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Gearing up for 2014 – Year of the Cycle!

A bike and a motorhome looking out to sea... Lycra – and cushions – at the ready! The trendsetter tealeaves have reliably informed us that cycling is set to be A Big Thing in 2014. The leaves portend this is mostly because the mother of all cycling events (the Tour de France) departs in Yorkshire, but partly also because wobbling about on two wheels is jolly good fun. We’re even being told (by the Beeb this time) that paper helmets are the way forward

So we’re especially geared up for 2014 – Year of the Cycle: our bike events and tips below!

(First, because we can’t resist it, a cycling joke to kickstart us off:

Q: How does Bradley Wiggins know when his cheek is on fire?

A: His sideburns.

Pedalling swiftly on…)

First gear – the Tour de France

We’re looking forward to this. And we’ll never get tyred of our new and spoketacular Tour de France routeplanner , which covers the entire 2000-mile route with accommodation near each stage. Use it to cheer the competitors on or follow the route yourself at a respectful distance – you can see now why we mentioned cushions.

The planner is simples to use: click anywhere on the map to see the stage number, town, date and link to the official race site (pick from either the French or English Tour de France stages). Below that are up to ten nearby campsites with their distance from the route and a quick glance at the type of accommodation offered.

Click ‘Check availability and pricing for all nearby sites’ to do just that, then add the stage dates into the availability calendar on the new page to see what's available on local campsites and holiday parks. Here are a couple we prepared earlier:

Our Tour de France routeplanner Stage 4: Le Touquet Paris-Plage/Lille, Tuesday 8 July 2014

Camping La Foret : 5.7 miles from the route and half a mile from the sea, with pitches for tents, tourers and motorhomes. Pitches from 7 – 9 July start from £42.38 for two adults, with one car included.

Domaine du Lieu Dieu: A Somme site in the grounds of a former Cistercian abbey, 27 miles from the Tour de France route and eight miles from the coast. It has yurts with kitchenettes available for 7 – 9 July from £155.70, sleeping up to four. That’s less than twenty quid each a night, we point out wisely.

Stages 19 and 20: Maubourguet Pays du Vald'Adour/Bergerac, Friday 25 July; Bergerac/ Périgueux, Saturday 26 July

We have ten campsites within 45 miles of these two stages, with the closest Domaine de la Colombière just 15 miles away: two-bedroom holiday homes and two-bedroom lodges here start from £460.16 – 480.44 for 19 – 26 July .

We also like the look of family-friendly site Camping les Catalpas , with electric tent, tourer and motorhome pitches from £37.20, 25 – 27 July ; and two-bedroom lodges and holiday homes from £449.78 – £493.03, 19 – 26 July .

If you’re around for the end of le tour on 27 July, congratulate yourself on a route well followed by zigzagging back from Paris to stay at Camping L'Hermitage des 4 Saisons 13 miles from Périgueux. A week in a lodge sleeping up to six starts from £536.28 from 26 July – 2 August .

Second gear – Tour of Britain

And then! Another bike tour, this time in Blighty and only six weeks after the end of the Tour de France! (Just enough time to let one’s bum bounce back.) The UK's largest professional cycle race has riders including the British cycle team pedal their way around the land from 7 – 14 September. The full route is available after launch this spring: check back on the Tour of Britain site for details.

Third gear – shedloads of bike events

As we highlighted in our 2014 events blog, the Tweed Love Bike Festival is this May and June in Peebles , the Scottish Borders (where the Tour of Britain started last year). For those about to ride, we produce for you:

Don't forget your helmet Highland Perthshire Cycling Festival , 3 – 10 May: mountain biking, road cycling, film night and ‘Bike and Poetry’ (we are intrigued). See also: Cycle Marathon 2014 , 6 September.

L’Eroica Britannia , 20 – 22 June: vintage cycling through the Peak District and Chatsworth Estate

Bike Bath , 28 – 29 June

Yorkshire Festival of Cycling , 4 – 6 July: set up to coincide with the Grand Départ and with big screens set up to watch the start of the Tour

Chiltern Cycling Festival , 13 July

Isle of Wight Cycling Festival , 13 – 18 September

Edinburgh Festival of Cycling : only started in 2013; dates for 2014 TBA

Fourth gear – pedal power!

If you’re now filled with motivation at so many biking delights (we’re currently eyeing up our rustbuckets and wondering if the budget would stretch to swish new models for all), there are friendly cycle groups all over the country – and globe – to help you figure out what’s what. You can even qualify to take part in the more professional races, although we’re not sure we’d recommend that on a rustbucket.

Cast your beady eye over these cycling sites to get yourself started:

British Cycling : loads of info for new cyclists, including on commuting, city rides, coaching, cycling for kids, racing, sportives and clubs, as well as on road cycling, BMX and mountain biking. Includes a guide to road cycling categories and classifications for the truly motivated and a great beginner’s guide to cycling .

GoSkyRide : sister site of British Cycling. Find a free organised ride near you.

Bike Events : one day cycles, including London to Southend, the Suffolk coast, Essex , Norfolk and the New Forest

National Cycling Charity : including Cyclepedia and journey planners

Union Cycliste Internationale : road, track and BMX cycling, mountain biking and para-cycling around the world

Or the dog Fifth gear – cycling and camping

As we’re already cycle sorts – although for the sake of the nation’s collective eyes we choose to forego the Lyrca – we already have a guide to cycling and camping , with tips on finding campsites with cycle hire , sites with cycle hire nearby and sites with cycling nearby .

All our listed festivals have details of nearby campsites and glamping sites: click on the festival links above for details.

To stay overnight after a one day cycle, find nearby campsites by entering the town name or start/finish postcode into our search box, along with the date of the ride. If you fancy the Bike Events New Forest ride on 14 September, for example, entering the postcode SO42 7ZE (from the Bike Events page) along with the dates 13 15 September brings up over a dozen available sites within 30 miles , with the closest, Lytton Lawn Touring Park , only five miles away.

We are also reliably informed that cycling is very different from mountain biking, so will be bringing you top tips and sites on the latter soon. And if easy riding means something quite different to you, we considerate sorts have also written about camping and motorcycling .

Coming soon – our top cycle trails for grownup and family cycles! Got one in the UK you’d like us to use? Let us know below.

Beep beep for now – we leave you with another joke:

A: ‘I've really had it with my dog: he'll chase anyone on a bicycle.’

B: ‘So what are you going to do – give him away? Sell him?’

A: 'No, I think I'll just confiscate his bike.’