The odd couple of sunny days recently have reminded us what cycling in the summer is like and with that we've been spurred into cramming our calendar with weekends full of cycling shenanigans, including lots of sportives to look forward to.

Sportives are mass participation cycling events, they are NOT races - no matter what those MAMILs will try to tell you. They are simply timed events that follow a specific pre-planned sign-posted course, allowing you to focus on enjoying the ride. Think London Marathon for cycling!

Most offer feed stations along the route, a goody bag at the end and buckets of fun in between, what's not to love?

With the emergence over recent years of women only sportives, we thought it only right to highlight these so you can rally your sisters and get out together and ride.


1. Macmillan Cycletta

Since 2012, the UK's leading women-only sportive series, Macmillan Cycletta, has been inspiring ladies of all ages and abilities to get on their bike and ride.

For 2015, organisers of the Macmillan Cycletta series have listened to feedback from riders and is offering 100km and 150km routes for the first time at a number of their events.

If you're left out of breath just thinking about those distances, there's also thankfully been movement at the other end and new 20km routes are now included at all venues.

Macmillan Cycletta calendar

Macmillan Cycletta @ Wiggle Dragon Ride, Sun 7th June 2015
(Margam Park, Port Talbot, Wales) , Distance: 42km

Bedfordshire (Woburn Abbey), Saturday 20th June 2015
Distances: 20km, 40km, 70km

Perth, Scotland (Scone Palace), Sunday 19th July 2015
Distances: 20km, 50km, 100km and 150km

Guildford, Surrey (Loseley Park), Sunday 6th September 2015
Distances: 20km, 50km, 100km and 150km

New Forest (Beaulieu Palace), Sunday 20th September 2015
Distances: 20km, 50km, 100km and 150km

Cheshire (Tatton Park), Sunday 27th September 2015
Distances: 20km, 50km, 100km and 150km

For more information and to book your place on a Macmillan Cycletta sportive, visit the Human Race website.


2. Breeze Network

The Breeze Network is the UKs biggest programme to get more of us into riding bikes for fun, by helping us to feel confident and comfortable about going on a ride.

Although they're not officially sportives, volunteer Breeze champions organise fun, social, local bike rides for women. Rides go at a speed that suit everyone, and they often start or finish at a cafe so everyone can have a drink and a chat.

The Breeze Network has proven that successful that there are almost 200 bike rides for women on a weekly basis. Incredible when you think it's an organisation based on volunteers.

To find a ride near you, visit the Breeze Network website and type in your postcode.


3. Women V Cancer Ride the Night

We love to multi-task and taking part in a charity bike ride is a great way to not only ride your bike, but get fit and make a huge difference all at the same time. There are lots of charity rides to take part in, but Women V Cancer Ride the Night is one close to our heart as our very own Liz helps organise the event.

Women V Cancer Ride the Night, starts on Saturday 30th May and is a women-only night cycle ride setting off from Royal Windsor Racecourse, following a 100km route into London and back to the Racecourse. All in aid of three UK cancer charities: Breast Cancer Care, Ovarian Cancer Action and Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust.

The inaugural Ride the Night in 2014 saw 1,700 riders raise over £1,000,000, exceeding all expectations, so we're expecting big things for the 2015 edition.

To take a look at the event details and to book your place, please visit the Women V Cancer Ride the Night website.

PLEASE NOTE: RIDE THE NIGHT ARE CURRENTLY LOOKING FOR RIDE ANGELS TO HELP OUT ON THE NIGHT WHILST RIDING THE ROUTE - IF YOU ARE INTERESTED, PLEASE CONTACT THEM HERE.


4. Davina's Big Sussex Bike Ride

If you are looking for a charity ride in 2015, here's another to get stuck into. Avid celeb cyclist Davina McCall hosts this one-day sportive extravaganza through the Sussex countryside on Sunday 7 June.

Action Medical Research for Children are the charity behind this ride, raising vital funds for sick babies and children. If you need motivation to get through the miles of training, the thought of raising money for such a worthy cause will give you the boost you need.

There are 3 distances on offer; 21, 40 or 68 miles and although the ride is predominantly female, men are invited too. You'll be treated to your photo with Davina at the start, enjoy two feed stops around the course and a hearty BBQ lunch at the finish.

For more information about the ride, and to book your place visit the Action Medical Research for Children website.


