Top Dog Events

Top Dog Events organise challenging cycling events among the hills, forests, lakes and coasts of North West England 


We recently took the difficult decision to cancel all this years sportives – see why – HERE


However,  after a few days of soul searching and mountain biking in Scotland, plus receiving many overwhelming messages of love and support for both us and our events – LOOK

We now feel ready to re-examine the way non competitive cycling events such as ours are organized and run.  With a view to find a better way to move them  forward, offering the best riding experiences possible along with minimum inconvenience to local residents 

 


The best solution we can find to the issues we, and most other cycling event organizers, face is to start using the modern technologies now available to us all, to bring Sportives into the 21st Century

The events we will be running from now on do not seem to fit into any current category.  They are not Sportives, Audax’s, Reliabilty Rides, Randonnee or Brevet – so we intend to christen them “Bellions”


“Bellion”

A word used to describe the absolute epic-ness of an action, situation or person, designed to reflect the enduring class of one of the world’s finest footballers: the majestic David Bellion.

Source – Urban Dictionary


Our Bellions for 2022

A brand new style of cycling event – our Bellions are a cross between an Audax and a Sportive – using modern technology to reduce the need for event numbers, signage, marshals, timekeeping, mass starts and feed stations – using GPX, Strava and local facilities en route instead.

"The Raptor" 63 mile Forest of Bowland Sportive
Forest of Bowland 63 miler – 12 June 2022

 

"The Beast" 108 mile Lake District Sportive
Lake District 108 miler – 14 August 2022

 

"The Boxer" 66 mile south lakes sportive
South Lakes 66 miler – 9 October 2022
  • All our rides will continue to start and finish in Lancaster
  • They will be Sportives without signage, marshals, feed stations, medics etc vastly reducing overheads and therefore entry fees
  • Organized for 1 day initially – then over a weekend next season
  • No set start times or cut offs – start at your convenience and ride fast or make a day of it
  • There will be “social start” between 0930 and 1000hrs for 60 + milers and 0730 and 0800hrs on 100+ milers for folks who want to form a group with other riders they don t know, which Chris + Lynn will see off
  • GPX routes and route details, hazards, cafes, toilets etc will be sent to entrants in the week before the event
  • Event routes will change annually
  • Rides will be recorded by riders Strava – when these are shared with us, the time will be taken and published post event
  • Emergency recovery on event day will be offered by several broom wagons being a phone call away
  • Bespoke event completion certificates will be posted to every finisher on receipt of a Strava report
  • Souvenir medals and merchandise will be available as optional extras when booking online, and will also be posted to finishers

 

Cycling Events

Come and take part in one or more of the cycling events we organise throughout the year.  Discover some of the best places to ride in England. 

We don’t need to close the roads for any of our cycling events, as they are truly remote and practically traffic free.  All our routes are among challenging terrain and breath taking scenery.  Participant numbers are limited to 250 per event this season – to preserve the friendly feel of the events – so don’t delay – book your place today.

riders waiting at start of a cycling event

We choose to locate all our cycling events at welcoming and interesting venues in and around the North West of England. Because this is where we live and ride our various bikes regularly.

LOOK WHERE YOU’LL RIDE

RIDERS FEEDBACK

 

 

Cycling in North West England

Come and discover some unforgettable places to ride your bike.  We are a bit biased – as we live here – but we think that the cycling in North West England is among the best in the UK, if not the world.

Lancaster

The majority of our cycling events are based at the fantastic 3-1-5 Health Club, in Lancaster, which is very accessible by both road – M6 Junction 34 – and rail – main line to Lancaster Station. We have 2 x great places to stay right on the start line – Holiday Inn and Premier Inn .  Lancaster is the county town of Lancashire and straddles the River Lune. The House of Lancaster was once a branch of the English royal family, now the Duchy of Lancaster holds large estates on behalf of Elizabeth II, who is also the Duke of Lancaster.

