Updated: Friday, 24th November 2017 @ 8:08am

Manchester Sky Ride breaks record figures as thousands take to city's streets to celebrate cycling

Manchester Sky Ride breaks record figures as thousands take to city's streets to celebrate cycling

By Jack Drummond

More than 20,000 people took to the unusually-sunny streets of Manchester on their bikes yesterday for the fourth annual Sky Ride.

Hailed as the largest event to date, organisers Manchester City Council, Sky and British Cycling hosted a variety of activities along the route, which took in Deansgate, Manchester Town Hall and Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.

Cyclists of all abilities joined in the fun including seasoned club cyclists, children and families and even several riders with soundsystems strapped to their bikes.

"I think it's a great event to be a part of," said Christine Evans, the 'artist on a bike' who was showcasing some of her cycling-inspired work at the Castlefield starting point.

"I've only been cycling for a year but I think everyone should be inspired to take up riding at some point," she added. "I started because of a friend - who's now 50 years old - but who still competes and wins one-day sportifs and rides 70 miles a day. I thought if she can do that, why can't I?"

Sky Ride ambassador Kelly Brook also made an appearance earlier in the day with several people subsequently asking on Twitter for cycling dressing tips as the model and actress led people down Deansgate in a flowing red number.

Attendees also had the chance to see professional bikes and cycling gear up-close including a race-winning road bike formerly of Team Sky's Juan Antonio Flecha, while there were also bike mechanics and free maintenance workshop lessons on offer too.

"It's been an amazing day," said British Cycling's National Partnerships Manager Joel Lavery.

"This year we've been delighted to stage our flagship event in Manchester, the home of British Cycling. In such a special year for cycling, it's just terrific that it's been a record-breaking event," he added.

While celebrating the growth in interest the sport which the Sky Ride represented, some groups however expressed caution.

"All this is very good, but if we don't have the proper road conditions then it's going to be a difficult thing to get people to stay on their bikes," said a spokesman for the Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign, which is leading a fight to impose a strict 20mph speed limit in all residential areas.

For more information visit www.goskyride.com