PICTURE SLIDESHOW: Sunderland Big Bike Ride 2013

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PEDAL power was used by hundreds of people at the weekend’s Big Bike Ride 2013.

On Saturday, a five-mile ride took place at Herrington Country Park in the shadow of Penshaw Monument, which participants had to struggle through heavy showers to finish.

Sunderland BIG Bike Ride from the University Campus, St Peter's Riverside. Garry Rutter, 54, from Washington looking forward to the Big Bike Ride with his grandchildren Callum, 10, and Tyler, nine.

Sunderland BIG Bike Ride from the University Campus, St Peter's Riverside. Garry Rutter, 54, from Washington looking forward to the Big Bike Ride with his grandchildren Callum, 10, and Tyler, nine.

And yesterday, hundreds competed in 14-mile, 20-mile and 35-mile race routes, which all started and ended at St Peter’s Riverside on the banks of the Wear.

Among those taking part in the family ride on Saturday were father and son Noel Kay and Jacob Kay, six, of New Herrington.

“It’s been great, apart from the weather,” said Noel, 45. “But there’s nothing we can do about that.
We’ve really enjoyed it.” Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Bob Heron, sounded the starting horn.

Coun Heron, who serves Copt Hill ward in Houghton, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic to see the turnout considering the weather we’ve had, which has been atrocious.

“It’s been great to see the younger ones out riding, and bringing their parents and grandparents along with them.”

Big Bike Ride organiser Peter Mooney, who is play and physical activity delivery manager at Sunderland City Council, said: “Given the circumstances, with weather we can only describe as treacherous at times, it’s been a very good turnout.

“On Saturday, we had 178 people pre-registered, and there were another 28 who signed up on the morning, so we got over 200 people which is fantastic.”

It is the third year that the Big Bike Ride has taken place, and Mr Mooney added that the organisers want to continue to grow the event.

“Last year’s ride was tied in with our programme of Olympic Games events, and this year is all about our legacy programme,” he said

“It’s about us trying to provide people with the opportunities to get involved in sport and physical exercise so they can stay healthy.”