Eight of the best sportives to ride in August

How's your form? Here are some of the best sportives to add to your summer calendar

August means a chance to put your summer form to the test, with a whole host of big sportives on the calendar.

Inspired by watching last month’s Tour de France? Enjoying plenty of long miles on the bike this summer and want to explore some new areas? Or simply want a big target to work towards this month?

How are your legs? There are plenty of brilliant sportives to ride in August

There’s plenty for everyone, and with spaces still available on some of this month’s biggest and best sportives, now is the time to get signed up.

So, what are you waiting for? Here are eight of August’s best sportives to consider adding to your calendar…

Wiggle Chiltern Classic – Saturday August 5

The Chilterns are a popular cycling hub in the South East, with plenty of rolling terrain to get your legs stuck into.

The undulating terrain of the Wiggle Chiltern Classic is typical of the area, with the climbing starting early in the ride on all three routes – Epic (101 miles), Standard (73 miles) and Short (33 miles).

The Chilterns serve up quiet, undulating roads for the Chilterns Cycle Classic

After crossing under the M40, the terrain eases and you can enjoy the ‘quaint and quiet’ village backdrop, but keep something in reserve as you hit the Chilterns once more before returning to the Henley base.

Late entry closes on Friday (August 4) at 4pm, so be quick!

Entry fee: £38 (Epic, Standard); £29 (Short)
Website: UK Cycling Events

Wiggle Steeple Chase – Saturday August 12

Another of UK Cycling Events’ popular Wiggle-backed sportives, the Steeple Chase takes place in Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Leicestershire – with their abundance of historic church steeples.

And it’s not just the church roofs which point skywards either – the profile for the ride is never flat, with undulating terrain from the off.

The Wiggle Steeple Chase Sportive takes place on a constantly undulating route

None of the climbs on their own are particularly brutal, with 3,270ft the total climbing, but you are rarely on flat roads as you climb, descend and repeat from the off.

Set on quiet, countryside lanes, the ride showcases the best of the region – but do not underestimate it.

Entry fee: £35 (Epic, Standard); £26 (Short)
Website: UK Cycling Events

Evans Cycles RIDE IT Peak District – Sunday August 20

Oldgate Nick, Bunsal Cob, Mam Tor, Snakes Pass… Evans Cycles’ Peak District sportive is one of the toughest on their RIDE IT calendar, rated the top level for difficulty.

Set in the Peak District National Park, the ride showcases the best of the beautiful area – but that means plenty of tough climbs to negotiate, hence the slightly shorter routes compared to normal.

The rolling terrain of the Peak District National Park makes the Evans Cycles RIDE IT Peak District sportive among the toughest on the calendar

The Long Route packs 10,000ft of climbing into the 80-mile course, with Mam Tor – a 2.1km slog at ten per cent average gradient, with a steepest pitch of 15 per cent – among the highlights.

Even the 55-mile Medium Route features 5,900ft of climbing – it’s as tough as they come on the RIDE IT calendar, but it is also an incredibly rewarding ride.

Entry fee: £25 (Long, Medium); £20 (Short); £7.50 (Fun)
Website: Evans Cycles

Ken Laidlaw Sportive – Sunday August 20

Ken Laidlaw was the first Scottish rider to finish the Tour de France, earning the combativity prize on one stage in 1961, for his efforts on the climb to Superbagneres.

Even today, he is still one of only three Scots to finish the race – Robert and David Millar being the others.

The Scottish Borders offer riding on quiet roads with picture-perfect backdrops (Pic: shirokazam, via Flickr Creative Commons)

And the Ken Laidlaw Sportive pays tribute to the Scottish rider, featuring his former training roads in Scottish Borders country.

Returning for this year, the sportive has three distances – the 104-mile Long Route, 85-mile Middle Route and 46-mile Short Route – on quiet roads, offering the stunning Borders backdrop.

Entry fee: £25
Website: Ken Laidlaw Sportive

Tour de Mon – Sunday August 20

The Tour de Mon takes place on the North Welsh island of Anglesey, with the terrain lending itself to a lumpy tour of ‘one of Britain’s best kept secrets’.

The climbs are tough, with the roads joining Trefor and Carmel kicking up to 12 per cent from the off, but it is not just the climbs to test your legs on – the sportive also includes a timed ‘flying mile’ at Mona Airfield.

You have a choice of three routes in all, with the 107-mile Mawr, 77-mile Canol and 46-mile Bach available to enter.

Entry fee: £39.99 (Mawr); £37.99 (Canol); £35.99 (Bach)
Website: Always Aim High Events

The Hertfordshire 100 – Sunday August 27

Fancy taking advantage of the Bank Holiday weekend by booking in for a 100? Sportive UK’s original sportive, the Hertfordshire 100 is back for its fifth year with an improved route.

You can choose 100 miles, 100km or 33 miles with the rural Hertfordshire routes serving up rolling countryside roads and a couple of climbs to keep the legs working.

While the longer two routes head out into the rolling countryside too, all three pack the climbs in with the short, sharp hills of ‘Little Switzerland’ demanding you keep something back for the last ten miles.

Entry fee: £25 (100 miles, 100km); £20 (33 miles)
Website: Sportive UK

The Winking Sheep Sportive, Sunday August 27

Taking in the best roads the North Pennines, the Roof of England, has to offer, the Winking Sheep Sportive is now in its third year.

With the closed-road Etape Pennines no longer run, the Winking Sheep Sportive has taken up the mantle as the ultimate North Pennines sportive, with a choice of 90, 75 and 55-mile courses.

The North Pennines provide a stunning backdrop for cycling

Starting and finishing in St John’s Chapel, the sportive heads out into Middleton-in-Teesdale, Stanhope, Allenheads and more to tackle the quiet, rolling roads.

There are plenty of climbs to negotiate, but the views on the top of the moorland are unparalleled – the perfect way to spend a Bank Holiday.

Entry fee: £25
Website: Winking Sheep Sportive

Cardiff Roubaix, Sunday August 28

Maindy Velodrome has spawned stars such as Geraint Thomas and Luke Rowe in recent years, and the Cardiff Roubaix – starting and finishing at the track – is designed to mimic the cobbled Classics on which the two Team Sky men have impressed in the past.

Tackling the gravel roads, farm tracks and bridleways of Cardiff’s surrounding areas, there are ten off-road sectors in all, from 300m to 3,900m in length, with 25km of the 100km route unpaved.

The Cardiff Roubaix finishes with a Roubaix-style finale at the Maindy Velodrome (Pic: Marc, via Flickr Creative Commons)

With a new 100-mile option added to the line-up too, the event then finishes with a lap of the Velodrome, Paris-Roubaix style, for an authentic Hell of the North tribute.

Also passing Celtic Manor and the Newport Velodrome, the event is promoted by Cycle Classics, who also count the Flanders-inspired Cheshire Cobbled Classic and Strade Bianche-esque White Roads Classic in their stable.

Entry fee: £30
Website: Cycle Classics


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