Cyclists can start gearing up for one of Sunderland's biggest active events.
People of all ages are being encouraged to enter the Active Sunderland BIG Bike Ride 2019.
The event launched in 2011 and has grown in popularity over the years, developing and expanding to allow as many people as possible to take part, with routes suitable for all.
This year's Active Sunderland BIG Bike Ride takes place June 15 and 16, beginning with a five mile family bike ride through Herrington Country Park on the Saturday.
Two circular 20 and 35 mile rides from the University of Sunderland's riverside St Peter's Campus take place on the Sunday.
Already signed up to take part is Anne Judd, 53, from Seaham who entered the inaugural event in 2011 and has taken part every year since.
Anne said: “I started cycling in 2009 on the advice of a physio when I developed Osteoarthritis on the knee.
“I took part in the first event and enjoyed it so much, even though I remember the weather wasn’t very good, that I’ve entered eight consecutive years – nine now!
“My favourite thing about the BIG Bike Ride is the atmosphere and camaraderie of the other cyclists, so much so that we’ve persuaded two ‘newbies’ who only recently started cycling to do it this year …. and both have signed up for the 35 miles.”
Another regular is Kevin Cuthbert, 52, from Murton who also took part in the very first event and been a regular every year.
Kevin said: "I started cycling when I was 16 as a way to get fit, and travelling around for work.
"My favourite thing about the BIG Bike Ride is the friendly atmosphere from everyone, either taking part or organising things.
"One of the best things about the route is that you will see parts of Sunderland you may not have visited before. At the end of the day, whether you are a slow or fast rider, everyone who crosses the finishing line will have a good story to tell and get the same 'Goodie bag' as everyone else, it’s a ride not a race."
Sunderland City Council leader Graeme Miller said: “The fantastic thing about the BIG Bike Ride and our whole programme of events, is that they are designed to be accessible to everybody regardless of age or ability, so everyone can take part.
“Over the weekend we’ve organised the family bike ride through the beautiful Herrington Country Park with the more challenging, longer circular routes from St Peter’s on the riverside on Sunday giving the more experienced a real chance to go through the gears over twenty plus miles.
“We’re hoping for a record number of people taking part this year, so would encourage everyone to book in advance online.”
All rides cost £11 to enter and include an Active Sunderland technical t- shirt, goody bag and bespoke medal. For more details and to enter please go to www.sunderland.gov.uk/bigbikeride2019
BIG Bike Ride;
Debut; Anne Judd taking part in the first BIG Bike Ride in 2011 at St Peter's
Regular; Kevin Cuthbert proudly wearing his t-shirt from the first event, and looking forward to the next one, on a riverside stretch of the route