Post-rally debrief meeting – 2nd July

Many thanks to all who attended the 2016 Rally, and especially all of those who gave their time and energy to help it happen! We’ll have more updates on this website shortly…

But for now, a note that we have a post-rally meeting coming up, at which we’ll work out how to make the next Rally even better!

The next meeting is a post-Rally debriefing meeting to be held in the meeting room at Cycle Heaven, 31 Hospital Fields Road, York, YO10 4FS, at 10AM on Saturday, 2nd July 2016.

All are welcome. If anyone would like a lift from the railway station, please let us know.

York Rally imminent – and coming together nicely!

The 2016 York Rally is coming up very fast now, and so this will be possibly a final catch-up before the event!

We’re about to send the show programme off to print:


and we’ve also just had our final planning meeting, on site on the Knavesmire. It’s looking in good condition for the event.

Just about everything is now coming together. We have:

  • A full rides list!
  • A packed trade show.
  • Auction (Saturday) and Saddlebag Sale (the cycle jumble, Sunday)
  • Masses of racing and sport, especially for under 16s! If you have kids into racing we will able to keep them busy: we have Go-Ride coaches on site giving free skills training to U16s (all day Sat, plus Sunday PM), plus youth categories in Grasstrack (Saturday) and Cyclo-cross (Sunday).
  • A talks programme (still being finalised, but will we hope include touring talks, specialist club talks, and Q&A sessions on electric bikes and recumbent trikes)
  • Performers are ready to go! As well as the Foresters folk band playing live on Saturday evening, The Pretend Stage will be back with their eclectic act! And Bo Clown will be entertaining with his bicycle-borne Punch and Judy, too.
  • We have a bar selling craft beer from Cwrw Ial Community Brewing Company in Wales – under cover in a large seating area so we hope it’ll be popular.
  • We’ve been working on many improvements after last year. So expect more and better signs, a bigger Rally HQ area with much less cramped displays, new bunting for the Arena, and much more!
  • Plus we have a new Volunteer Co-ordinator – do drop by HQ to offer just an hour or so of your time if you can, or sign up online.

Campsite bookings are looking good, too! There’s still time to book a pitch, if you haven’t already. Advance campsite bookings close 11th June! It’s cheaper than booking on the day, quicker to get in, and you can be sited with friends or club-mates…

And in other news:

Cakes at Riccall Chapel, 2015. Photo: Dave Dodwell.
Cakes at Riccall Chapel, 2015. Photo: Dave Dodwell.

We are delighted to confirm that the lovely team at the Methodist Chapel in Riccall will once again be offering a wonderful array of food on Saturday morning – many of our rides head that way, and any passing cyclist is also welcome!

IMG_20160604_113114336_HDRMeet the new York Rally fire engine! With space for fire extinguishers in the basket each side of the fire bucket, it’s our new rapid response vehicle, here being modelled expertly by Paul at our final planning meeting.

On the subject of pictures, all of the images sent in after the 2015 Rally for the Photo Competition have been enormously helpful – for the website, for the show programme and for promoting the Rally in general. So we’re running it again in 2016 – if you take pictures at the Rally, please do feel free to just send us the lot! Details will be in the show programme, page 23. Many thanks in advance.

Thanks for reading this far! We hope to welcome many of you on the Knavesmire soon!

2015 Photo Competition – announcing the winners!

After an inexcusable delay we are delighted to announce the winners of the 2015 York Rally photo competition!

We had a wonderful response, with over 30 Rally-goers submitting their images, and over 500 images in total to choose from.

These photos have been absolutely invaluable in publicising the Rally – we’ve never been short of a strong image, and as you’ll see throughout this website, just about every aspect of the 2015 rally was covered by our competition entrants.

So huge thanks to all who sent in their pictures -it was difficult to whittle it down to a shortlist, let alone decide a winner! But after some rather belated judging by the York Rally Committee, we have finally come to a verdict.

We’ll be running another competition at the 2016 Rally, so please do send us your photos again!We’re talking to traders to rustle up some attractive prizes, but perhaps more to the point we will hugely appreciate a fresh stock of images to work with!

But now, without further ado, to the winners of the York Rally 2015 photo competition! Click to enlarge…

The Under 16s category was not heavily contested – perhaps we could have more entries next year? But the worthy winner of a York Rally hoodie was Robert Kelly with this image from the trike try-out area:

Trying out the 'Full Fat' all-terrain trike from ICE at the 2015 York Rally trade show. Photo: Robert Kelly.
Trying out the ‘Full Fat’ all-terrain trike from ICE at the 2015 York Rally trade show. Photo: Robert Kelly.

In the all-ages category, our three runners-up each win one of these splendid mugs, kindly provided by cycle art specialists Cyclemiles!


