Cyclists demonstrate pedal power at HSBC City Ride in Leeds

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Thousands of cyclists demonstrated their pedal power as they rode alongside Leeds-born Olympic medal cyclist Katy Marchant at an event in her home city.

The 24-year-old cyclist, who won bronze in the individual sprint in Rio last summer, launched the HSBC UK City Ride at Millennium Square, before joining riders as they took to the streets.

The programme, which got underway in June, will visit 14 cities across the country in 2017 and is the first major step in British Cycling and HSBC UK’s ambition to get two million people cycling by 2020.

Katy, who was joined by fellow sprinter, 19-year-old two-time national champion Sophie Capewell, told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “It is a great opportunity for people to get out with their families.

“The Olympics have inspired so many people to take up cycling and it has come on leaps and bounds and event like this will help it to progress even more.

“When riding and taking part in activities today, I received so many nice comments and people have been so supportive

PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

“We are heading to the European Track Championships at the end of October, so we are currently in training for that, and then there’s the Track Cycling World Cup, so we are pretty busy.”

The ride began at Millennium Square, before looping north towards Woodhouse Moor, giving participants the opportunity to see the best of the urban and rural areas of the city. Riders then returned to the city centre, passing the University of Leeds. The 7km route also featured a shorter, accessible loop, suitable for all adapted bikes, giving entrants with reduced mobility, families with young children or those building their confidence the chance to complete a shorter ride. As well as exploring the route, the event gave young riders the opportunity to test their bike handling and pick up new skills on the HSBC UK Go-Ride course, featuring obstacles and challenges. Other activities included a Kids’ Zone, a street velodrome and the Sir Chris Hoy Speed challenge.

Katy, who also took part in an inspirational Q&A session at the event, added: “I would encourage anyone interested in taking up cycling to get in touch with their local cycling club and go from there.”