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:
|Date||Sunday, 16 Jun, 2013|
|Start Point||Bangor 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
|Date||Sunday, 28 Jul, 2013|
|Length||48km & 97km|
|Start Point||Coleraine 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
|Date||Sunday, 4 Aug, 2013|
|Length||56km & 105km|
|Start Point||St. Ciaran's Hall, Ballygawley|
|Date||Sunday, 20 Oct, 2013|
|Length||16km, 80km, 112km|
|Start Point||Richhill 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.
|Date||Saturday, 12 May, 2012|
|Start Point||Dromara 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.
|Date||Sunday, 11 Aug, 2013|
|Length||169 km, 125 km, 85 km, 60 km|
|Start Point||Dromara Football Club|
On 11th August Dromara Cycling Club will be hosting 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
|Date||Saturday, 7 Sep, 2013|
|Length||57km, 126km & 182km|
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.
|Date||Saturday, 6 Jul, 2013|
|Length||50km & 100km|
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 www.makeadifferenceworldwide.com or contact the Events Team on 07825291437.
|Date||Sunday, 18 Aug, 2013|
|Length||160km & 80km|
|Start Point||Templemore 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.
|Date||Sunday, 22 Sep, 2013|
|Length||32km, 81km, 113km|
|Start Point||Ballygalley, 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.
|Date||Sunday, 25 Aug, 2013|
|Start Point||Peatlands 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 1 lap of Lough Neagh on Sunday 25th August. 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.
|Date||Sunday, 1 Sep, 2013|
|Start Point||Crossmaglen 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
|Date||Sunday, 14 Apr, 2013|
|Start Point||Roe 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
|Date||Sunday, 11 Aug, 2013|
|Start Point||Moneymore Recreational Centre|
|Date||Sunday, 26 May, 2013|
|Start Point||Mid 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
|Date||Saturday, 16 Feb, 2013|
|Start Point||Katesbridge 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
|Date||Sunday, 13 Oct, 2013|
|Length||60km & 80km|
|Start Point||Rossa 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
|Date||Sunday, 5 May, 2013|
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.
|Date||Sunday, 23 Jun, 2013|
|Length||58km / 110km|
|Start Point||Armagh 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 and it will take place on Sunday 23 June 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
|Date||Sunday, 9 Jun, 2013|
|Start Point||Gortmonis 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.