This Summer will see a group of cyclists circumnavigating Great Britain by bicycle, starting and finishing from Holyhead on Anglesey in a 64-day, 6,800-kilometre challenge. Starting on Saturday 4th July, the day the world’s greatest bike race the Tour de France starts, and finishing on Saturday 5th September, the eve of the Friends Life Tour of Britain’s Grand Depart from Anglesey.
The Countrywide Great Tour is supported by Countrywide, the UK’s largest and most successful estate agency and property services group and will be run in tandem with the CTC, National Cycling Charity who will provide a 3 month insurance cover for every rider who registers with the event.
Each day will have capacity of only 250 with riders able to select to ride anything from one day to the whole lot.
Here are details of the week 1 routes with some quotes from the organisers about the rides –
Day 1: Holyhead to Llandudno
“Day one consults a ride of twisting, undulating road that affords excellent views of the sea at various points. This part of the event will act as a great warm up for your legs- so don’t be fooled by the seeming lack of mountains on Anglesey. Wave goodbye to this scenic part of Wales which will be revisited on the final stage; 64 days later.”
Day 2: Llandudno to Neston
“Day two starts with a 10k circuit of the Great Orme which was scene of Stage 2 finish of the 2014 Friends Life Tour of Britain. The route continues along glorious Welsh coastline before heading across the border to finish in Neston.”
Day 3: Neston to Blackpool
“Day Three follows the National Cycle Routes around Wirral Peninsula to Seacombe Ferry, after a quick ferry journey across the River Mersey the ride then follows country roads to arrive in Blackpool. A day full of adventure with some differing terrain, anyone looking for a challenge should sign up to this stage!”
Day 4: Blackpool to Ulverston
“Day four of CGT takes in many iconic landmarks on the voyage to Ulverston, largely following Lancaster Canal to re-join along Morecambe Bay and finishing in the popular market town of Ulverston”
Day 5: Ulverston to St Bees
“Day Five the tour passes through the largest national park in the country, the Lake District, which in its 885 square miles contains 26-miles of coastline and estuaries. The day will finish on the seafront in the small coastal village of St Bees where the surrounding cliffs are used to build sandstone houses across Cumbria.”
Day 6: St Bees to Carlisle
“After leaving the stunning village of St Bees, day six will see riders travel north on rural roads past the small port town of Whitehaven known for having more listed buildings per square mile than anywhere else in the UK. Carlisle is the finishing location of this this stage and the final day before heading into Scotland for the following couple of weeks.”
Day 7: Carlisle to Kippford
“Finally day seven sees the CGT crossing the Scottish boarder into Dumfries and Galloway, a regular host of the Tour of Britain, before heading towards Kippford known for its quaint surroundings and small roads, some of which are only one house wide!”
The closest Sunday to St George’s Day means the St George’s Sportive – and next Sunday (26th April) this perennial early season favourite returns for a 9th time. Starting from Princes Risborough, in the heart of the Chiltern Hills it has about as quintessentially an English setting as you can get for a ride celebrating England’s patron saint. And like St George himself, it’s an event with some history, in UK sportive terms at least. First run in 2007, it was one of the first couple of dozen regular sportives in the UK and the first full sportive to take place in the Chilterns, and it remains one of the best rides on the calendar today.
A big part of it’s popularity is it’s fantastic (and challenging) course. It’s an apt ride for the Spring Classics season as well; it’s deceptively tough course that gives you very little for free. The sharp Chilterns climbs just keep on coming, and the twisting country lanes will keep you on the ball throughout the day. But the effort is worth it. It’s a stunning area of the countryside, and the beautiful surroundings will help take your mind off the physical challenges for sure. The Chilterns in spring a great place to be out on a bike, and will leave you wanting to come back for more!
