Wirral & Merseyside Sportives

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 this year, the number has dwindled significantly and the few remaining events are in danger of following the others, unless they receive more support.

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.

Wirral Sportives 2019

Wirral & Merseyside Sportives
Event Date Distance Location
May Lancashire Lanes May 12 75m Knowsley, Merseyside
June Wirral Bikeathon Jun 16 28m Arrowe Park, Wirral
July Liverpool to Chester Jul 7 50m, 100m Liverpool, Merseyside
Liverpool Nightrider Jul 13 50km, 100km Liverpool, Merseyside

Lancashire Lanes Sportive : 12th May 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
Distance: 75m Feed Stations: unknown
Climbing: 3,600ft Ride Profile: Rural
GPS Route: link to Garmin Connect Map: link to route map

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

Lancashire Lanes Route Map
Wirral Bikeathon Charity Bike Ride : 16th June 2019

Wirral Bikeathon Charity Bike Ride

Name: Wirral Bikeathon Organiser: Bloodwise
Location: Arrowe Park, Wirral Event Website: link to website
Date: 16th June 2019 Price: £15
Event: Charity Start Time: 9.00am
Distance: 15m, 28m Feed Stations: 7m, 15m, 22m
Climbing: minimal Ride Profile: Rural
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

Map of Wirral Bikeathon
Liverpool to Chester Sportive : 7th July 2019

Liverpool to Chester Sportive

Name: Liverpool to Chester LCL Organiser: Pennine Events
Location: Liverpool, Merseyside Event Website: link to website
Date: 7th July 2019 Price: £30
Event: Sportive Start Time: 7.30am
Distance: 25m, 50m, 100m Feed Stations: 25m, 75m
Climbing: 4,300ft (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 three primary distances; 25m, 50m, 100m. The mid distance is one that I have done for the past few years and it 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.

This year, I’ve decided to do the longer 100m route, which shares the 50m route through the Wirral but then extends a further 50m out to Delamere Forest. 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

Map of Liverpool to Chester Sportive Route
Liverpool Nightrider : 13th July 2018

Liverpool Nightrider

Name: Liverpool Nightrider Organiser: Nightrider
Location: Liverpool, Merseyside Event Website: link to website
Date: 13th July 2019 Price: £99.00
Event: Charity Sportive Start Time: 11:00pm
Distance: 50km or 100km Feed Stations: unknown
Climbing: unknown Ride Profile: Rural
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

Liverpool Nightrider Route Map
Previous Sportives on the Wirral & Merseyside
Some Sportives come and go, for a number of reasons. Some lose the support of the organisers, whether this be commercial support or that of the numerous volunteers that go into making these cycling events a success. Some Sportives aren’t quite good enough to capture the interest of local cyclists and some are affected by adverse weather or there is a clash of dates with another event.

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.

Ride of the Roses Sportive 2018

Ride of the Roses 2018

Name: Ride of the Roses Organiser: Clatterbridge Cancer Charity
Location: Southport Event Website: N/A
Date: 2nd Sept 2018 Price: £30
Event: Charity Start Times: 7:45am, 8:45am, 9:45am
Distance: 50m, 75m, 100m Feed Stations: Yes
Climbing: unknown Ride Profile: Rural
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

Ride of the Roses Sportive Route Map

Elevation of the Ride of the Roses Route : 100m Route

Ride of the Roses Sportive Elevation
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
Event: Sportive Start Time: 8.30am
Distance: 82m Feed Stations: Yes
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

Map of Roman Road Sportive Route

Elevation of Roman Road Sportive Route
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.
GPS Route: unavailable Map: unavailable

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
Event: Sportive Start Time: 10.00am
Distance: 62m / 100km Feed Stations: unknown
Climbing: unknown Ride Profile: Rural. Cobbles.
GPS Route: unknown Map: unknown

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: link to website
Date: 3rd April 2016 Price: £12.50
Event: Sportive Start Time: unknown
Distance: 60m Feed Stations: 30m (entry inc lunch)
Climbing: unknown Ride Profile: Rural
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
Event: Charity Start Time: 9.00am
Distance: 68m Feed Stations: YMCA barge at 34m
Climbing: 2,800ft Ride Profile: Rural
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.

Wirral Wanderer Sportive Route Map & Elevation

Wirral Wanderer

Wirral Wanderer Elevation