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Cycle NI - Your definitive guide to cycling in Northern Ireland
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Search by county cycling routes in Northern Ireland

Cycling Sportives

Cycling sportives and challenge rides are fast becoming one of the most popular cycling disciplines in Ireland and Great Britain.

Cycling sportives are typically the cousin of a runner’s marathon - they are long distance, mass participation road cycling events. They are not races; they simply allow cyclists to challenge themselves against the distance and the clock. Sportives are open to all cyclists but ensure you choose ane event or distance appropriate to your fitness and experience as some are not for the faint hearted! Below are a number of sportives in Northern Ireland that are very popular:

County Map
Age Concern NI Leisure Tour - 5 October 2014
Bangor Coastal Challenge - 15 June 2014
100 km
Billy Kerr Sportive - 16 August 2014
67km,115km or150km
Causeway Cycle Challenge - 27 July 2014
48km & 97km
Clogher Valley Sportive - 3 August 2014
56km & 105km
Cody's Challenge - 19 October 2014
16km, 80km, 112km
Dromara Coastal Cycle - 4 May 2014
96km/128km
Eskra Big Breakfast Cycle Challenge - 21 June 2014
70 miles, 35 miles, 10 miles
Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive - 13 September 2014
57km, 126km & 182km
Glens of Antrim Coast Charity Cycling Sportive - 5th July 2014
50km & 100km
Inishowen 100 - 17 August 2014
160km & 80km
John Lindsay Memorial Torr Head Cycle Challenge - 21 September 2014
32km, 81km, 113km
Lap the Lough - 24 August 2014
140km
Maracycle - 28+29 June 2014
322km (over 2 days) & 80km
Minnie Clarke Memorial Tour - 7 September 2014
80km
Mourne Sportive and Hilly Leisure Tours - 10 August 2014
169 km, 125 km, 85 km, 60 km
Roe Valley 100 - 13 April 2014
162.5km
Sperrin Challenge - 10 August 2014
56km/89km/121km
Sperrin Sportive - 18 May 2014
120km/90km/50km
Strangford Sportive - 4 October 2014
40km, 80km or 120km
Tour of Down - 15 February 2014
80km
Tour of South Derry - 12 October 2014
60km & 80km
Tour of Strangford – 14 September 2014
100km
Tour of the Glens - 4 May 2014
200km
Tour of the North Coast - 17 August 2014
100km
Tour of the Orchards - 20 July 2014
58km/110km
Tour of Tyrone Sportive - 8 June 2014
155km/90km

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Age Concern NI Leisure Tour - 5 October 2014

DateSunday, 5 Oct, 2014

More details to follow soon at http://www.islandwheelers.com/training-tips/nutritional-tips/

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Bangor Coastal Challenge - 15 June 2014

Image of Bangor Coastal Challenge -  15 June 2014

DateSunday, 15 Jun, 2014
Length100 km
Start PointBangor Sportsplex

This is a scenic coastal route of 100km around the Ards Peninsula which has few inclines and takes a break in Portaferry for lunch.

So whether you are a serious cyclist or a novice wanting to cycle the distance for the first time the NDCC Bangor Coastal Challenge is the event for you!

The Challenge starts and finishes on the Old Belfast Road at the Bangor Sportsplex which has ample car parking and changing facilities.

En-route there will be water stations, a “broom wagon” for breakdowns etc. and the event will be overseen by local police assisted by an experienced team of marshalls, with motorcycle paramedics and ambulance back-up. All finishers within the time limit of 8 hours will receive a specially commissioned commemorative T-Shirt.

For further information please visit www.northdowncc.com

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Billy Kerr Sportive - 16 August 2014

Image of Billy Kerr Sportive - 16 August 2014

DateSaturday, 16 Aug, 2014
Length67km,115km or150km
Start PointBallymena Showgrounds Car Park

In memory of the legendary Billy Kerr BRC road racer, a sportive with 3 distances has been organised for Saturday, 16 August.

Sean Kelly (famous Irish professional road bicycle racer) will be attending this event. Sean will be riding the course as well as being available at the start/finish location.

Starting location and sign-on will be at the Ballymena Showgrounds Car Park - entrance via Ecos centre and each route will take in the spectacular and stunning scenery around the North Antrim Coast.

