Eleven of the best sportives to ride in September

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Eleven of the best sportives to ride in September

Summer may be drawing to a close, but the sportive season is far from over

Summer seems to have barely begun and already September is on the horizon.

But with sportives running right through the month, and some hot weather to enjoy of late too, the season is nowhere near over yet.

Summer might be drawing to a close but the sportive season is not (pic: Vulpine)

Big climbs, beautiful backdrops and celebrity appearances are all on the cards, with plenty of options to make full use of the form you have built up over summer.

So without further ado, here are 11 of the best sportives taking place in September…


Tour of the Potteries – Sunday September 4

The newest addition to the Peak District sportive calendar, Superbike star Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne has given the Tour of the Potteries his stamp of approval.

A keen pedal pusher when he’s not zipping around on his motorised version of two wheels, Byrne says the Tour of the Potteries – centred on Hanley – boasts tough climbs on good routes.

Speaking of which, there are three available – 150km, 100km and 50km – with climbs including Mow Cop and, as used in the Tour of Britain, Thorncliffe and Gun Hill.

Flash, the highest village in England, is another highlight of the route, and all proceeds will be donated to the Donna Louise Charity.

Website: Wheels in Wheels
Price: £20 (short); £28 (medium); £35 (long)

The Pinewood Climbs, Norfolk – Sunday September 4

Norfolk’s not known for its climbing, but the Pinewood Climbs sportive sets out to change that.

Now in its third year, the sportive follows a 33-mile route with one, two and three-lap distances on offer.

Within the loop are several short, steep climbs such as Sandy Lane Hill, as featured at the Tour of Britain, and Station Hill with an average gradient of 13 per cent.

It’s not the Etape du Tour, but it will test your legs and get you exploring the North Norfolk Coast on two wheels.

Website: Cycle Sportives UK
Price: £15 (33-mile); £20 (66-mile); £25 (99-mile)

Wiggle Northern Angel Sportive – Sunday September 4

Centred on the undulating Northumberland National Park, the Wiggle Northern Angel sportive’s true difficulty lies in the ever-changing terrain.

With the route punctuated by short punchy climbs through the Park and close to the villages of Rothley and Walton, it is difficult to get into a rhythm on the ride.

The Wiggle Northern Angel is centred on the Northumberland National Park (pic: UK Cycling Events)

The ‘Epic’ 94-mile route packs in more than 6,000ft of climbing in all, with the event starting from Kirkley Hall in Ponteland.

A ‘standard’ 81-mile route and ‘Short’ 68-mile route are also on offer.

Website: UK Cycling Events
Price: £35 (Epic or Standard); £26 (Short)

RIDE-IT: King of the Pennines – Sunday September 4

Evans Cycles’ RIDE-IT series of sportives offer all manner of different challenges, and the 100-mile King of the Pennines is definitely one for the climbers.

More than 11,000ft of climbing is packed in with the ride rolling out from Skipton in North Yorkshire.

Malham Cove, Kettlewell, Fleet Moss and Park Rash offer up some challenging rides and stunning backdrops for the event.

A shorter 48-mile route is also on offer, with 4,800ft of climbing squeezed into the route.

Website: Evans Cycles
Price: £35

The Southern Sportive – Sunday September 11

Southern Sportive have a huge portfolio of events in the south of England, but the Southern Sportive is their original and, some might say, still the best.

The South Downs host the ride, with the event’s base in Petersfield to provide easy access for anyone making the trip from the capital.

Buriton Hill, Harting Hill and Duncton Hill feature early in the ride to blow away any cobwebs, while the route is often punchy through the likes of Goodwood and up Winchester Hill.

The full route covers 162km in all, while the mid-route is 112km in length and the short route a more modest 71km – all featuring climbs with gradients as steep as 14 per cent in parts.

Website: Southern Sportive
Price: £31 (Full); £30 (Mid); £28 (Short)

Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive – Saturday September 10

Stunning scenery and challenging riding are the features of cycling the Giant’s Causeway, and there are three options on the Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive.

