Thousands ride the Blackpool lights

Kayla (11) and Kelsey Riley (6) from Blackpool
Kayla (11) and Kelsey Riley (6) from Blackpool
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THIS year’s Illuminations have been unveiled to thousands of enthusiastic cyclists.

People of all ages were given a sneak preview of the seafront attraction as town hall bosses staged their annual Ride the Lights spectacle.

Traffic was stopped from entering the Promenade between Starr Gate and Bispham last night to allow people to catch a glimpse of the world-famous light show from the saddle.

Joseph Smith, 42, from Wigan, was taking the opportunity to see the Illuminations with his family.

He was joined by his wife Clare, 42, and their sons Niall, nine, Eamon, seven, and four-year-old Brendan.

Mr Smith said: “This is a good, free event for a family and a great way to end the summer holidays before the kids go back to school.”

Niall added: “I enjoy cycling next to the Tower and the Illuminations are really cool.

“I like seeing them on my bike and enjoyed the day.”

Linda Hall, 46, from Richmond, and Sandra De Pasquale, 56, from France, were cycling along the Promenade on a tandem bike.

Mrs De Pasquale said: “I came to see the Illuminations years ago but never had the opportunity to see them on a bike.

“It’s great to see the lights like this.”

Her cycling partner added: “I feel quite lucky to see the lights for the first time in a very friendly atmosphere.”

Providing the entertainment for the crowds on their bikes was a musical group from Blaze, a housing scheme for young homeless people aged 16 to 25 in the resort.

Paul Hartely, 37, from Marton, was leading a number of cyclists.

He said: “This is a fantastic thing and a good laugh.

“It’s definitely something to look forward to because doing something practical like this in Blackpool is a great opportunity.”

Coun Graham Cain, cabinet member for Tourism and Culture at Blackpool Council, was also taking part in the ride.

He said: “It’s always great to see the many thousands of people enjoying one of Blackpool’s most famous attractions in a healthy and active way.

“There is a lot of excitement building around the Illuminations Switch On and this is just the first event in an action packed Illuminations season.”

Natalie Wyatt, head of VisitBlackpool, added: “This is a great event.

“September onwards it’s a really exciting time for Blackpool and this is the beginning of it.”

The official Switch On of this year’s Illuminations will take place on Friday with comedian Keith Lemon and X Factor stars Joe McElderry and Olly Murs.