Thousands of people have jumped in the saddle today to take part in family-friendly cycling extravaganza, Sky Ride Leeds.
Cars have been banished from key routes through Leeds city centre and replaced by cyclists of all ages and abilities, having a “wheelie” spectacular day.
The city is awash with people in fluorescent bibs, excited to be taking part in the mass participation event, which is now in its third year.
From tiny tots riding in bike seats with their parents, to four-year-olds on balance bikes, youngsters celebrating the fact they no longer need stabilisers to dynamic duos on tandems and local cycling groups, everyone was thrilled to be reclaiming the city’s streets to enjoy a day of safe, traffic-free cycling.
Dr Pip Trevorrow and husband Ben, of Meanwood, were riding with eldest son Laurence, four, while Pip carried Patrick, two, in a childseat on her bike.
She said: “It’s a nice atmosphere and it’s great that everyone is out, no matter what their ability and we can all cycle together.”
She added: “Laurence loves it because he gets to ride around on the roads – we let him on quiet roads but not busy roads like these.”
Cycling fans were thrilled to set off from the same point, on The Headrow, as cycling legends during last summer’s Grand Départ before passing iconic city landmarks from Leeds University to Leeds Town Hall and the First Direct Arena.
And Team Sky rider Xabi Zandio, who competed in last year’s Tour de France, was on-hand to officially open the event along with Great Britain para-cycling star Sophie Thornhill.
She said: “I’m delighted to be attending Sky Ride Leeds, joining thousands of people to be part of a great celebration of cycling.
“From big people to little ones – Sky Ride is for everyone regardless of bike type or ability.”
Chris Wilson, 39, took part with son Dylan Wilson, 11. He said: “It was amazing, a great experience and it is good to feel so safe on the roads when you’re riding with your child.
“It’s great that it’s not competitive, it’s just a fun family event.”
In addition to the 6.5km traffic-free cycle course laid out across the city – which cyclists can ride as many times as they like – there are also stalls and entertainment at Woodhouse Moor plus DJs, a “Tricks and Tunes” area and professional BMX and mountain bikers performing incredible stunts.
Riders could challenge family and friends in the Sprint Zone – racing against the clock – and they were queuing up in Millennium Square for free bike-safety checks with bike experts from Halfords.
The event is one of 15 to be held nationally and is part of a partnership between Leeds City Council, British Cycling, Sky and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, which aims to encourage more people to get cycling.
There will also be a series of free, fun, guided Sky Ride Local and women-only Breeze bike rides taking place around Leeds this summer for cyclists of all abilities.
For more information go to www.goskyride.com/leedsskyride.