Bournemouth is calling all elite cyclists, casual leisure riders and peddle power enthusiasts, the Wheels Night Ride taking place on Monday 26 May from 6.30pm, is set to be a celebration of cycling.
Part of the Bournemouth Wheels Festival, which takes place along the seafront, East Overcliff, town centre and the Lower Gardens from 24 to 26 May, this cycling spectacular offers three events in one evening and these aren’t just for spectators, with events for riders of all abilities to get involved in.
Kicking off the Wheels Night Ride is the FREE ‘Bears on Bikes’ community ride which is raising funds for the Round Table’s Children’s Wish charity. A ride the whole family can take part in it starts from Boscombe Pier at 6.30pm. Participants are encouraged to bring their bikes dressed with a bear to the start line and join thousands of other cyclists as they ride along the seafront on to the closed car free circuit in Bournemouth town centre. Register online at www.rtcw.org or turn up at Boscombe Pier.
The action will then step up a gear as the town centre is transformed into a ‘grand prix’ style circuit for racing, starting with the Wheels Relay Challenge at 7.40pm. Spectators can enjoy watching the exciting, high speed relay race which will see 12 teams of four compete. Each of the four team members, who must be at least 18 years of age, and include one female member , complete one lap of the circuit with the first full team across the line being declared the winners. The Wheels Relay Challenge is open to everyone living in a BH postcode so any keen local cycling enthusiasts can enter a team by pre-registering online at www.bournemouthwheels.co.uk/take-part under cycle races. It is £10 per rider.
Top cyclists will then take to the circuit at 8.25pm for the Elite Race. Riders will go head-to-head at speeds of 40mph plus as they power through the town centre in their bid to win – an energetic sight for the crowds to enjoy as they cheer cyclists to victory. For any professional local riders who want to take part, please pre- register at www.bournemouthwheels.co.uk/take-part under cycle races.
These events lead in to a Nightglow procession at 9.30pm from Pier Approach where people of all ages are asked to decorate their bike and themselves with as many brightly-lit, glow-in-the-dark accessories as possible and join in the FREE procession. Thousands of adults and children will be leisurely cycling around the car free town centre circuit at nightfall, which will take them through the Lower Gardens, Gervis Place, Exeter Road and Bath Hill to Pier Approach. The ride finishes in style with a brilliant firework display lighting up the sky over the seafront from 10.15pm.
Jo-Anne Downing of British Cycling said: “We’re very pleased that Bournemouth will be hosting an evening of cycling as part of the Wheels Festival and are proud to be supporting it. It is great to see cycling being recognised as one of the top attractions at this fantastic event, with an area dedicated to a cycling village where people can find out about getting involved in this exhilarating sport. It’s even better that Monday night has been devoted to cycling with all types of riders from your casual leisure cyclist and families to those who want to compete. There are a lot of keen riders in the local area, and I’m sure cyclists will come from further afield to take part in the elite racing. It is set to be a brilliant evening and we can’t wait.”