Prudential RideLondon 2nd – 5th August 2019
Probably the most popular (and hardest to get entry to) event in the UK. The Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 takes 25,000 riders on closed roads around the Olympic road race course, via Richmond, Box Hill, Wimbledon and ending with a Sprint up the Mall.
Choosing a wave that starts later in the morning allows riders to enjoy a fairly leisurely 100 mile ride around the largely flat (save for Leith hill) Surrey country side. If you want more of a challenge however, starting in the earliest waves will put you in a peloton with some of the best club riders in the area.
The pace in the early waves can be significant, with an authentic feel of road racing on the closed roads with everything from breakaways to occasional spills during the bunch sprint down the Mall.
Ride London put places aside for UK cycle clubs, so if you’ve been struggling to get a space through the lottery that might be your best shot. Your club just needs to apply, and it will be allocated a number of tickets based on the size of the club.
For those who are not up for the full 100 miles, you can take on the 19 or 46 mile events either. The whole weekend is packed with cycling events – with a free ride for families on a closed roads loop around the central London landmarks along with the Brompton world championships. All in all, over 100,000 people will take to the roads of London over the weekend. We think that’s pretty cool.
If you’re lucky enough to have a place for the 2019 event, you can insure your bike for the event weekend with our new, bespoke, Prudential Ride London event insurance package.
Dunwich Dynamo 13th – 14th July 2019
The first thing to know about the Dunwich Dynamo Sportive, is that it is absolutely not a sportive. There is no official organisation running it, no numbers or timing chips, no feed stations and no support. That, of course, is exactly the point.
The ride is approximately 200km, leaving from a pub in Hackney sometime around 8pm, arriving on the beach in Dunwich after dawn. Almost like a religious festival, the actual date of the ride changes each year and is based on changing fazes of the moon through June and July. I’ve consulted the oracle, this year it will be on the weekend of 13/14th July.
All sorts of riders make the trip each year, from the occasionally complained about ‘club riders’ in technical kit, to riders on complicated homemade bicycles or pulling trailers with lights speakers and a steady drum and bass beat.
Ultimately everyone is welcome regardless of their riding styles, and riding through the night to watch the sun rising over the Suffolk coast is an experience unlike any other you will have had riding.
Local club Southwark Cyclists put on coaches back from Dunwich for riders, but the spaces are limited and get snapped up very quickly. If you’re at a loss however, its only 50km to Ipswich where you can get a train for London, or you can join the surprising number of people who turn around at Dunwich and cycle all the way back again.
Strava heatmap overnight during the Dunwich Dynamo
Fred Whitton Challenge 12th May 2019
The ballot for the Fred Whitton Challenge has already closed so if you don’t have a spot, its too late for this year. However it is well worth putting a note in your diary and trying for 2020.
The Sportive was set up in memory of the racing secretary for local club Lakes Road Club, Fred Whitton, who sadly died of cancer in 1998. Since then it has developed a reputation as being one of the hardest rides in the UK and, much more importantly, raised millions of pounds for Macmillan Cancer Support.
There is no short or easy option for the Fred Whitton. The ride is ‘only’ 112 miles, but covers a relentless series of climbs around the Lake District National Park.
Vitus Dragon Ride/ L’Etape Wales 7th- 9th June 2019
Entering its 16th year in 2019, the Dragon Ride was bought up by the ASO in 2017 who run L’Etape du Tour to name just one of their massive events. With their purchase we might expect a surge in interest, but the super tough ride over the Welsh mountains was already one of the favourite mass participation rides in the UK.
The Dragon Ride offers four routes to choose from, with the shortest being 100km all the way up to 305km for the longest. If you still feel that is too feeble a challenge for your mighty dragon-slaying legs, you can also opt for the 3 day multi-stage ride which has a maximum distance of 488 km.
All of the routes include the climbs Bwlch (six percent average for 5.8km) and Rhigos (6.2km at four percent). Tickets are available now, but you’d better be quick, we don’t expect them to be around for long.
L’Eroica Britannia 18th August 2019
Not all sportives have to be the ‘toughest ride ever!’ The L’Eroica Britannia bills itself instead as ‘The World’s Most Handsome Bike Ride’, and that it certainly is. Your bike must be vintage, by which they mean 30 years or older, and your clothing should be similarly worn in.
It’s like watching a hundred years of cycling clubs all riding out together. Relatively modern bikes from the 80’s are put up against bikes that are 50, 80 or 100 years old, all ridden by riders in clothing from the same period as their bike from shoes to chapeaux.
The result is a festival atmosphere with cyclists of all types coming out with their friends to share the joy of cycling. And since it seemed to fit, the ride has now spilt out into an actual festival of cycling with beer, music and muddy fields to enjoy.
The routes to pick from are 30, 55 and 100 miles over undulating hills and sections of gravel. How much of a challenge each of these routes will be likely depends on how old the bike you’re riding is.
Lands End 100 – 21st September 2019
A perhaps lesser known and understated sportive, but one not to ignore is the Lands End 100. Entering its 9th year for 2019, you can choose from 100 miles, 100km or 75km routes where you can expect to spend most of the ride hugging the bumpy but beautiful Cornish coastline as you ride around the peninsula.
Cornwall is renowned for its tough cycling conditions – unpredictable weather at times with little shelter from the wind and the never ending ups and downs of the landscape. It doesn’t seem to put people off through with reviews suggesting this event has a high percentage of return riders looking to combine a break in Cornwall with some epic cycling.
You may well see a few YJ faces at this events soon as we’re adding this one to our bucket lists!