Dinah Hatch

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Dare we utter these words… winter is over! Cyclists everywhere are abandoning their triple-therm gloves and hats, peeling off some of the lycra layers and itching to get out into the countryside for some serious biking. And even if you aren't one of the mudguard mafia, there's no reason why you shouldn't have a go at one of the hundreds of cycling events being held this year across the UK. Here are ten of our favourite over the coming warmer months– with some gorgeous hotel suggestions with which to reward yourselves after a busy day in the saddle…
Quebecs Hotel

The Tour de Yorkshire Ride, May 6, Leeds

This event offers a fun mix of Tour de France style professionalism (there are loads of stages and categories) combined with good old Yorkshire hospitality. There are myriad routes for different levels of rider and 168 villages, towns and cities are encompassed altogether. Apart from some of the most stunning scenery you will see anywhere, what makes this event so much fun is the spectators. Expect villages and towns en route to paint their houses in the jersey colours and patterns, dye their fish and chips blue, “yarn bomb” street furniture, trees and lampposts in knitted outfits, and even dye sheep in the race colours. Great fun!

Stay: Quebecs Hotel, Leeds. A grade-II listed beauty just off City Square near Leeds station and five minutes from the chi-chi Victoria Quarter. Expect elegance, luxury bed linens and a fantastic breakfast.

The Vineyard

Wiggle Magnificat, June 16, Newbury Showground, Hermitage, Thatcham, Berkshire

You can knock off 126 miles of South Downs and rolling Hampshire countryside in this event or just tootle around the 30 mile course at your leisure – it's all about getting out on your bike and enjoying the views while getting some exercise. Now in its 12th year, the Magnificat really does challenge hard core cyclists (the long version brings you over more than 6500ft of hills climbing) but the route is a simple anti-clockwise loop that ends up in Newbury.

Stay: The Vineyard, Stockcross, Newbury. You've earnt it – after a fabulous day's cycling, treat yourself to this Relais & Chateau hotel best known for its 30,000 bottle wine cellar, top-rated spa and fine dining restaurant.

The Westwood Hotel

Classic Oxford Great Escape Fun Ride, My 13, Harwell Campus, Didcot

The Gr8 Escape is a 12-mile circular ride designed for families, those new to the sport or anyone who fancies a fun day out. The route takes you along quiet lanes and cycle paths, beginning at Harwell Campus near Didcot moving on through the gentle landscape of Ardington where refreshments and loos are on hand before curling back on itself. Note, cyclists must get sponsors (the race is raising money for breast cancer research) and children must be 8 and over.

Stay: The Westwood Hotel, Hinksey Hill, near Boar's Hill, Oxford. Sit up in your four poster bed, listen out for owls at night and deer in the morning, enjoy a full English than go stroll in the 400 acres of ancient woodland. Need we say more?

Compton House

Great Weston Ride, July 15, Bristol

This annual 57-mile challenge from Long Ashton's park and ride through the Mendips and the Somerset levels before ending up on the seafront in Weston-super-Mare is geared up to suit everyone from serious speed freaks to families on a day out. It weaves through the roads and lanes of north Somerset and offers simply lovely views. It's not a race, there's no timing and the simple objective is to enjoy winding your way to the sea. There are plenty of opportunities to try some great food and real ale once the finish line has been reached too.

Stay at: Compton House Hotel, Axbridge. A real Georgian gem, this gorgeous period hotel has it in spades - mullion windows, flag stones and original fireplaces ago go. With just five beautiful rooms, it's intimate and cosy too.


Essex Castle charity bike rise event, Colchester, June 30

Choose from the 25, 50 or 75 mile routes – whichever you go for, expect to see some spectacular rural Essex scenery. North Essex is Constable country and with its big skies, picture-perfect villages and wide open farmland, it's a real treat to glide through. Take your time to admire the impeccably-kept villages of Sible Hedingham, Pebmarsh, Finchingfield and Wakes Colne along the way. You'll need to be sponsored to complete this race, which raises money for Orchid male cancer research.

Stay: Milsoms, Stratford Road, Dedham, Colchester. With 15 bedrooms, a wonderfully informal atmosphere and super gastrobar, both families and foodies love Milsoms. Sunday mornings in the library overlooking the idyllic two-acre garden are hard to beat.

Cotswold Grange Hotel

Cotswolds Bike Ride, Cheltenham, May 13

Starting in Cheltenham near the race course, the hugely popular Cotswolds Bike Ride (do 30 miles or 50 miles) organised by the British Heart Foundation sees cyclists sweeping through some of the UK's prettiest villages and there are plenty of stops along the way for refreshments including a lunch stop at the midway point of Winchcombe School. We love the fact that the organisers flag up the prevalence of public houses en route (this is our sort of bike ride). Get your sponsorship and get out there!

Stay: Cotswold Grange Hotel, Pittville Circus Rd, Cheltenham. Conveniently positioned between the town centre and the race course, this classic honey-stoned period house has an embarrassment of period features, a great bar and restaurant serving modern British and European and stunning gardens to recuperate in after your ride.

Burley Manor Restaurant & Rooms

Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive, 14-15 April, Somerley House, Ringwood, Hants

The popular Wiggle New Forest event always sells out ahead of time so make sure to book online ahead of the events. Spread over two days, with a short (29 miles), standard (66 miles) and epic event (81miles) on offer plus a kids event, there are plenty of options. There are a number of hills in each to challenge you plus some short sharp climbs. Sweep through the glorious villages of Sway, Beaulieu and Lepe and then head into Lyndhurst before girding yourself for the major climb of the day outside Nomansland. From there it's a gorgeous downhill glide except for a spike at Stuckton.

Stay: Burley Manor, Burley, in the heart of the New Forest. Think stylish lounges in pink and purple velvets, beamed bedrooms and acres of grounds – a deer sanctuary next door sets the tranquil scene.

Birch at Brighton Marina

London to Brighton Bike Ride, June 17, Clapham

More than 15,000 cyclists enter this, one of the UK's most famous rides, which starts off in Clapham Common and takes you through the glorious Sussex countryside for 54 miles through tough Turners Hill and pretty Ditchling Beacon until you wind up at Brighton beach where a “beach village” awaits you for a celebratory party. Organised by the British Heart Foundation, it's all about raising awareness of heart and circulatory diseases so there's a great atmosphere all the way.

Stay: Birch at Brighton Marina. You can easily walk from the finish line to this fabulous modern two-bed, two bathroom apartment with free parking. It's in the heart of the marina with bars, restaurants, cinema complex, bowling and loads more.

Budle Hall

Great North Bike Rode, Seahouses, August 26

Staged in the last days of summer, cyclists start out in a designated area of outstanding natural beauty in Seahouses and gently wind along the peaceful North Northumberland coastline to Tynemouth Priory and Castle. Organisers ask you raise sponsorship money as the ride's proceeds are devoted to research into a cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma. This one, at 60 miles, is not for the fainthearted but the warm northeast cheers as you roll over the finish line make it worth every mile.

Stay: Budle Hall B&B, Bamburgh. Set in parkland and just walking distance from those wide-open sandy beaches and the historic Bamberg Castle, treat yourself to afternoon tea after a gorgeous country walk the day after your ride. Bliss.

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