Wirral & Merseyside Sportives : Liverpool to Chester, Wirral Bikeathon
Wirral Sportives take riders through beautiful country lanes and throughout the Wirral Peninsular and across Merseyside
Historically, there have been a good number of Wirral Sportives but in 2020 & 2021, the number dwindled significantly and the few remaining events are in danger of following the others, unless they receive more support. Prior to Covid-19, lack of support was the primary cause of the Wirral decline but the pandemic clearly impacted this decline further. Let’s hope 2023 will see a resurgence in the number of Wirral Sportives and Merseyside cyclists support these events once again.
Neighbouring Cheshire has plenty of sportives and these can be found on the Cheshire Sportives page.
I live on the Wirral and have completed each of the sportives listed here, so this is a personal view of each event. If you know of other Wirral sportives, please add a comment on this page with as much info as you can. I hope you enjoy the list and happy cycling.
For those of you who are new to cycling events, our guide on How to Prepare for a Charity Bike Ride will help you to get ready for your event. For those who are more experienced, you may want to consider joining one of the local Wirral Cycling Clubs.
Wirral Sportives 2022
|Wirral & Merseyside Sportives|
|June 2022||Wirral Bikeathon||Jun 26, 2022||28m||Arrowe Park, Wirral|
|July 2022||Liverpool to Chester||Jul 3, 2022||50m, 75m, 100m||Liverpool, Merseyside|
Wirral Bikeathon Charity Bike Ride : 26th June 2022
Wirral Bikeathon Charity Bike Ride
|Location:||Arrowe Park, Wirral||Event Website:||link to website|
|Date:||26th June 2022 [tbc]||Price:||£15|
|Distance:||15m, 28m||Feed Stations:||7m, 15m, 22m|
|GPS Route:||link to Ride with GPS||Map:||link to map & route|
The Wirral Bikeathon can be done as one circuit of 15 miles or a figure-of-eight route which covers approximately 28 miles. The route is across scenic paths, woodland tracks and minor roads.
Climbing is minimal, in part because this is solely a Wirral route, and in part as this is aimed at leisure cyclists to raise money for the Bloodwise charity.
As the route takes in woodland paths, the track can get quite muddy when it rains. However, I’ve seen road race bikes cope / carried, so hybrids, commuter bikes and of course mountain bikes, should manage fine. Personally, I do the circuit on a hardtail mountain bike so the woodland paths are fine, whatever the weather conditions.
Wirral Bikeathon Route Map
Liverpool to Chester Sportive : 3rd July 2022
Liverpool to Chester Sportive
|Name:||Liverpool to Chester LCL||Organiser:||Pennine Events|
|Location:||Liverpool, Merseyside||Event Website:||link to website|
|Date:||3rd July 2022||Price:||£28|
|Distance:||25m, 75m, 50m, 100m||Feed Stations:||25m, 75m|
|Climbing:||3,500ft (100m route)||Ride Profile:||Rural|
|GPS Route:||link to website & GPS files||Map:||link to map of 100m route|
One of the features of the LCL Liverpool-Chester sportive is that you get to ride through the tunnel under the Mersey. It’s quite a surreal feeling, especially if you are used to driving through either of the tunnels. The tunnel roads are perfectly smooth, not a pothole in sight. The first time you go through the tunnels you may be surprised at the length of both the downhill and uphill, at least one mile in length for both aspects.
This is a well organised event and one that is well attended (approx 3,000 riders). There are four primary distances; 25m, 50m, 75m, 100m. The 50m route is one the I did when I first started doing sportives and is basically a straight ride from Liverpool to Chester, riding through the minor roads of the Wirral.
The halfway point is a stop off at the Countess of Chester, before returning to Liverpool, using similar secondary roads across the Wirral Peninsular.
The 75m route is the latest additional to the LCL family of routes but 100m is now my route of choice. It’s probably one of the easiest 100-mile sportives you can do. The 100m route shares the 50m route through the Wirral to Chester but then extends a further 50m through Cheshire to Delamere Forest before returning to Chester and then back into Liverpool, watching your times so you get to go through the tunnel again. This is a great day out and a ride that I book as soon as entry opens.
