A cyclosportive, or often simply sportive, is a short to long distance, organised, mass-participation cycling event, typically held annually. Many DV riders have taken part in a variety of sportives, both individually and as part of a DV group. A sportive is a great opportunity to ride somewhere new with a large group of other cyclists of all abilities in an organised and supported environment.
They are definitely not races, but many sportives will publish a range of bronze, silver and gold standard times to give you a target to aim for. The majority of sportives are held over open roads shared with normal traffic, but some of the premium sportives are on closed roads where no traffic is allowed. All sportives will provide varying degrees of mechanical and medical assistance, marshalls and food and drink stops along the route. In this blog post I will try and give you a flavour of some of the most popular sportives that tend to attract DV riders and suggest some additional sportives that you may also want to add to your cycling bucket list! Many of these sportives will be publicised as events in the DV Facebook Group where you can see who else is going and make sure you have some ride buddies lined up.
Let’s start the year off with the Twickenham Cycle Club Surrey Rumble. Generally held in the middle of March, it starts and finishes in Cobham and offers 96km and 128km routes. It’s a friendly and relatively small sportive with maybe a couple of hundred riders taking part. One advantage of this sportive is that it is very local and over some familiar roads. In 2019 there were around 10 of us from DV who participated.
Around early April is the New Forest Spring sportive. This is a very popular sportive run by UK Cycling Events every year and attracts around 1,500 riders over a weekend. You choose to ride the Saturday or the Sunday, both days offer three routes: Short (50km), Standard (107km) and Epic (130km). The Standard and Epic routes will take you out through some beautiful scenery across the New Forest, the route is relatively flat and rolling but you can be at the mercy of the wind on the exposed sections. In 2019 there were 14 of us from DV who took part over the weekend, sharing car rides down the M3 and helping each other get around.
The first May Bank Holiday weekend sees the annual Isle Of Wight Randonee sportive. The route takes you on a circuit of the Isle Of Wight with 100km and 55km routes available. It’s a very relaxed and fun day out with many food and drink stops offering great home cooked food. There is no entry fee to take part but you donate money for food and drinks and you can buy a badge at the end to commemorate your ride. At least 10 of us from DV took part in 2018 and with DV Members Nick & Maxine now living on the IOW it’s sure to be a popular event in the diary.
The South Western Road Club May Flyer is traditionally the sportive that attracts most DV riders. It runs every year in early to mid May with 86km and 153km routes, starting and finishing in Oxshott and a reputation for better food and snacks than most! In 2018 there were just over 50 riders from DV participating out of a total of 500 riders, the sportive also tends to sell out in advance.
For those that are looking for something a little different, the Tour Of Cambridgeshire might just be for you. A number of events run over a weekend at the start of June every year, starting and finishing at the Peterborough Arena, with fully closed off roads.
There are now two events you can participate in on the Sunday, the Sportive or the Gran Fondo. The key difference here is that the Gran Fondo is very close to being an actual race, with the top 25% of finishers in each age/sex category qualifying for a place in the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships. It’s a super fast and flat ride on very exposed roads, groups tend to ride in bunches and you definitely need to keep your wits about you to get around safely.
At least 15 DV riders have taken part over the last few years with Gerda qualifying and taking part in the World Championships in Italy in 2018. It’s incredibly well organised and highly recommended.
The end of July sees the daddy of all sportives with the Prudential Ride London weekend. There are two rides available, the Ride 46 and the Ride 100, both of which will be heavily oversubscribed and entry is decided by a “random” ballot process from those who apply. You can also secure an entry through riding for a charity if you commit to raising a large sum in sponsorship and DV may also secure a team place for 4 riders through our affiliation with British Cycling.
The routes are entirely traffic free, start in the Olympic Park in Stratford and finish on The Mall outside Buckingham Palace, not to mention passing Cafe Rouge with an enthusiastic DV Supporters club waiting to cheer you on! Around 25,000 riders take part in the Ride 100 event and it’s fair to say that everybody should try and ride this event at least once. It’s incredibly well organised and an experience you’re unlikely to forget. I would estimate up to 50 DV Riders have participated in Ride 100 over the last five years.
That’s a whistle stop tour of some of the most popular sportives that DV riders tend to take part in, but there are literally hundreds of other events happening around the UK and overseas. If you’re looking for other events in the UK then here are a couple of great places to look:
If you’re really looking for a big challenge then why not take a look at some of these: