Cyclists hit the road for Sunderland biking festival

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Hundreds are getting in the saddle for a weekend of Wearside cycling.

Little legs limbered up to take on the five-mile family version of the Big Bike Ride this morning at Herrington Country Park, before more experienced cyclists take on 14, 20 and 35-mile routes tomorrow, which start and finish at St Peter’s.

Big Bike Ride

Big Bike Ride

Seaburn Dene Primary pupil Archie McClelland, six, from Seaburn was taking on his first Big Bike Ride with mum Joanne, dad Graham and big brother Adam, eight.

Graham, from Seaburn, said: “He’s been watching his big brother do it and he’s always wanted to join in, so he was very excited. This event is a great way of getting kids into sport.”

Nicole Stokes, 32, from Springwell was at the starting line with children James, nine, and Tilly, one, as well as best friend Vikki Parker and her son Jack Parker, 11.

They were raising funds for Meningitis Now in memory of Nicole’s baby Harry who died from the disease in 2013.

“We do it every year in memory now,” said Nicole. “It’s a really lovely event for the children to be part of it and it’s noncompetitive so it’s always a good atmosphere. They feel special when they get a medal at the end.”

The Active Sunderland BIG Bike Ride is an established event in the regional cycling calendar and is now in its fifth year.

Speaking at the family route, Victoria French, assistant head of community services at Sunderland City Council, said: “We have more than 200 families taking part today. It’s one in a series of three big events we do, the others being the Big Walk and the Mini Fun Run, and we get increasing numbers taking part each year.

“That’s what Active Sunderland is about: creating opportunities for families to be active together. For children being a part of an event like this inspires them to get into sport. And it’s great that we have green spaces like this where we can host the event.”