Thousands enjoy Sky Ride Blackpool


Thousands of cyclists from across the North West region joined Para-Cyclist and local boy Tel Byrne for Sky Ride Blackpool, which took over the town's busy shopping streets and world famous promenade for a whole day of fun by the seaside.

An 8km traffic-free loop was closed to traffic from 10am until 4pm, beginning at Blackpool's lovingly restored Stanley Park and venturing into town, passing the Winter Gardens and turning onto the promenade, where the route took riders past Blackpool's iconic tower and along the seafront to the Central Pier before turning back along the front and retracing its steps via Birley Street.

Back at the park, it was a hive of activity with Wattbike and Go-Ride Racing, delivered with the help of local Go-Ride club BYCA. Blackpool Council supplied hire bikes to allow people without a cycle of their own to experience Sky Ride. Paracyclist Tel Byrne, who hails from the Blackpool area, was on the route all day, chatting to participants and signing bibs for eager cycling fans.

The route passed through the park, passing the lake, where some Sky Riders swapped bikes for rowing boats. Others sat in the sun at the Art Deco cafe, while others chose to watch the free live bands at the lakeside bandstand. Further on the park, more adventurous Sky Riders were able to try out the park's BMX track before taking in another lap of the 8km course.

We spoke to a number of riders throughout the day to see what they thought of Sky Ride Blackpool.

Graham Cain, Cabinet Member for Tourism and Culture in Blackpool said, "It's tremendous that we're getting so many people from outside of Blackpool coming into town and getting to see the sights that you wouldn't normally see."

Steve from Lancaster said, "Fantastic event, really supportive, great to see so many people", while Lesley from Manchester, who was taking advantage of one of Blackpool's excellent hire bikes said, "this is my first time on a bike for over 11 years and it's been absolutely fantastic, and I'm going to take up cycling from now on."

Supporting the city ride is a whole series of Sky Ride Local events in and around Blackpool, while bikes will return en-masse to the town's promenade on the evening of 30th August for Ride the Lights.