Details of the routes for the new cycling event for women taking place in Rochdale on Sunday, 21 May 2017 have been confirmed.
Middleton's double Olympic gold medal-winning and World Champion cyclist Joanna Rowsell Shand MBE is championing our 'Ride Rochdale' sportive event organised by Tim Kelly Cycling Coach.
'Blackstone Vale' is a 50-mile route with the distinct climb of Blackstone Edge within 4 miles of the start, a long descent and short valley section taking you to another classic steep cobbled climb through the medieval village of Heptonstall followed by a moorland road. There are flatter sections deep in the valley bottoms through Todmorden and Hebden Bridge before tackling the classic 5 mile climb of Cragg Vale prior to retracing your ride down Blackstone Edge and the final 4 miles back to Kingsway Park Sports Centre.
For those wanting more of a challenge, 'Blackstone Vale and Moor' is a 75-mile route which follows the 'Blackstone Vale' course until branching off at Hebden Bridge to tackle the steep cobbled climb through Heptonstall for a second time. This is followed by an epic twenty miles of serious climbing and descending over the Widdop Moors. Reversing the moorland road will lead you back down to Hebden Bridge with just a short valley section before the grand finale of the Cragg Vale climb, Blackstone Edge descent and easier roads to the finish.
'through beautiful villages and breath-taking countryside … it will be a really fun and friendly day out'
Both routes take their names from Blackstone Edge in Littleborough which will feature in the early part of the scenic courses, and the event is registered with British Cycling.
View route maps or register for places at Ride Rochdale.
Ride Rochdale is supported by
Link4Life and Transport for Greater Manchester's 'Women on Wheels'.
Over 300 women are expected to take part on Sunday, 21 May 2017. Joanna will join entrants at the start of the event, with both routes setting off from Kingsway Park Sports Centre.
Organiser Tim Kelly said that while lots more women are getting into road cycling, there is a gap in between social riding and more serious challenges:
"We've put together 2 superb routes, with a real mixture of climbs, drops and stunning flat sections, passing through beautiful villages and breath-taking countryside … it will be a really fun and friendly day out. The scenery on these routes will be absolutely stunning and in the sunshine there is nowhere else quite like it. Although whilst lots more women are getting into road cycling there's definitely a gap for many between social rides such as British Cycling's Breeze Network and more serious challenges or club membership. I wanted to offer 2 rides that will provide an opportunity for female road cyclists to build confidence and step up to a new challenge, and others to showcase their strength."
Disabled riders are also invited to cycle routes around Kingsway Park Sports Centre during an accessible ride being staged on the same day, aimed at showing how cycling is for everyone. National organisation Cycling Projects with Link4Life Rochdale Wheels for All will provide a broad range of accessible bikes for the event.