Rider Times & Rider Images
Rider Instructions - Please Read Carefully
You can read the rider instructions below, or use the link to download a copy and print/read.
In the 2023 edition of the Cyclone Challenge Rides, participants will be riding one of four different routes through the beautiful Northumberland Countryside. GPS route files can be downloaded from the event website via the Cyclone Challenge Rides maps page: All routes are clearly signposted with colour coding to match each route (see below for details), but we always advise riders to either familiarise themselves with their chosen route before the event or carry a GPS route file.
Note: We’ve tweaked the 109-mile route in the last couple of weeks, so please make sure you have downloaded the latest version.
Route Colour Coding (used on route signs)
Route D 109 Miles: Black Route
Route C 93 Miles: Red Route
Route B 65 Miles: Blue Route
Route A 34 Miles: Green Route
We very strongly recommend you book pre-paid parking spaces at the event HQ, Newcastle Falcons Rugby Club (postcode NE6 1BU). Please bring the parking voucher on the day. Free parking is also available at several locations in the area, but please check local parking regulations carefully if you choose this option.
Sign-On Instructions, Times & Locations
All riders must sign-on for their event individually. We have two sign-on sessions:
Friday 30 June: Sign-on at The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 1BU, 16.00 – 21.00 (what3words location - ///rocky.model.orange - free parking on local streets).
Saturday 1 July: sign-on at Newcastle Falcons’ Rugby Stadium, Kingston Park, Brunton Road, Kenton Bank Foot, Newcastle upon Tyne NE13 8AF:
Route-D 109 Miles - 07.00 - 08.00
Route-C 93 Miles - 08.00 - 09.00
Route-B 65 Miles - 08.30 - 09.30
Route-A 34 Miles - 09.30 - 10.30
Please follow the signs and instructions from marshals carefully.
What to Bring To Sign-On
To make the process as quick as possible, please bring a copy of your entry reference ID number which you will have received when you originally entered the event (a print-off of the confirmation email is ideal). Alternatively, a driver’s licence or similar document with your name on it.
Your Number & Timing Chip
At Sign-on, you will receive an envelope which will contain your rider/bike number and timing chip. Keep hold of the envelope, presentation of which will speed up the goody-bag collection process after your ride has finished.
On The Day - Instructions & TimingsChanging
Please arrive changed and ready to ride, if possible. Toilets will be available
The stadium’s coffee and snack kiosk will be open throughout the event, just inside the main doors.
The following are recommended start times which we ask you to adhere to, if possible, though we are reasonably flexible.
Route D 109 Miles: 08.00 - 08.45
Route C 93 Miles: 08.45 - 09.15
Route B 65 Miles: 09.15 - 10.45
Route A 34 Miles: 10.45 - 11.15
Riders will set off in pairs or singly in a steady “trickle”. We will aim to get you out on the road as promptly as possible once you are ready to depart. Please follow the directions of marshals and event staff.
Results Base Timing Systems will set up a timing chip scanning system for the event. Timing locations are out on the public road, just before and after the stadium. This means you can relax during the roll-out from the stadium and roll-in upon your return as timing starts and ends on the “open road”.
On The Ride - Instructions & SupportFeed Stations, Medical Support & Technical Support
An emergency number to call in case of emergencies will be printed on your bike rider number.
We’re encouraging all riders to download and use the what3words app to help us locate them, should they need assistance (see www.what3words.com for details, or visit the app store).
Feed stations are located at Forestburn Gate, Elsdon, Cambo, Birtley and Stamfordham, where free energy drinks, bars and bananas will be available, with additional hot drinks, cakes and sandwiches for sale.
All Feed Stations will have First Aid facilities and will be in contact with Event HQ. Medical assistance will be provided on the routes by GCS Medical who will using the what3words app to locate people, where possible.
The National Escort Group (NEG) will have motorcycle riders out and about to supervise riders and monitor all four rides. The Shimano/Freewheel service car will also be out on the routes along with the Shimano Technical Support vehicle. Again, we will be directing assistance to riders via the what3words app where possible.
Charity & Local Community Support
Please support our charity partner St Oswald’s Hospice. You can raise money for them on the day or go to their website to donate. Riders can also donate at the Birtley feed station, which will be manned by St Oswald’s volunteers.We also rely very heavily on local community support and many of the villages on the route will be selling cakes, sandwiches and teas to raise money for local community facilities and projects.
Their fund-raising was badly hit by the pandemic, so we'd love you to set aside a small budget to spend on tasty treats around the route. You'll not be disappointed by the culinary delights on offer and you'll be really helping the local communities.
The primary school at Whalton, just after 10 miles into all four routes, is running a fund-raising cakes and teas stall. Please stop and support this excellent cause if you get a chance!
Please note, most of the village halls can only accept cash – don’t miss out on their amazing cakes etc!
Every rider has event insurance from British Cycling, provided as part of their entry.