Southern Sportive’s trademark is their slick and friendly organisation. Maybe it’s their 20 years experience of putting on events for cyclists, but they make great events look easy. Full sportive support includes comprehensive route marking, RFID timing, feed and support stations, free energy drinks, vehicle support, finishers medals and more. Plus there’s a chance to win some great prizes from Lezyne, simply turning up and riding! Southern Sportive’s Ride for the Prize will flag up random riders on the results screen who will win Lezyne lights, tools or assorted other swag, simply for crossing the finish line!
So, with the sun out and this spring shaping up into a fine one, the St George is looking like one not to miss! Full details and secure online entry can be found at southernsportive.com
Becky Russell, Race Manager at aat-events has something new for all you female cyclists out there. A Ladies-Only cycle sportive this summer starting and finishing at the state-of-the-art Surrey Sports Park and taking in stunning scenery and the best roads, only known to experienced local cyclists. Below she answers of few about herself and what inspired her to create the event.
Have you always cycled?
Yes, we always cycled as a family and since then I’ve kept it up as a way to keep fit and to explore. I love being outdoors and the sense of freedom cycling gives.
When did you start organising your own events?
I’ve been working for aat events for 2.5 years now. It’s great to be providing sporting opportunities for others. My favourite days are route-recce days. Always fun!
Do you take part in other people’s sportives?
Sportives are a great way of finding new places, and enjoying a ride without the hassle of planning your own route! Cyclists are always friendly so I find taking part in events is a great way to meet new friends.
What inspired you to create an event just for ladies?
There’s been a huge growth in women’s cycling recently, so I was keen to provide an opportunity for them to ride together, without too much testosterone in the way! I’ve created a couple of routes, both of which explore the beautiful rolling countryside in west Surrey and out into Hampshire. The longer 71 mile route is tough enough to be a challenge for more experienced cyclists, whilst the shorter 39 mile loop is great so those new to cycling, or if you’re after a fun day out with friends.
What advice would you give to ladies signing up to their first sportive event?
Prepare to have fun! Make sure you’re happy on your bike and comfortable with the set up. Ensure your bike is in good condition before you ride – we will have mobile mechanics on the route but it’s more fun for you if you don’t need them. There’s lots of advice online. Check and tighten the straps on your helmet – mine has literally saved my life in the past. Remember to fill your water bottle and bring an extra layer in case it gets chilly!
When your legs are tired what keeps you going?
Honestly? Cake and the promise of a warm bath! We’ve got home-made cake at our course feedstations, so our sportive athletes are sure to be well fuelled. The bath they’ll have to sort out for themselves!
Following the sell-out success of Monday’s Santini Cotswold Spring Classic, it’s time to look forward to the other end of the season and the annual season closer – the Santini Cotswold Autumn Classic. Taking place on 4th October, the Autumn Classic is fast becoming a favourite with riders wanting that last big ride before the season ends.
Like its sister event, the Autumn Classic this year will also be introducing gold/silver/bronze standard times, timed climbs and a finishers medal – to go along with the Santini goodie bag, free energy product at sign-on and hot pasta meal at the end. Starting and finishing in the town of Cirencester, the college venue means there is not only plenty of parking on-site for all riders – but hot showers and indoor refectory for the riders to re-fuel after their ride.
Taking riders to the north of the stunning Cotswolds, the Autumn Classic gives you a completely different taste of the roads on offer – along with some testing climbs and amazing views.
With an entry cost of just £28.00 the Santini Cotswold Autumn Classic offers fantastic value for money – as well as the usual trimmings you’d expect from a sportive, including a choice of three fully signed routes, very well stocked feeds, motorcycle outrider support, all riders receive hot food at the finish, neutral service support out on the course (provided by Performance Cycle), a goodie bag from Santini and a finishers medal.
Following the success of previous years, entry for the Autumn Classic has been increased to a maximum capacity of 600 riders and the entry system opens at 9am this morning – so don’t hang about, get your entry in now.
For further information and to enter, visit the event website www.cotswoldautumnclassic.co.uk
Action Medical Research has announced new Spring Prices on all of their RIDE100 events. Fundraising entries now start at £25 and direct entries at £38. The award winning RIDE100 series contains 10 events spread across the country from the hills of Yorkshire and Scotland to the coastal lanes of Suffolk. The series is supported by Chain Reaction Cycles and includes a unique ride with Action ambassador Davina McCall.
Action Medical Research Cycling and Events Operations Manager, Sam Kantorowich outlines the reasons behind the new pricing strategy “We are delighted to now offer more inclusive and affordable prices on our rides. In an increasingly competitive market place we have found ourselves squeezed by commercial operators and decided it was time to reassess our approach. Fundamentally the sportives we run are geared to raising as much money as possible to support the great work the charity does. However, as an organisation we are also passionate about getting people on bikes and introducing new people to the joys of cycling. With this in mind we’ve lowered our prices and taken out one of the barriers of entry. For our new pricing strategy to work we need to get more people in the saddle on our events than ever before, it’s an exciting time!
What’s great about taking part in one of our RIDE100 events is that the events are planned, managed and delivered directly by Action Medical Research. You won’t find us paying fees to event organisers. Therefore we can truly say that the money you raise goes towards funding medical breakthroughs.”
The RIDE100 events contain multiple route options, gourmet food stops, moto marshals and most importantly a great atmosphere. They’re suitable for everyone, from hardened cyclists to new beginners.
For more details on the events and to sign up visit –
150 more spaces have been released for those wanting to take on the full 2 day, 185 mile, Mitie London Revolution and enjoy the experience of the basecamp at Ascot. The event takes place on the 16th and 17th May and is the largest multi-day sportive in the UK. Riders of all abilities will take on the iconic 185 mile loop around the capital with many staying at the overnight camp at the halfway point.
At the basecamp as well as camping facilities you can hand your bike over for a free check-up, have a hot shower, grab a beer and get yourself into the massage tent. The package also includes dinner and breakfast just leaving you to concentrate on preparing for another 85 miles of challenging cycling the next day.
This Summer will see a group of cyclists circumnavigating Great Britain by bicycle, starting and finishing from Holyhead on Anglesey in a 64-day, 6,800-kilometre challenge. Starting on Saturday 4th July, the day the world’s greatest bike race the Tour de France starts, and finishing on Saturday 5th September, the eve of the Friends Life Tour of Britain’s Grand Depart from Anglesey, the Countrywide Great Tour is supported by Countrywide, the UK’s largest and most successful estate agency and property services group.
Commenting on Countrywide’s involvement in The Great Tour, Alison Platt, Chief Executive Officer of Countrywide PLC said “We are thrilled to support The Great Tour as lead sponsor and are very pleased to strengthen our involvement in supporting the local communities all along the route. We were particularly struck by the opportunity to develop extensive charitable support and as a national organisation thought that we could support the Great Tour around the entire country”
The Countrywide Great Tour is being put on in tandem with CTC, the national cycling charity, who are the experts in helping and supporting thousands of everyday cyclists to realise the joys and benefits of cycling. CTC are supporting the riders with trained ride leaders, insurance and membership package.
“CTC has been helping cyclists ride for leisure and pleasure for over 137 years and is proud to be part of such a stunning cycling event. We want as many people as possible to join us and have a fun and enjoyable time exploring the fantastic riding the coastline of Britain has to offer,” said CTC Chief Executive Officer Paul Tuohy.
Each day of the Countrywide Great Tour will have capacity for up to 250 riders, with a core group of riders completing the entire challenge. Along the way they will be joined by members of the public wishing to ride a day or week of the route, plus riders from corporate and charity partners, using the event to raise funds for good causes.
Among the charities to have already signed up to the Countrywide Great Tour as a fundraising and awareness platform are Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research; Anthony Nolan; Macmillan; and Alzheimer’s Society.
