Photo Feature: Riding high with the Virgin Money Cyclone

Photo Feature: Riding high with the Virgin Money Cyclone


Event: 27-30 June 2013

The Virgin Money Cyclone is one of the biggest cycling weekends in the country, taking in everything from beginner and family rides to elite criterium and Premier Calendar road racing.

Running from Thursday 27 to Sunday 30 June 2013, this year’s event is a great chance to spend a weekend on the bike – from watching the pros to taking in Northumberland’s amazing roads and scenery for yourself.

Here we take you through a typical rider’s weekend – including the Virgin Money Cyclone Challenge rides which attract up to 4,000 riders every year. Entries for this year’s event are live – so make sure you sign up at and you can also keep up to date with the event on Facebook and on Twitter.

Make the most of the Virgin Money Cyclone by making a weekend of it. Riders in the Saturday’s Cyclone Challenge rides can sign-on on the Friday night at Leazes Park, which hosts the Leazes Criterium.

While you’re there, soak up the atmosphere at Leazes Criteriums. Check out the trade stands and get inspired by some great racing. Are you going to be as fast as these guys this year?

Up to 4,000 riders start the Virgin Money Cyclone Challenge Rides 33, 63 and 104 mile rides on the Saturday morning. Starting in groups, riding alongside so many people with a passion for cycling is an amazing feeling

Pro mechanics from Shimano are on site throughout the weekend. If you have a last minute glitch with your bike they can help – and they also offer support throughout the Virgin Money Cyclone Challenge rides so you can be sure if you’re really stuck, a professional is on hand to help. Free bike checks are also available before the weekend. See the event details at for more info

All three Virgin Money Cyclone Challenge rides quickly head out onto Northumberland’s beautiful and quiet roads leaving you to enjoy the scenery or get into a rhythm to meet your target time – whichever you prefer!

The Virgin Money Cyclone organisers work hard to make sure feed stations are well paced and well stocked. You would be amazed how much energy drink 4,000 riders can get through!


The Cyclone Challenge rides have become popular with the locals too! As well as the official feed stations, many of the local villages lay on a good spread too. Perfect if your approach is more ‘tea and cake’ than ‘gel and energy drink’.

The longer 63 and 104 mile Cyclone Challenge rides share the tough Ryals climb with the Beaumont Trophy races the following day. If you don’t make it to the top, see how the country’s best riders do it on Sunday!

… but these riders all look set to charge straight to the top! Notice the sign for another unofficial feed station placed strategically at the top!

The Cyclone attracts all sorts of riders – from beginners and families…

…through to pros and celebrities. Here TV’s Ned Boulting rides the course with Dean Downing at the 2011 event ahead of the National Championships.

The Virgin Money Cyclone team are on hand to welcome you back to the Kingston Park start point. Pick up a swag-packed goody bag and give yourself a pat on the back for a great day’s riding.

The pros are back on Sunday morning with the Curlew Cup elite women’s race. Sponsored by Northumberland National Park, this first took place in 2012 after a phenomenally successful women’s National Championships event in 2011. It’s the perfect way to relax after your day in the saddle on the Saturday.

On Sunday afternoon, it’s the turn of the elite men again in the Beaumont Trophy Premier Calendar race. Head out onto the course and see how the pros handle the climbs you stuggled up on the Saturday, or head to the race start / finish in Stamfordham and soak up the amazing atmosphere with the crowds.