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Vélo North closed road sportive launches - 1st of September in Durham

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 – 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. 

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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's founder and first editor, nowadays to be found riding a spreadsheet. Tony's journey in cycling media started in 1997 as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning - finally handing on the reins in 2021 to Jack Sexty. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes, though he'd like to own a carbon bike one day.

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