We proudly welcome Chain Reaction Cycles as the main sponsor and they will be supplying goodie bags.

Food and refreshments will be provided along the route and start/finish location.

Three routes are offered:

  • 67km
  • 115km
  • 150km

Follow the link below to see a map of each route.

Riders can roll out from the start location between 8am and 9am.

Nominated charity partner is Northern Ireland Children's Hospice.

Online registration and pre-booking system is now available by clicking on the link below:

http://www.ballymenaroadclub.co.uk/content/?id=61&l1id=30

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Causeway Cycle Challenge - 27 July 2014

Image of Causeway Cycle Challenge - 27 July 2014

DateSunday, 27 Jul, 2014
Length48km & 97km
Start PointColeraine Rugby Club

Bann Wheelers are holding their Causeway Cycle Challenge charity cycle on Sunday 28 July. All proceeds will go to charity. The nominated charities are Marie Curie Cancer Care, The Phoenix ADHD Project, Coleraine and Mountfern Adult Centre, Coleraine.

There will be two routes, one at 30 miles and one at 60 miles long, both travelling along the beautiful Causeway Coast.

The routes start and finish at Coleraine Rugby Club and travel from Coleraine through Ballymoney, Dervock, Ballycastle (60 mile only), Ballintoy (60 mile only), Bushmills, Portrush and Portstewart.

Pre book online or enter on the day. For more information and to book online please visit www.bannwheelers.com

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Clogher Valley Sportive - 3 August 2014

Image of Clogher Valley Sportive - 3 August 2014

DateSunday, 3 Aug, 2014
Length56km & 105km
Start PointSt. Ciaran's Hall, Ballygawley
Clogher Valley Wheelers are a new club in South Tyrone and are running the South Tyrone Sportive on the 4th of August leaving from Ballygawley.

Two routes are available on the day.

65 mile route with fast flat parts and also some challenging climbs mid way through.

There is also a 35mile route.

The sportive will be well marshalled with plenty of food/water stops and plenty of refreshments at the end.
For more information please visit www.cloghervalleywheelers.com

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Cody's Challenge - 19 October 2014

Image of Cody's Challenge - 19 October 2014

DateSunday, 19 Oct, 2014
Length16km, 80km, 112km
Start PointRichhill Recreation Centre

Cody’s Challenge Sportif was established to raise much needed funds for the Children’s Heartbeat Trust in the Belfast Royal Hospital.

The event has been held for the last 4 years and accommodates cyclists of all abilities with three different distances for the riders to choose from (10miles, 50miles, 70miles) all travelling through the beautiful countryside of Armagh.

The entry fee for the event is £20 and starts at Richhill Recreation Centre at 10am.

For more information please visit Forme Coaching.

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Dromara Coastal Cycle - 4 May 2014

Image of Dromara Coastal Cycle - 4 May 2014

DateSunday, 4 May, 2014
Length96km/128km
Start PointDromara Village Football Club

Dromara Cycling Club's "Coastal" is an annual event for many cyclists.  From the leisure cyclist to the more focused fitness or club rider,  the coastal has something for everyone.  

Two distances are offered, 60 miles and 80 miles, starting from Dromara Football club located on the Rathfriland Road, Dromara on Sunday, 12 May 2012.

The tour follows a fabulous scenic route along the South Down coastline and the shores of Strangford Lough.  There is a food stop arranged in Strangford where cyclists can eat and chat before heading back onto the road again. 

The fee for the event will be £10 (€10) for CTC or Cycling Ireland members.  For those who are not members (and therefore do not have insurance cover) there is an additional fee of £1 (€1) for a one-day third party cover insurance.  

Registration will be available soon for this event online, please visit Dromara Cycling Club's website.

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Eskra Big Breakfast Cycle Challenge - 21 June 2014

Image of Eskra Big Breakfast Cycle Challenge - 21 June 2014

DateSaturday, 21 Jun, 2014
Length70 miles, 35 miles, 10 miles
Start PointEskra Community Centre, Eskra, Co Tyrone

This event takes place during the Eskra festival and incorporates 3 distances to cater for different abilities: 10 miles for beginners and families, 35 miles for fitter cyclists and then a challenging 70mile route for the adventurous.

