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Leeds Big Bike Ride - thoughts?

Did the "not quite 100 miles" version of this yesterday in some "challenging" conditions. I've done bike-events rides before so I knew what to expect - good signing, lots of marshals, paid-for foodstops, no timing etc.

It was "ok". I used to get a bit grumpy about having to pay for food, but it was actually really nice to have a such a wide variety of stuff at Terrington - soup, sandwiches, baked spuds etc, unlimited hot drink refills. My main criticism would be the course design - twice through the centre of York (very pretty but complicated and lots of lane changing) wasn't much fun, but the really awful bit was crossing York ring road at a very busy roundabout on the way back - this is not great for inexperienced riders, particularly as it came at about 70 miles so people would have been tired. If they could have found the extra couple of miles to make it 100 that'd be better - we did a couple of extra near Tadcaster going back to find our mate, but several of our party ended up riding up and down in the park to give them their first century!

Overall, a long way from being a favourite, but a long way from being a horrorshow - 6/10.


  • I was deterred from this because of the lack of route information beforehand. I did Otley instead. I liked the idea of a century ride but from what you've written above I'm glad I didn't do it. Cycling in busy city centre loops is something I try to get away from!
  • I only did the 100km ride - which was also a few km short. I nearly did the 100 miles as it would have been my first century but changed my mind partly because of the lack of info. However, some people had signed up for 50 miles only to be told it was over 60, a big difference for some riders. I was very surprised when we started heading into the city centre especially as we had to move across into a right hand lane with cars coming up behind. I'm confident in traffic but you start worrying about those around you. I think it would have been better to highlight what food and drink would be available, the pre-ride info was very vague so I took lots of food with me. I only did this instead of Otley because a friend asked me to join her. The Otley ride sounds like it was a lot luckier with the weather and I prefer hillier rides anyway. Looking at the Otley thread it sounds as if it was too hilly for some, but the Leeds ride was too flat for me! I'll certainly be planning to do Otley next year, hopefully the long ride, and find another 100 mile ride to do.
  • Well if you like hilly AND want a century, might I suggest either the Etape du Dales or the White Rose Classic, both of which come in at about 110 miles and could be described as "quite lumpy"... ;-)

    I did the Manchester 100 as my first century (what feels like centuries ago) and that's almost pan flat - which for me was a big plus as then I didn't need to worry about climbs, just the distance. There was a slightly up and down bit at the far end of the 100 miler near Terrington, but nothing serious. If they could find a way round York then it could be a good ride - but the ring road crossing was literally a car crash waiting to happen.
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