And in no particular order, here are the runner up images! Congratulations to Pat Douglass, Taras Melnyk and John Jackson for their striking captures of moments in Rally life:

Trying out a tall bike at the 2015 York Rally: Photo Pat Douglass
Trying out a tall bike at the 2015 York Rally: Photo Pat Douglass
A quiet moment at the 2015 York Rally: Photo John Jackson
A quiet moment at the 2015 York Rally: Photo John Jackson
Grasstrack racing at the 2015 York Rally. Photo: Taras Melnyk.
Grasstrack racing at the 2015 York Rally. Photo: Taras Melnyk.

Coming now to our second place winner, we have this fantastic atmospheric image of the Rally campsite from Mike Handley, who wins free camping in 2016:

2015 York Rally: Photo Mike Handley
2015 York Rally: Photo Mike Handley

And so to our overall winner, David Walsh-Kemmis, whose son stars on a vintage tricycle in our very worthy winning image!

At the 2015 York Rally: Photo David Walsh-Kemmis
At the 2015 York Rally: Photo David Walsh-Kemmis

David wins a fantastic cutting edge modern saddlebag kindly provided by Bridge Street Designs:

The Bridge Street saddlebag, from
The Bridge Street saddlebag, from

Congratulations to all our winners, many thanks to all who entered, and to those who donated the prizes, and we can’t wait to see your pictures of the 2016 Rally!

Notice of a Special General Meeting: 23rd April 2016

We are convening a Special General Meeting for the York Rally to push forwards our move to become a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation).

This meeting will be largely procedural, and should be over fairly quickly, and it will be followed by an informal York Rally planning meeting. Formal notice of this meeting follows:

Notice of Special General Meeting

A Special General Meeting (SGM) for the York Rally will be held in the upstairs room at Cycle Heaven, Hospital Fields Road, York, on Saturday 23rd April 2016 at 10 AM.

A map showing how to find the venue can be downloaded here.  We will also be arranging lifts from the railway station for those arriving on foot – if you would like a lift please email Charlie Hodge on or call him on 07825 229 201.

1. Welcome
2. Apologies
3. Resolutions to become a CIO

Mike Barnard of York CVS, who has been advising us on the CIO conversion, has offered to conduct the meeting as we consider the CIO resolutions.

As with all of our meetings, all are welcome! As well as the current York Rally Committee, the Friends of York Rally, volunteers and Rally participants, and members of the  general public who support the Rally are also warmly invited.

In advance of the meeting, you are welcome to download:


Part of the fine display of historic cycles at the 2016 York Rally. Photo: Bob MacQueen.
Part of the fine display of historic cycles at the 2016 York Rally. Photo: Bob MacQueen.

Earlybird ending, CIO progress, a design challenge, Coxwold and more…

We had a very productive meeting on Saturday (19th March) and are making good progress on several fronts.  Many thanks to Cycle Heaven on Hospital Fields Road, York, for hosting us again.

The key points are:

– Campsite bookings are coming in well, but earlybird prices end just a week today (midnight on Sunday the 27th March). So if you haven’t already booked, please do so now to get reduced prices:

– We have a new advisor, Mike Barnard, from the York Community Volunteering Service, who is helping us in the process of becoming a charity (CIO) and he is excellent. The process is now moving forward swiftly, with a provisional completion date of 1st October 2016. This conversion will both limit committee members’ personal liability and make it easier to attract funding, but we will retain our independence as an organisation. Essentially, the current plan is that committee members are being asked to become trustees, and Friends of York Rally will be asked to become ‘members’ of the charity (we will be writing with more details in due course).

The next stage of this process is to call a Special General Meeting (of our current Rally organisation) and this posting is formal notice that this SGM will take place at 10 AM on Saturday the 23rd April 2016, in the upstairs room at Cycle Heaven, Hospital Fields Road, York. As with all of our meetings, all are welcome. Mike Barnard will attend and direct proceedings as we pass some technical motions to proceed with the CIO conversion.

Our next ‘normal’ planning meeting will be on the 21st May 2016, at 10AM in the same venue. All are welcome!

