Street Circuit Cycling

An evening of town centre cycle racing first took place in Ilkley in 2014 as part of a festival of cycling prior to the Tour de France cycle race passing through the town.  The evening was a such a huge success it was decided to make it an annual event in the town.

A junior race starting behind the lead car
There are children’s and adult races throughout the evening ending with elite men’s and women’s events.  Competitors race along a challenging 1.5 km circuit with a steep incline and a sharp downhill section which has a very fast right hand turn before returning to the finishing line along Ilkley’s tree lined main thoroughfare , The Grove, where many spectators view from, the races averaging 15 laps.

One f the men’s races taking place in Ilkley
Cycling has become very popular in the town after Ilkley Cycling Club was re-established in 2011.  The club now has over 1250 members and is the largest cycling club in the country.  Membership is only £15 for individuals and £20 for families and a variety of organised rides to suit all abilities are included in the weekly programme.  In 2013 the club was awarded the accolade of Sports Recreation Club of the Year having achieved phenomenal success for such a small town.

Enjoying the cycling along The Grove, Ilkley
Fortunately, the weather was perfect for this year’s race and it attracted many spectators along the circuit as well as those enjoying the evening sunshine from the outside terraces of cafes and bars along The Grove.  Near the starting line a small race village offered craft beers from the local micro brewery and a lengthy queue had also formed for some delicious sausages from a local high class butcher.

Tasty snacks for spectators during the Ilkley Cycle Racing
We arrived in the town early as the roads through the centre are closed to traffic and the event attracts many visitors.  Walking around the complete circuit we paused along the way as the riders sped past and it was interesting to notice haystacks had been positioned at the bottom of the steep incline to soften the impact in case a cyclist misjudged the corner (see photo below).

A sharp downhill bend on the Ilkley street cycling circuit
The racing was of a high standard and provided a fun filled evening’s entertainment for everyone.  Imitation cowbells were handed out to children and they enjoyed ringing their bells whenever they saw the riders approaching.  Prize giving took place by the finishing line at 9.30 pm after which the roads were re-opened to traffic.   If you are interested in watching or participating in street cycling events this race meeting takes place in late June each year, details can be found here.

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22 thoughts on “Street Circuit Cycling

    1. I’ve heard of the book but not read it. When big cycle events like the Tour de France happen I’m not so interested, too many people, too long to stand waiting and then the cyclists have whizzed past in the blink of an eye! But this small town event was really fun as the cyclists were passing every few minutes, not to mention the burgers and wine!!

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    1. The new camera I got a few months ago has a ‘burst’ mode which can take dozens of split second photos so that you don’t just get a blurred picture of fast moving objects. The only problem is that I’ve used the feature so rarely that last time I wanted to use it I’d forgotten how to select that mode!! The weather was beautiful and it was fun to watch as the riders sped by every few minutes.

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  1. These kind of circuit races make for a great watch. In comparison to something like the Tour de France or the Tour of Britain, where you stand around for hours waiting for the riders to flash past once, and it’s all over in 30 seconds.

    Craft beer and sausages too!

    Liked by 1 person

        1. There are some excellent hiking trails in northern England, the most famous being the Pennine Way but also of interest are the shorter Dales Way or the Coast to Coast walk. If you might like to contact me via email I will gladly let you have more details and links. You could fly into Manchester and then travel by train enabling you to manage without a hire car. Kind Regards, M.

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  2. These guys look really serious 🙂 It looks like everyone had a good time that day. Great photos 🙂 May I ask which theme are you using for your blog? I like the layout and especially your very organized categories 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Sonia, Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment on my posts. The cycle event was great fun, and as the course was short, the riders could be seen frequently. I use the Lovecraft theme on my blog as I like its simple style and am pleased to read that you find the blog easy to navigate. Kind Regards, LMT.

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