Get on your bike!

The Echo's Ian Laws with children James, nine, and Millie, five, prepare for the Big Bike Ride.
The Echo's Ian Laws with children James, nine, and Millie, five, prepare for the Big Bike Ride.
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THE Laws family will be hitting the road with hundreds of other Wearsiders for Sunderland’s first Big Bike Ride.

With dad Ian, 41, the Echo’s digital editor, at the helm, the family will take part in the five mile family ride, one of three routes in which participants can peddle their way to fitness.

The inaugural Big Bike Ride will take place at Herrington Country Park on May 29 and it’s hoped the event will become a highlight of the city’s sporting calendar.

Supported by the Sunderland Echo, Cycle World, University of Sunderland, City of Sunderland College and other local businesses, the mass cycling event also include the 20 mile River Ride and the 40 mile Tour de Sunderland.

Ian, from Fulwell, will be getting in the saddle with children Lauren, 13 who attends Monkwearmouth School; Fulwell Junior School pupil James, nine and Millie, five, who goes to Fulwell Infants School.

The dad-of-three said: “Herrington Country Park is a great place for the kids and we go there regularly any way to walk or ride along the paths and use the play park.

“We decided to take part in the Big Bike Ride because I thought it would be great for the kids to experience a big event like this. It’s a good way to make fitness fun for them.”

Ian, who is participating in a number of fitness events as part of the Echo’s Tackling Men’s Health campaign, added: “The children love to be out on their bikes and I think that’s something adults could learn from. There are lots of good, accessible cycle routes in Sunderland.”

The five mile ride circles the perimeter of Herrington Country Park, while the 20 mile ride is a cycle along the River Wear. The 40 mile Tour de Sunderland takes in some of the city’s finest views and landmarks.

Andrew Woolley, manager of Cycle World in High Street West in the city centre, said: “Sunderland has been crying out for a cycling event like this and we are absolutely delighted to be involved in the Big Bike Ride.

“Cycling has a number of benefits, and it’s an activity that can be enjoyed by the whole family. We can’t wait for the event.”

The event is being organised by Sunderland City Council and Active Sunderland, a partnership of organisations from across the city. Active Sunderland recently unveiled its Olympic legacy promise, which includes a programme of mass participation events and cultural festivals designed to increase participation in sport and physical activity in the city.