The Giant’s Causeway Coastal Road is challenging but beautiful, pic – Bill Anderson, via Flickr Creative Commons

The pick of those is the 182km Giant Killer, which is definitely not one for the weak of will – tough climbing through the Glens of Antrim set the scene, while the undulating, 11-mile Torr Head Road boasts gradients up to 20 per cent in parts.

A 57km, flatter, Causeway Coaster option is also on the table, alongside the 126km Glens and Coast Route which can either conclude with Torr Head Road or not depending on your form.

Website: Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive
Price: £35

Lanky Tours “Thin Air 100 Challenge” – Sunday September 11

Yorkshire has been centre stage as far as the cycling focus in the north of England goes, but across the Pennines there is plenty of riding to be done in the Red Rose County of Lancashire too.

From the same organisers as the ‘Three Rivers Classic’, the ‘Thin Air 100 Challenge’ boasts much longer climbs than its sister event.

The Cross of Greet, a 100 Greatest Climbs featured ascent, is a two-part ascent and is among the climbing highlights, with 10,000ft of ascending packed into the 100-mile route in all.

Newby Head, the Bowland Knotts and Moor Top also feature, while there are shorter 50-mile and 25-mile routes too.

Website: Lanky Tours
Price: £25

Cambrian Coast Sportive – Saturday September 17

Quiet back roads are the selling point of the Cambrian Coast sportive, alongside some of the best climbing and scenery Wales has to offer.

The Bwlch y Groes (or Hellfire Pass) to the locals is Wales’ highest tarmacked road, and is the highlight so far as the climbing goes.

Riding above the Cregennan Lakes and Mawddach Estuary, the views are as rewarding as the climbing is tough.

Four routes are included in all – a 50km Fun Route; 100km Standard Route; 144km Long Route and 163km (100-mile) Big Dog.

Website: Welsh Cycling Events
Price: £30 (Standard); £33 (Long Route or ‘Big Dog’) – LIMITED PLACES REMAINING

Zappi (N+1) Gran Fondo, Brighton – Sunday September 18

Starting and finishing in Brighton, Zappi have joined forces with Brighton café and cycle workshop “(N+1)” to offer one of Sussex and Surrey’s most challenging sportives.

The Gran Fondo, the longest of the three routes on offer, is 139 miles long and packs in 10,463m of climbing.

Graded five – the hardest level – on British Cycling’s sportive scale, organisers are billing it as an event to finish your legs off for the season.

A 45-mile Piccolo Ride and 78-mile Medio Ride are options if the original seems a little excessive to you.

Website: Gran Fondo Brighton
Price: £26 (Piccolo, Medio); £35 (Gran Fondo)

La Resistance (FRA) – Saturday September 24

Now for something a little different… based in the Haute Savoie region of the French Alps, La Resistance is a tribute to the members of La Resistance who lost their lives in the Battle of the Glieres in 1944, during World War II.

The 130km route features spectacular Alpine terrain, gravel roads and vicious climbs, alongside traversing to the Monument to La Resistance, and the Necropolis and Museum at Moretto.

La Resistance honours the men and women of La Resistance, and passes the Monument on the Plateau de Glieres (pic: La Resistance)

Organisers have picked out on 14.3km unmade mountain road, with a full view of Mont Blanc on offer, as one of the route’s prime features, while the Col des Glieres is a thigh-numbing 7km eastern ascent.

If you want to make a weekend of it, the sportive is also followed by La Guingette – a post-ride party by the lake where period dress is encouraged.

Website: La Resistance
Price: €50 (or €95 with post-ride party)

L’Etape London by Le Tour de France – Sunday September 25

L’Etape London by Le Tour de France is the second of ASO’s legacy sportives in England after the 2014 Tour’s Grand Depart, alongside the Maserati Tour de Yorkshire Ride.

Taking place on much of the stage three route from that race, from Cambridge to London, there are three routes on offer, all of which finish with a lap around the Lee Valley VeloPark.

There is very little climbing to be done, as Tour de France fans will remember, with three routes of 185km, 146km and 74km on offer.

It’s a pricey one, compared to some of the others in this list, but the fact the 2015 event sold out is a marker of what to expect.

Website: Human Race Events
Price: £41 (Short); £47 (Medium); £49 (Long)


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