Liverpool to Chester LCL Sportive Route Map : 100m
Previous Sportives on the Wirral & Merseyside
I’ve listed previous Wirral Sportives below as I want to keep a record of these sportives. I also want to utilise the routes as many have good local cycle routes which can be used regardless of the sportive taking part.
Liverpool Nightrider 2019
|Location:||Liverpool, Merseyside||Event Website:||N/A|
|Date:||13th July 2019||Price:||£99.00|
|Event:||Charity Sportive||Start Time:||11:00pm|
|Distance:||50km or 100km||Feed Stations:||unknown|
|GPS Route:||unavailable||Map:||see below|
The Liverpool Nightrider cycle event is pretty unique compared to most other sportives as it takes place overnight rather than during the day.
There are two options, a 50km route or a 100km route made up of two 50km loops. Cyclists have the option to do the Liverpool route or the Wirral route, or you could do both.
This event has back-up and support from the organisers, along with feed station on the route.
The route map below is a draft route and is subject to change but will give you an idea of the possible route.
About a month prior to the event organisers will release the GPS of the route and the final route map.
Liverpool Nightrider Route Map
Lancashire Lanes 2019
Lancashire Lanes Sportive
|Name:||Lancashire Lanes||Organiser:||Steve Prescott Foundation|
|Location:||Knowsley, Merseyside||Event Website:||N/A|
|Date:||12th May 2019||Price:||£20.00|
|Event:||Charity Sportive||Start Time:||9:00am|
|GPS Route:||link to Garmin Connect||Map:||N/A|
The Lancashire Lanes sportive is one of those rare organised cycle events where all of the money goes towards the good cause it is set up to support and at £20 it’s one of the more inexpensive sportives.
I didn’t get the chance to ride this event last year as it clashed with another sportive but I will certainly be doing it this year. It’s one I’ve done in the past and can certainly recommend it.
Lancashire Lanes starts from the North Mersey Business Centre in Knowsley, Merseyside (Woodward Road, L33 7UY) and as the name suggests, heads East towards the country lanes of Lancashire. This year’s route map and GPS files aren’t available yet but no doubt will be nearer the event. However, the route is well signposted so you’re unlikely to get lost (famous last words eh?).
Cyclists are supported with mechanical assistance, motorcycle marshals and the capable supervision of Liverpool Mercury CC club members who are co-organisers of the event.
Organisers are expecting over 500 cyclists to take part so that’s £10,000 for Clatterbridge Cancer Charity before we even set-off, which is a great reason to do this event.
Lancashire Lanes Sportive Route Map
Ride of the Roses Sportive 2018
Ride of the Roses 2018
|Name:||Ride of the Roses||Organiser:||Clatterbridge Cancer Charity|
|Date:||2nd Sept 2018||Price:||£30|
|Event:||Charity||Start Times:||7:45am, 8:45am, 9:45am|
|Distance:||50m, 75m, 100m||Feed Stations:||Yes|
|GPS Route:||links to 50m, 75m, 100m GPS routes||Map:||use links to GPS routes|
The Ride of the Roses is another of my favourite rides and one that I’d wholeheartedly recommend. I’ve done the 50m and 75m routes so this year I will probably try to 100m route. It’s a late ride so if you are aiming to do your first Century cycle event, this is one that I’d suggest as you’ll have all summer to prepare and the 100m route is pretty flat, with just a couple of lumps in the middle.
Starting from Banks Leisure Centre in Southport (Greaves Hall Avenue, Banks, Southport, PR9 8BL), each of the three routes will take you along stunning Merseyside and Lancashire country lanes, with the 75 mile and 100 mile routes taking you around the Trough of Bowland. All three routes are designed to be challenging but the 50 mile route has fewer challenging hills but is equally as scenic.
