As summer turns into autumn and then winter, cyclists will be forgiven for thinking that the opportunities for organised sportives dry up.
However, there are plenty of organised events in the cooler months around the UK to look forward to.
We’ve picked out five of our top sportives from around Britain that should be top of your list to enter.
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Gran Fondo – Isle of Man
When? September 4th-5th
How long? Four routes, up to 137km
Cost? From £20
Acting as a qualifying event for the UCI Gran Fondo World Series, this is perhaps the most serious of the sportives in our list.
Taking in nearly 100 miles of the Isle of Man’s roads, closed to the public for the event, the route includes a climb of the Snaefell Mountain circuit used in the Isle of Man TT.
For those not looking to go the whole hog, there’s the Medio Fondo course of 72km, while the 32km Piccolo Fondo is aimed more at families.
Even the shorter two routes provide challenges to amateur riders with some of the island’s most tricky climbs to tackle.
Lands End 100
When? October 2nd
How long? 74km, 114km or 169km
See the sights of Cornwall by bike during this scenic foray around the UK’s most south-westerly county. From St Michael’s Mount, to the picturesque harbour town of Porthleven and Land’s End itself, riders will catch a glimpse of them all regardless of which of the three loops you choose.
The Land’s End 100 Sportive has been successfully running from Folly Field, right beside the iconic St Michael’s Mount at Marazion, Penzance since 2010.
The 7.1% gradient climb of Bullers Hill on the most easterly part of the route provides the steepest ascent of the long route, giving a real test at around the half-way mark.
The Cumbrian Cracker
When? November 21st
How long? 92km
The Lake District will rival most places in the UK for views, and the Cumbrian Cracker certainly holds claims for the most scenic sportive the country has to offer.
The 92km ride gets serious pretty early with 14.2% average gradient climb along the Red Bank on the south-west shores of Grasmere within the first 3km.
With that out of the way, it’s reasonably gentle until you reach the long but gradual climb on the way back from Cartmel, and the highest point on the ride coming out of Grizedale Forest.
Throw in the pretty towns and villages of Ambleside and Hawkshead, and you’re all set for a great ride through the Lake District.
Christmas 100 Sportive
When? December 18th
How long? 103km or 162km
Mince pies at each feed stop and a ride through the village of Christmas Common – could this sportive get any more festive?
Two routes are available for those looking for one final pre-Christmas ride, each starting from Oxshott in Surrey before heading out into the country lanes of Berkshire and the Chiltern Hills.
While the 2.9% average gradient of the Pishill Climb won’t be daunting to cyclists, what could make them train a bit harder for it is the fact that the ascent lasts for more than four kilometres, making it one of the longest climbs in the south-east of England.
Nevertheless, the Christmas 100 provides riders a great opportunity to finish 2021 on a high.
UKCE Gravel Series West Sussex
When? November 28th
How long? Four options 20km – 50km
Cost? From £10
For something a bit different, the UK Cycling Events Gravel Series has the answer. Take yourself off-road in these slightly different sportives.
The West Sussex leg is the series finale, following on from the Hampshire ride through Mattingley Estate a fortnight earlier.
Kicking off in the village of Amberley, the four routes take in local bridleways which contribute to both the Monarch’s Way and South Downs Way.
There might be some certains on a smoother surface as the route takes riders through the historic town of Arundel, past the town’s medieval castle which sits somewhat menacingly overlooking proceedings.
All in all, the Gravel Series is one for riders looking to test themselves on slightly trickier terrain this year.
That’s where sportives in the UK come into play. For those happy to travel abroad read our blog Five Awesome Cycling Sportives You Must Try .