The 70mile challenge takes cyclists through the beautiful scenery of Tyrone, and Fermanagh before crossing the Cooneen mountains into Co. Monaghan - approx half the route will feature hilly terrain, so ideal for the cyclists looking to test their stamina and fitness.

The entry fee for the event is £10 for adults and £5 for under 18's.

  • 10 mile cycle: Sign-on 12:00 pm, Start 12:30 pm
  • 35 mile cycle: Sign-on 10:00 am, Start 11:00 am
  • 70 mile challenge: Sign-on 9:00 am, Start 10:00 am

For more information please contact Kevin O'Hanlon on 07771 800943.

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Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive - 13 September 2014

Image of Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive - 13 September 2014

DateSaturday, 13 Sep, 2014
Length57km, 126km & 182km
Start PointBallycastle

Watch 2012's event video here!

The Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive offers unique cycling through simply breathtaking landscapes. Taking place on Saturday 7th  September 2013, cyclists have the choice of 3 routes (57km; 126km; 182km) all based on the iconic North Coast of Ireland and stunning Glens of Antrim. If you’re after spectacular scenery coupled with the opportunity to tackle some of the toughest hills Northern Ireland has to offer then the Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive is for you!

Pre booking for the Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive is necessary. For more information and to book please visit www.giantscausewaycoastsportive.com.

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Glens of Antrim Coast Charity Cycling Sportive - 5th July 2014

Image of Glens of Antrim Coast Charity Cycling Sportive - 5th July 2014

DateSaturday, 5 Jul, 2014
Length50km & 100km
Start PointLarne

This is your opportunity to Make A Difference Worldwide to Orphan Children and vulnerable people in some of the world’s poorest countries.

There are two Sportives for you to choose from:

100km  Larne – Cushendun – Larne is now in its fifth year and already a massive success in raising funds for our projects, with up to 350 riders in previous years.

50km  Larne – Cushendun – You and your bike return to Larne by Coach. In its third year, aimed at the leisure cyclist who wants to take on the Sportive and still be able to enjoy a day out.  Have your lunch at Cushendun and enjoy the views of Cushendun and the surroundings of Glenmona House (National trust).

For more information or to register, visit http://www.makeadifferenceworldwide.com/node/95

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Inishowen 100 - 17 August 2014

Image of Inishowen 100 - 17 August 2014

DateSunday, 17 Aug, 2014
Length160km & 80km
Start PointTemplemore Sports Complex, Londonderry

The main 160km route is well signposted and follows the coast around the very scenic Inishowen Peninsula and includes the challenging climbs at Mamore Gap and Kinnegoe Bay. This is not an easy event and should only be attempted by cyclists who have trained for this type of distance. 

For cyclists who feel they not experienced or fit enough to take part in the full event, have the option of participating in an alternative route of 80km with the same start and finish locations through the scenic Donegal countryside.

Pre booking for the Inishowen 100 is necessary. For more information and to book please visit Foyle Cycling Club's Website.

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John Lindsay Memorial Torr Head Cycle Challenge - 21 September 2014

Image of John Lindsay Memorial Torr Head Cycle Challenge - 21 September 2014

DateSunday, 21 Sep, 2014
Length32km, 81km, 113km
Start PointBallygalley, Antrim

Cycle one of the most dramatic routes with open sea views on one side and rugged cliffs on the other. This event is organised by Team Madigan Cycling Club, it raises funds for a cancer related charity each year and is in memory of John Lindsay, who was a racing cyclist from Carnmoney, Antrim that sadly died from cancer in 2003 aged 37yrs. 

For more information on this event please visit www.team-madigan.org.uk.

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Lap the Lough - 24 August 2014

Image of Lap the Lough - 24 August 2014

DateSunday, 24 Aug, 2014
Length140km
Start PointPeatlands Park

Lap The Lough is not exclusively for the elite or club cyclist but for anyone up for a challenge. The event aims to encourage as many cyclists to do one lap of Lough Neagh. The terrain is very flat for an event of this length. There are a few small climbs around Ardboe, Antrim and along the eastern shore but nothing of alpine proportions.

Pre booking for Lap the Lough is necessary. For more information and to book please visit www.lapthelough.org.