And in other news:

Entries are now open for the Grasstrack Meeting on the Saturday of the Rally. Full details and links to online entry are on:

– Could you design a 2016 badge – fast? Our treasurer Rachel has put together a provisional sketch:


but we’d love to see any other ideas! The badge company will turn sketches into final artwork, so it doesn’t have to be perfect. Please send your designs by the end of March to and we’ll choose the best to be produced in good time for the Rally! Note we still have some spare 2015 badges which you can order at:

– Are you aware of the Coxwold Cyclists Service? Like the Rally, it is a traditional cycling event with a long heritage. One of only two remaining Cyclists’ Church Services in the UK, it reaches a milestone on Sunday 8th May 2016, with 300+ cyclists, including the Bishop of Selby, expected in the North Yorkshire village of Coxwold for the 90th annual Service of Remembrance. Coxwold is a picturesque village around 20 miles north of York, and participants ride to the service from miles around. Refreshments, in the form of a home made food mountain and gallons of tea, are on sale at the Village Hall from 11 AM, and after the service, which begins at 1:30 PM. The (volunteer) Coxwold organisers have very kindly offered to display some York Rally info and leaflets to visitors in the Village Hall, and we would encourage any Rally participants who can to support this historic event on its 90th anniversary, either by attending or just helping to spread the word. There’s an excellent write-up of last year’s event here:

With our best wishes for happy cycling,

The York Rally Committee

York Rally 2015: Photo Mike Handley
York Rally 2015: Photo Mike Handley

Ready to race at the Rally? Grasstrack entries are open now…

Entries are now open for the grasstrack racing at the 2016 York Rally! You can now enter online via the British Cycling website.

This event has traditionally been one of the great fixtures of the Northern grasstrack circuit, and we are proud that it is now returning for a second time following the successful revival of the York Rally in 2015.

The grasstrack events are part of the British Cycling National Endurance Grass Track League and the National Short Distance Grass Track League.

Racing starts at 12:00 noon on Saturday the 18th June and the meet includes:

E/1/2/3/4 Race
Regional C+
Band: 5
Entry fees: Online: £15, Postal or On Day: £20

U16/U14/U12/U10/U8 Race
Youth Only
Entry fees:
Online: £8, Postal or On Day: £10

Enter online via the British Cycling website.

Racers are also welcome to stay overnight (Friday, Saturday and/or Sunday nights) as the Rally is also hosting a Yorkshire Cyclo-Cross Summer Series event on Sunday the 19th June.  Book a campsite pitch here.

There’s masses to do at the Rally for racers and non-racers alike, with trade show, catering, cycle jumble, auction and more on site to tempt you to stay! And there’s easy access and free car parking, too.

We’re hoping for a strong field at this year’s Rally, and a great day’s racing. We look forward to welcoming you in June!


Grasstrack racing at the 2015 York Rally. Photo: Taras Melnyk.
Grasstrack racing at the 2015 York Rally. Photo: Taras Melnyk.

1949, 1962 & 1975: glimpses into Rally history

Many thanks to our Event Co-ordinator Paul Reid, who unearthed three copies of early CTC magazines which featured items about the Rally, from 1949, 1962 and 1975.

Without further ado, here they are – enjoy! Apologies for the poor scanning on some of them:

Feb update: bookings hotting up, Sustrans feature the Rally and more…

Time for another York Rally update! Last weekend we had a meeting, our first in a new venue (Cycle Heaven’s shop near the Millennium Bridge in York) and we’ll likely be back there again for our next meeting too, on Saturday 19th March, when our kind hosts will work on some improved seating arrangements.

Key points from the meeting:

  • We have started the process of working towards becoming a CIO (a charity) but it may take some time. Current issues are around how the structure of trustees, members etc. will work; we will likely adapt a model constitution as advised by the York CVS service.
  • Work continues liaising with the Council, emergency services, licensing officials and the like – not glamorous but essential for the Rally.
  • Campsite bookings are coming in well! Earlybird prices are still available, and just mention when you book if you’d like to be sited with your friends or club-mates.
  • We’ve also had a gratifying number of advance bookings for the trade show 🙂
  • Marquees have been booked! Catering facilities are being booked, too.
  • The rides programme is filling out already. Co-ordinator Gary requests that ride leaders (and potential ride leaders) contact him well in advance to avoid a last minute rush…
  • We will be organising a free first aid course for volunteers and ride leaders. Date and venue (will be in York) is to be decided. Please contact our Volunteer Co-ordinator, Jude Ainsworth, if you’re interested.
  • The website is just about complete now for 2016, including a 2015 event report with many pictures. Apologies for the continued delay in judging the photo competition – that is now top of the list! Your photos have been invaluable in our publicity.
  • We have reluctantly decided that we will be giving the York Rally Sportive a rest in September 2016, unless a new lead organiser steps forward before the end of February (plenty of Rally volunteers will be available to help). The Sportive is not key to our mission (running the Rally) and the money it raises does not compensate for the stress on the organisers, especially as it falls fairly soon after the Rally itself.  It’s a shame to see the end to what was a popular and successful event, though, so if you would be interested in taking up the organising challenge, either for 2016 or maybe 2017, please do contact us.

