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