Cycling fever is set to hit Sheffield this weekend when Sky Ride Sheffield comes to the city with thousands of people already signed up to take part in the fun, free and family-friendly event.

Individuals, cycling groups, families and friends are being encouraged to sign up and take part in the event – one of 14 free large cycle rides across the country organised by British Cycling, Sky and Sheffield City Council.

As well as a fantastic traffic-free route through town and around Sheffield United’s Football Ground, where cyclists can ride around the perimeter of the famous pitch for the first time, there will also be a chance to pick up some great prizes and rewards by registering online. The first 1,000 people who have already registered to take part will receive free water bottles from British Cycling and all participants can collect a special event lanyard on the day with event information and features. Participants who sign up beforehand can also benefit from a free expert bike check at Halfords.

Keen cyclist Christine Vaughan, of Hillsborough, is encouraging as many people as possible inspired by the Tour de France Grand Depart in Sheffield to sign up to the event alongside Great Britain BMX rider Curtis Manaton, who will be formally launching the event on Sunday.
Christine, 36, said: “Like many people I hadn’t owned or ridden a bike properly since I was a child and really wanted to give it a go to keep fit and healthy. I really enjoy exercising outdoors so getting out and about on my bike has been fantastic. When I moved to Sheffield I borrowed a bike from the Cycle Boost scheme and I’ve never looked back.

“Cycling in Sheffield is a great way to meet new people while keeping fit and enjoying the great outdoors. Since I got my bike I’ve joined various cycling groups such as the Friday Night Ride and a women’s only cycling group.

“I love cycling and I’m really looking forward to taking part in Sky Ride Sheffield because it will be the first big cycling event I’ve ever been part of. It’s a great way to promote cycling and to encourage everyone who has been inspired by the Tour de France to have a go themselves. I’m sure the atmosphere will be brilliant and I hope as many people as possible will sign up this week.”

The Sky Ride comprises of a five mile route closed to motor traffic from 11am to 3pm. Participants can cycle all or part of the route which is a circuit from Devonshire Green along Charter Row, Ecclesall Road, along Bramall Lane and into Sheffield United’s Football Ground where cyclists can ride around the perimeter of the famous pitch for the first time.

The route then takes cyclists along Arundel Street to Howard Street passing the Millennium Galleries, Tudor Square, the Winter Garden, Sheffield Town Hall, Barker’s Pool and City Hall and returning to Devonshire Green.

The friendly Bike Café will be on hand providing refreshments all day and the brand new ‘Loud Zone Tunnel’ and ‘Tricks and Tunes’ area around the route will create a real festival atmosphere for everyone to enjoy.

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, Cabinet Member for Communities and Public Health, said: “The Tour de France was such a memorable day for Sheffield and for Yorkshire. The turnout of spectators was incredible and it will be remembered as one of the greatest sporting events in the city’s history.

“We want to build on that to encourage more people to cycle in our city. The aim is to get a much broader range of local people cycling, for recreation and for transportation in both urban and rural areas. You can get involved in cycling in Sheffield, whatever your age or ability.

“Our partnership with British Cycling is a key part of this. The Sky Ride gives a great opportunity to cycle in the city centre with friends and family and enjoy a Sunday out on traffic-free roads. There really has never been a better time to get on your bike! It’s affordable and great for your health.”
British Cycling is also providing a series of free guided bike rides in Sheffield throughout the year, where cyclists can enjoy great routes with support from British Cycling trained Ride Leaders. The rides are split into three levels for those who want to build their confidence or want to stretch their legs for a more robust cycling challenge. There will be free British Cycling guided rides every Sunday until November.

For more information about Sky Ride Sheffield and to sign up please visit www.goskyride.com/sheffieldSkyRide

For more information about Sky Ride Local free guided rides and Ride Social please visit www.goskyride.com/Sheffield.