This really was the year of the cyclist for the UK – in terms of national events, tours and hobbyists – it has been an amazing time for cycling in Britain. From the massively successful start of the Tour de France to our own smaller, but no less important, successes. The best part about this cycling revival is that the world can see how ideal our country is for cycling. Our wide, quiet country roads, beautiful scenery with gentle rolling hills all make for the most perfect and idyllic cycling conditions. And it’s not all about the bike – this is a country full of culture, history and heritage. With so much to see and explore you’ll be hard pushed to take it all in.
So many events took place to lift the perception and raise the profile of cycling in 2014 – there really has never been a better time to cycle in this country. Of course probably the most prestigious, and most covered, of the lot was the Tour de France in the UK.
This year, for the first time ever, Yorkshire played host to the start of the Tour de France. On 5 July the race began in the city of Leeds, Britain. Professional cyclists and loyal fans got to experience some of the best of the British countryside as the tour travelled from the northern city of York down to Cambridge and on to London- over 330 miles later. The UK hosting of the first stages of the race were a resounding success, with the race director Christian Prudhomme describing them as “unbelievable, unforgettable, amazing”.
However, we must not let this over-shadow all the other amazing cycling events that took place in the UK this year. Scotland played a large part this year. The Commonwealth games showcased mountain, road and track cycling – with outdoor circuits through the streets of Glasgow – viewers experienced the city as well as serious stamina and technical ability. Scotland also played host to the Red Bull Hill Chasers in Edinburgh – a gruelling, and some would say crazy, event that saw 500 cyclists battle to reach the top.
The UK also witnessed the spectacular UCI BMX Supercross World Cup in Manchester, the South West Tour Ride Sportive in September, the Prudential RideLondon in August and the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, which was held in June at Fort William.
2014 has been a phenomenal year – far exceeding our expectations – fun, interesting and jam-packed with memories. The weather helped immensely, with tours full of warm sunny days, the Cotswolds sparked in the sunshine and made everyday a joy. But it wasn’t just the cycling that made it so special – each group was unique, full of fascinating people, who really bonded, from the experienced cyclist to the keenest and coolest of kids, each brought their own personality and some firm friendships were made on those rolling country lanes.
Topping it all off, and making all that hard work so incredibly worth while, was reading the reviews on Trip Advisor, indispensible feedback that we love to hear. Comments such as “This tour delivered beyond our expectations. It was a great balance between sightseeing and cycling the beautiful picturesque landscapes.” and “I travel a lot and have had some wonderful vacations, but this is certainly one of the best. Everything about it was first rate, top flight and great fun.” really mean the world to us. Thank you.
We’ve got some exciting plans for 2015; we’re expanding, trying to make our tours more flexible and accessible, with new routes, a new stop and more options than ever before. Next season we’ll be adding the royal city of Windsor. This will become our new first stop on our tours, and it really makes perfect sense. What better way to become accustomed to British culture and your bike than cycling through the grounds of Great Windsor Park, over looking Windsor Castle, and visiting the burial site of King Henry VIII.
We’ve also added a new level to our tours. New for 2015, our See More, Cycle Less tour is designed to make it easier to see the sights of England for those less confident on a bike. You get to take in all the wonderful highlights our other tours offer including; Oxford and Shakespeare’s Stratford and Stonehenge but you won’t be expected to cycle quite as much. It is the perfect way to discover all the heritage and beautiful countryside the country has to offer, at a more relaxed pace.
We can hardly wait for the next season to start and for all the new adventures, stories and experiences to start rolling in. But until then wrap up, cycle safely and start planning your 2015 experience to remember.