Cycling Festival 2013 roundup: Goodwood, London, Bath, Abergavenny, Newcastle, Perthshire and more
Want a weekend of bike-related fun? here's some options to consider...
Want to go someplace where there's lots of like-minded folk, to see the fit guys and gals racing (or race yourself, if you're one of them), maybe take in a sportive or family event, or just have a look at some of the latest bike kit on offer? Or a bit of all of those things? Well, the good news is that what with cycling being the new golf and that, there's no shortage of festivals to attend to get your fill of cycle racing, kit and culture. We've been trawling the press releases and the websites, and here, in no particular order, is our round-up of some of the cycling festivals happening this year in the UK.
Some? Well, we're bound to have missed at least one big one and there's countless smaller one-day events happening in towns across the country. If your favourite/local event isn't in this list, just add it in the comments below and help everyone out - we'll republish this before festival season starts with all the additions added.
Orbital Cycling Festival
Goodwood played host to the period-themed Cycle Revival last year but the Orbital Festival is a big new adventure in West Sussex. There's racing, sportives and activities for all ages over the weekend of 26–28 July, and you can camp on site too so it qualifies as a proper festival in out book.
Races will mostly be held on Goodwood's historic 2.4 mile circuit, which has been in use as a motor race track since the 1940s. There's a whole range of races planned, everything from criteriums to cyclocross to time trials to family relays, so everyone should be catered for.
On top of that there'll be a bike expo in the paddock for you to ogle over the wares of some of the biggest cycling brands. There'll be a demo track for trying out the latest steeds and a track for the kids too.
The Animal Bike Tour will be headlining the entertainment with their trademark trials and tricks throughout the weekend, and there'll be BMX flatland workshops from Matti Hemmings too.
RideLondon comprises four events. Biggest of them all is FreeCycle, billed as a mass-participation celebration of cycling: it's a closed-roads event on an eight-mile trafiic-free loop in central London, and open to cyclists of any ability. You can pootle round once with your kids or do as many laps as you like.
The Grand Prix on Sunday 4 August is an invitation-only criterium programme with the action taking place on a 1.3 mile circuit. Running on the same day is the RideLondon Classic, an elite road race run on a variation of the London 2012 Olympic Road Race route.
While all that's going on you can either cheer by the roadside or get on your bike yourself: 20,000 cyclists are expected at the inaugural RideLondon 100 where teams of four riders will cycle around 25 miles each, changing over their timing device at three pre-ordained places on the route. That's assuming you've already entered, that is: entries are now closed.
As well as the racing there'll be a programme of supporting events, that's to be confirmed.
Bike Bath is road.cc's hometown hoe-down and was first run last year. For 2013 the format is much the same: there's a sportive on the Saturday and the Sunday with routes from 20 right up to 100 miles, and doing both qualifies you to call yourself a Bath Gladiator; you get a certificate and everything. Saturday sees riders head south to the Mendips, and Sunday's menu is the Cotswolds north of the city.
As well as that there's an event with top-quality speakers on the Saturday night – last year Graeme Obree and Rob Penn did the honours – and there'll be other fringe events happening too; hopefully the weekend will coincide with the opening of the new 1.5km road circuit that's currently being built.
Virgin Money Cyclone
The Virgin Money Cyclone weekend is a long one, starting on the Thursday with the Tyne Six Bridges ride. Starting at the Cycle Hub in Ouseburn, the route passes under five Tyne bridges before hopping across the river on one of two more (10 or 15 miles)and heading back to Newcastle.
Friday moves the action to Leazes Park for a full programme of criterium racing, including Go Ride youth races, before Saturday's Cyclone, the big mass-participation event of the weekend. With routes from 33 miles to 104 miles and all the usual sportive accoutrements, the Cyclone attracts a very large field.
Sunday is road race day, with the Beaumont Trophy race for the men and the Curlew Cup for the ladies. There's a very healthy prize fund for both races.
