Merry Christmas – York Rally update!

Christmas greetings from the York Rally team and our best wishes for safe and enjoyable cycling in 2019! We’ve a few developments to report since the last update, but the main thing to mention is the reduced-rate booking deadlines for campsite and Saddlebag Sale:

Campsite bookings – last week of super-earlybird!

You can save a tenner on campsite bookings for the York Rally 2019 if you get your skates on! Booking at the super-earlybird rates is available until end of December, so book now to save. Advance bookings really help our planning, too.

For 2019, we are looking to streamline the check-in process, especially for pre-booked campers, to prevent the queues which developed in 2018. So in 2019, campers who book in advance will be able to check in and have pitches allocated from 3PM, so that when the site opens at 4PM you can go straight on. We cannot allow vehicles on site before 4PM: the hard-working volunteer set-up team needs the time to fully prepare the site and make it safe.

Could you perhaps arrive early and be part of that team? We’re always looking for more volunteers to help out in the days before the Rally opens, to set up the site. Please just make a regular campsite booking and add a note that you’d like to arrive early – or register here as a volunteer – and as a helper you’ll be most welcome to camp the extra nights (Wednesday and/or Thursday) at no extra cost.

Unfortunately the Rally’s finances do not yet permit any volunteer discounts, so all volunteers (and indeed Committee members) camping on site do need to make a standard booking. Thank you in advance for your support!

Saddlebag Sale: prices rise at end December!

2019 bookings for the Saddlebag Sale (the Rally’s cycle jumble, which takes place on the Sunday), are also open now at the earlybird rate of £10 – this rises to £12 after the end of December 2018. 

In 2018, as you will have seen, we had a table set aside outside the Saddlebag Sale for donated cycling gear, which was sold to raise funds for the Rally. This raised a tremendous £450 and we’re hoping that next year we can raise even more. So please do save up any unwanted parts and accessories, good condition clothing and even complete bikes which you might like to donate to help the Rally. Simply bring your items to next year’s Rally and drop them off ASAP at Rally HQ, or at the Sportive, or we can also accept them at any of our regular planning meetings in York.

In other news

  • Many thanks to all of the committed volunteers who agreed, at this year’s AGM in late November, to serve for another year on the Rally organising committee. We could always use more willing hands – please do just get in touch if you’d like to help and could come to most of our planning meetings, which are in York on Saturday mornings every month or so.
  • For those on site on Friday night, we are planning a cycling quiz on the Friday night in the main marquee. The bar will also be open :-). We’ll have more details in a future newsletter…
  • A reminder that entries are still open for our next fundraising Sportive, which takes place on the 28th April 2019. All the details are here (also forms for postal entry) or you can enter via British Cycling here. Advance entries are just £25 – on the day (if spaces are left) it’s £30. All funds raised go to support the York Rally! This year we’re also adding a gentler, shorter 50-mile (80 km) “Retro Classic” ride for classic cycle connoisseurs – but it still finds its way to the same fabulous main food stop at Marton. Ride in style! Click for full details about the Retro Classic

And finally

All are very welcome at our next York Rally planning meeting which is to be held from 10AM on the 26th January 2019 at St Chad’s on the Knavesmire Church Hall, Campleshon Road, York. Please just let us know if you would like a lift from the railway station.

Thanks again for your support of the York Rally – we’re already looking forward to seeing many of you next year!

Merry Christmas and with best regards,

The York Rally Team

2019 dates confirmed!

Just a quick note that the dates for the York Rally 2019 are now confirmed. It’ll take place on the weekend of 22-23 June 2019, and we look forward to seeing many of you there!

Campsite bookings and Saddlebag Sale table reservations will open shortly – please watch this space for further announcements.

We’ll also be revamping the website, Facebook and Twitter graphics and much more. And we’ve done a first draft of the 2019 leaflet…

Plus, watch out soon for news of a ‘classic’ addition to our annual fundraising Sportive!

Finally for now, our next planning meeting (and AGM) will be on Saturday 24th November 2018 at St Chad’s Church Hall, just by the Knavesmire, from 10AM. As ever, all are welcome to attend!

Join the cycling poetry workshop at the 2018 Rally!

We’re delighted that for the first time ever (as far as we know!) the York Rally will in 2018 feature a cycling poetry workshop, hosted by Bernie Cullen. Bernie was previously Director of York’s bicycle recycling charity Bikerescue, and is now Poet in Residence at the Yorkshire Arboretum.

Bernie was recently named as the overall winner of the Yorkshire Literature Festival/ Poetry Competition, beating over 1000 other entries to the prize. Click that link to find out more about her work, and to read her winning poem!

The day before the Rally workshop, Friday 22nd June, Bernie is running an evening Midsummer Poetry Reading at the Yorkshire Arboretum – which is near Castle Howard, north of York. The session is from 7 to 9 PM (with the gardens open from 6 PM) and any Rally-goers are welcome to book and join – just follow the link for full details.

Bernie’s poetry workshop will take place at 5PM on Saturday 23rd, in the talks text. No need to book – just turn up! It will include readings of some of Bernie’s own cycling poetry, and the opportunity to create your own. Pens and paper will be provided – just bring your imagination…

Like almost all of the activities and rides at the York Rally, entry and participation is completely free of charge! There’s free parking for day visitors too, off Knavesmire Road in York.

See here for our full list of talks and live music performances at the 2018 Rally.

2018 York Rally: new things coming!

With just a month to go until the 2018 York Rally it’s getting exciting! Our all-volunteer team have been busy finalising arrangements – and coming up with a few new ideas too!

(1) Rides are up!

We’ve now updated the rides listings for 2018:

Many popular favourites are back – including the Audax, and enjoyable rides run by valued partners such as RSF, Audax UK, York Greenway, Sustrans, and Bike Belles. Many thanks to all of the ride leaders and volunteers who help with these rides.

But as you’ll note from the current listings, we’re still short of ride leaders this year for a number of the ‘alphabet’ rides, and the Saturday evening pub ride, as several stalwart volunteers are for various reasons unavailable. If you can help, please email our Rides Co-ordinator Gary ASAP on

As a backstop we’re planning to introduce a series of new self-led rides, so that Rally-goers can ride together from a set start point and time – but taking charge of route-finding for yourselves. We’re thinking this might cover one short, one medium and one longer ride each day, with route sheets/maps available at Rally HQ, and GPX files for you to download. Watch this space… we’ll update the listings as soon as we’ve finalised the details.

We’re also bringing in very short rides on site that everyone can join:

(2) Arena Parades!

Everyone on site with a bike is welcome to join our Grand Arena Parades – which will take place at 4PM on Saturday and 3PM on Sunday. We’ll gather on the grasstrack racing arena and take a circuit or two! The exact arrangements will depend on turnout, but we’re thinking the delicate historic cycles might go first, and we could have a children’s circuit, and other groups like e.g. trikes, tandems, recumbents could all take their turn… be there and join in!

(3) Clothing and badges

If you’d like to order York Rally clothing for collection at the Rally, please do so by the 30th May! We’ll have only a limited supply of colours and sizes on sale at the Rally. All the details are on:

Note that if you’re signed up as a volunteer you can order clothing at cost price – please just contact us for the password to access the volunteer ordering page.

Also – huge thanks to the volunteer graphic designer who got in touch after our last mailing with some ideas for the 2018 York Rally badge. We’re now having one of the designs made up and will let everyone know ASAP, with pictures, when stocks arrive. They’ll be on sale at Rally HQ, of course, or at any time from the website for mail order.

(4) Layout changes – saddlebag sale, disabled parking, disabled camping

We’ve decided this year to move the main marquee a little way into the site, away from the enclosure fence. This will free up more space for disabled parking, and Saddlebag Sale traders will also have a designated space for unloading. Please watch out for signs as you approach the area.

We’ve also had several discussions about where we should site disabled camping pitches – and would welcome your feedback. The area in the corner of the perimeter road near the toilet block, behind the catering and trade tents is one option, but the ground is rough, it’s rather close to the generators and there’s also a fair bit of trade traffic going past. Its’ also rather isolated from the main campsite. But would proximity to the toilets outweight these considerations?

If disabled camping is of interest to you, please do drop in at HQ at some point and leave your feedback – or just send us an email at any time (

Incidentally, York Racecourse have been re-building the toilet facilities in the Enclosure. We’ll still have access to water and use of the loos, but watch out for some site layout changes there, too.

(5) Music

As well as the traditional performance by the Foresters folk band on Saturday night we’re delighted that rock and roll band The Sonics (three keen cyclists) will be entertaining the crowds during the day on Saturday…  

(6) Talks

We’re finalising the talks schedule for 2018, and have some fine speakers lined up, but there are still a few gaps. If you’ve been on a great tour recently – or have expertise in any area of cycling you’d like to share with Rally-goers, please get in touch via ASAP! Modest inducements may be available for talk-givers 🙂

We’ll have a widescreen TV and amplification on hand for presentations this year – which should be a step up from the projector set-up of 2017!

(7) GDPR – how we use your data

As many of you will know, stricter data protection rules are coming into force on Friday and even small volunteer organisations like the York Rally are affected. To ensure we comply we’ve done a data audit, developed guidelines for volunteers who handle data, and revised our Privacy Policy, which you can read here:

Anyone who signed up to our newsletter via our website since we set up our new mailing system in 2015 will not be affected, as we have always used a double opt-in process. However, in the next few days we will be emailing a number of you who were added to the list before that to invite you to re-subscribe to the newsletter, as it’s not clear that we could prove how you opted in.

