Pedal power will be the main attraction for thousands of people this Sunday - with the University of Leeds set to help host the city's first-ever Sky Ride.
From 10am to 4pm on Sunday 7 July, riders across the city are taking advantage of traffic-free streets as part of a free city ride organised by Leeds City Council, Sky, British Cycling and West Yorkshire Metros go:cycling project.
The University will form a key part of the route as the cyclists pass through campus, which will also feature one of three activation zones in the city.
The mass-participation event will see people of all ages and abilities take to their bikes with just under a year to go until the 2014 Tour de France sets off from Yorkshire.
The Universitys activation zone, in an area outside the Student Union, will feature a special marquee offering a range of refreshments, as well as bike-powered smoothies, a hog roast and ice creams. Staff from the Universitys Sustainability Team will be there, along with staff from the Universitys state-of-the-art sports facility, The Edge, who will be on hand to offer free health and fitness checks and the chance to take part in a bike simulator challenge.
Rob Wadsworth, Head of Sport and Physical Activity at the University of Leeds, said: Our dedicated staff will be on hand to offer visitors health checks and advice on getting fit. We are fortunate at the University to have such a facility as The Edge and would encourage everyone to come down and see what we have to offer.
Lisa Brannan, Sustainable Transport Officer at the University of Leeds, said: We are excited to be such an integral part of Sky Ride. We pride ourselves on our bike hub and cycling culture. We see sustainable transport as a key part of our support for students and staff.
Stewart Ross, Head of Commercial Services at the University of Leeds, added: Sky Ride offers the University a fantastic chance to be part of a major sporting event. This is the start of a big year for cycling in the region and we are very excited to be a key site for Sky Ride.
With the full route at 5.2km, riders will be able to start at multiple points around the course and also at any time throughout the event, covering as much distance or as many laps as they wish. Aside from the full route, there will also be a shorter 500m loop on offer around Victoria Gardens and a 750m route at Woodhouse Moor, the site of another activation zone.
This zone will feature regular BMX displays by riders from The Works Skate Park, free bike maintenance, virtual bike racing simulator, go:ride skills circuit, Breeze inflatables and information on cycling.
Pop star and Sky Ride Leeds Ambassador Kimberley Walsh will be on hand helping to start the event from Victoria Gardens, which will also be the first activation zone, featuring a range of cycling stalls and activities including free bike decorations, a Wattbike challenge, Team Sky Area, bike maintenance, cycling information and advice from British Cycling, a bike café and a big screen relaying images from the Tour de France.
Free bike hire including adapted cycles will also be available at Victoria Gardens, which will also host a special winners podium for participants to have their photo taken in front of the iconic Arc de Triomphe backdrop, complete with flowers and cuddly lion, echoing the winners experience of the worlds greatest cycle race.
Sky Ride Leeds is part of a new agreement between Leeds City Council, West Yorkshire Metro and British Cycling to help promote and develop cycling in the city and wider region. Aside from the mass-participation city centre event, there are also a range of Sky Ride Local rides available, including those for women-only. These rides are led by a British Cycling-trained Ride Leader, and give participants the chance to get out and explore their local area also as improve their cycling ability.
For more information on these rides and also for the latest details on Sky Ride Leeds visit www.goskyride.com
For more information, contact Ben Jones in the University of Leeds press office on 0113 34 38059 or email B.P.Jones@leeds.ac.uk