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A FAMILY bike ride is being organised for cycling enthusiasts in north Durham.

https://www.facebook.com/stanleyfamilycycle/

Stanley Town Council is putting on the event on Sunday, May 1, with help from

It is being organised to celebrate the opening of a new link route from the C2C route into Stanley town centre.

Councillor Joan Nicholson, chairman of Stanley Town Council, said: “It is a wonderful facility which should be used as much as possible.

“Our event will only use a small part that is close to the town but the route is such a wonderful ‘highway’ to some of the best countryside around.

“We want to get people of all ages out on their bikes and use the routes and get a little fitter into the bargain. It is a ‘win-win’ situation for all concerned.”

Both routes start and finish at Oakies Park, with a 20 mile ride to Cox Green, just outside of Sunderland and a shorter one for youngsters to Beamish Museum car park.

Gina Clarke, network manager for Sustrans, said: “We are looking forward to the event bringing new people to the C2C, giving the next generation of cyclists the opportunity to experience the route for themselves.”

All finishers get a t-shirt and goodie bag. For more information search for Stanley Family Cycle on Facebook.

Source: Bike ride for families in Stanley

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Enterprise car obstruction“In the last couple of weeks I have driven past the Enterprise Car Hire on the A167 just south of the Neville’s Cross lights to see a vehicle parked on the pavement in front of the site. The third time I stopped and took this picture.”

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Source: Pavement obstruction in front of Enterprise Car Hire – Ring 101 if you see it. | Nigel Martin

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The world’s top riders will compete in the North East in September, with routes taking in Wooler, Alnwick, Bedlington, Blyth and Prudhoe

The world’s top cyclists will roll into Northumberland this September for the prestigious Tour of Britain.

The county will host two stages of the UK’s largest professional cycle race, making it the first time the race has passed through the North East since 2009.

Stage four on Wednesday, September 9, takes riders from Edinburgh down through Duns and Coldstream into Northumberland where the route will wind through Wooler and Alnwick, and then down the coast to its finish in Blyth.

Stage 4 of the Tour of Britain 2015
Stage 4 of the Tour of Britain 2015

The next day’s stage five will see athletes pedal from Prudhoe, following Hadrian’s Wall and heading across the Pennines into Cumbria and the Lake District, before ending in a summit finish on Hartside Fell, above Alston.

Last year, Olympians Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish took part in the Friends Life sponsored event, and hopes are high they will compete again this time round.

The event will be broadcast in more than 130 countries, including live coverage on ITV channels in the UK.

Coun Grant Davey is leader of Northumberland County Council, which has worked with sponsors Northumbrian Water and race organisers SweetSpot to bring the race to the county.

Bruce Ledger, chief executive of Active Northumberland and Grant Davey, Leader of Northumberland County Council with cyclists from Watbike, at Blyth Beach Huts
Bruce Ledger, chief executive of Active Northumberland and Grant Davey, Leader of Northumberland County Council with cyclists from Watbike, at Blyth Beach Huts

He said: “A lot of work has taken place behind the scenes to bring this event to the county and we are proud and delighted that Northumberland will be hosting the Tour of Britain.

“This is an incredibly high profile event. The route will travel through the heart of the county and will give us a fantastic opportunity to showcase Northumberland, and all it has to offer, to an international audience. No amount of money could buy this sort of publicity.

“The race will give the people of Northumberland the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing right here on our doorstep and promises to be an exciting spectacle.”

David Hall, head of leisure, strategy and transformation at Northumbrian Water, added: “As a company we work hard to promote the North East as a great place to live, work and visit and the bike race is sure to boost regional tourism and the economy.”

Stage 5 of the Tour of Britain 2015
Stage 5 of the Tour of Britain 2015

The Tour features eight stages in total, starting on the Isle of Anglesey in Wales on Sunday, September 6, and ending in London on Sunday, September 13,

ITV will screen three hours of live coverage of every stage, starting on ITV for the opening Wales stage before reverting to ITV4 for stages two to eight. ITV4 will also screen a one-hour highlights programme each evening during the race.

Meanwhile, Coun Scott Dickinson, business chairman for Northumberland County Council, said he hopes local businesses can “maximise on the many commercial opportunities that this event will provide both on race day and afterwards”.

The 2014 Tour of Britain winner was Dutchman Dylan Van Baarle with a time of 32 hours, 22 minutes and 50 seconds – with Sir Bradley Wiggins in third.

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Newcastle City Council has thrown its weight behind plans to bring the Grand Départ of the Tour de France to the North East of England, reports Chroniclelive.co.uk.

It joins Tyneside neighbour Gateshead Council in wanting to secure the opening days of the race, which this year began in Yorkshire and brought the area an economic benefit estimated at in excess of £100 million.

Councillor Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “Bringing the Tour de France to the North East is an excellent idea.

READ MORE via Newcastle City Council to support bid to bring Tour de France to North East of England | road.cc.

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Sandstone Way autumn ride

A brand-new, 120-mile (193 kms) mountain bike trail has been announced for the 2015 tourist season linking Berwick-upon-Tweed and Hexham via Northumberland’s most spectacular coastal and countryside scenery.

‘The Sandstone Way’ will create opportunities for tourism services along its route in the way that long-distance walking trails have done for the area in recent years.  It runs along the sandstone ridge in North Northumberland, linking numerous sandstone crags and outcrops along its entire length with many spectacular views .