And in other news:

  • We are delighted that Sustrans, who contributed so much to the 2015 Rally with their programme of rides and logistical help, are to feature the Rally as a “Featured Regional Event” on their new National Cycle Network map, which will be mailed out to all Sustrans supporters in April. They’ll also be spreading the word on the Rally through other channels. It’s already on the Trans Pennine Trail event listings! Many thanks for this invaluable publicity!
A ride heads out at the 2015 York Rally. Photo: Peter Eland
A ride heads out at the 2015 York Rally. Photo: Peter Eland

1965 York Rally – anyone remember the Bootie bike?

We have received the following very interesting letter from Brian Conolly, who would be very interested to hear from anyone with further information, or recollections, of the ‘Bootie’ bike which was on show at the 1965 Rally. Click any image above to enlarge. He writes:


Dear York Rally committee,

I’ve sent you some photos from the York Rally in 1965. I hope you find them of interest.

The Warwick University archives sent some photos to me for my web page ( on the ‘Bootie’ bicycle (mini cycle with folding bars and seat), and I thought you might be interested in those taken at the Rally.

I was looking for background info on the location of the photos when I bumped into the archive section on your website.

Some of the photos are of a well known cycle touring couple, Wilf and Hilda Corum, demonstrating the Bootie. Others are of a tandem version.

The Bootie was made at the Vickersdale Works, Stanningley, Pudsey from 65 to 73. I’m always looking for more info – maybe some of your old timers know of it and can share their memories for the website.

Best regards
Brian Conolly


Please do leave a comment below if you have any information, memories or thoughts on the bike – or email me at and I’ll pass any details on to Mr Conolly!

The Bootie bike.Photo: Warwick University Archives, via Brian Conolly.
The Bootie bike.Photo: Warwick University Archives, via Brian Conolly.

York Rally 2015 AGM report and update!

Many thanks to all who turned out for our 2015 AGM, held in York’s Railway Institute.  Key points from a very productive meeting:

  • It’s been a remarkable year! Thanks were expressed to all of our volunteers and ride leaders, to the Friends of York Rally supporters club members and to the exhibitors, traders, suppliers, council officials, performers, inventors, club representatives and  everyone else who worked with us to put on the 2015 event. There has been lots of positive feedback.
  • The Rally is in good shape financially, having made a profit in 2015. We resolved to continue to run a very tight ship for at least the next two years until we have built up a financial cushion sufficient to give us peace of mind against, for example, a last-minute event cancellation.
  • The committee resolved to start the process of changing the York Rally to a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation) – in other words, a charity. We will be taking the helpful advice from the York CVS to help us through this process. This will aid in fundraising, and will also limit personal liability of committee members.
  • We are delighted that Jude Ainsworth has agreed to take on the vital role of Volunteer Co-ordinator.  This is a key role in helping everything run smoothly at the event.
  • We are delighted to also welcome Dylan Thomas (of York’s Poetry in Motion Cycles) to the organising committee.
  • But we still have the following vacancies! If anyone would like to step forward for any of these, please contact us on
    • Fire officer
    • Safety officer
    • Security officer
    • Youth Activities co-ordinator
    • Charity Ride co-ordinator (we would like to attract newcomers to the Rally, and raise some funds for a good, high-profile local cause , by hosting a ride in aid of the Martin House Children’s Hospice)

The AGM was followed by a ‘normal’ committee meeting. More good news:

  • We have an email from the council at last (after many months of negotiation) confirming that we can use the central area which was fenced off last year for our grasstrack racing. This will make a huge difference, meaning the site layout will make so much more sense!
  • The first few campsite bookings are in, taking advantage of super-earlybird prices until 31st Dec 2015!
  • A system for bulk-emailing newsletters will be in action shortly, so reminders to last year’s campers, updates for Friends and to those who have signed up by entering their email address on the website will be going out soon! If you are not yet signed up, you can do so on the website front page.
  • We are already starting to book marquees, showers etc. where suppliers require plenty of notice.
  • It was noted that while our 2016 dates (18-19th June) clash with the Eroica Brittania event, they avoid a clash with the 2016 British Cycling Road Race Championships which take place in Stockton-on-Tees from the 23rd to 26th June. All the more reason for cyclists and spectators to come to the North East for a run of great events. We also hope that many racers will want to join us on the grasstrack for a warm-up!

Our next meeting will be held at 10 AM on Saturday 30th January 2016, and as ever all are welcome, especially newcomers. We are trying a new venue: Cycle Heaven in Hospital Field’s Road, York have kindly offered to host us free of charge in the meeting room next to the cafe in their huge new shop. This venue is a little way from the station, so we will be arranging lifts for anyone arriving on foot – please just contact us on


York Rally AGM 2015 at the Railway Institute, York. Photo: Dave Waldram
York Rally AGM 2015 at the Railway Institute, York. Photo: Dave Waldram