Cycle your way to a holiday
CYCLISTS and cycling fans will be heading for Dartmoor this autumn for a trio of top cycling events including the penultimate stage of the Tour of Britain on 15 September.
Team Sky who were triumphant at the Tour de France will be joined by six other British cycling teams battling it out in amongst the world's cycling elite on Dartmoor's challenging terrain.
The Devon stage of the Tour of Britain will cover 106 miles (170.7km) of the county, starting in Barnstaple and heading through the Dartmoor National Park on its way to finishing in Dartmouth. Last year more than 125,000 spectators turned out to watch the race in Devon.
The Dartmoor section of Britain's biggest free-to-watch sporting event includes three Skoda "King of the Mountain's" climbs at Merrivale and Coffin Stone.
For those avid cycling fans eager to test their mettle on the King of the Mountains route, there will be a Hill Climb at Merrivale at 9am prior to the Tour coming through. Following the race, there will be lots of activities for all the family at Princetown: a climbing wall, a cycle surgery, Crazy Bikes, stands, kit providers and local food will also be available, as well as a Barbecue taking place at the Dartmoor Inn, Merrivale.
Suggested viewing points for the race are at Pork Hill, Princetown High Moorland Visitor Centre car park, Dartmeet, Ashburton and Buckfastleigh.
For those who want to do more than simply cheer on Britain's cycling heroes then the Moor 2 Sea Sportive on Saturday September 8 on Dartmoor is a must do event. The race starts and finishes at Exeter racecourse and offers two new and exciting routes through the Dartmoor National Park and the stunning South Devon coastline. The 'Challenge' route covers 67 miles (108 km) and the 'Extreme' route covers 112 miles (180 km) .
Both routes conclude with a 'King of the Mountains' style hill climb at Mamhead followed by a two- mile closed circuit finish around the perimeter road of Exeter Racecourse. There are medals for all who are able to complete their chosen route within the specified times and a special "King of the Mountains" medal pin for all who are able to beat the KoM stage time.
Mountain bikers rather than road racers will be heading for the Kinesis UK Hell of the West Sportive at the Parke Estate at Bovey Tracey on Sunday September 30.They will enjoy the thrills and spills of some great off road riding, with some brutal climbs and fast flowing descents on this 80km route. www.hellofthewest.co.uk
Dartmoor's unique landscape is ideal for cyclists with more than 450 miles (730km) of public rights of way, there is an abundance of walking and cycling routes to suit all tastes and abilities. Dartmoor has everything you could wish for - safe, traffic-free trails, quiet forest tracks, challenging bridleways and historic rural lanes to enjoy at your own pace.
For more information on where to stay on Dartmoor and cycling routes to suit all abilities then visit www.dartmoor.co.uk