Hundreds of riders were joined by a cycling legend as they discovered Norfolk’s Broads on two wheels

More than 700 people took part in the inaugural Tour de Broads cycling event today.

Setting off from Weston Longville, the main 110km ride saw former Tour de France yellow jersey holder Sean Yates lead riders around the Broadland district, taking in villages including Hoveton, Woodbastwick, Reedham and Rockland St Mary before skirting Norwich and going through Costessey towards the finish.

As well as the main ride, there was a female-only route, a beginners’ 55km challenge ride and a family ride.

Matt Gates, who took part with fellow members of Velo Club Norwich, said it was “great” to ride with Mr Yates.

“He is an icon of British cycling and he was very friendly,” said the 46-year-old from Taverham.

“The ride was very good. It was very well signposted, very well marshalled and beautiful scenery. We got to see parts of Norfolk we don’t normally see on our usual Sunday club rides and it was great to see so many people out on their bikes, there were so many kids and families.”

Sally Gilks, 47, from Brooke, just south of Norwich, did the 55km ride with her two sons Luke, 23, and Toby, 16, while her keen cyclist husband Jeremy tackled the 110km route.

It was her first ever cycling event. She said: “I had a thoroughly enjoyable time and the boys looked after me well.”

Each finisher was presented with a medal as they crossed the finishing line and back at Weston Longville, there was a free family festival including Rollerdrome racing, a smoothie making bike, a mountain bike circuit and a children’s area with balance bikes for two to five year olds.

Meanwhile, riders could tuck into frozen yoghurt, tea and homemade cake or indulge in barbecue food and a cold beer at the Parson Woodforde while youngsters burnt off any excess energy on the play area.

The event also gave former members of the Rennrad road racing team from the 1980s and 90s the chance to reminisce with a display of old photos and memorabilia at the headquarters.

Neil Turner, from Activating CIC, which organised the event in partnership with Broadland Council and sponsors the Parson Woodforde and Pedal Revolution, said: “The weather’s been beautiful and people have come back with big smiles on their faces which is great for us.

“Lots of people were inspired to ride for the first time and everyone enjoyed parts of Broadland. We live in a beautiful part of the world and sometimes we don’t appreciate it – it’s reinforced that we have some beautiful countryside.”

Kirstin Hughes, economic development manager for Broadland, added: “It’s been absolutely fantastic and it’s been great to see so many people from tiny tots to older people take part. Everyone has been saying how beautiful Broadland is.”

I’ll be uploading a few more images from the day in the next few days…..


Text supplied by ECN

About Julian Claxton

My passion for photography is supported by experiences gained on exciting travel adventures and through working for fantastic photographers. In 2006, I made the exciting step of realising my dream of becoming a freelance photographer. Since this pivotal moment, I have held numerous exhibitions, been featured nationally & internationally in print and won numerous awards, including being a finalist in the National Geographic Photographic competition in 2013 with one of my documentary images from the Sudan. From an early age I began to enjoy taking pictures of my daily life, basking in the thrill of sending the film to the printers and eagerly awaiting the pocket sized prints. My first foray into the world developing and printing strangely began at school when I was asked to produce a descriptive photo for the school newspaper. A front page shot later and I was destined to start the long arduous journey of becoming a photographer. In between exciting travel adventures and working for fantastic photographers, I graduated from college and at a crossroads in my journey to becoming a pro photographer, I embarked on a career working as a medical photographer. Learning new skills and dabbling in video production as well as progressing design skills, I yearned for the challenge and freedom of becoming a freelance. I have been fortunate enough to work on some amazing assignments which have included shooting a documentary assignment with an air ambulance, gaining full access to a British Pro cycling team during an international UCI tour, cycling to Rwanda and creating a photographic documentary of my journey. The experiences continue to grow, meeting wonderful people to photograph and telling the story of their journey. The list of events and striking moments that have played out through my viewfinder continue to grow and provide me with ever increasing snapshots of life to capture. One of the highlights of my career thus far has been staying in rural Uganda, teaching photography to the kids from the region, in a project I set up in late 2014, entitled ‘Give a child a camera’. The basis of the project is to supply 35mm cameras and film to the rural schools in this region of East Africa, teaching the children how to shoot photographs. After a week of taking photos of their life, an exhibition is held at the school and the children leave with their very own album, camera and film. One of the images I shot at Eden school in rural Uganda, during morning chapel won the 2015 Travel Media Tourism and Photography award. A great honour and one that I wouldn’t have picked up had it not been for the wonderful children of East Africa. For further information please visit
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