Find a bed –

lancaster castle
Lancaster Castle

It is a lively university city, dominated by Lancaster Castle, Lancaster Priory Church and the Ashton Memorial. It is home to Lancaster University and a campus of the University of Cumbria. with many welcoming places to spend an evening, most have live music at weekends.

Cycling Areas

On our doorstep we are blessed to have several stunning National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, all are just a short ride from our event HQ’s – and offer some of the best cycling in North West England.

shap summit
Shap Summit – Lake District

The Lake District National Park

Also known as the Lakes or Lakeland, is a mountainous region in the county of Cumbria.  A popular holiday destination, it attracts over 18 million visitors from all over the world each year.  The region is famous for its lakes, forests and mountains (or fells), which offer some great cycling routes, and its associations with William Wordsworth and other Lake Poets as well as with Beatrix Potter and John Ruskin.

Find a bed –

lake district
Photo by Steve Taylor

The Lake District National Park was established in 1951 and covers an area of 2,362 square kilometres, and some classic hill climbs like The Struggle, Kirkstone, Honister, Wrynose passes. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017, and is home to mile after mile of secluded lanes.  Some of which we use for our events.  

The Yorkshire Dales National Park

A stunning upland area of the Pennines in the historic county of Yorkshire, often simply called The Dales, most of the area is in the Yorkshire Dales National Park which was created in 1954.

Find a bed –

yorkshire dales
Photo by Gary Butterfield

The Dales comprise of many river valleys and the hills rising from the Vale of York westwards to the hilltops of the Pennine watershed, the riding here is fast becoming known worldwide with Le Tour de France, UCI World Championships and The Tour of Britain all having stages in the area in recent years.   Cyclists now enjoy the benefits of some incredibly well re surfaced roads due to these events, and you will generally see many more sheep than cars when out riding.

Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty 

Also known as the Bowland Fells, is an area of barren gritstone fells, deep valleys and peat moorland, mostly in north-east Lancashire, but with a small part in North Yorkshire (before 1974, some of the area was in the West Riding of Yorkshire). It is a western spur of the Pennines and was once described as the “Switzerland of England”.

forest of bowland
Jubilee Tower – Forest of Bowland

The Forest of Bowland has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) since 1964.  Bowland survives as the north-western remainder of the ancient wilderness that once stretched over a huge part of England, encompassing the Forest of Bowland, Sherwood Forest , the New Forest  and Savernake Forest (Wiltshire) . The remote country lanes are fantastic for cycling, and the well known ascents of Cow Ark, Waddington Fell and The Trough of Bowland will test many riders.

Silverdale and Arnside Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty 

A designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty since 1972, on the border between Lancashire and Cumbria, and bound by the Morecambe Bay coast on one side and limestone fells on the other.  The area is one of the smallest AONBs, covering just 29 square miles (75 km2) between the Kent Estuary, the River Keer and the A6 road.

arnside sea front
Arnside Sea Front

The Leighton Moss nature reserve (recently seen on BBC’s Springwatch), owned by the RSPB, is the largest area of reedbeds in North West England, and is an Important Bird breeding ground. The seashores and rolling limestone hills make for some memorable riding in and around Arnside and Silverdale which are the main villages in the area.

The Howgill Fells

Are the remote fells often seen from the M6 motorway, between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, lying roughly in the middle of a triangle made by the towns of Sedbergh, Kirkby Stephen and Tebay. The name Howgill derives from the Old Norse word haugr meaning a hill or barrow, plus gil meaning a narrow valley.

Howgill fells
The Howgill Fells

The Howgill Fells are bounded by the River Lune (and the M6 motorway to the west), to the north by upper reaches of the River Lune, and to the east by the River Rawthey.  The old roman road that we follow on our events rarely sees any traffic at all, and the hills above are home to several herds of semi wild fell ponies, who will happily stand and watch you ride past. 

 

Team Top Dog

Join us for a special cycling adventure.

chris packman and lynn baines

We look forward to meeting you soon, and helping you to enjoy some of the very special places we get to ride on a weekly basis. 

 

 

 

 

 

Contact

Please let us know any ideas, query’s or feedback we can help with, or to volunteer at an event

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