Hundreds sign 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 are getting into gear to pedal their way through Sunderland in the Big Bike Ride.

The event, part of the Sunderland in 2012 programme, will see nearly 700 people jump on their bikes to help celebrate the upcoming London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

This year’s Big Bike Ride will see 200 more cyclists taking part compared the to first event last year.

Because people are still applying to be involved, the council has decided to extend the deadline to tomorrow at 5pm to allow even more riders to sign up.

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.

“This year’s ride takes place as part of the Sunderland in 2012 programme and people across the city have really got behind it.

“We would love to reach 750 participants which would be a 50 per cent increase on last year’s figure, so I would urge people to get their registration forms in before the deadline on Friday and be sure they don’t miss out on what will be another fantastic event.”

There are four alternative rides on offer, which will provide routes for all ages and abilities and it costs £2 per person to take part.

On Saturday, May 26, a five-mile ride around Herrington Country Park will start at 10am and it is ideal for beginners and families with younger children.

On Sunday, May 27, rides that are 14, 20 and 35 miles long will take place with all of them starting and finishing 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.

For more information about the event and how to register visit www.sunderlandin2012.co.uk or call 561 4659.

Twitter: @tomwhite7