Mass rides and sportives are set to grow even further in 2011 said Northern Rock Cyclone organiser Peter Harrison, who has so far seen entries for the North East’s sportive on 25th June grow by 50 per cent. Already nearly 1,000 riders have signed up for the event, and the number of entries available has been raised to 5,000.
Harrison said: “The number of people taking up cycling is still growing, and these people want events that make them feel like part of a cycling group. Mass rides and sportives fit that bill really well and so are still getting bigger even after years of growth.”
For 2011, the Northern Rock Cyclone shares its weekend with the Men’s and Women’s National Elite Road Race Championships which take place on Sunday 26th June.
The weekend kicks off with the Leazes Criterium races in Newcastle’s Leazes Park on the evening of Friday 24th June.
On Saturday 25th June riders of all kinds – from amateurs and children to fast club cyclists – take on the 33, 63 and 104 mile routes of the Northern Rock Cyclone Challenge rides. The longer two options will take in parts of the National Elite Road Race Championships route.
The Northern Rock Cyclone Challenge is the biggest open road event of its type in the country. It makes the most of Northumberland’s beautiful countryside and quiet roads and features well-stocked feed stations, electronic timing, free bike checks at Newcastle’s Cyclelogical bike shop (owned by Harrison) and a personalised certificate for every rider. To make sure everyone completes the course safely technical backup is provided by Madison. The National Escort Group (NEG) motorcycle outriders accompany participants. The route is marked out by Northumberland County Council.
Entry forms for the Fred Whitton Challenge go online on January 1st. The 112-mile Lake District ride - set for Sunday 8th May - has space for just 1200 riders and demand always outstrips supply. The Fred Whitton Challenge was started in 1999 and is the event that pump-primed the organisation of sportive rides in the UK. The event was sponsored by Saddleback last year and the importer of Felt bicycles is also the sponsor for the 2011 event.