Bike ride for novices as event gets into gear

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Novice mountain bikers can hone their skills in the saddle when a cycling event gets under way for the first time in the Peak District.

The national park’s nine-day Cycling Festival starts on Saturday, September 7, offering more than 60 activities for all levels of ability.

Beginners can learn handling, bike maintenance and navigation on a free, 12-mile ride around Ladybower Reservoir on the festival’s first day, led by Pennine Way ranger Martyn Sharp.

The ride starts at 10am at Fairholmes Cycle Hire Centre in the Upper Derwent Valley, finishing at 1pm.

Another free guided ride the following day will take a 15-mile course around the Chatsworth and Haddon estates, mainly using bridleways.

The Chatsworth cycle starts at Bakewell Old Station at 10.30am next Sunday, finishing at 3pm.

The festival aims to encourage more people to enjoy cycling, and is organised by the Peak Park Authority alongside tourism and cycling organisations.

Olympic mountain biker Annie Last, who is from Bakewell, is the event’s patron.

The 23-year-old said: “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.”

People participating in the activities should bring their own bicycles and helmets, or hire them for the day.

Advance booking is required for the Ladybower Reservoir ride – call 01629 816211 to reserve a place. Visit www.visitpeakdistrict.com/pdcf for a full list of activities.

Cycling’s top competition, the Tour de France, is passing through the park next year.