Introduction: The 2015 Cycling Challenge Guide
Is your New Year’s resolution to get on your bike more? If so, 2015 is a perfect year to don the Lycra once again and take on the exciting calendar of Great British cycling challenges 2015. The line-up for cycling events is filling up this year, seeing the return of some of the UK’s most famous cycling experiences, as well as many chances to ride new routes, see new places, all whilst making good friends and riding for good causes.
I’ve gathered together some of 2015’s most promising cycling events, including some of the most exciting routes with plenty of chances to see some beautiful scenery and famous landmarks. As the saying goes; get on your bike!
Step 1: Land’s End to John O’ Groats Cycling Challenge – 5th May 2015
For those who want to push the limits and test their skills as cyclist, the ride from Land’s End to John O’ Groats is the furthest possible distance that can be covered in the UK. Riders begin their journey in the south-west of England, which takes them through Cornwall and up northwards along the outskirts of the Welsh border. Eventually, riders will pass through the Lake District into Scottish mountain ranges where they’ll finish at the northern coast of John O’ Groats, or vice versa. The route spans 12 days and just under 1000 miles.
This is one of the best ways to see the British countryside, and whilst very challenging it can also be hugely rewarding to experience such diverse settings in such a short space of time, something which puts into perspective the 100 plus miles you’ll be traversing on a daily basis.
Step 2: Velothon Wales – 14th June 2015
Over 10,000 cyclists have already pre-registered to take part in this exciting Welsh event, which will take cyclists of all skill-sets from the bustling capital through breathtakingly picturesque scenery and back again. The Velothon Wales takes place right in the middle of summer, and is perfect for those who would love nothing more than to roll through the green pastures of Welsh countryside under clear blue skies. Spectators also embrace the cycling spirit by coming out in their thousands to support riders and their fundraising efforts.
The event offers two routes for riders; one at an endurance pushing 120km and the other at a more leisurely 50km, both perfect for cyclists with an adventurous spirit. It is also one of the few British cycling events that will allow amateur riders to experience the pleasures of a fully closed road route.
Step 3: Great Manchester Cycle – 28th June 2015
The Great Manchester Cycle takes riders through the exciting urban sprawl of Greater Manchester and neighbouring Trafford, in which main roads and highways are closed off and transformed into cycle lanes for the day. Cyclists can choose from three different routes based on their abilities and age group, each traversing a 13 mile circuit within the bustling city.
The route begins in the heart of the city centre and ends at the famous Etihad Campus, which is home to current Premier League champions Manchester City and host to a massive finishing event that houses fantastic entertainment, food stands, fundraising events and a huge cycling industry exhibit.
Step 4: Prudential RideLondon – 2nd August 2015
In celebration of the sporting legacy cemented in the 2012 London Olympics, this year’s RideLondon route kicks off from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, in the shadow of the Olympic stadium, and finishes in the gorgeous countryside of Surrey, a self-declared ‘area of outstanding natural beauty’. RideLondon is one of the most accessible cycling events of the year as it is open to all age groups and abilities, and especially encourages families to take part together.
Riders managed to raise a record breaking £10 million for charity in 2014, with a further 86,000 people registering for a place in this year’s event. RideLondon was created in conjunction with the Mayor of London’s office, in support of the continuing effort to encourage more people to cycle on London’s streets.
Step 5: London to Paris – 17th September 2015
The London to Paris is one of the most famous and scenically beautiful cycling challenges in Europe. Setting off from London, the route takes riders from the capital through the garden of England, through rolling hills and beautiful countryside, all the way down to the white cliffs of Dover where a course is set for French shores. The rest of the ride is a cyclists dream, as you’ll whisk through sleepy French villages, cross the Seine and finish at the Eiffel Tower.
The London to Paris gives you some of the best bragging rights as a fundraiser, with a route spanning over 500 kilometres spread over four days. It is one of the ultimate tests of ability and endurance that be accomplished on a bicycle, as well as one of the most awe-inspiring routes cemented in cycling history today.
Step 6: Birmingham Bikeathon – Date TBD
The Birmingham Bikeathon takes riders through one of the most vibrant cities in the UK in the middle of the hazy British autumn weather, making for some spectacularly beautiful scenery and a pleasant ride which cyclists can complete at their own pace. It is the biggest cycling event in the city, with over 3,000 participants of all ages. The special event will have an electric atmosphere, with streets closed to entice residents to come and support the riders and get involved in the carnival-style celebrations, with food concessions and live music.
Riders can choose one of three routes to suit their experience level, in a no pressure environment that encourages anyone who enjoys cycling at any level to get involved and help raise money to fight blood cancer. Birmingham City Council is asking everyone to show their support for the life-saving work carried out in the city by Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.
Step 7: London Bikeathon – Date TBD
The London Bikeathon has quickly become the capital’s largest cycling charity event, with over 3,000 riders taking part last year alone. The event will guide cyclists through London’s most iconic landmarks including the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament, St. Pauls Cathedral, and the Tate Modern, in either a 26 or 52 mile route, or the truly testing 100 mile option for only the most seasoned riders, or at least those who are feeling brave.
The event is also in support of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, for which cyclists raised an impressive £480,000 last year. The London Bikeathon also boasts fun festival-type activities all day including live music, food and drink flowing plentifully, and a whole host of fundraising events through-out the day.