Set yourself a goal for your winter training and earn some hardness points* from your cycling buddies *probably

If, like us, you’re feeling a bit bloated from all the festive fare over the past few days, your thoughts will already be turning to how you can get back in shape for the new year. A winter training trip to Mallorca is all well and good, but for maximum hardness points among your cycling buddies, what better than a new sportive out from Manchester and back to aim for in a little less than eight weeks’ time?

The sportive – there are actually two routes on offer, one of 46 miles, the other 77 miles, which in metric money is 74 kilometres and 124 kilometres respectively  – tie in with the inaugural Bike and Triathlon Show which takes place at Manchester Central on the weekend of 16 and 17 February.

Registration for each ride costs £30, which includes a ticket to the show after you finish, with bike storage available at the venue both for participants in the sportives and anyone just visiting the show.

The price of entry also includes an event T-shirt, while both routes feature feed stations stocked by USN, one on the shorter ride and two on the longer route. Profiles and overview maps can be found in the gallery above

Organisers say that the shorter route has been specially chosen to be suitable for riders with a range of abilities, and features 1,181 metres of climbing; the longer course, unsurprisingly, is much tougher, taking in the area where the Pennines meet the Peak District, with 2,625 metres of vertical ascending.

While the shorter itinerary turns south at Tintwistle to head the quick way to Glossop, the longer one also takes in the Torside Reservoir; it rejoins the former at Hadfield, then after Glossop, the two routes diverge again, with the 46-mile one turning back towards Manchester, while the 77-mile version starts a loop that includes Edale, Hope, Castleton and Chapel-en-le-Firth.

Of course, February in this part of the world means that sunshine is anything but guaranteed – it’s worth noting, then, that organisers Red Kite Events have reserved the right to alter the longer route on the day should conditions require it.

You can register for either ride on the Red Kite Events website, or if you just want to go to the show itself, you can get a 25 per cent discount off the standard adult admission of £12 per day by booking your tickets by 31 December for £9 on the show’s website, which also has details of opening times and who’s exhibiting.


Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.