Pedal power is poised to put the Peak District on the map as the UK’s capital of cycling.
Cyclists of all ages and abilities are gearing up for the first-ever Peak District Cycling Festival – a nine-day celebration of life and leisure on two wheels – spanning more than 60 rides and bike-related activities from September 7 to 15.
Everyone from beginners to experts can enjoy the huge spectrum of events on offer, from guided mountain bike rides and relaxed evening routes to more challenging time trials and road rides.
Bookings are now being taken for everything from basic bike maintenance and women-only rides to electric bike sampler sessions and a British Cycling-registered Cyclosportive.
One of the main highlights is the Thornbridge Bike Fest at Thornbridge Outdoors, Great Longstone – a residential weekend with cycling events, demonstrations, workshops, activities, rides and evening entertainment.
Another key feature is the Carsington Water Charity Day, including family cycle rides and other outdoor activities such as walking, sailing and raft racing.
“We’re very keen to position the Peak District as the UK’s capital of cycling, and this new Festival is spearheading a number of initiatives to help achieve our goal,” said David James, Chief Executive of Visit Peak District & Derbyshire, the area’s official tourist board.
“The Peak District is already a brilliant place to cycle – with no less than 65 miles of traffic-free routes amid superb, specially-protected landscapes in the National Park – and recent initiatives, such as opening up former railway tunnels on the Monsal Trail, have enhanced that reputation.
“The Peak District Cycling Festival is set to put the area on track to further success in 2014, when we welcome the L’Eroica Italian cycle road race in June, the Tour de France in July, and the opening of Derby’s brand new £28 million Velodrome and multi-use sports centre in early 2015.
“We’re also hoping that this new Festival will persuade people to incorporate cycling in their everyday lives – using their bikes to travel to work and get to the shops, as well as taking to two wheels during their leisure time.”
Annie Last, Olympic-standard mountain biker and patron of the Peak District Cycling Festival, added: “The first-ever Peak District Cycling Festival offers a fabulous opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy fun, fresh air and fitness surrounded by some of the UK’s most breathtaking landscapes.
“I was lucky enough to grow up here. Now, as a professional cyclist, I love to return between international events to train on a variety of roads, tracks and challenging trails in Britain’s first National Park, amid wonderful, yet accessible countryside.
“I’d encourage everyone from beginners to experts to get on their bike and book ahead to explore some of the best cycling country they’ll ever experience. It’s good for both the head and the heart – as well as the very best way to get around.”
Full details – including information on how to book for individual events – can be found at www.visitpeakdistrict.com/pdcf. Printed brochures are also available from tourist information centres in and around the Peak District, or click here to view it online.