Event History

Event Organiser - John Taylorson MBE  

The Great Yorkshire Bike Ride is one of those lucky events, which is all things to all people. It's a great cycling event, one of the biggest around. It's a fantastic, beautiful route across the best of Yorkshire. It's a great day out, and it continues to raise large amounts of money for charity projects.

It is also one of very few one-way events rather than the normal circular route. Perhaps that is one of the big attractions, to actually go somewhere. This does make the logistics of the event somewhat harder though!

Event History 

The event evolved out of a ride that was organised by Alan Kay to raise money for Tockwith Youth Club in 1983. Forty cyclists, mainly members of the youth club and their parents, rode from Tockwith to Scarborough. Alan rode with them and I followed in a van with food, water and spares. This was somehow very prophetic, as it happened, and set the scene for the future in more ways than one.

The following year we decided to make it an open event, and the Great Yorkshire Bike Ride, as we know it, was born. 284 riders took part, we raised £8,900 for charity and everyone loved it. The event carried on like this for another five years, getting bigger and bigger. Alan always rode the event while I worked out how many plastic cups we needed, where to get vans from, how to get the printing done, and how to get whatever from wherever to where it was needed.

The ride out-grew the seafront site in Scarborough, and following Alan's departure to South Wales, I moved the finish to it's new home in Filey and let it grow to its present notional limit of 1,500, later 2,000, riders. It's success is now legendary. We attract riders of all ages and abilities. To some it is an easy fun thrash to the coast, to others, who have never ridden so far and so long, it is the equivalent of climbing Everest. The atmosphere on the day is electric. The entrants have taken this event to their hearts and every year we are vastly oversubscribed. The riders and their supporters continue to do fantastic work with the sponsorship money and it keeps rolling in. From that £8,900 in 1984 we advanced to the current record total, set in 2011, of £151,635. 

We have been fortunate to have the continued backing of some great sponsor companies including, Premier Farnell, Suttle Transport Services, Wilby Ltd, Caravan Guard,  Eurest, Me-too.net, Cyclesense, Chevin Cycles, All Terrain Cycles Goosemoor Organics, plus many smaller companies.

The event is a joint co-operation exercise between the organisers and the recipient charities. Wetherby Lions assist me with the logistics of the event by co-ordinating the charity helpers for marshalling etc., leaving me free to handle the paperwork and hardware side of the ride. Excellent support is provided by all concerned.

Following the Tour de France Grand Depart in Yorkshire and the formation of the Tour de Yorkshire; events like the GYBR have now sort of slipped off the radar. Many younger riders now just want to do race-like events with chip timing and medals. Our entry has dipped in recent years and the sponsor money has really depleted as more than half our entry raise nor charity funding at all.

We have been unable to run the GYBR since 2019 due to funding issues but are hoping to be back in 2024.

Event Landmark

2002 saw us break the £1m barrier of total funds raised. The 2011 event saw us pass £2m,  we have now raised £2,607,734 at latest update. This fantastic achievement is a credit to all those that have helped and supported us for so many years. Many thanks to you all.

I continue to have the personal support of many friends, colleagues, family and other helpers for the key elements of this very large and very complex event.

Believe me, this event could not function without them. They know who they are, and my personal, eternal thanks go out to them all.

John Taylorson MBE

27th of June 2023

Member of the Yorkshire Coast Festivals Association. http://www.yorkshirecoastfestivals.org.uk/
National Bike Week http://www.bikeweek.org.uk/