Your guide to every kind of cycling over the summer holidays
The summer holidays are with us and there's never been a better time to get out and about on two wheels. The days are long, the children are off school and you've got time off to enjoy your bike. Good news is that there is an unprecedented number of cycling options on our calendar this year.
If you're a cycling fan there's a whole list of top events to watch around the country. If you want to get into racing we've got advice and some great entry level races to try. If you enjoy a challenge check out our suggestions for summer sportives. If you like your cycling at a more leisurely pace, there's Sky Ride, with a list of big city rides and smaller Local rides. Or if you prefer the DIY approach, we've got suggestions on Where to Ride; great days out on the bike taking in some top summer visitor attractions.
If racing is your bag, there's plenty going on throughout the summer right across the cycling disciplines.
On road, there are Circuit Leagues taking place on the growing network of closed circuit venues throughout the country, while the Summer Track Leagues are in full swing on velodromes from Meadowbank to Calshot.
There's no shortage of options for those inspired by the recent BMX World Champs, with Summer Series and National level events packing the BMX Calendar throughout August.
Cycle Speedway too offers a great way for riders of all kinds to get into racing, with tracks across the country offering come and try sessions, with bike and kit hire thrown in.
Thanks to the recent efforts of Mark Cavendish and other British riders at the Tour de France, the nation's appetite from watching road racing has been well and truly whetted. Luckily there are some great road racing events taking place over the summer holidays that will allow you to experience the thrill of watching road racing in the flesh.
There are two Premier Calendar road races during the summer holidays, the brand new Twinings Pro Am in Wiltshire on 27th August and the established Richmond Grand Prix in North Yorkshire on 4th September, both of which will showcase the country's top domestic teams. There's also the Surrey Classic on 14th August, using the London 2012 Olympic road race course and featuring a host of top international stars.
Whether you like long challenging rides in the country or fun, family friendly rides in and around the city, there's something for you on the British Cycling event calendar.
If you're into Sportives, there's a choice of events every weekend throughout the summer holidays, most with a number of route options to suit a wide range of abilities. Together with the Premier Calendar road race of the same name, there's the Twinings Pro Am sportive on the Wiltshire lanes on 27th August, with online entry and exclusive discount offer for British Cycling members.
Also available through British Cycling's online entry system is the Steve Cummings Challenge in Cheshire on 21st August. Based in the beautiful Ness Gardens on the Wirral, the Challenge takes in local boy and Team Sky pro Steve Cummings favourite lanes in Wirral and Cheshire.
Another sportive using a top visitor attraction as its starting point is the Bike Blenheim sportive, also on 21st August. Bike Blenheim itself is a huge festival of racing and riding taking place against the stunning backdrop of Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire and the sportive offers 60 and 100 mile routes through the Cotswolds.
Toward the end of the holiday period and for those who fancy something completely different, there's the Tour of the Cornfields, the original ‘cyclo-cross' sportive, taking in roads, farm tracks and bridleways and attracting riders on road, cross and mountain bikes. The Tour of the Cornfields takes place on 4th September in Hertfordshire.
If sportives sound like a bit too much like hard work, then there's a full list of Sky Ride and Sky Ride Local events taking place throughout the summer holidays, which are perfect for beginners, families or anyone who don't consider themselves as 'contenders'.
Sky Ride rolls into two seaside towns on 14th August; Blackpool in the North West and Southampton on the south coast, with the roads closed for the whole day so everyone taking part can enjoy their town traffic free! Sky Ride moves onto Leicester on the following weekend (21st August) for more traffic-free fun, as the East Midlands city is locked down for bikes for the third successive year.
Right at the end of the summer holiday, there's the big one - The Mayor of London's Sky Ride on 4th September, which last year saw over 80,000 cyclists of all kinds turn the centre of London into an incredible cycling spectacle.
Also taking place in the Sky Ride Cities throughout the summer is Sky Ride Local - fun, friendly small group rides led by British Cycling qualified Ride Leaders, giving you a great insight into some fantastic routes in and around your town or city.
If you fancy exploring further afield or just want to discover a great day out on two wheels, our Where to Ride section has over 100 route ideas throughout the country, with on and off rides to suit cyclists of all levels of ability. We've also got a special feature looking at great rides based in or around Cheshire's National Trust properties, combining a fascinating day out and a great family bike ride in one!
British Cycling's Go-Ride programme is offering its biggest ever summer of activities for young people who want to try cycle sport for the first time. There's a whole range of Go-Ride Holiday Programmes offering coaching both on and off road, as well as Go-Ride Racing at all of the Sky Ride city events.
Go-Ride Holiday schemes are specially designed to offer young people a chance to improve their skills in a variety of cycling disciplines, run by British Cycling qualified coaches at clubs and traffic-free venues throughout the country.
Go-Ride Racing is the entry level racing programme for kids, giving children the chance to enjoy the thrill of competition in a fun, safe environment, with British Cycling qualified coaches on hand to offer knowledge and expertise, giving them the best possible start in cycle racing.
Whatever you choose to do, we hope you have a great summer of cycling with British Cycling. And however you ride, we've got a membership package to suit you. Happy Pedalling!