Tom Simpson Retro Ride 2024 - Route

Date: Sunday 18th August 2024

Event headquarters: Harworth and Bircotes Town Hall, Scrooby Road, Bircotes, DN11 8JN

Start time: 10am

Route Details: Two routes; 55 kilometres and 84 kilometres mostly using the same roads.

The route runs through quiet pastoral countryside on roads Tom used to train, where he forged his ambition to become a world class professional cyclist, and where he first raced. There are two distances: the 55-kilometre middle-distance route and the 84-kilometre ‘Grand’. They both explore the quiet lanes of North Nottinghamshire, with short dips into North Lincolnshire and South Yorkshire. The routes are mostly flat, with some rolling sections and one steep climb. The rides share most of the same roads, with the middle-distance only missing the Grand’s northern section. You can choose which route you ride on the day.

Route Details:

Two routes; 55 kilometres and 84 kilometres mostly using the same roads.

Starting and finishing in Harworth, both rides pass through locations that featured in the early part of Tom Simpson’s cycling story and use roads he trained and raced on. For example, about six miles into the ride it follows the old-time trial course on which Tom made his racing debut in 1952.

That five-mile time trial went to Clayworth and back, but our routes continue through the village to the Tom Simpson Retro Ride’s only significant climb, Haughgate Hill. It’s gentle at first but gets steeper near the top. The descent is steep at first and straight and is followed by a short stretch of main road.

The main road leads to Beckingham, where the route changes from previous years in that it avoids the busy Beckingham by-pass and travels through the village, re-joining the previous route near Walkeringham, where it proceeds to Misterton before joining a stretch of road known locally as Trentside. It’s flat, passes through several lovely quiet villages, and Tom knew it well through his chain gang rides as an amateur. Trentside and its villages have changed little since Tom rode here, and this quiet road is still popular with local cycling groups.

The routes split at Owston Ferry, the middle-distance going left and heading west, while the Grand goes right then continues north. They meet again shortly after Haxey. The Grand route continues alongside the mighty River Trent, through West Butterwick then under and over the M180, before heading over some rolling roads to Epworth, an unspoilt country town, the largest on an area of raised land known as the Isle of Axholme.

Axholme was a real island in the distant past, an area of upland surrounded by marshes that were drained by a Dutch engineer, Cornelius Vermuyden in the 17th century to create the flat fertile fields you see today.

Out of Epworth you cross some of the farmland Vermuyden created, joining the middle-distance route for the journey through Misson then busy Bawtry, where the route turns right at the Crown Hotel and heads towards Rotherham. Two miles along this road the route takes a left turn into Harworth, reaching the Harworth Old Village crossroads before going left and left again to return to the event HQ.