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


York Rally wins Big Lottery Fund grant!

We’re delighted that the York Rally is now National Lottery funded!

The York Rally has been awarded a grant of £5000 as one of the Lottery-supported ‘good causes’. This money will help us to afford significant improvements to the facilities we can offer at the event, and allow us to further boost event safety.

In the award letter the Big Lottery Fund said: “Receiving this award is a mark of quality of the work you are doing in your community. Congratulations on your grant and thank you for all that you do to support your community. We wish you every success.”

Many thanks to York Rally volunteer fundraiser Sue for all of her hard work in applying for this funding – it’ll make a real difference to the 2018 and future Rallies!

Meanwhile fundraising continues: please do vote for us ASAP in the Aviva Community Awards – voting closes soon:
And if you’d like to support us directly, we’re running a campaign on Justgiving:
All funds raised will be used wisely and purely to make the Rally better – our team are all unpaid volunteers!

Announcing the York Rally 2018!

We’re delighted to confirm that the 2018 York Rally will be taking place on the weekend of 23-24th June 2018!

It’ll be back better than ever, with camping, rides, talks, trade, food, music, racing, auction, jumble and much more…

Campsite bookings are open now – book your pitch ASAP to enjoy the much-reduced super-earlybird prices, to be sited with your friends or clubmates, and to help support our planning!

This will be the fourth edition of the Rally run by the new all-volunteer team which revived the Rally in 2015 – huge thanks to all who have helped and supported this effort.

We’re happy to report that the 2017 event was another safe and successful Rally! It was a good year for rides, racing (BSCA and cyclo-cross are both keen to come back in 2018) and talks, with the tent often packed out. Sadly two bikes were stolen overnight despite the security presence, although happily Graham Lawrance’s beloved Bob Jackson has since been safely recovered. Financially, a significant dip in trade bookings was behind a small loss over the year, although this was safely covered by Rally reserves and fundraising efforts including the 2017 Sportive.

So for 2018, we need to work even harder to ensure that future Rallies are both succcessful and profitable – without making camping unaffordable, or compromising the open nature of the event by charging for entry.

As you’ll see in the coming months, we’re now working to bring in fundraising and sponsorship to help secure the Rally’s future.  We hope this will allow us to offer even more facilities and activities to all who attend the Rally and, we hope, attract ever more younger-generation participants. We’ll do this while carefully safeguarding the Rally’s unique, non-commercial character and all-volunteer ethos.

The first stage of this is a crowdfunding campaign on JustGiving – please do chip in if you can to support your Rally!

We’ll keep everyone posted as plans develop, but for now, please do make sure you can make it to the Rally on the 23-24th June 2018 – and book your campsite pitch now!

Your all-volunteer York Rally team

As ever, all are most welcome at our next planning meeting (and AGM), which is on the 25th November 2017 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.




2018 York Rally starts here – next meeting 9th September!

The next York Rally planning meeting will be held at the Church Hall of St Chad’s on the Knavesmire, Campleshon Road, York YO23 1EY on the 9th September 2017 at 10AM. All are welcome, especially first-timers! Please just let us know if you would like a lift from the railway station.

Building work means that our usual venue, kindly provided by Cycle Heaven of York, is unavailable – many thanks to them for offering it so generously for our meetings over the last few years. We hope St Chad’s will be equally convenient.

We’ll be looking back at 2017 and starting to plan for 2018. Provisional dates are the 23rd and 24th June 2018 but we’re still awaiting final confirmation of the Knavesmire availability (horse racing gets first priority).

Hope to see many there!

Historic bikes and racing at the York Rally 2017. Photo: Gerry Swift

2017 York Rally: coming up fast!

2017 York Rally: coming up fast!

The Rally is just weeks away now. It’s all looking good, with rides firming up, a talks list including Chris Juden and the Bishop of Selby, and much more…

Campsite – advance bookings close Friday 16th!

There’s just a week left to get your advance campsite booking in! We have to close bookings a week or so before the event to give our campsite team a chance to lay out the site, keeping groups together and juggling various other constraints. Campers with advance bookings can fast-track through campsite check-in (just go to the ‘pre booked’ desk) too. So book your space now.

Rides list filling up – including the Audax.

We still have a few rides to confirm but the rides list is filling out well. Note in particular that the traditional 100k Audax ride into the Howardian Hills is definitely happening this year – it was missed off the Audax UK website and calendar due to an oversight, but you can still enter direct with us and ride it under Audax UK rules. See the rides page for all the details of this and many other rides.

York Rally Sportive – thanks to all!

Many thanks to all who entered and helped with the fundraising Sportive which we ran in May. It was perfect riding weather into the North York Moors and we had some lovely feedback from riders. Special thanks to organiser Pete Dunn for taking on this demanding task, and to the all-volunteer team who made it happen! There are masses of pictures online here.

Talks – inc. Chris Juden and the Cycling Bishop!

