Christmas might seem a distant memory now you’re back at work, but if the results of overindulgence during the festive period are weighing heavily on your mind, then it’s time to get out on the bike and pedal your way back to fitness.
If your motivation is waning with the unsavoury weather forecasts at the moment, well we understand, but having a goal is a really good way of giving you an incentive to ride in the rain and cold when you might rather stay on the sofa. These days there are absolutely loads of cycling events throughout the year, but we’ve picked just eight early season events to show you the variety available. There are loads more events in the road.cc events section.
Entering an event gives you a good goal to focus on, or can help you get out on the bike on day when you might have stayed indoors had you not committed to an event.
The road.cc Metric Century Challenge
Not an event as such, but a good motivator to clock up a metric century every month, and share your ride progress with other road.cc readers. Find out how you can take part here. Simply record one continuous ride of 100km or more in every month of 2014. If you manage it, you win a pair of socks!
Chilterns Wildwood CX Sportive - January 26th 2014
Looks like a lot of fun this one, and ideal for anyone who has been regularly riding or racing their cyclo-cross bike over the winter period and wants a nice event to mark the end of the season. The route is described as fast and flowing and takes participants on a variety of surfaces to challenge bike handling skills, and tyre choice.
Yaxley Riders Reliability Ride, Cambridgeshire - January 19th 2014
Reliability trials are a time honoured tradition amongst the cycling fraternity, a test of you and the reliability of your bicycle over a long distance, held in the early months of the year. The Yaxley Riders Reliability Ride offers a choice of 50 and 80 mile routes with a cafe stop on both, and the best part? it costs just £3 to enter.
Cheshire Mini Sportive - February 9th 2014
Reliability riders are slowly disappearing (which is a shame) and being replaced by sportives, because they’re all the rage with modern cyclists. The Cheshire Mini Sportive is one of the new breed of early season ‘mini’ sportives, but they’re run in much the same fashion as a reliability trial. The organisers say the route will be signposted with GPS routes available, electronic timing, support vehicles and free refreshments, all you have to do is turn up and ride. Choice of 30 or 60 mile route, costing £15 and £20 respectively.
Evans Cycles Sportive RideIt! Kent - February 16th 2014
Cycle retailer Evans Cycles is back with its RideIt! series and the first one takes to the lovely lanes of Kent. It starts at the new Cyclopark cycle facility, so ample parking and toilet and refreshment facilities, and easy to find, and wends a scenic route through the Garden of England. Four route choices from 15 to 70 miles, costing up to £17.50, which includes feed stations, mechanics, a broom wagon, electronic timing and full waymarked routes. They’re also offering free Garmin demo units if you want to try one out.
Manchester Mini Sportive - February 23rd 2014
To Manchester for the Mini Sportive, organised by the Team Torelli Cycling Club. On offer are two routes of 30 or 60 miles on relatively flat roads with only a couple of lumps and bumps, starting from the Poynton Leisure Centre. A good way to stretch the legs without asking too much of them. As with most sportives, expect electronic timing, feed stations, way marked route and ample parking.
Wiggle No Excuses Sportive, Cambridgeshire - March 1st 2014
We’ll finish this roundup with Wiggle’s No Excuses sportive, now in its 4th year. It’s a charity event that is completely free to ride, if you turn up on the day. They’re promising to give away all 1,500 places. All you need to do is book, turn up and ride, and if you do turn up, Wiggle says it “will give you 100 percent of your entry fee back to you after the event.” Dont’ turn up, and your entry fee is given to Wiggle’s chosen charity, Prostate Cancer UK.
The Burgess Hill Springtime Classic, Sussex - March 30th 2014
There are three routes on offer at this ride, 35, 53 and 71 miles, so a distance to suit all cyclists. The route heads into the Sussex countryside and takes in the fearsome Ashdown Forest, and the longer route includes some famous hills in the Kent and Surrey area. It cost £30 to enter, and you can enter on the day for £40. You get feed stations, electronic timing, certificates upon completion and there is a broom wagon. Just in case. All entrants get a free Continental inner tube worth a five.
If you want more choice, check out the road.cc event calendar for loads more events.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.