Commenting on the launch, Hugh Roberts, Chief Executive of organisers SweetSpot Group, who personally completed the Great Tour route in 2010 said;
“The Countrywide Great Tour is a fantastic challenge. We want to stimulate cycle tourism by creating and formalising a route that circumnavigates Britain’s fantastic coastline, drawing attention to all of the attractions it has to offer.
“We hope to firmly establish the Countrywide Great Tour as an annual event, providing a platform for charitable fundraising and promoting cycling in each of the communities it touches around the coast.”
Working with partners Ordnance Survey, each day of the Countrywide Great Tour will be mapped and shared using Ordnance Survey products, with an official route app also being published. A ‘club’ will also be created for riders who have completed the entire circumnavigation, whether in one go, or over a prolonged period.
For more information about the Countrywide Great Tour, visit –
Making the journey from Belgium to Folkestone for The Good Friday Sportive will be former pro rider Tommy van de Gehuchte and his “Aalter Vooruit” team. Tommy rode professionally for Jong Vlaanderen 2016 and Flanders-iTeamnova and was a former team mate of Philippe Gilbert and raced for many years against the generation of Boonen, Steegmans and even against Armstrong and Wiggins.
Since retiring Tommy and his Team “Aalter Vooruit” aims to participate in Sportives/Gran Fondo’s and adventure races all over the world as a kind of post sporting career hobby. Last year he took part in his first UK sportive; The Puncheur and it was such a good experience in the UK that he convinced his friends to attend a UK sportive this year. In favour of supporting new events and organisations Tommy decided to sign up for The Good Friday Sportive organised by iCycle Events which takes place in Kent on Friday.
The Good Friday Sportive offers a choice of three distances that explore the Kent countryside and has an undulating terrain. Early on the profile is a little lumpy as riders tackle the North Kent Downs before descending to the Romney Marshes where it flattens out for a swift run into Folkestone. The final climb to the finish is a testing one and the post ride buffet will be worth the effort!
Tommy and his team are looking forward to meeting riders on the start line and will be there to answer any questions and offer advice. They be showing them a trick or two on the road if they can keep up with them!
Online entry closed on Wednesday for The Good Friday Sportive but riders can enter on the day. For more information visit –
dhb clothing has always had a good reputation for offering great value for money but the professional line has been developed to bring a more premium feel to the range with the use of advanced fabrics and a closer more aerodynamic cut designed around a slimmer cyclists build. Wiggle claim the kit is exactly the same technical specification as that used by the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team kit so if it’s good enough for them it should probably be good enough for us too.
Being Wiggle’s own in house dhb can get unfairly pigeon holed as a budget brand by some riders but upon opening the Professional ASV kit we were pleasantly surprised by the quality fit and feel of the items which easily matches up to some of the more premium brands we’ve used.
We’ve had the kit for a several weeks now so as well as riding in it we’ve put it through several wash cycles and it still remains looking like new. We’ll have to report back on how it holds up over a more extended period of use but so far so good in terms of general fabric quality and stitching.
In addition to the short sleeve jersey and bib shorts we reviewed the dhb Professional ASV range also includes long sleeve jersey options, bib tights and matching socks if you want to complete the look. You can check out the full range over on the Wiggle website at dhb Professional ASV Clothing.
We take a look in each item we had in for review in a bit more detail below.
First up the jersey, it’s a typical cycling jersey design with the standard 3 pockets to the rear as well as a smaller zipped pocket that is ideal for keeping your keys or cash safe. It’s also nice to see the inclusion of a full length zip; although it stayed firmly zipped up during our testing it’s always good to have the option of the extra ventilation a full length zip offers and hopefully we’ll soon get some hotter weather to warrant this!
The jersey is made from a hydrofit fabric which is claimed to help wick away sweat and also has an anti bacterial treatment which should keep it smelling fresh for longer, both are difficult things to test but we didn’t have any issues with the fabrics wicking properties or smell so I guess they work. Probably the lightweight fabric also helps here as well and for those weight weeny obsessives Wiggle helpfully publish the jersey weight at 120g for a size Medium.
