A major push is underway in Kielder Water & Forest Park to get more people cycling.
The Forestry Commission, Hoseasons Holidays, Northumbrian Water and CTC Charitable Trust have launched CycleXtra, a scheme to encourage more visitors to explore the spectacular 62,000 hectare (155,000 acre) Border wilderness in the saddle.
As part of the ambitious project, free cycle hire and tuition are being offered until the end of October. All you need to do is to contact Purple Mountain Bike Centre at Kielder on 01434 250532 to book a place.
Heading up the venture locally is 49 year old professional mountain bike guide, Rick White. He says: “The idea is to get more people cycling more often. For a lot of people who haven’t ridden in a while there’s a confidence issue. Others simply prefer to go out in a group. We plan to offer coaching tips, polish technique and take rides into the magnificent terrain around Kielder.”
Rides, setting out from Leaplish Waterside Park, are being staged throughout the week and outings can also be tailored to specific needs. Kevin Hudson, Northumbrian Water’s Leisure Manager, adds: “CycleXtra will encourage holiday makers and visitors to give cycling a try. It’s a forward thinking initiative that could get people into the habit of biking when they get back home. And there’s no better way of enjoying the magnificent Northumberland countryside.”
CycleXtra funding has come from Cycling England, a non-departmental public body funded by the Department for Transport with the aim of getting more people cycling.
Elisabeth Rowark, Director of the Kielder Water & Forest Park Trust, says: “We are excited to be involved in this innovative project. Kielder Water & Forest Park is a great places to improve your cycling skills away from busy roads and traffic. In addition to the fabulous Lakeside way and family blue trails, we have other epic mountain biking routes and great views.”