York Rally 2017 is go!

Dates are now confirmed for the next York Rally, which will be on the weekend of the 24th-25th June 2017!

The independent organising committee would like to invite all touring cyclists, grass-roots and grass-track racers, club riders, cycle commuters, recumbent and HPV riders, historic cycle enthusiasts and anyone else wishing to continue the grand tradition of the York Rally as the nation’s friendly cycling get-together to come to York – and to camp on site if you can! Campsite bookings open soon.

More details will follow, but for now just a note that the team will be promoting the Rally at a local event, the York Festival of Cycling, this Sunday in Rowntree Park, York. Please do come along – and volunteer to help man the stand if you can!

Here’s our new 2017 banner:


…and please bear with us as the York Rally website at www.yorkrally.org is currently being revamped for 2017!

The next York Rally Sportive – Spring next year!

Just a quick note as we’ve had a few queries about the York Rally Sportive – which ran successfully in September 2014 and in September 2015.

There will be no York Rally Sportive in September 2016 but we will be running one in Spring next year!

We have an experienced (volunteer) organiser who has stepped up to the task, and the Rally volunteer team is also ready to assist. We are just waiting for the date to be finalised.  It is very likely that the route will be very similar to previous events.

As soon as we have firm details we’ll post those online, and also email all previous York Rally Sportive participants. Thanks for bearing with us!

Riders at the Low Mill feeding station. Photo: Rachel Thompson
Riders at the Low Mill feeding station during the 2015 York Rally Grande Classic Sportive. Photo: Rachel Thompson

Post-Rally round-up: photo comp closing, badges and more…

A somewhat belated update following our post-Rally meeting, and a few reminders too!

General verdict and finances

  • The team were all really happy with how the Rally went – there’s still a list of improvements for next time (including better dishwashing facilities, and more reliable caterers!) but overall we think it went pretty well. We’re also making plans to reduce the physical toll on volunteers, especially when setting up the site.
  • We did make a modest loss on this year’s event, but it was easily covered by Rally reserves and includes some one-off expenses for equipment which will last for many Rallies to come. It’s possible that the rainly weather in regions around York put off some campers from coming, accounting for most of the shortfall. But the committee agreed that we can’t count on better weather in future years, so we must plan carefully to ensure that the Rally is in profit again next year and remains viable for years to come. As well as trimming costs we will be looking at attracting other funding and sponsorship.
  • Fundraising should be easier once we are a charity. The CIO application process is ongoing, and we are currently answering some queries from the Charity Commission.
  • We are very happy to have a few new faces on the committee but we could still use more active members! If you’re free to attend meetings every few months in York and could take on an active role, do please get in touch! Your Rally needs you…
  • Finally, we are still awaiting confirmation from City of York Council of our tentative 2017 dates: 24th-25th June 2017. They cannot definitively confirm until the (horse) racing calendar is firmed up.

Photo competition closing in a week!

  • Many thanks to all who have entered this year’s photo competition! Entries close a week on Sunday (on the 31st July) and thanks to the generosity of our traders we have plenty of prizes to give away. Under 16s entries are especially welcome! Please just send your images to publicity@yorkrally.org – if they’re too big to email try the free  Wetransfer file transfer service (just hit ‘skip’ if it nags you for the paid version).
  • There’s also an initial work-in-progress collection of images from the 2016 Rally here.

Badges galore

  • all badges (Large)
    As some of you may have spotted in the info tent at the Rally, we were kindly gifted a large number of badges from previous Rallies (1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, & 2012). These are now for sale on our merchandise page for just £1 each plus £1 postage for up to 8 badges.

Children’s drawing competition 2016: congratulations to the winners!

  • Over 12
    Winner: Anthony Harris
    Runners-up: Bridie Harris & Kieran Bramley
  • Over 8
    Winner: Elizabeth Reid
    Runners-up: Holly Harris & Lewis Jackson
  • Under 8
    Winner: Rosalind Sophie
    Runners-up: Hannah Sharp & Thomas Robert Graham

We’ll do a new post showing the winning entries shortly!

Our next meeting

  • Our next meeting is set for the 17th September 2016 at 10AM, upstairs at Cycle Heaven, Hospital Fields Road, York. Please just let us know if you need a lift from the station. As ever, all are welcome!

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 www.bridgestreet.cc
The Bridge Street saddlebag, from www.bridgestreet.cc

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 trade@yorkrally.org 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: http://yorkrally.org/campsite

– 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: http://yorkrally.org/grasstrack-racing/

– 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 info@yorkrally.org 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: http://yorkrally.org/york-rally-merchandise/

– 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: http://balancingontwowheels.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/coxwold-cyclists-church-service.html

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: