Belfast Telegraph

City bound cyclists under starter's orders

by Rachael McCloskey

Bangor will be one of four starting points for ‘Cycle to the City’, a charity event celebrating 15 years of the National Cycle Network

Kicking off on Saturday (18th) at 9.30am at the back of Pickie Fun Park, the scenic ride follows the coast to Belfast through Helen’s Bay and |Holywood.

The event is being hosted by Sustrans, a UK charity that enables people to travel everyday journeys by walking, cycling, and public transport.

The big cycle consists of four bike rides starting at Bangor, Lisburn, Comber, and Newtownabbey, converging in Belfast city centre at noon.

The four rides will arrive at Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, where participants will get rare access to the Drawing Offices of Harland and Wolff.

After lunch, they will ride to the Science Park for tea and cake, with music powered by Paddy Bloomer’s cycle powered ‘contraption’.

There will be short tours of the Pump House and a birds-eye view of the Titanic’s original dry dock.

Patricia Wallace, Volunteer and Community Liason and Coordinator at |Sustrans Northern Ireland, says:

“This is the perfect way to celebrate 15 years of the National Cycle Network, by getting out on it and enjoying what it has to offer. These rides will take in some great paths and beautiful scenery, and we hope everyone has a lot of fun.”

The National Cycle Network has been a flagship project for Sustrans since 1995, when a £43.5m funding from the Millennium Commission enabled the charity to create a national network that people could being to use for everyday journeys as well as for leisure.

Today it extends over 12,600 miles, and carries over 1 million walking and cycling journeys every day. There are over 800 miles of Network in Northern Ireland.

It passes within a mile of over 55% of the population, and Sustrans works with many other partners to ensure the Network continues to grow and delivers new, useful routes for communities across the UK.

Almost 3000 volunteers help Sustrans maintain and promote the Network, with 95 of them in Northern Ireland.

The ‘Cycle to the City ride’ is part of a series of ‘Fresh Air Miles’rides supported by Globe bikes, and led by Sustrans volunteers, that are being run throughout the year across the UK to raise funds to further develop the National Cycle Network.

Each participant is asked to raise a minimum of £15 sponsorship or purchase a ticket for £10. All participants will be entered into a free prize draw to win a Globe bike. To take part, download a sponsorship form at :- www.sustrans.org.uk/northernireland or email patricia.wallace@sustrans.org.uk .

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