Between Berwick and Hexham it passes through numerous villages and small communities including Wooler, Belford, Rothbury, Elsdon and Bellingham, taking in the Simonside Ridge and other features of Northumberland National Park.  Cyclists will experience a ride through an amazing, ever-changing landscape which is rich in history, geology and iconic scenery.

The new trail is aimed at mountain bikers with as much as possible off-road and link sections on very quiet country lanes, and it has been designed to safely cross rivers, main roads and railway lines. It will appeal to riders of all abilities and most will take 3 or 4 days to complete it, whilst the ‘fit and the fast’ could possibly ride the route in 2 days. It’s almost certain some mountain bikers will try to do the whole route in a day but the organisers hope that families will be encouraged to ride safe, traffic-free sections of it with older children. The route is clearly waymarked on the ground with the distinctive green and yellow “S” roundel, and ten optional loops are also offered to appeal to ‘day riders’ who wish to cycle back to their starting point or follow a more challenging option. Package holidays to cycle the Sandstone Way have already been developed by tour operator, Saddle Skedaddle.

Rich Rothwell, the 24-hour endurance mountain bike rider who tested the route earlier this year said:

“I thoroughly enjoyed the day and I am sure that many people will enjoy this route – incredibly quiet roads and some lovely flowing off road sections with stunning Northumberland scenery.”

Sandstone Way waymarker

The Sandstone Way is the brainchild of passionate cyclist, Ted Liddle, who designed the route building on a basic suggestion from Victoria Brown of Northumberland Joint Local Access Forum.  It was seed funded by Northumberland National Park Authority, who has also dealt with the complex administration, and it has been developed in conjunction with the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Project, Northumberland County Council, Northumberland Tourism, CycleTRAX, Tyne Valley Mountain Bike Club and Recreational Tourism Services. Funding for infrastructure has been provided by The Rural Development Programme for England through the Northern Lands Project.

The Sandstone Way partnership will be conducting a series of training and familiarisation sessions with tourism businesses in the area over the winter to help them make the most of the opportunities to welcome cyclists.

Ted Liddle said:

“The Sandstone Way was designed to link some of the best lengths of off-road track in Northumberland taking mountain bikers into Northumberland’s hidden corners on centuries-old tracks and historic byways. The route traverses magnificent unspoilt scenery and offers iconic views with the sensation of remoteness.  Cycling the Sandstone Way really is an adventure which guarantees a truly memorable experience for all the right reasons.”

Duncan Wise, Visitor Development Officer at Northumberland National Park added:

“We are in the business of making memories, and those riding the Sandstone Way will have a wonderful excuse to stay longer in this beautiful part of the world.  The more folk use local accommodation, shops and services, the more our market towns and villages will stay vibrant and sustainable.”

Cycling tourism is on the increase in Northumberland with many visitors making the most of the county’s quiet and scenic roads and challenging hills. The boost has come about through a wide range of new events and facilities that have made it easy for people to bring their bikes north to enjoy challenging but unpressured rides.

The information portal www.cyclepad.org.uk, which was launched in 2013 has created an easy point of contact for all things cycling in the area.  In the last few years, the National Park has been sponsoring the Curlew Cup, an elite women’s road race in the Virgin Money Cyclone, whose challenge race runs through the National Park from Matfen.  The massive success of the Wooler Wheel cycling challenges has given hundreds of cyclists a taste of the Cheviots and Glendale, and Kielder’s well-known forest routes are a magnet for MTB riders. 2015 will also see the Tour of Britain coming to the county, which will focus cycling-aficionados’ attention on Northumberland from across the World.

The time is right for a new, county-long route that offers more than a day’s ride for the leisure cyclist and the Sandstone Way fits the bill on many levels: scenery, safety, challenge and welcome.  It is planned to launch the new trail in the Spring and a new website is under way.

Both Hexham and Berwick upon Tweed are served by rail, and there are bus connections along the coast and into the valleys of the National Park for those wishing to make a holiday of it and leave the car behind.

The Sandstone Way uses existing Public Rights of Way for most of its length, including an interesting mix of double-width dirt tracks, sections of singletrack, unsurfaced lanes and bridleways of all types as well as byways and little known Unclassified County Roads (UCRs). There are linking sections of quiet minor roads and surfaced country lanes. A distinctive route map will be available in the early Spring.

Sandstone Way map

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Dinah and Ben Hatch and family take a leisurely cycle through the county’s old mining country

Route information

Length 12 miles

Duration 4 hours (approx)

Start Broompark, Durham

Finish Lydgetts Junction

Classification Easy

Terrain Off-road, some hills

Who’s it good for? Families; couples and friends

MapOS Explorer 307 and 308

Broompark to Lydgetts Junction

Now let’s be clear about this. We, the Hatches, are not an outdoorsy family. We wish we were, but somehow catastrophe always strikes when the pavement runs out; we panic when we cannot hear traffic, at least in the distance.

A family member was knocked into the Atlantic with a paddle when we last kayaked and on a holiday cycle ride our son’s tagalong became detached Frank Spencer-style and he rolled down into a canal in France. But we are determined to instil the virtues of the countryside and activity into our children Phoebe, nine, and Charlie, seven, so we agreed to a weekend of ruddy-faced cycling in Durham. We left the iPad at home, banned all talk of Minecraft and even bought an Ordnance Survey map (that’s what folk do, isn’t it?).

via Diggin’ the past: Durham’s scenic cycling country | Travel | theguardian.com.

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Help build a network of like-minded riders from the local area, find cycling buddies.

Create groups to chat to other members and organise rides.

Find other people’s rides or create your own to share.

Ride Social – Sky Ride.

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