Saddle up for Ride the Lights

Pictures:Bill Johnson. Ride The Lights on Blackpool Promenade.

Pictures:Bill Johnson. Ride The Lights on Blackpool Promenade.

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PEDAL power is set to take over the Promenade with thousands of cyclists expected to join the annual Ride the Lights.

Last year 10,000 people saddled up to take part in the extravaganza which gives riders the chance of a sneak preview of the Illuminations.

And this year’s event looks set to be even more special as the Lights celebrate their centenary.

Managing director of Marketing Blackpool Natalie Wyatt told The Gazette: “This is just the start of the exciting Illuminations season so it is a pleasure to see many thousands of people enjoying the Lights in such an active and healthy way.

“Ride the Lights is a great evening giving people not only chance to see our splendid Illuminations, but also many other features and attractions which line Blackpool’s famous Promenade.

“The Illuminations is a huge draw for many people, both locally and from far a-field, and there is always a lot of excitement ahead of the official switch-on.”

Ride The Lights – the curtain raiser to the Illuminations – takes place on Tuesday, August 28 – just three days before the official switch-on party.

A six mile stretch of the Promenade will be closed to traffic between 7pm and 10pm to enable cyclists to take over the carriageway.

People can join anywhere between Starr Gate and Bispham to complete as little or as much of the route.

Riders are also urged to decorate themselves and their bikes in bling and lighting to add to the glitz on the night.

As well as residents, the event attracts visitors from around the country.

Gary Pretty, chairman of the Blackpool Combined Association which holds an annual fund-raising ball in aid of the Illuminations, said: “Ride the Lights is absolutely brilliant and brings a lot of people into Blackpool, many of who hopefully make a day of it.

“It is great to see so many people using their bikes. Some go up and down two or three times and they stop off for refreshments which means the cafes and shops do well out of it.

“Hopefully visitors to the town will also come back later in the season to see the Illuminations again.”

People do not need to own their own bike to take part as they can borrow one from the council’s Hire-a-Bike scheme by visiting www.hourbike.com/blackpool

Riders can register for Ride the Lights at www.visitblackpool.com/ridethelights and there are high-visibility Ride the Lights vests available for the first 5,000 people to register online.