The Best UK Cycling Sportives and Events
Cycling is an amazing sport. Not only does it help you stay on top of your fitness and help you explore new places, but also it's an incredible hobby where you can make new friends and go into social circles with like-minded people. An amazing place to meet other cyclists and see new places is by going to a sportive or cycling event. In this article, we'll tell you about some of the best cycling sportives and events in the UK and some tips to prepare for them.
Fred Whitton Challenge
This legendary sportive is not for the faint hearted and is an incredible challenge to undertake as a cyclist. The 183km ride around the Lake District will give you incredible climbs, great views and is an extremely popular event for many. Places are limited, so we highly recommend getting in early and not just that, training hard for it.
Prudential Ride London
The Prudential Ride London Surry is one of the most sought after Sportives to get into. It has everything you could ever want from a ride. Amazing scenery, closed roads, and one of the best atmospheres you will ever find from any cycling challenge. The main route is 100 miles, and it takes in some of the epic Surrey hills and the best sights of central London on traffic-free roads.
Etape Loch Ness
Scotland has a lot to offer cycling challenges, and one of the most famous rides you can partake in is the Etape Loch Ness Challenge. If you are looking for amazing views, smooth roads, a 9km king of the mountain section, and the chance to see the legendary Nessy, this could be the sportive you need. The main event starts in Inverness and is 106km long with 1400m of elevation gain. It's an amazing ride for all cyclists.
If you like gravel, epic climbs, and practically traffic free trails, then you're going to want to get yourself a ticket to the Dirty Reiver. The Dirty Reiver is in the Kreidler Forest and starts at Kreidler Castle. It's an amazing event that gives you a huge choice of different routes ranging from 65km to 200km. Not only that, an amazing afterparty, and it is paired with the cycling Gravel Expo on the same weekend.
Dragon Ride Wales
The Dragon Ride in Wales is one of the UK's biggest sportives and is an amazing multi-day event. It has amazing routes ranging from the 98km Macmillan to the legendary Dragon Devil, a peak road race of 296km, and the climbing will take you over halfway up Mount Everest. It's a must-do Sportive, and Wales has so much to offer as far as cycling in the UK goes. If you plan to go, make sure you get some practice on the hills prior.
Etape Du Dales
The Dales is an amazing place to ride a bike and offers some of the best cycling in Yorkshire. Revealed to the world in the 2012 Tour De France, it's been very popular ever since. The 110 miles full distance route offers the best challenging climbs in the area and what is mighty impressive is the fact it doesn't cross a single traffic light. We can highly recommend this sportive, and we love the fact they support the Rayner Foundation to support athletes for an alternative route to go professional.
Suppose you're looking for a Sportive in Ireland to challenge those legs and take on the most iconic climbs in the Garden Country, then the Wicklow 200 could be the perfect ride for you. They offer two distances, 100km, and 200km, as you can imagine you're going to some great riding and incredible hills to play on. Well worth the trip across the water if you're in England.
The Cambridgeshire Classic
The Cambridge Classic is one of the leading Sportives in Cambridgeshire and shows how much of a hidden gem this part of the UK is. Starting at the Huntingdon Racecourse, you have three routes to choose from, the shortest being 66km and the longest being 129km. The main route stretches across three counties and embraces quiet country lanes, farmland, and small sections of forests. With just 800m of climbing on rolling hills, it's a fast ride and suits all abilities.
London to Brighton Sportive
From one of the UK's biggest inland cities to one of the most amazing coastal cities, the London to Brighton Sportive does take you to some iconic UK locations. The 55 mile route takes through quiet country lanes across the south of the UK to the seaside. You will get some stunning scenery and experience one of the UK's best climbs, the amazing Ditchling Beacon, which has a phenomenal view from the top before the great descent down into Brighton. It's amazing for beginners to experience a great ride and for professionals to challenge themselves for a good time.
The New Forest Tour
If you're looking for an adventure through the magical New Forest in the South of the UK, this is the ride for you. It all starts in Southampton, and the main route takes you out to the coast where you will get great countryside and a view of the Isle of Wight at one point. There are four routes ranging from 17km all the way up to 160km. It's a great ride and one of the best when it comes to family-friendly cycle rides.
Training Tips and Advice
Sportives and cycling events are a huge amount of fun and can be very challenging. If you want to make the most out of the experience, then training is vital. Here's our top tip when it comes to training for a sportive and riding it.
If you're planning a sportive that isn't shy of distance, then having a bike fit will be so beneficial to your ride. A Bikefit is where a professional will adjust your bike to suit your body. It will make you much more comfortable, efficient, and makes riding much easier.
Having a training plan for your sportives is a great way to ensure your going to be at your best ability when race day comes round. It can condition you for the workload you'll have to do on the day, and it's going to make it much more enjoyable as you know what to expect.
Train Smart and Hard
Although doing lots of miles outdoors in your training does benefit your riding, you will get much more value out of a proper structured program and doing some work on the turbo trainer. Interval and power sessions that can challenge you correctly go a long way, especially for those who are tight on time.
Many cyclists will rent a turbo trainer for a few months prior to a big challenge so they can do proper structured training and get the most fitness possible before taking on a big ride or event. If you want to rent a Turbo Trainer you can here.
If you don't like riding indoors, another great tool to get the most out of your training is using a power meter. This uses strain gauge technology and tells you the amount of power you're generating on the bike. This data really helps your training, and it can show you improvements over time. To rent a power meter click here.
If you really want to improve your performance and make the riding easier, the best upgrade you can make is race wheels. Race wheels are typically made of carbon fiber and are incredibly lightweight, strong, and aerodynamic. They will make the work much easier and give you a huge advantage over people with aluminum wheelsets. For Race Wheel rental click here.
The UK is full of the best sportives, and you don't have to travel far to experience great riding. These are some of our favourite rides on the UK calendar, but there are many more such as the Tour de Yorkshire. Whichever UK cycling events you choose, you will always have an epic adventure. Happy riding!