Circuit races, Sky Rides and cycling festival in packed cycling calendar

The city of York is promoting a summer celebration of cycling as the city counts down to the 2014 opening stages of the Tour de France.

York will host the start of stage 2 of the 2014 Tour, which then takes a hilly route through the Pennines to Sheffield. This summer, York hosts several major cycling events and a program of participation rides including Sky Rides and Breeze women-only rides.

On July 21, York sees the British Cycling National Circuit Race Championships in the centre of the historic city.

In the afternoon of July 21, four special Sky Ride Local events will take residents and families into the city centre where they will get the chance to find out what it’s like to zoom round a city centre race circuit. The rides will start with a gentle pootle into the city then all riders will take part in a lap of the elite route alongside British Cycling Ride Leaders.

There are only 100 places available in total, 25 per ride, so York residents should get along to the York Sky Ride Local page for more details.

July 21 is also the final day of the Tour de France, so big screens around the city will show the finish on the Champs Elysées in Paris.

There’s a full program of SkyRide Local events through the summer, plus several larger rides.

On September 1, the Heart of York Bike Ride offers two routes, 22-mile and a 40-mile ride which both take in York and the surrounding area. The event is organised by British Heart Foundation and the Mending Broken Hearts Appeal.

Over the weekend of September 14 and 15 Rowntree Park, York hosts the York Festival of Cycling. This free festival is geared at promoting cycling as a fun and sustainable mode of transport around York.

Alongside the festival, York will be taken over by cyclists on September 14 for the York Sky Ride. The route guides riders through the centre of York, taking in iconic landmarks including York Minster and Clifford’s Tower. The route will be open from 10.30am to 4.00pm and there will be free, fun activities at the two activation areas, Rowntree Park and the York Eye.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.