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Maracycle - 28+29 June 2014

Image of Maracycle - 28+29 June 2014

DateSaturday, 28 Jun, 2014
Length322km (over 2 days) & 80km
Start PointBelfast

Co-operation Ireland’s flagship bike challenge, Maracycle, will return over the weekend of 23rd & 24th June 2012 commencing in Belfast. Take on the challenge of cycling between the two major cities of Belfast and Dublin. 220 miles both directions or option of cycling one way only from Belfast to Dublin or Dublin to Belfast. Shorter options also available.

For more information please visit www.cooperationireland.org/maracycle.

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Minnie Clarke Memorial Tour - 7 September 2014

Image of Minnie Clarke Memorial Tour - 7 September 2014

DateSunday, 7 Sep, 2014
Length80km
Start PointCrossmaglen Rangers GFC

This is a 80 km tour which travels through the rolling countryside of South Armagh.

Refreshments and food is given to all cyclists, the entry fee is £10 and all proceeds from this event go to the National Council for the Blind.

For more information on this event please visit www.sgwheelers.com

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Mourne Sportive and Hilly Leisure Tours - 10 August 2014

Image of Mourne Sportive and Hilly Leisure Tours - 10 August 2014

DateSunday, 10 Aug, 2014
Length169 km, 125 km, 85 km, 60 km
Start PointDromara Football Club

Dromara Cycling Club continue to host their annual Mourne Sportive and Hilly Leisure Tours. There are 4 routes to choose from.

- The Mourne Sportive (169K) route will take riders into the heart of the Mourne Mountains climbing over 11,000 feet across many of its famous peaks including Coyle’s Hill, Spelga, Windy Gap and Dree Hill.  Entry is limited to 60 riders for the Sportive.

- The Hilly (125K) is an event for strong cyclists and visits all major climbs. It includes the Cornmill, Dree Hill, Windy Gap.  After lunch in Leitrium, there is Spelga Dam and a number of other hills to climb including Leganny Dolmen. 

- The Hilly (85K) has the same first half to lunch in Leitrim as the Hilly 125K, then takes the easier 60K route home.

- The little Hilly (60K) takes in some regular County Down hills but no major climbs.

As part of the day's events we are offering a Junior Hilly Tour using the Hilly '60' route. This route is well suited to junior riders (aged 12-16) and riders will be escorted by senior club riders to and from the tea stop at Leitrim.

For more information on how to enter please visit www.dromaracc.co.uk

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Roe Valley 100 - 13 April 2014

Image of Roe Valley 100 - 13 April 2014

DateSunday, 13 Apr, 2014
Length162.5km
Start PointRoe Valley Leisure Centre

The Roe Valley 100 route takes in coastal views and inland mountains without ever travelling more than 16 miles from the event HQ in Limavady.    

More information will be available soon on www.roevalleycc.net

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Sperrin Challenge - 10 August 2014

Image of Sperrin Challenge - 10 August 2014

DateSaturday, 10 Aug, 2013
Length56km/89km/121km
Start PointMoneymore Recreational Centre
A Cycling Sportive through the scenic Sperrin Mountains

Choose from three routes: 35miles, 55 miles, 75miles

Everyone will be rewarded with a BBQ at the finish.
For more information, please visit www.easttyronecycleclub.com

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Sperrin Sportive - 18 May 2014

Image of Sperrin Sportive - 18 May 2014

DateSunday, 18 May, 2014
Length120km/90km/50km
Start PointMid Ulster Sports Arena, Cookstown

The Sperrin Sportive is a cycle challenge through the Sperrin Mountains.

The start location is Mid Ulster Sports Arena Cookstown at 08:30 and they operate a sign on and go system rather than a mass start. There are refreshments at the halfway point and also at the finish and there are also shower and changing facilities at the start/finish area.

For more information please contact Gary Maguire on 07966343331or gary@bpmckeefry.com

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Strangford Sportive - 4 October 2014

Image of Strangford Sportive - 4 October 2014

DateSaturday, 4 Oct, 2014
Length40km, 80km or 120km
Start PointDelamont Country Park

Cycle the 40km, 80km or 120km routes based from Delamont Country Park around the picturesque drumlins of County Down.

Podium4Sport will be providing a support vehicle around the routes.

After your cycle you'll be welcomed back into the park with a delicious BBQ sponsored by the Good Little Company.

Enjoy a great team spirit, and help to change lives and alleviate poverty in some of the world's poorest communities.

