HUNDREDS of Wearsiders will be digging out their cycling shorts and unlocking their bikes after the third annual Big Bike Ride was launched yesterday.
Taking place in the first weekend of June, the event will once again boast trails to suit all ages and abilities.
On Saturday, June 1, a five-mile route will lead riders around the perimeter of Herrington Country Park, while further distances will be available to take part in the following day.
Beginning at the University of Sunderland’s St Peter’s Campus, riders will have the choice of three distances, 14, 20 or 35 miles, with each route taking in both banks of the River Wear as well as sections of the coast-to-coast route along the established C2C route as far as Fatfield.
A number of riders are expected to tackle the routes for charity, like Nicole Stokes and her family and friends.
The group will be riding to raise cash for Meningitis UK after the illness claimed the life of her baby Harry last year.
“We want to do something each year, and I just thought this would be canny,” she said.
“We haven’t really got a target in mind, we just want to keep Harry’s memory alive.
“Last year, we raised more than £5,000. We might not get that much this time but the more the better.”
Coun John Kelly, the council’s portfolio holder for public health, said: “We are delighted with the response to the city’s third annual Big Bike Ride.
“The annual ride is going from strength to strength and it is really pleasing to see that it is being used by some to raise money and awareness for good causes.
“We would love to see as many people as possible taking part and so I would urge people to get their registration forms in and be sure they don’t miss out on what will be another fantastic event.”
Registration for the Saturday event will open at 9am on the day, with the ride due to start at 10am, at a cost of £3 per rider.
On the Sunday, registration opens at 8am, with the 35-mile Tour De Sunderland riders setting off at 9.30am, followed 20 minutes later by the 20-mile participants and finally the 14-mile group.
Each of the longer rides costs £6 for adults and £4 for children under 16.
Organisers have recommended the courses are not suitable for road and cyclo-x bikes.
Those who apply before the close of business tomorrow will also be able to order the Big Bike Ride T-shirt, priced at £4 for adults and £3 for children.
If anyone would like to sponsor Nicole Stokes and her team riding for Meningitis UK, email email@example.com.