Field of 15,000 riders get to tackle choice of two “fully closed road” routes through Durham countryside plus city centre finish – pre-registration is open now

Vélo North, the first closed road sportive in the North of England has launched today. The ride which is supported by Durham County Council will take place on Sunday 1st of September through the Durham countryside culminating in a finish in the centre of the historic city of Durham. 

Riders have the choice of either 50 or 100 mile routes which takes them through the rolling countryside of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Pre-registration is open now at www.velonorth.com – entries go live on the 7th of March with priority going to those that have pre-registered – pre-registration shuts at midnight on the 6th of March (a week today). There is also the option to enter through Vélo North’s lead charity partner Prostate Cancer UK for £20 – you’ll then need to raise a minimum of £200 in donations for the charity.


There are six food stops on the 100 mile route where those taking part will also find mechanical assistance, toilets and first aid, and three on the 50 mile route. The 100 miler will treat you to a lumpy 2,200m of climbing while the 50 dishes out 1,400 - so don’t expect many flat bits on that either. 

No details as yet on pricing for general entries for the rides, but as its name suggests Vélo North is being organised by the same people behind next year’s Vélo South, and this spring’s Vélo Birmingham & Midlands in what they are calling the Vélo Series – so we’d expect pricing to be similar. Closed roads sportives usually have a more premium price tag – although as with Vélo Birmingham & Midlands all riders in Vélo North will get a free event photo plus a free pre-ride bronze level service worth £30 from Cycle Republic (who also supply on-course mechanical support) – plus of course all the usual sportive essentials: free food stops, goodie bags, and a medal. As with the other rides in the series as well as general entries business can also enter a Business 100 Ride. 

Velo North Launch 4.jpg

Vélo North Business 100 entry option which provides companies with the opportunity to enjoy a VIP participation experience coupled with exclusive training events and networking opportunities.

Cllr Ossie Johnson, Cabinet member for tourism, culture, leisure and rural issues at Durham County Council, said: “In a year when we are celebrating the power of culture and sport to revitalise communities and bring people together through the #Durham19 campaign, we are delighted to be a part of the Vélo series.

“Vélo North is not only a fantastic opportunity to showcase the beautiful and varied landscapes that exist within County Durham, but it will bring significant economic benefits to our region. It also has the potential to inspire more people to take up cycling and lead healthier lifestyles.“

“I would encourage anyone thinking about taking part to register their interest now 

Keen cyclist and Vélo Series ambassador Martin Johnson CBE, who is participating in Vélo North, said: “As a cycling fanatic, it’s hugely exciting to see another closed road sportive come to the UK. Opportunities to ride on closed roads are incredibly rare and having ridden the inaugural Vélo Birmingham, I know first-hand how exhilarating the experience can be - I can’t wait to be one of 15,000 riders lining up in Durham City Centre on Sunday September 1.”

He added: “My advice to anyone who is tempted to enter but is doubting their ability to complete 50 or 100 miles would be to just take the plunge and go for it! I speak from experience when I say that with the right training these are definitely achievable goals and the feeling when you cross the finish line will be worth all the hard work.”

For more information and to pre-register before midnight on 6th March visit www.velonorth.com

Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.