The bit that impressed most with the jersey was the fit, there’s no slackness to flap around in the wind but it doesn’t feel too tight that it’s restrictive whilst the rear pockets held their position and didn’t sag excessively even when stuffed with all the usual riding kit.
The design is quite bold with large blocks of colour but it’s really going to come down to personal taste whether you do or don’t like the style, it certainly stands out amongst the monochrome jersey designs that we see lots of riders wearing at the moment which is no bad thing in our opinion. As well as the blue colour we had in to test there’s also a red option available if that’s more to your taste or you feel the need to colour coordinate with your bike. At the moment Wiggle also still have stock of a yellow colour option which was part of the Spring/Summer 2014 range.
Bib shorts can always be a bit of a personal choice, what works for one rider might not necessarily work for another, we’re all different body shapes and fit is the most important aspect in finding something that is right for you. Personally I’m a big fan of my Assos shorts so inevitably anything else I try ends up getting compared back to these despite the sometimes obvious price difference.
At 6’3″ I’m quite tall and skinny so usually I end up going for an XL size in bib tights to get the right length in the legs and for the shoulder straps to not be too tight. That can sometimes mean the legs fitting a bit loose which is never good for comfort or looks. Luckily the fit on the dhb professional shorts was pretty much spot on, they’re quite a lightweight 4 way stretch fabric and a cut designed for a slim build which suited me well.
The wide leg grippers stop the shorts riding up without pulling on the skin and also does a good job of keeping knee and leg warmers in place whilst the mesh bib section has wide comfortable straps that stop the bibs from sliding down.
The chamois is Cytech’s Elastic Interface endurance pad which, as the name suggests, is designed to offer comfort over longer rides and it does a good job of providing enough cushioning without feeling too bulky. It also stays in place well so you don’t feel the need to keep trying to adjust it which is sometimes the case on cheaper and less well designed shorts. For those that haven’t heard of Cytech they’re a leading designer and manufacturer of chamois inserts with their pads found in a wide range of custom clothing as well as in some high end brands such as Assos and Rapha. They make a huge range of pads so it’s not the same one used by all manufacturers but they certainly know a thing or two about designing a decent insert so it’s great to find such a good quality choice at this price point.
To date I’ve only had the chance to test them on 2 hour rides and found them to be very comfortable so it will be interesting to see how they perform over longer rides over the coming months.
Like the jersey there’s also a red and black option available as well as the blue and black option we had in for review.
A well designed and good quality set of riding kit with a fit that suits the slimmer athletic built rider. The dhb brand might not have the same cachet as some others but the Professional ASV range offers great value that can give easily give the premium brands a run for their money.
Have your say…
If you’ve tried the items we’ve tested please let us know what you think by posting a comment below.
Interested in purchasing dhb Professional Clothing?
The brand is available exclusively through Wiggle…
aat events have announced two Surrey based sportives for this summer, the first ride on 28th June is just for ladies, whilst boys and girls are invited to take part in the 16th August sportive event. Starting and finishing at the Surrey Sports Park means there will be plentiful parking, changing facilities, lockers, showers and Starbucks coffee whilst the routes include beautiful scenic routes created by local cyclists, mobile mechanics and medical care, clear route marking and stops stocked with drinks and homemade cake as well as toilets on route.
The ladies only ride on the 28th June route takes cyclists out through rolling Hampshire countryside on an 115km (71 mile) or 63km (39 mile) ride. The longer route is challenging enough to put experienced cyclists through their paces, while the shorter route is ideal for those new to the world of sportives! Women of all ages and abilities are welcome.
The 16th August sportive route follows a different course and rolls and winds its way through the Surrey Hills with a choice from a 112k (75 mile), 106k (65 mile) or 67k (41 mile) route at £24, £22 and £20 respectively.
For more details and to enter visit – http://aat-events.com/race/sportive