Velodrome and bike-powered Scalextric among highlights of bike festival

ON YER BIKE!. . . . The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Elisha McCallion pictured at the Peace Bridge on Monday afternoon for the launch of Northern Ireland Bike Week. Included in photo are Michele Murphy and Ross McGill, Sustrans, members of local cycling clubs and the public. The event will run from June 11-19 this year.
ON YER BIKE!. . . . The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Elisha McCallion pictured at the Peace Bridge on Monday afternoon for the launch of Northern Ireland Bike Week. Included in photo are Michele Murphy and Ross McGill, Sustrans, members of local cycling clubs and the public. The event will run from June 11-19 this year.

A mobile velodrome in Guildhall Square and bike powered Scalextric will be among the attractions at the North West Big Bike Festival in Londonderry and Strabane next month.

The event, sponsored by Tourism NI, forms a major centrepiece of the NI Cycling Fest and highlight activities include stunt bike displays, the Maiden City Criterion, karts, simulators and much more.

Speaking on behalf of sustainable transport charity Sustrans, Ross McGill said: “We have a great programme of events lined up during the Festival aimed at cyclists of all ages and abilities. We’ve tried to be innovative in providing new experiences of cycling, with events like our Wild Food Cycle and our Get Cycling event featuring Bike Powered Smoothie Makers and bike powered Scalextric.

“Cycling can be a fantastic family fun activity and an opportunity to introduce children to exercise without it seeming like a chore. I would love to see more people coming along to our try out events and hopefully as a result making more use of our greenways to explore the local scenery and to support the preservation of the local environment.”

Mary Blake, Tourism Development Officer and event organiser is delighted with the range of programme on offer in the region. “The event is funded by Derry City and Strabane District Council with support for our sponsors at Tourism Northern Ireland and the Health Promotion Agency and DARD Travelwise. It is this support that has allowed us to stage such an exciting and innovative programme and best of all – it’s free! We want to help put Northern Irish cycling on the map and would love to host the Gran Fondo here in the future.”

Kicking off the month of bike based activity is the Well Women Cycle which takes place on June 5, closely followed by the 4th annual Maiden City Criterium on June 7.

The Get Cycling Show takes place in Guildhall Square and Waterloo Place on Saturday to Sunday, June 11/12.

Here visitors can get up to speed on the latest cycling inventions at the Bike Try-out Roadshow in the Guildhall Square with Megabikes, Bike Simulators, Trikes and Kart racing.

Also on June 11 get foraging and join the Wild Food Cycle from Eglinton to Park Village or why not join the Dawn Community Cycle on June 12 for a peaceful trip along the scenic Waterside Greenway.

Sunday June 12 will see the UK’s only Street Velodrome (http://www.streetvelodrome.co.uk/) roll into town for a full day of free try outs and fast paced, head to head action in the Guildhall Square.

The Festival closes in jaw-dropping style on June 18 in Strabane with a full day of high flying two-wheeled aerobatics with the 360 Stunt Team at Castle Street in Strabane.

As well as these events there will also be a number of opportunities for local schools to get involved, with free breakfasts for pupils participating in Bike to School days across the district, and exciting cycling demonstrations. There will also be a food village, dine out ideas for cyclists, as well as children’s arts and crafts.

These are just some highlights from the Festival programme and more details on how you can get involved can be found on the website at www.derrystrabane.com/bigbikefest