UK Cycling Events For 2018

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Fred Whitton Challenge (13th May)

This 180km sportive in the Lake District is not one for the faint-hearted, with 11-hour finish times not uncommon for the average rider. The route seems to cram in every hill in the Lake District, with a particularly nasty 30% gradient awaiting riders at the 158km mark. £60, entry ballot open until 15th January, fredwhittonchallenge.co.uk

Etape Caledonia (20th May)

Riders at this spectacular Scottish sportive are treated to 130km of closed roads in the Highlands. There are naturally some dastardly climbs to conquer, but the stunning views undoubtedly make them worthwhile. £75-£125 early bird entry, etapecaledonia.co.uk

Flat n Fast 100 (2nd June)

If your sole aim for the 2018 cycling season is setting a new PB over 100km or 100 miles, this is one of your best shots. You can even set out on the 100km route and carry on to do 100 miles if you’re feeling strong along the way. If neither of those routes appeal, there is also a 25-mile (40km) ride available. All of the rides start and finish in Thorne in South Yorkshire, and although there are a couple of climbs in the second half of the 100-mile event, the routes are mostly pancake-flat. From £15, sportivehq.com

Dragon Ride L’Etape Wales (10th June)

It doesn’t matter which of the four distances you pick at this sportive in south Wales, you should be prepared for some brutal climbs. With that said, do pick your route carefully, because they range from 100km to the truly epic 305km Dragon Devil. If merely completing the event isn’t enough of a target for you, there are also timed King/Queen of the Mountains segments along the way. £47.50-£92.50, letapeuk.co.uk/wales

Wiggle MagnifiCat (16th June)

All cyclists will be able to fund a suitable challenge at this sportive in the Berkshire countryside, with 48km, 106km, 160km and 201km routes available. The longest route involves almost 2,400m of uphill work, with nine major climbs to complete in total. £31-£45, ukcyclingevents.co.uk/events/wiggle-magnificat-sportive

Bike Bath (1st July)

This trio of rides offers a day out around the exceedingly pleasant city centre of Bath and the surrounding countryside. There are 25-mile (40km), 50-mile (80km) and 80-mile (129km) routes available, all of which are well marked and peppered with tough climbs. The longest ride has over 1,000m of climbing and it doesn’t take long for the uphill work to start, with a 150m climb in the first 10K of the race. £26-£36, bikebath.co.uk

CX Century: The South Downs Way (7th July)

For most off-road cycling events the technical challenge at least matches the physical, but that’s not the case here, because both the 100-mile and 100km slogs along the South Downs Way are gruelling to say the least (but rewarding, of course). The route is fully supported, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to refuel along the way from Winchester to Beachy Head on the coast near Eastbourne. 100km £37, 100 mile £47, cxsportive.com

Velothon Wales (8th July)

This closed-road sportive starts and finishes in the centre of Cardiff, with a whole load of cycling uphill in between, including the famous Tumble climb and a trip up Caerphilly Mountain. There are 60km, 125km and 140km routes to pick between. £45-£69, velothon.com/events/velothon-wales

The Wilier White Roads Classic (22nd July)

The Strade Bianche one-day classic is held on the white gravel roads of Tuscany every spring. It’s an incredible event, but unless you’re a pro cyclist or live in Italy, you probably haven’t had a chance to ride those roads. Fortunately, the Wilier White Roads Classic offers a similar experience far closer to home for British riders, with 25km of the 128km route set on white gravel and chalk roads on and around the Ridgeway in Oxfordshire – very much the Tuscany of the UK. £30.07, cycleclassics.co.uk/white-roads-classic-sportive

Staffordshire Cycling Festival (22nd July)

You hit the highest point of the 100km route here after just 21km, so from there on in you know there will be more downs than ups. That’s just one of the joys of the Staffs Cycling Festival, which starts and finishes in Stafford town centre. It also offers a shorter 63km route, which you can switch to on the day at two points along the longer route if you’re struggling. Early bird entry £17.99 until 1st May, then £27.99 until 1st July and £35.99 thereafter, ridestaffs.co.uk

Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 (28th-29th July)

The ballot for places in the 2018 RideLondon-Surrey 100 has closed, so your only chance to participate in this year’s 100-mile (161km) ride through London and the Surrey Hills is to bag a charity place. Otherwise, if you still fancy tooling around the closed roads of London, put your name down to cruise around the FreeCycle eight-mile circuit. prudentialridelondon.co.uk

Brecon Beacons Devil Sportive (19th August)

Some of the UK’s finest cycling is to be found in Brecon Beacons National Park, with incredible views to enjoy and famous climbs like The Tumble to conquer. There are three distances to pick from at this event – 83km, 114km or 203km – and it’s fair to say all involve a lot of uphill work, topping out at 3,631m of climbing in the longest ride. £29 (£35 on the day), drovercycles.co.uk

Deloitte Ride Across Britain (8th-16th September)

If you’ve always wanted to complete a LEJOG (riding from Land’s End to John O’Groats) but don’t fancy the faff of organising the whole thing yourself, sign up to do it as part of an organised ride. You can choose how long you want to take, with nine days being the most popular option to complete the 1,560km ride, and whether you want to camp out or opt for the luxury option of hotels each night. £1,699 (nine days camping), £2,499 (nine days hotels), rideacrossbritain.com

London To Brighton Cycle Ride (16th September)

The 87km route from London to Brighton is one all cyclists should try to do at least once in their lifetime, and there’s no better opportunity than joining this charity ride. The route is clearly marked and well supported, with four fixed mechanical help points, and there’s even a buffet lunch at the 46km point if you fancy taking a break before powering on to the coast. £45 plus £150 fundraising, londonbrightoncycle.co.uk

The Gold Rush Gravelcross (14th October)

Remember the Hovis advert where a kid walks his bike up a cobbled hill? Want to ride up that hill as part of a 38km, 55km or 75km cyclocross route? Of course you do, and here’s your chance. Gold Hill – the climb from the advert – is just one of many highlights on these partly off-road courses. Zig Zag Hill, which has the most hairpins of any hill in Britain, is another. You can expect to tackle gravel, cobbles, bridleways and back roads on this thoroughly enjoyable day in the saddle. £28-£31, cxsportive.com/events/gold-rush-cx