some of the earlier climbs are the more difficult, the final ascent of the day is through the stunning Cheddar Gorge, before the final flat miles.
Great Western Ride
When: Sunday July 19, 2020
Where: Long Ashton Park & Rideb Bristol
More information: www.greatwestonride.com
A 57-mile recreational ride from Bristol to Weston-super-Mare, taking in the Mendips and Somerset Levels. This is the eleventh edition of the event, and it's a truly friendly and welcoming ride, open to all.
UKCE Malvern Mad Hatter Sportive
When: Saturday July 25
Where: Eastnor Castle Deer Park, Eastnor, Ledbury, Herefordshire
More information: UKCE Malvern Mad Hatter Sportive
The Mad Hatter visits three of England’s most beautiful counties; Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire, and with it both the Malverns and Cotswolds. Despite this it is not the hilliest of events, with the climb of Great Malvern the toughest of the day. The three distances range from 38 to 100 miles.
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