5. Daisy Chain Bike Events for Women

Launched in 2013 by family run business John Lloyd Racing Events Ltd, Daisy Chain Events for Women actually started life as mountain bike marathons for ladies. Although a mountain bike fanatic, organiser Bonna Williams wanted to reach more women and on top of MTB guided rides (replacing the marathons) has also launched 2 road sportives for 2015.

Both Sportives will have 3 distances to chose from, approximately 20, 40 and 55 miles. The £25 entrance fee will include the usual; a well marked route, on quiet roads, feed stops with drink, cake and goodies, first aid cover, broom wagon, a lovely finisher gift and some much needed food and drink at the finish!

Daisy Chain Sportive calendar

Sunday 10 May - Builth Wells

Sunday 19 July - Llandrindod Wells

Now if mud and shredding up trails is more your thing, then check out the MTB guided rides that Daisy Chain offer. Hosted in Mid Wales or the Shropshire area, they are £15 per person.

Daisy Chain MTB Guided Rides calendar

Sunday 29 March - 25km - Arch Forest

Monday 6 April - 16km - Painscastle

Saturday 30 May - 25km - Rhayader

Saturday 27 June - 20km - Llanwrtyd Wells

Sunday 26 July - 25km - New Radnor

Saturday 26 September - 25km - Builth Wells

To see whether Daisy Chain Bike Events for Women are for you, please visit their website for more information.


6. Rapha Womens 100

Are you free on Sunday 26 July 2015? If so, why not join thousands of women around the world to take on a 100km ride. It's a truly global ride, where you can cycle alone, join in with local women or take part in one of the official Rapha organised rides.

In 2014 over 8,000 women took part, including our very own Kirsty who took the plunge and joined a locally organised ride around the Cotswolds.

All you need to do is to pledge your interest on the Rapha website where you can also find out about rides near you. If you have a couple of friends keen to do it too, why not submit your route, so you can get other women to participate in your ride with you!

If you complete the #Womens100 Rapha Challenge you will receive a woven badge to commemorate your achievement, a lovely touch we think.


7. Ladies of the Lake

As organisers of the 'Ladies of the Lake' sportive hosted in Ulverston on Sunday 13 September are keen to encourage first timers and leisure cyclists, this is perhaps one for the beginners among our Vixens. Compared to the 2014 edition, this years sportive will be shorter and they've taken out the short, steep climbs that weren't universally adored.

Ladies of the Lake is the same weekend as Ulverston Lantern Festival, so organisers recommended heading up to the Lakes on the Saturday to enjoy the spectacle – it’s an amazing evening and there’s fantastic, great value accommodation at the Swarthmoor Hall Sportive HQ.

This is an ideal sportive for those new to the events or for anyone who wants to explore the beautiful Lakes with an organised route. For more information visit the Ladies of the Lake website.


8. British Heart Foundation London to Brighton

Ok, so this isn't specifically a women only sportive, but it is very popular among our female friends. Why? Because it's an incredibly well oiled sportive machine and it finishes in Brighton, where you can enjoy a well-deserved ice cream on the beach.

2015 marks the 40th year of the British Heart Foundation's epic 54 mile bike ride, taking thousands of riders from the busy streets of the capital to cycle through idyllic country lanes, until everyone triumphantly descends to the finish line by the sea.

The ride takes place on Sunday 21 June meaning the weather is usually on the riders side! So, what are you waiting for? Join 28,000 other cyclists and help the BHF celebrate the 40th year of the L2B - it's set to be the biggest and best yet!


9. Ladies-Only Surrey Sportive

Perhaps the most encouraging of the whole list is the first running of AAT Events' women-only sportive. Such has been the demand from female riders over the last few years of their annual CycleSurgery Surrey Sportive that they've created a breakaway event. 

There'll be two courses on offer on June 28th, setting out from Guildford, and wending their way through Surrey and Hampshire. The long course is 115km (71 miles), or you can opt for a shorter version at 63km (39 miles), and the route promises to be stunning.

They describe it as: 'rolling hills, green meadows, quiet hamlets, great road surfaces on the majority of the roads, feed-stations and the odd challenging climb'. Well stocked feed stations will be at Tilford and Headley, and we'd anticipate a fantastic atmosphere.

 

So what are you waiting for?! Get signing up - and if you're looking for any advice on what to wear, check out our blog here.

 


A word of warning! Helmets are mandatory for Sportives and Charity Rides - sensible really! We have suitable lids for any of the rides above, be it a pootle with the Breeze champions, a road ride or a guided MTB ride with Daisy Chain!

Protect Your Noggin