This is another well organised event with clear signs along the route and maps available on the day. The status of the feed stations is unknown. In the welcome pack, they describe them as water stops and make no reference to food being available so it’s advisable to take plenty of nutrition on this ride.
The water stops are located at the 23-mile marker (all routes), after 50 miles on the 75m route and after 60 & 75 miles on the 100m route. If you want to plan ahead, the specific locations are as follows.
|Feed Station by Route:||Distance Marker:||Location:|
|50m (80km)||23m||The Nab’s Head, Nab’s Head Lane, Preston, PR5 0UQ|
|75m (120km)||23m||The Nab’s Head, Nab’s Head Lane, Preston, PR5 0UQ|
|75m (120km)||50m||The Plough, 187 Preston Road, Grimsargh, Preston, PR2 5JR|
|100m (160km)||23m||The Nab’s Head, Nab’s Head Lane, Preston, PR5 0UQ|
|100m (160km)||60m||The Plough, 187 Preston Road, Grimsargh, Preston, PR2 5JR|
|100m (160km)||75m||Slaidburn Village Green, Chapel Street, Slaidburn, Clitheroe, BB7 3ES|
Ride of the Roses Route Map : 100m Route
Elevation of the Ride of the Roses Route : 100m Route
Roman Road Challenge Sportive 2018
Roman Road Challenge Sportive 2018
|Name:||Roman Road Challenge||Organiser:||Vital Events|
|Location:||Ormskirk, Merseyside||Event Website:||N/A|
|Date:||3rd June 2018||Price:||£25|
|Climbing:||4,500 ft||Ride Profile:||Rural|
|GPS Route:||link to Ride with GPS||Map:||see below|
For regular cyclists, the Roman Road Challenge is probably the first real challenge on this list so far. In part, this is due to it being over 82 miles and also that it climbs for 4,500 ft. It’s not a difficult ride but it is certainly one that you’ll need to be prepared for.
In 2015, I rode this event for the first time and whilst I thoroughly enjoyed it, the last 30 miles saw us cycling into a headwind, which was pretty brutal. The scenery on this ride is beautiful and it once again highlights how fortunate we are to live in this area.
The Roman Road Challenge takes cyclists over Hunter’s Hill, Rivington Reservoir, Foxholes, Matchmoor, past Belmont Village and out to Edgworth onto the infamous Roman Road for 6 undulating miles before returning past Tockholes, Brindle, Hillhouse Lane, Walton le Dale, Midge Hall, Croston and Mawdesley. The route has been designed to challenge the most experienced rider and offers over 4,500 ft of climbing and a maximum gradient of 13%. However, don’t be put off by this as I must admit that I didn’t notice the magnitude of this elevation until I came to write this, and I’m not a good climber.
Roman Road Challenge Sportive Route Map & Elevation
Manchester to Liverpool NSPCC Charity Sportive 2017
Manchester to Liverpool NSPCC Charity Sportive
|Name:||Manchester to Liverpool||Organiser:||NSPCC|
|Location:||Salford Quays to Liverpool||Event Website:||link to website|
|Date:||11th June 2017||Price:||£19.50|
|Event:||Sportive Charity Ride||Start Time:||8:00am|
|Distance:||40m, 55m, 85m||Feed Stations:||unknown|
|Climbing:||800ft (40m), 1,500ft (55m)||Ride Profile:||Rural paths.|
The Manchester to Liverpool sportive is a charity cycle event in aid of the NSPCC. It is worth noting early on that none of the £19.50 entry fee goes to good causes, it simply covers the cost of the event. However, if you are inclined to ride this event and raise sponsorship, then this will of course benefit the NSPCC.
In previous years, this event has been a gentle stretch along the canal path but from 2017, the event organisers have included a third route, giving more seasoned cyclists a more challenging distance.
This gives riders the choice of three routes; 40-miles, 55-miles or 85-miles. The latter adds some coastal cycling into the mix, which may or may not include headwinds. This is as flat as any ride can be, with the shorter distance just 800ft elevation. The mid-distance isn’t much higher at 1,500ft and the new 85m route doesn’t have a published elevation yet.
