York Rally Sportive – first report and pictures!

Just back from the Sportive! A great turn-out with around 120 riders…

More shortly but for now here’s a quick look at the Sportive HQ (taken as riders returned in early afternoon, so relatively quiet):

and riders as they went past the Sherriff Hutton control where I was based. I’ve included some out of focus or otherwise poor images if they were the only ones showing a rider. If anyone would like their picture removed please just let me know (publicity@yorkrally.org). Equally, if anyone would like the higher quality originals of any of these images (no charge) please just ask. Apologies to all I missed, or indeed to anyone who is in the photos but wasn’t on our Sportive!

I’ve had to split these into batches of 40 to keep the website software happy:

Batch 1:

Batch 2:

Batch 3:

Batch 4:

Meeting report – the Rally is GO!

Just a quick summary for now – just back from the meeting.  More later and I’ll also be sending a more detailed update to the Friends who have supported the Rally thus far by their membership. But in brief:

  • The Rally will definitely be on in 2015! To date (including Sportive revenues so far) we’ve raised funds of around £2000, which will cover the critical event insurance. There’s still lots of fundraising to go to cover venue hire, toilet/showers etc., but we’re confident that this will be reached.
  • Grass track racing will be back! This is subject to final official confirmation but it is close to certain – there is huge goodwill to get grasstrack back to York. There will also be roller racing.
  • We are pleased to invite all and any cycling organisations, clubs and associations to exhibit FREE OF CHARGE at the Rally!
  • Campsite booking details have been finalised and online booking will be available very shortly. If you wish to camp as a group/club this will be possible too – just specify the group as part of the booking process.

I think that’s the main points for now – but also a reminder that the Sportive is coming up next weekend (Sunday). We could really do with three more volunteers who can help us with marshalling and managing control points. No experience necessary. If that could be you please email info@yorkrally.org ASAP, or call Paul Reid on 016973 43089 (landline, only until Monday) or 07770 134553 (mobile, any time).

Finally a huge thanks to all who attended – it was a very positive and purposeful meeting!

York Rally meeting, Sept 2015
York Rally meeting, Sept 2015


Next meeting is this Saturday…

Just a quick note that we’ll be having our next York Rally meeting this coming Saturday (the 13th September) downstairs at the ‘York Bike Shed’ cafe in Micklegate, York, from 10AM.

All are welcome – especially those with any ideas, skills or time to volunteer!

If you can’t make it, feel free to email any thoughts to info@yorkrally.org before Saturday or just leave a comment under this posting and I’ll pass it on to the committee.


Sportive: new leaflet and still spaces!

There are still spaces left on our fundraising Sportive, coming up on the 21st September – less than three weeks away!

Please do help us fill the remaining spaces (as I write, available at all three distances) either by signing up yourself or by passing around our new Sportive leaflet! Click to enlarge…

York Rally Sportive - A5 mono leaflet, JPG format for online use
York Rally Sportive – A5 mono leaflet, JPG format for online use

It prints out really well (please print it from this PDF file for best quality)  onto A5 paper on a mono laser printer. If you don’t have access to a printer but would like some leaflets to distribute, please just email publicity@yorkrally.org with details of how many you’d like and your address, and I can post some out.  Thanks in advance for helping to spread the word.

Our thanks also to the many cyclists who have already signed up – we look forward to meeting you on what should be a fantastic day’s riding!

Riding the route: York Rally Classic Sportive 100k

There are still places available for riders to join the York Rally Sportive, coming up on Sunday, 20th September 2015. The ride comes in three flavours, the tough Grande Classic at 140 km, the challenging Classic at 100 km and the approachable Petit Classic at 36 km. All proceeds from entry fees go towards funding the York Rally.

Sportive organiser Paul Reid has been riding the routes in advance of the event, checking for hazards and working out where to place marshalls. He’s kindly passed on his write-up of the 100 km route for the website.

Riding the route: York Rally Classic Sportive 100k

Sportive organiser and 2015  York Rally Event Secretary Paul Reid at the 2004 York Rally with one of his historic cycles.
Sportive organiser and 2015 York Rally Event Secretary Paul Reid at the 2004 York Rally with one of his historic cycles.

On Monday I set off on my trusted 1959 Mercian Olympic cycle. It is fitted with a 5 speed Simplex Tourist, with gears from 38″ to 77″. I was tasked with completing the risk assessment and marshalling requirements for the 100k sportive.

I set out from Wigginton, just north of York, with clear skies and virtually no breeze. The road to Sherriff Hutton was a nice warm up, just slightly rising until the bottom of Terrington Bank which marks the start of the Howardian hills. This I found it a bit of a brute so I let my gears do the work for me and just hung on until the road levelled a bit. This gave me time to catch my breath. I rounded the corner and could see the top of the climb. That I could really attack! (or as well as I can do, anyway!)

The descent is long and clear, should be no problems there. Not the same as the descent into Hovingham, this terminates in a T junction and a left turn. Care is needed at this point. The next climb, Caulkleys Bank, somewhat caught me napping. The sign said 17%, and my brain took some time to calculate what that really meant. 17% equals 1st gear, and out of the saddle!

A steady descent after Nunnington and the road became uncharacteristically flat for a while. Care is needed to cross the A170 shortly afterwards there is a bit of excitement as you see the sign for a ford, but I’ve never seen any water in it yet! The road then continually rises to Fadmoor. The next village is Gillamoor and the view on leaving is absolutely spectacular but don’t watch for too long as there is a steep descent with a few bends just to make life interesting.

Turning left up the valley of Farndale is a steady climb and when the hedgerows disappear and all you can see is moorland you realise how far you’ve climbed. Dropping down into the village of Low Mill is the most northerly part of this route. Care, once again, is needed on the descent. On reaching this pretty little hamlet you realise you’ve left your telephone signal at the top of the hill and won’t get it back again until you climb to the top of the moor again. It being a clear day I could see at least 20 miles in each direction at this point.

Watching out for the cattle grids there is a sweeping descent into Hutton-le-Hole, a pretty little honey pot of a village with tourists and pubs. At this time my mind was set on the tea stop at Marton, and again care was needed on the A170.

I stopped at Marton Village Hall, which will be our main feeding station, and stoked up on sandwiches and liquids. I made good time from there down to Amotherby and thought I would be coasting all the way back. How wrong could I be! After crossing the B1257 there was a hill! A long low, grinding type hill that just seemed to go on for ever, It didn’t but I think the heat was taking its toll. I really enjoyed the descent down to Easthorpe Hall and then turning right to Coneysthorpe. At this point I got my first view of Castle Howard.

At the crossroads I turned left towards York and followed, mesmerised, down the long straight road which is punctuated by, firstly, a large obelisk in the centre of the road, then a gate house, next the Carmire Gates, then, before the winding descent, past yet another large monument. 10 miles away in the distance I could see the towers of York Minster and from then on it was simply a pleasant run back to Wigginton.

Here’s where Paul went:

All are welcome to follow in Paul’s wheeltracks, with the backup of sag and broom wagons,  marshalls and refreshments on hand! Join the York Rally Sportive on the 20th September: more info is here or you can enter online now, via the British Cycling website.

Rally cards – spread the word as you ride


Out for a bike ride? Print out some of our York Rally cards and pop them in your wallet before you go, and hand them out to likely Rally-goers you encounter! Or leave a small handful at the counter of your favourite cycling cafe, at a cycle jumble or wherever cyclists gather…

These are business card sized and are designed to be printed in black and white on A4 paper using any printer or photocopier. An A4 sheet will yield 10 cards: get the scissors out to trim them to size.

  • If you can print double sided (perhaps by putting the paper or card through twice) then please use this two page PDF.
  • If you can only print one sided then please use this PDF which is just a single page of 10 cards. You can also use this PDF and fold the cards in two to get the double sided effect (but only five per sheet).
  • If you’d like to get them professionally printed then please upload these two files to your printer: front print PDF and rear print PDF.

I’ll upload new versions after the Sportive has happened!

And many thanks to the artist, who wishes to remain nameless, who kindly sent us the front artwork…

We’re in the latest CTC ‘Cycle’ magazine!

We’re featured in the latest (Aug/Sept) issue of ‘Cycle’ – the CTC magazine! See the scan below and click to enlarge…

Welcome to all ‘Cycle’ readers. You can find out more about who we are at About us and how you can help support the Rally’s revival by becoming a Friend of York Rally or taking part in the Sportive. We are starting from scratch and your support at this early stage will really help. If you could also dedicate any time as a volunteer, please do contact the committee or come along to our next meeting – details are here!