We’re working hard to ensure the Rally is fully GDPR compliant, and fully embrace its philosophy of the responsible, transparent use of data.

(8) Camping – advance bookings still open

Almost finally, there’s still time to book your campsite pitch! Book ahead for fast-track entry on site, and to be sited with friends or club-mates. It’s also a little cheaper than if you book in on the day, and advance bookings also help us with forward planning!

(9) Our next meeting

As ever, all are very welcome at our final planning meeting before the 2018 Rally, which is on the 9th June 2018 at 10AM at the Church Hall of St Chad’s on the Knavesmire, Campleshon Road, York YO23 1EY, followed by a site meeting on the Knavesmire. Please just let us know if you would like a lift from the railway station.


That’s all for now – thanks for your attention! We’ll be back with more soon…

Your all-volunteer York Rally team


Eight-point 2018 Rally update

Overdue update – 2018 York Rally!

The next York Rally is coming up fast on the 23-24th June 2018 – and even sooner is our fundraising Sportive, on the 29th April!

As ever, the all-volunteer team have been working hard behind the scenes on several aspects of the Rally, so with apologies for a rather long-overdue update, here goes:


(1) Activities for children

Non-racing activities for younger visitors have always been a tricky one at recent Rallies. We’re delighted that for 2018, there’ll be new children’s activities though the weekend from local environment charity, the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, along with the team from iTravel York who work to encourage active travel in the city. We’ll have more details of both in the next newsletter.


(2) Saddlebag Sale – your donations welcome!

Need to de-clutter your cycling collection? Table bookings are open now for the Saddlebag Sale cycle jumble on Sunday – and this year we’ll also be setting aside a table for your donations, to be sold to raise funds for the Rally. Bikes, parts and accessories all welcome – you can leave them with us in HQ. Anything unsold will go to Bike in Need, a local organisation who provide bikes, panniers and locks to newly arrived refugees. We’ve also made a few small changes to the logistics of the sale – see the Saddlebag Sale page on the website for all the details.


(3) Shimano’s sponsorship

Many thanks to Shimano for providing several thousand metres of barrier tape for us to use at the Rally! This’ll be ideal for marking out the racing: once again the Rally’s hosting the British Schools Cycling Association’s National Grasstrack Championships, and a round of the Yorkshire Cyclo-Cross Summer Series. So plenty to watch and take part in!


(4) The Bishop is booked!

We’re delighted that Bishop John, the “Cycling Bishop” of Selby, has kindly agreed to join Rallygoers who attend the service on Sunday morning at St Matthews’, Naburn. There’s a traffic-free led ride over to the service from the Rally. See the website for full details!


(5) Badge design – seeking an artist!

Do we have any artists or graphic designers out there? We need a new design for the 2018 York Rally badge – and none of us on the committee have the artistic knack! Inspiration could perhaps be found from previous badges which you can see on the merchandise page – and if you could help, please just email us on


(6) Fundraising Sportive – Sunday April 29th

Last call for the Sportive! We can always use more riders, and a few more volunteers would also be great! To sign up to ride, visit the Sportive page, and if you’re free on that Sunday to volunteer, at HQ in Haxby or out on the course, please call organiser Pete Dunn on 07740 171 252. All funds raised go to support the Rally!


(7) Campsite – just a month left of earlybird rates!

There’s just a month left for reduced-price earlybird campsite bookings: bookings are open now, online or by post. Please do book in early, as it really helps our finances and planning – and saves you money!


(8) Next meeting, first aid, GDPR, more music…

And a few smaller items:

(a) As ever, all are very welcome at our next planning meeting, which is on the 12th May 2018 at 10AM at the Church Hall of St Chad’s on the Knavesmire, Campleshon Road, York YO23 1EY. Please just let us know if you would like a lift from the railway station. After the meeting we’ll have a first aid refresher session, to remind us of the course many of us attended last year. All are welcome for this, too.

(b) General Data Protection Regulations. We’re reviewing the data we hold and our procedures to keep it secure, in line with these new regulations. We’ll have a new privacy policy on the website soon. Please be assured we only use your data for York Rally purposes, and never pass it to third parties.

(c) We’ve booked long-standing folk band The Foresters for Saturday night, as usual, but we’ll also have sessions during the day on Saturday from The Sonics, a ’50s rock and roll band comprising three keen cyclists. You can watch some sample songs on their Facebook page!


That’s all for now – thanks for your attention! We’ll be back with more soon…

Your all-volunteer York Rally team