Bath to host new cycling festival
A new festival of cycling is to take place in Bath next year.
The Bike Bath 2012 event will see organised rides of up to 100 miles, fun activities and top-level racing in Royal Victoria Park over the weekend of June 22 to 24.
There will be rides of 30, 60 and 100 miles, and organisers at city events firm Breathingspace Live and leisure operator Aquaterra are hoping one of the routes will follow the Two Tunnels cycleway due to open in April, taking cyclists through two old railway tunnels.
The festival is being backed by Bath and North East Somerset Council, which says it will complement the separate Sky Ride initiative that encourages families to get on their bikes.
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Organisers say the 30-mile route might suit riders who have not been on a bike for some time, while the 100-mile option will represent a more serious sporting challenge – particularly if riders do it twice on each day of the weekend.
Aquaterra, which runs Bath Sports and Leisure Centre, will be launching a Get Fit for Bike Bath 2012 programme from January to help cyclists improve their fitness.
A series of races will be staged in the park on the Saturday evening following some successful Wednesday evening sessions held in May, as part of the build-up to the Sky Ride and promoted by local cycling clubs.
Regional recreation manager for the sport's governing body British Cycling, Brian Johnston, said: "Bath has great potential for creating an iconic cycling event, given the spectacular setting and local countryside.
"The popularity of cycling continues to grow and all eyes will be on the Olympics, Tour de France and Tour of Britain next year so this is a great way to get involved in the sport."
Richard Best, of Breathingspace Live, says the festival will work on a number of levels.
"In Europe these events are hugely popular and have a great economic benefit to their host venues and we will be looking to involve the wider community as our plans develop.
"The popularity of marked rides continues to grow and this is a fantastic opportunity for individuals and groups to come and ride some spectacular routes.
"We anticipate riders will use the opportunity to raise money for their own favourite charities and that, with our 200-mile ride in two days, we will see some of Britain's top riders involved.
"We also hope the regional business community sees this as an opportunity to enter company teams with members taking part across all the distances thereby involving all, not just the superfit."
The 30-mile event has been sponsored by city firm Cyclescheme.
For further details about Bike Bath, email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 0844 8793750.