Cyclists saddle-up for Sunderland’s Big Bike Ride

PEDAL POWER: Cllr Paul Watson, Leader of the council (centre) joins sports and leisure staff to launch the Sunderland in 2012 BIG Bike Ride at the riverside at St Peter's, that start and finishing point for the event.
PEDAL POWER: Cllr Paul Watson, Leader of the council (centre) joins sports and leisure staff to launch the Sunderland in 2012 BIG Bike Ride at the riverside at St Peter's, that start and finishing point for the event.
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HUNDREDS of cyclists will be in the saddle this weekend for Sunderland’s Big Bike Ride.

Nearly 700 people have signed up for the event, which is being held in the city for a second year.

The event is part of the Sunderland in 2012 programme of sporting and cultural activities designed to celebrate London 2012 and takes place tomorrow and Sunday.

Councillor Mel Speding, cabinet secretary for Sunderland City Council, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the response to the city’s second annual Big Bike Ride.

“We would love to reach 750 participants, which would be a 50 per cent increase on last year’s figure.”

This year the focus is on leisure, recreational and family cycling and there are four rides, which provide routes for all ages and abilities and costs £2 per person to take part.

Tomorrow, there is a five-mile ride which circles the perimeter of Herrington Country Park and is ideal for beginner cyclists and families with younger children. It will set off at 10am, with registration from 9am.

The longer rides are on Sunday and all start and finish at the University of Sunderland’s Sir Tom Cowie Campus on St Peter’s Riverside. Registration takes place from 8am and the rides will start at 9am.

The 14-mile route is the ideal way for beginner adult cyclists, young people and capable children to take part in the Sunderland Big Bike Ride. The route completes a scenic loop of the River Wear between St Peter’s and Washington, crossing the river at Cox Green.

The 20-mile route allows participants to cycle a little further into Washington crossing the river at Fatfield, discovering new areas along the riverside before returning to the city centre and back to St Peter’s.

The 35-mile Tour de Sunderland ride involves crossing the river at Fatfield and going through Fence Houses, Rainton Meadows, Hetton, Seaton, Ryhope, Silksworth and back to the riverside through the city.

Cyclists are being reminded that the routes are suitable for mountain and hybrid bikes, but road and cyclo-x bikes are not recommended.

The council is aiming for at least 50,000 people to take part in the Sunderland in 2012 programme in some way and is hoping to attract more than 2,000 new volunteers.

Events and activities are being added to the programme all the time. To get the latest information visit www.sunderlandin2012.co.uk.

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