PEAK OLYMPIAN GETS FIRST CYCLE FEST OFF TO FLYING START

Peak District Cycling Festival Launch

Olympic cyclist Annie Last celebrated a special day in perfect style by promoting the sport she loves – and getting on her bike to set the first-ever Peak District Cycling Festival off to a flying start.

Festival Patron Annie, who hails from Great Longstone, was on hand to cut the ribbon and send keen cyclists on their way at the official launch event today (Saturday September 7) – her 23rd birthday.

Annie joined David James, Chief Executive of Visit Peak District & Derbyshire, the area’s official tourist board, and Jim Dixon, Chief Executive of the Peak District National Park Authority, to wave off cyclists taking part in ‘The Only Way Is Up’ event, starting from Baslow Village Hall.

The event, organised by Christine Dicken of Baslow, was an 18 miles long hilly road ride for experienced women cyclists – taking in stunning views such as Monsal Dale en route.

“It was great to see that the launch event was fully booked – hopefully the rest of the Festival will be just as well supported,” said Annie, who finished eighth for Team GB in mountain biking at the London Olympics 2012.

“Cycling is such a fabulous way to have fun, get and stay fit and enjoy some fresh air – and the Peak District Cycling Festival is the perfect opportunity to experience all three, surrounded by some of Britain’s most beautiful scenery.”

David James added: “We’re delighted that Annie, who is Derbyshire Sports Personality of the Year, was able to join us to get the first-ever Peak District Cycling Festival off on the right track.

“Cycling is very much in the news at the moment, thanks to the recent announcement that the Department of Transport has pledged £5 million for the Pedal Peak project – which aims to put around 3.5 million people within reach of the Peak District National Park cycle network by 2016.

“This Festival is just one of a number of initiatives that is helping to put the Peak District on the map as the UK’s capital of cycling – centring on what we hope will create the world’s most cycle friendly national park, with no less than 65 miles of traffic-free routes amid superb, specially-protected landscapes.

“Next year is set to be the biggest-ever celebration of life and leisure on two wheels in the area, thanks to our second Peak District Cycling Festival, incorporating the L’Eroica bike ride and three-day festival in June, plus the Tour de France, which will pass through the northern part of the area in July.

“Thinking further ahead, we’re also looking forward to the opening of Derby’s brand new £28 million Velodrome and multi-use sports centre in early 2015. So it’s a great time for everyone from beginners to experts to join this nine-day celebration – spanning more than 60 rides and bike-related activities – which will run till Sunday September 15.”

One of the main highlights of the current Festival is the Thornbridge Bike Fest at Thornbridge Outdoors, Great Longstone – a residential weekend with cycling demonstrations, stands, workshops, rides and evening entertainment from September 13 to 15. Visitors are also welcome to pop in at any time during the weekend to sample the wide range of cycling-related activities on offer. For full details of this, and all other events during the Festival, plus information about how to book, visit www.visitpeakdistrict.com/pdcf.

Meanwhile the second Peak District Cycling Festival is pencilled in for 14 to 22 June 2014, and will include the L’Eroica bike ride and three-day festival, scheduled for 20 to 22 June 2014.

Ends.

For further details, please contact Janette Sykes on 07792 924839 or at janette.sykes@visipeakdistrict.com.

Note to News Editors

A high-resolution digital image is attached for print media. Caption: Olympic mountain biker Annie Last cuts the ribbon to send cyclists on their way at the Peak District Cycling Festival’s launch event, ‘The Only Way Is Up’, setting off from Baslow Village Hall, on Saturday September 7. Also pictured are David James, Chief Executive of Visit Peak District & Derbyshire (right), and Jim Dixon, Chief Executive of the Peak District National Park Authority (left).

Visit Peak District & Derbyshire – the area’s official tourist board – works with VisitBritain, VisitEngland, Derbyshire County Council, all local authorities in the Peak District and Derbyshire, the University of Derby Buxton, tourism business partners and surrounding tourism organisations that share the Peak District. It is committed to the successful and sustainable development of tourism.

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