We’re still finalising the talks schedule – any proposals are very welcome – but we’re delighted that among this year’s speakers will be well known cycling technical (and much else) expert Chris Juden, whose talk “Choose your discipline” will be at 5PM on Saturday. Another highlight will be Bishop John, the Cycling Bishop of Selby, whose talk will be on Saturday at 2PM. Watch the talks page on the website for a full list shortly!

Food at the Rally – and real ale…

We’ve arranged an varied line-up of catering for this year – and it’s from several reliable providers. The fantastic grill wagon that came across from the car boot sale last year after we were let down by other caterers will be back. There will also be vegan food provided by local York bike shop/cafe Bicis-y-mas, a specialist beef burger caterer, possibly also a ‘hog roast’ type outfit, and 2 coffee vans plus a coffee tricycle! And two ice cream vans, because it’s sure to be sunny… and the relaxed bar area will be supplied with local real ale from craft brewery Brew York.

Other York Rally news

  • A reminder that we have a provisional date for the 2018 York Rally already! Keep the 23rd-24th June clear in your calendar. This has been cleared with City of York Council (who handle the venue hire) but is still subject to final confirmation until the 2018 horse-racing calendar is firmed up.
  • Check out some media mentions: BikeBiz and Cycle Industry News, and in the York Press: 
  • Our final meeting before the 2017 Rally will be this Saturday – 10th June – and in a change of venue (due to local road closures for another event) we will meet at the St Chad’s Church Hall on Campleshon Road at 10AM, before walking over to the Knavesmire for a site visit. As ever, all are welcome – especially newcomers!

Many thanks again for your interest in the York Rally. We hope we’ll see you there again in 2017!

York Rally: all systems go for 2017

York Rally: all systems go for 2017

With apologies for a rather large gap since the last update, it’s time for another York Rally update. We’ve made good progress in the last few months, have attracted a major national event to the Rally, and are looking forward to the summer already!

Campsite – earlybird deadline imminent!

If you book into the campsite early it helps us enormously with the planning and financing of the Rally, and to recognise that, we reduce the prices for “earlybirds”. But earlybird discounts for the next Rally (24-25th June) close on the 1st April. So book your space now and you’ll get the reduced prices – and fast-tracked entry on the day.

Rally to host BSCA National Championships!

We’re delighted that the Rally has been chosen to host the British Schools Cycling Association (BSCA) National and Yorkshire Grasstrack Championships. This will take place in the arena on the Saturday of the Rally, and we’re also very happy that the Yorkshire Cyclo-Cross Association will be back on the Sunday. Between these two events we should have a fantastic weekend of spectacle and participation: grass roots cycling at its best.

York Rally Sportive (17th May) gearing up

Bookings are filling up (via British Cycling online – or by post if you prefer) for our next fundraising Sportive! There’s a choice of 100km or 140km rides, taking you into the beautiful North York Moors via some demanding ascents.

Even if you’re not on for riding, volunteers to help run the event are still needed. If you could help marshall, staff a feeding station or take on various tasks at ride HQ, please contact organiser Pete Dunn on 07740 171 252.

Our Beautiful City – #walkcyclefestival

The York Rally is delighted to be taking part in the “Our Beautiful City – #walkcyclefestival” celebration starting on the 28th May – a week of walks and bike rides around York. We’ll be at Rowntree Park for the opening event on Sunday the 28th May, and then we’ll be running a short bike ride to Nether Poppleton on the 29th (Bank Holiday Monday).

  • Volunteers are always welcome to help on the stand at Rowntree Park.
  • Or could you help lead the ride? York Bike Belles, the organisers, have a free ride leader training session on the evening of Wed, 6th May. Contact us if you’d like to take part.
  • Our participation in this event will reap rewards in local publicity – it has already helped us get listed among York’s community cycling groups.

Other York Rally news

  • After many months of paperwork we are finally a Community Interest Company! As I write this we’re in the process of transferring operations fully to the new structure, which both limits the personal liability of us as organisers and should make fund-raising easier. York Rally CIC will remain entirely volunteer run, and not for profit: as before, our only objective is to see the York Rally survive and prosper.
  • We have a provisional date for the 2018 York Rally already! Keep the 23rd-24th June clear in your calendar. This has been cleared with City of York Council (who handle the venue hire) but is still subject to final confirmation until the 2018 horse-racing calendar is firmed up.
  • We are always looking for new volunteers – both for general help on the day, and on the committee – so please do come along to a meeting if you’re interested, or to help at the Rally sign up here.
  • Could you give a talk at the Rally? We’re expanding our talks programme this year, and touring talks were particularly popular last time. We’ll have a projector on hand. If you’d like to give it a go, please contact Peter Eland on

Many thanks again to all who entered the 2016 Photo Competition, and apologies again for the delayed judging! We will announce the winners ASAP!

Our next meeting will be at 10AM on the 13th May 2017 – please watch the website for venue details. All are welcome – especially newcomers!

Many thanks again for your interest in the York Rally. We hope we’ll see you there again in 2017!

With our best wishes for happy cycling,

The York Rally Committee