Please behave courteously towards other road users, fellow participants and local residents throughout.
- In particular, please don’t ride more than two abreast and please show consideration for the safe and free passage of other road users.
- Our roads are quiet and friendly. Please help this to continue.
- Horses are often seen out on the routes and are easily spooked by cyclists they don’t hear approaching. A polite vocal greeting is a great way to keep yourself and the horse and rider safe.
- We are very proud of the unique beauty of our rides – please take all your litter home or dispose in the bins provided at feeds and the finish.
At the FinishYour finish time will automatically be recorded by timing sensors just before you turn back into the event HQ. Please visit our website after the event for finishing times. We will also send you an email with the link to results in the week after the event.
When you have finished your ride, you should promptly collect your Goody Bag. Simply show the helpers your sign-on envelope to claim these.
Don’t forget to visit Physiotherapy Matters who will be working at the Challenge Rides start/finish area and will be helping to sort out any post-ride aches and pains!
Images & Certificates
Photographs: The Official photographers for the Challenge rides are Marathon Photos. Their photos will be available at www.marathon-photos.com within 48hrs. Download your personalised certificate post-event from the same website.
More About The Challenge Rides
The Cyclone Challenge Rides is one of the UK's longest-running "sportive" events and regarded as one of the country's "must-do" rides, with four beautiful routes transporting riders out into Northumberland's quiet, unspoilt and spectacular landscapes.
The event takes place in one of England's most sparsely populated counties and with a huge network of minor roads in all directions, cars are few and far between, making for a peaceful and relaxed riding experience. Maps of all four routes can be found here.
For many, the beauty of Northumberland National Park is also a major attraction and the four rides all include a stunning range of landscapes, with rolling farmland, winding river valleys, picturesque villages and remote and wild uplands.
The significant climbs on the longer routes include with the epic remoteness of Winters Gibbet, which starts at over 500 feet above sea-level, the triple ramps of the surprisingly steep Ryals, the spectacular upland edges of Garleigh Moor and the unrivalled views of Bilsmoor.
The Four Route Options
Ride A 34 miles (Green Route): Designed for families and riders who want to enjoy the countryside without any large hills. The route is undulating, passing through a number of pretty villages, including historic Stamfordham, where there is a feed station (plus the famous village hall cafe). View Map
Ride B 65 miles (Blue Route): This ride is hilly and not without its challenges, but short enough to enjoy if you're not a dedicated cyclist. for cyclists who want a challenge. A little previous training is recommended as the ride ventures into the hills of Northumberland, especially after the first feed. The Ryals climb (featured in Another 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs), comes just before the final feed and is the highlight of the ride for many. View Map
Ride C 93 miles (Red Route): This route has a distinctive flavour of its own and is the only one to tackle the famous ascent of Winters Gibbet (one of the UK's 100 Greatest Climbs). The ride also includes the triple-ramped and famously steep Ryals climb. With regular climbing throughout its 93 miles, the route requires good levels of cycling fitness and experience. There are feed stations at regular intervals, all well-stocked, plus cafes and village stalls at a number of other points. View Map
Ride D 109 miles (Black Route): The toughest route and an excellent challenge for more experienced cyclists. The route is rolling throughout, with eight significant climbs distributed through the mid section, with the deceptive and steep Ryals providing a fitting climax to the serious ascents. To keep you going, there are 4 feed stations (not to mention numerous cafes and village hall tea rooms) en-route. Riders competing this distance will have the additional challenge of achieving Gold, Silver or Bronze Standard for their ride. The standards are set as follows: Gold, under 6 hours; Silver, between 6 hours and 7 hours; Bronze, over 7 hours. View Map
More About The Rider Support Package
- Feed Stations: All our Feed Stations will be handing out water, energy drinks, bars and bananas. These will be plentiful and are free to all participants. Many of our riders also take advantage of the amazing selection of hot drinks and cakes/sandwiches, made by the local villagers and on offer around all four routes. Feed stations are located at Forestburn Gate, Elsdon, Cambo, Birtley and Stamfordham. Note, the cafe at the Elsdon feed is only accepting cash.
- First Aid: All Feed Stations will have First Aid Facilities and are in contact with Event HQ. A mobile ambulance will also be available.
- Timing/Tracking: We use electronic timing and timing chips to automatically record every rider's time, plus monitor their progress around the routes. You will be able to download a certificate after completion of the event which will show your finishing time.
- En-Route: The National Escort Group (NEG) will provide motorcycle riders to supervise and monitor all four rides. Service cars will be provided to sweep the ride routes to identify any riders in need of mechanical assistance or recovery and all riders will be given an emergency number to call in case of emergencies.
- Insurance: Every rider has event insurance from British Cycling, provided as part of their entry.
- Parking: although there are local free parking options available, we'd highly recommend you buy on-site parking at the event HQ for convenience and peace of mind.
- Goody bag - at the finish for all riders, including the superb new biodegradable Freecycle bottle.