There is a considerable amount of the route that travels alongside the Manchester Ship Canal and it’s recommended to have sturdy tyres, with widths at least 1.5-inch. This makes it more suitable for mountain bikes than road bikes but I’ll leave that decision up to you.
Whilst this sportive ends locally (Croxteth Hall Country Park, Liverpool), riders still have to be in Salford Quays for an 8:00am start. If you’re looking for a lift from Liverpool, you’ll need to be at West Derby Road for 6:30am and have a spare £24.50 to cover the cost.
I’ve always found linear routes frustrating as whilst I’d like to do some of them, they’re not practical. I think I’ll stick to circular loops.
Liverpool Roubaix Sportive 2017
Liverpool Roubaix Sportive
|Name:||Liverpool Roubaix||Organiser:||Cycle Classics|
|Location:||Liverpool||Event Website:||link to website|
|Date:||1st Oct 2017||Price:||£30|
|Distance:||62m / 100km||Feed Stations:||unknown|
|Climbing:||unknown||Ride Profile:||Rural. Cobbles.|
Few details are currently available for the Liverpool Roubaix but there is of course, a clue in the name. This is a tough 62-mile cobbled classic in the style of the famous Paris-Roubaix. The route includes nine unpaved cobbled surfaces and a finish at the new Knowsley velodrome, just outside Liverpool.
Wirral Wheelers Early Season Sportive 2016
Wirral Wheelers Early Season Sportive
|Name:||Wirral Wheelers Early Season||Organiser:||Wirral Wheelers|
|Location:||Waverton, Cheshire||Event Website:||N/A|
|Date:||3rd April 2016||Price:||£12.50|
|Distance:||60m||Feed Stations:||30m (entry inc lunch)|
|GPS Route:||not available||Map:||not available|
This early season challenge is organised by Wirral Wheelers and is a loop that starts and finishes at Waverton, Cheshire. The route is generally flat and stays predominantly on the Cheshire lanes and minor roads. I haven’t ridden this ride before but it looks to be a friendly event, with refreshments on offer at each control point. Full route details are available on the Wirral Wheelers website (see above).
Wirral Wanderer Charity Bike Ride 2016
Wirral Wanderer Charity Bike Ride
|Name:||Wirral Wanderer||Organiser:||Wirral YMCA|
|Location:||Birkenhead, Wirral||Event Website:||not available|
|Date:||16th April 2016||Price:||£30|
|Distance:||68m||Feed Stations:||YMCA barge at 34m|
|GPS Route:||link to Garmin Connect||Map:||see below|
The Wirral Wanderer is an early spring ride across the Wirral and into the Cheshire countryside. This is a charity ride in aid of Wirral YMCA and all proceeds from the entry fee go to support the Wirral YMCA so just by entering, you are supporting the charity.
It’s a flat ride with just a small handful of low-level climbs across the 68m route. The ride sets off from Birkenhead, North Wirral, and travels south towards Thornton Hough, Willaston and on to Mickle Trafford. The route continues on past Chester before passing through Tarporley and heading back to the Wirral via Ellesmere Port. There is a feed station at the halfway point, which is provided courtesy of the YMCA barge, just after Beeston Castle.
Post Ride Comments: I enjoyed this ride, in part because of the route and in part due to the predicted bad weather not making an appearance. Like many Wirral Sportives, the roads are okay-to-good but there are also too many bumps and lumps in the road surfaces. Road conditions apart, this was a lovely route and one that took in several national cycle network routes, cycle paths, lanes and plenty of B-Roads, which allowed time for sightseeing. The event was well organised and in general, well sign-posted (one or two signs were missing which could well have been locals removing them for fun).
Disappointingly, there were just 51 participants, which meant that I cycled alone for 99% of the route. It would be good to see more cyclists next year as this was a good sportive. However, as of July 2016, the organisers website is no longer available so I suspect that this may have been the last time this sportive is available.