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 place, so we’ve rounded up some of the best.
Vale Velo Sportive
When: Saturday, April 6
Where: York Auction Centre, York
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 48km, 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 7
Where: Spen Valley Sports Centre, Liversedge
Taking place on the same day as the Tour of Flanders, 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.
Tour de Yorkshire Ride
When: Sunday, May 5
Where: Leeds, Yorkshire
The Tour de Yorkshire is now 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 2019 riders will tackle many of the same roads as the Tour de Yorkshire, which means lots of climbing. If you can’t cope with the long 123.3km route, there are two other, shorter routes to choose from.
FLAB Sportive – The Big Fat Bike Ride
When: Saturday, May 11
Where: Ilkley Rugby Club, Ilkley
Perhaps best known for its clothing range, Fat Lad at the Back also organises a sportive in the heart of Yorkshire, with four distances to choose from. The routes head north from Ilkley into the Yorkshire Dales taking in plenty of great cycling roads, 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 19
Where: Wharfedale Rugby Club, Grassington
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 180km length. However you won’t have too much time to admire the view while tackling the serious climbing that the route takes in. Be under no illusion – this is a seriously tough ride.
When: Sunday, July 7
Where: Ampleforth Abbey, Ampleforth
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 five 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 2
Where: Craven Cattle Marts, Skipton
This event celebrates the best of the Yorkshire Dales, following many of the same roads as the Tour de France and the 2019 World Championships.
A new 100-mile event has been added to the event, alongside the traditional 80-miler.
There will also be 38 and 49 mile scenic options, making this a great choice for riders of all abilities.
White Rose Classic
When: Sunday, June 23
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. 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.
When: Sunday, July 23
Where: Scarborough Rugby Club, Scarborough
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.
Sigma Sports Ride Yorkshire Sportive
When: Sunday, August 11 2019
Where: Thisk Racecourse, Yorkshire
Starting out north and heading through the Vale of Mowbray, the Ride Yorkshire Sportive covers some easy miles on the gently rolling terrain – Yorkshire cycling at its best!
Selby Three Swans Sportive
When: Sunday, September 1
A fundraiser for Yorkshire Cancer Research (but with no minimum fundraising target), the Selby Three Swans Sportive offers distances of 48, 101, and 160km, 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.
Ay Up! Yorkshire Sportive
When: Saturday, October 12 2019
Where: Ripon Racecourse, Ripon
With a stereotypical Yorkshire name, the 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.