The magnificent Blenheim Palace forms the backdrop to a Festival of cycling, now in its fourth year, that encompasses a sportive, a TT and the Brompton World Championships as well as providing a great family day out with car-free riding in the estate. The festival attracts over 5,000 people and has historically been an autumn event but this year sees a move forward in the year to the 21 August.
The move gives a bit more daylight to play with – there's a lot to pack into a day – and this year the Pink Ribbon Ride has been added to the event roster. It's a 26-mile mini-sportive through the estate and into the Cotswold countryside, for those who like the idea of a sportive but aren't quite up for the 60- and 100-mile routes offered by the current ride.
The Brompton World Champs is always a great spectacle, with a Le Mans-style running start (with bikes folded, of course) and dapper dress is required. There's a limit of 750 on etries and they usually fill up fast, so if you fancy a bit of folding bike racing (two laps of a 6.5km circuit) then get your entry in smartish; entries close on 7 August.
The time trial is a demanding 20km circuit on the closed roads of the Blenheim estate, so there's no blaming a hold-up at a roundabout if you don't post a quick time. Over 300 people took part last year, with Matthew Bottrill winning the men's event in 27:14 and Rebecca Slack taking the ladies' prize with a time of 31:37.
If you're bringing the family then the big draw is that you can ride round the traffic-free estate roads all day, as well as look round the event village which features big retailers and live bike events. The Festival opens at 7am and gates close again at 6pm; entry to the estate is £11 and a fiver for the kids. Entry fees apply for all the races. For more info head over to www.bikeblenheimpalace.com.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.