Thousands set for traffic-free cycle

Sky Ride 2011 route map
Sky Ride 2011 route map
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THOUSANDS of cyclists are expected to flood into Blackpool as traffic is banned from roads to make way for bikes.

This Sunday’s Sky Ride will see an eight kilometre route between Stanley Park and the Promenade cleared of motorists to allow cyclists to pedal unhindered past landmarks including the Tower and Brilliance in Birley Street.

Church Street and parts of Newton Drive and West Park Drive will be closed off to traffic between 8am and 6pm, although the event takes place between 10am and 4pm.

The ride is part of a series of Sky Rides nationally, aimed at encouraging more people to take up cycling.

A similar event in Manchester last Sunday attracted 18,500 riders.

Blackpool-based Paralympian cyclist Terry Byrne is urging people to take part.

He said: “If people haven’t signed up to come along yet then they really should. It promises to be a fun, healthy day for everyone and it will be great to see loads of people getting involved.

“Sky Ride is a fantastic leisure activity. Everybody can get on their bike to join in and it’s wonderful so many families are getting involved.

“It is a great chance for people to see Blackpool like they’ve never been able to before and ride around the town without having to worry about the traffic.”

The road closures include the Promenade between Talbot Square and Chapel Street, Talbot Square, West Street between Market Street and Corporation Street, the full length of Church Street, Newton Drive between Devonshire Road and Collingwood Avenue, the full length of Beech Avenue and West Park Drive between Mere Road and Woodland Grove.

Terry, who has already taken part in a number of Sky Rides around the country, will be on hand to give people tips ahead of the ride, as well as handing out special Sky Ride bibs to everybody who signs up.

Riders will start outside the Stanley Park Art Deco Café, before heading down Church Street and into the town centre. There will be entertainment along the route which will take a short circuit of the Promenade before heading back to Stanley Park.

Cyclists are free to enter and exit the traffic-free course as they please and can cycle the route at whatever speed they are comfortable with.

Coun Graham Cain, cabinet member for tourism and culture on Blackpool Council, said: “This is a great opportunity for cyclists of all ages and ability to enjoy a day out and a rare chance to cycle through the town without traffic on the road.”