Abergavenny Festival of Cycling
The Abergavenny festival is centred around the Wales Open criterium on Friday 12 July, the Iron Mountain Sportif on Saturday 13 July, which follows the route of the 2009 National Road Race Championships, and the Grand Prix of Wales on the Sunday. The sportif is open for entries now; It's a tough parcours and a well-liked event. The festival opens on the preceding Monday and there's fringe events in the town throughout the week.
The main elite ctrierium on the Friday will be accompanied by a number of other races, including a juionr crit and a trader's race. Saturday's sportif ride will be followed by an evening with Team GB coach Shane Sutton at the Borough Theatre. The Premier Calendar GP of Wales is the final event of a whole week of cycling-related fun.
Aberystwyth Cycle Festival
May sees festival action in Mid Wales: Aberystwyth is hosting three days of top action. On the Friday the Tour Series rolls into town; there'll be the usual supporting races too plus a Town vs Gown race too.
On Saturday the action moves off road, with the town's funicular railway providing uplift facilities for a downhill MTB race on Constitution Hill, finishing on the North Promenade. Sunday is mass participation day, with the Welsh Wild West Sportive, a new event that promises three routes of stunning scenery and hills. They're not short of hills round there.
Highland Perthshire Cycling Festival
Also in May is the Highland Perthshire Cycling Festival, which precedes the hugely popular Etape Caledonia on the weekend of 12–13 May. There's all sorts of fun planned for the week including mountain bike enduro rides, kids races, skills sessions, guided road and off road rides, a downhill MTB uplift evening, a pump track and BBQ night, a film night and more. On the 11th it's the Aberfeldy BIG Day with races, stalls, demos, food and more. So if you've signed up for the Caledonia, why not make a weekend of it?
Castle Combe Cycling Festival
Castle Combe Cycling festival will be happening again in 2013. The festival is based at the motor racing circuit not far from Chippenham, and there promises to be a good range of activities centred around have-a-go activities and enjoyable and inclusive race events held on the excellent track. One of last year's attractions was the Circuit Lap Challenge: how fast can you lap the 1.85-mile circuit?
Sunday's fun is the Severn Bridge Sportive which takes you – not surprisingly – over the old Severn crossing and into Wales. There'll be an expo at the site too over the weekend.
York Cycle Show
The York Cycle Show is the CTC's annual event and it's been running since forever. There's a big trade show on site and a huge cycle jumble too; Saturday hosts a full programme of organised rides from 25km to 150km and there's also a grand parade through the city. Cycle club displays, period cycles, stunt teams and the like will also be on hand to amuse and divert you. You can camp on site if you want to stay the whole weekend; £15 buys you a pitch and that includes access to the Show as well.
York Festival of Cycling
Lucky you if you live near York, you get not one but two. York Festival is later in the year than the CTC's bash and there's plenty going on. There'll be a number of cycling demonstrations, and if you fancy trying out some bikes then there's three different tracks to choose from: a try out track with over 50 different bikes available; a KMX Kart Action Zone for ranting KMX trikes around; and a Viking Learner arena for riders under six. If you fancy trying some BMX jumps there's a ramp and air bag, and there'll be all sorts of exhibitors on site too.
Eastbourne Cycling Festival
Sunday 2 June
A one-dayer, this, with a range of competitive and mass-participation events and not just cycling ones. There's a 5k run and a duathlon as well as a full programme of closed-road racing for cat 1-4 riders. A charity social MTB ride will head up onto the South Downs and a 48-mile sportive will take you up some classic south coast climbs and cost you a reasonable £15. Back at base the chaps from Rollapaluza will be hosting a have-a-go roller racing comp in the afternoon, and there's a range of kids' activities planned too.
Edinburgh Festival of Cycling
Details are a bit sketchy on this one at the moment but the plan is to run it in a similar vein to the big Edinburgh Festival: city wide, with all aspects of bicycle culture covered. So as well as the rides and races there'll be a full programme of fringe events.
To be confirmed for 2013
All of these events took place in 2012 but have yet to confirm dates for 2013.
Bristol Cycle Festival
Isle of Wight Cycling Festival
Cardiff Cycle Festival
Gower Cycling Festival
Stratford upon Avon Cycling Festival