One of the country's biggest weekends of cycling is set to get even bigger for 2012.
For the first time the North East's Northern Rock Cyclone is to include a ride specifically aimed at beginners and young families on the Thursday evening preceding the weekend, which is expected to take place from Thursday 28 June to Sunday 1 July 2012.
Called the Tyne Six Bridges Leisure Ride, the Thursday evening event will feature two gentle routes of nine and 14.5 miles along the banks of the Tyne. Starting from Newcastle Quayside the rides will take in the Millennium, Tyne, Swing, High Level, Redheuth and Scotswood bridges. The rides, which are suitable for all ages, will start at 7pm on Thursday 28 June and will cost £6 for adults and children.
The new event takes the popular Northern Rock Cyclone weekend to four days for the first time. As in previous years, it will is also include the Leazes Criteriums on the Friday night, the hugely popular Northern Rock Cyclone Challenge rides on the Saturday and the Beaumont Trophy Premier Calendar race on the Sunday.
Event organiser Peter Harrison said: "We want as many people as possible to be able to enjoy the spirit of the Northern Rock Cyclone. The new Tyne Six Bridges Leisure Ride is perfect for beginner cyclists and for young families so is a great way for everyone to get involved."
In June, thousands of cycling fans flocked to the North East for the 2011 Northern Rock Cyclone weekend as it incorporated the National Elite Road Racing Championships. More than 4,000 riders signed up for 33, 67 and 107 mile Northern Rock Cyclone Challenge rides on the Saturday and on the Sunday thousands more lined the route of the Beaumont Trophy as it played host to Lizzie Armitstead and Bradley Wiggins claiming their National Champion titles. On the Friday night cycling superstar Mark Cavendish provided ad-hoc commentary for the Leazes Criteriums as well as signing autographs and having pictures taken with fans.
Entries for the whole weekend will open in November. In the meantime, sign up to receive all of the latest Northern Rock Cyclone information at www.northernrockcyclone.co.uk. You can also follow events live on Twitter @nrcyclone and by joining the ‘Northern Rock Cyclone' group on Facebook