The Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC) returns to its ancestral home in Yorkshire this weekend to take in the sights and sounds of England’s historic city, starting from York Racecourse (less than a mile from the railway station) and venturing forth into the beautiful countryside. The York Cycle Show features organised rides for every level of cyclist from 25km rides to 150km, so there is definitely something worth taking part in for every level of rider.
The CTC was established in 1878 in Harrogate, originally as the ‘Bicycle Touring Club’, making it the oldest national tourism club in the world, which now boasts over 70,000 registered members and has as its President the newsreader, journalist and all round cool guy Jon Snow. Incidentally, the society found itself at the heart of early women’s rights movements in England; it accepted its first woman member, a Mrs W.D. Welford in 1880, and fought a legal battle in 1898 to allow Florence Wallace Pomeroy, Lady Haberton to be served at a CTC hotel while wearing ‘rational’ cyclist’s dress of long, baggy trousers that came together above the ankle. The CTC also made the first proposal for a dedicated cycle path at the side of busy roads in 1926. Today, the network seeks to encourage people to take up cycling and to improve the experience of cyclists across the UK.
The Cycle Show kicks off on Friday evening when the campsite opens, complete with bar, food court and a stately, civilised cycle to the pubs of nearby villages of Acaster, Malbis & Naburn. The following morning there are cycles setting forth led by local cyclists from 8am and 9am, including the CTC Ron Kitching Memorial Ride, one of the society’s national challenge events, which takes in the stunning, stark scenery of the Yorkshire Moors.
Later in the day, visitors can go on the hunt for a bargain bike at auction in the Lounge Marquee, or visit the saddlebag sale (a cyclist version of a car boot sale) for some great deals on bike miscellany. Later on the Saturday evening there is a Midsummer Nights Wheel Ride, taking advantage of one of the longest days of the year to take in the last of the sunlight on the open road, while the Racecourse is also putting on a Walk-in Movie for the folks who need a bit of a rest! At 8pm, the band Foresters will be playing to wrap up the evening.
On Sunday morning there is a special cycle-friendly service at York Minster, two talks from Brookes Saddles in the afternoon, and for younger bikers, there is a cycle skills tryout area, a climbing wall, giant inflatables, storytelling and entertainers, including Bo the Clown. If that wasn’t enough, the stunt mountain bike group Savage Skills will be showing off their bikey moves!
So if the weather holds and you fancy getting the most out of your two wheels, check out some hotels in York for one of the country’s finest celebrations of cycling.
Catherine Halsey is based in Edinburgh and writes for a digital marketing agency. This article links back to PremierInn.com. Photo by Andrew Havis