Like many of you, most of us have valued the Rally for decades as a sociable get-together to meet old friends. We look forward to seeing you again next year!


Follow us on Twitter and Facebook!

We’re delighted to announce that the Rally’s Twitter account @yorkrally is up and running!

And a warm welcome to the Rally team for Charlotte Gray, who will be doing most of the tweeting for us!

Charlotte has many years of service to the Rally behind her already, along with her father Peter Gray, a stalwart Rally volunteer for many years. Here’s a glimpse of the Gray family preparing pegs for the campsite back in the late ’80s:

Finally, I’d also like to mention the  Friends of York Rally Facebook page, which is growing steadily 🙂

York Rally 2015: press release

The press release is out! And I’ve just had a call from the York Press: watch out for a story on Friday…

You can download the press release here as a 300k PDF: PR York Rally 09-07-14 and do feel free to pass it around! Or read on:


Ride Yorkshire for the Rally!

Legacy and history combine in this spectacular Yorkshire ride to support the revival of the York Rally. 70 years of cycling heritage will be reborn in York, one year after the Tour’s incredible visit.

In July 1945, heady with post-war excitement, a gathering of cycling enthusiasts from clubs across the North of England made a momentous decision: to hold a rally “in or near York”. The title of the event was to be “The Grand All-Yorkshire Cyclists Rally”.

So on a Sunday in September 1945 the very first Rally was held on York’s Knavesmire, a sociable gathering of the northern cycling associations which soon developed into the main annual meeting-point for cyclists across the UK and beyond. The event was repeated for 68 years, as the CTC York Rally, and more recently as the York Cycle Show, until its temporary demise in 2013.

70 years on, today’s cyclists are not prepared to let the Rally die.

A group of volunteers has formed to revive the Rally for 2015. The 2015 Rally will build on the fantastic legacy of the Tour de France 2014, whose second stage started right at the Rally’s traditional venue, York Racecourse on the Knavesmire in York.

The York Rally 2015 will take place on the 20-21st June on the Knavesmire, and annually thereafter, continuing the tradition of fellowship and the joy of cycling embodied by the post-war founders. The new committee will also bring fresh ideas to keep the Rally sustainable for the decades to come.

The new Rally is still taking shape but it will aim to attract cyclists and potential cyclists old and new, and it will be a wonderful opportunity for those new to cycling to share in the unparalleled depth of cycling experience among the Rally regulars.

Cycling clubs, associations, online cycling forums and social media groups from across Yorkshire and the UK are warmly invited to attend, and to take full advantage of the almost unlimited space available on the Knavesmire to showcase their activities, and to come together with their members in a ‘Grand All-Welcome’ cycling meeting. Cycle trade exhibitors will also be made welcome.

Ride the York Rally Grande Classic Sportive

To support the re-launch of the event, the organisers are staging the York Rally Grande Classic Sportive in September through spectacular North York Moors scenery. There is a choice of rides:

  • the 36 km ride is mostly flat, and is perfect for families or perhaps for anyone inspired by the Tour looking for a challenge on their new bike! The ride will be well-signed with marshals. There will be feeding stations en route and free rider recovery will be on hand.
  • The 100 km ride is a serious challenge, taking in significant climbing and amazing Yorkshire views. Again feeding stations and a tea stop will be provided, as is recovery if needed.
  • The 140 km ride is worthy of champions! The famous Rosedale Chimney is an even more challenging climb than anything the Tour attempted, with a fearsome gradient but an exhilarating view over the moors at the summit.

All proceeds from the event will be used towards staging the York Rally. Entries are open now on the British Cycling website:

Full details can also be found at the new York Rally website: www.yorkrally.org where supporters of the event are also invited to participate in the re-launch by becoming a ‘Friend of the York Rally’. All are welcome with ideas or to volunteer to help: details are on the website.

  • Further high resolution images are available: please see the ‘History’ page on the website or contact the Publicity Officer as below.
  • Press contacts:
    • Event Secretary: Paul Reid.
      Tel 016973 43089 or email: info@yorkrally.org
    • Press/Publicity: Peter Eland.
      Tel 0787 624 4818 or email: publicity@yorkrally.org
  • The York Rally’s 70-year heritage is a treasure trove of social history, vintage costume, cycling invention and evolution, and true (authentic? eccentric?) British cycling culture. See www.yorkrally.org/history/ or contact the Rally to be put in touch with experts who can tell you more!