For more information, follow this link:   http://www.christianaid.ie/getinvolved/events/cycling/strangford-sportive.aspx

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Tour of Down - 15 February 2014

Image of Tour of Down - 15 February 2014

DateSaturday, 15 Feb, 2014
Length80km
Start PointKatesbridge Hall, Katesbridge

The West Down Wheelers for the second year running are hosting the Tour of Down Sportive Cycling Challenge on Saturday 18th February 2012. This year there are two planned groups, the first departing at 10.00am the second at 10.15am. The event will start and finish at Katesbridge with sign-on from 9.00am. Changing facilities, toilets and car parking at the hall, toilets and parking on the opposite side of the main Katesbridge Road at the picnic park.

The planned route is from Katesbridge through Castlewellan, Newcastle, Annalong, Ballymartin, Kilkeel, Rostrevor, up the Newtown road to Hilltown, Castlewellan and finishes at Katesbridge.

For more information on this event please visit www.westdownwheelers.com

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Tour of South Derry - 12 October 2014

Image of Tour of South Derry - 12 October 2014

DateSunday, 12 Oct, 2014
Length60km & 80km
Start PointRossa GAA Grounds, Magherafelt

The Tour of South Derry offers cyclists the choice of 2 routes - 60km and 80km.

The entry fee for both events is £15 and includes tea/coffee before the event, T-shirt, shower facilities, free car parking and refreshments during and after the cycle.

The proceeds of this event are donated to Macmillan Cancer Support.

For more information on the Tour of South Derry, please visit www.carnwheelers.co.uk

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Tour of Strangford – 14 September 2014

DateSunday, 14 Sep, 2014
Length100km
Start PointNewtownards

Ards Cycling Club are holding a Cycle Sportive/ charity cycle ride event around the scenic Strangford Lough on Sunday 15th September 2013.  

Route details are available through the following link - http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/251440809.  The designated charity for the event is the Motor Neurone Disease Association NI.

To enter please visit www.entrycentral.com/Tour-of-Strangford

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Tour of the Glens - 4 May 2014

Image of Tour of the Glens - 4 May 2014

DateSunday, 4 May, 2014
Length200km
Start PointBelfast

This sportive is by far one of the most scenic events to explore the Glens of Antrim area. This event is classed as a strenuous touring event for experienced cyclists so if that fits your bill then why not join other like minded cyclists for a great day out, sense of achievement and the best views of County Antrim.

Pre booking for the Tour of the Glens is advisable, although entry on the day is allowed. For more information and to book please visit www.castlereaghcc.com.

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Tour of the North Coast - 17 August 2014

DateSunday, 17 Aug, 2014
Length100km
Start PointPortglenone Community Centre

This is organised by the Bann Valley Cycling Club. More information should be available soon on http://www.bannvalley.co.uk/1.html

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Tour of the Orchards - 20 July 2014

Image of Tour of the Orchards - 20 July 2014

DateSunday, 20 Jul, 2014
Length58km/110km
Start PointArmagh City Hotel

The Tour of the Orchard County is based in Ireland’s Orchard County – Armagh and offers cyclists a choice of 2 routes - 58km or 110km.

The entry fee for the event is £25 online and £30 on the day and it will take place on Sunday 20 July starting and finishing in the luxury setting of the Armagh City Hotel, in the centre of Armagh. This will be the events inaugural running, and it is planned to turn the event into an annual feature as the jewel in the crown of the Irish Sportive scene.

Pre registration for this event is essential. For more information and to book onto this event please visit www.touroftheorchardcounty.com

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Tour of Tyrone Sportive - 8 June 2014

Image of Tour of Tyrone Sportive - 8 June 2014

DateSunday, 8 Jun, 2014
Length155km/90km
Start PointGortmonis Community Centre, Coalisland

This event offers a choice of 2 testing routes, fantastic scenery, great company and a day to remember around beautiful Tyrone landmarks!

Also on offer is changing and showering facilities for all riders, free car parking, refreshments during & after event, support vehicles including sweeper vehicle, first aid cover from support crew, goodie bag for first 100 signed up riders.

Online entries cost £15 (+£1 processing fee) and will be available soon at www.entrycentral.com. Entry on the day will also be available for £20. 

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