Thrills on two wheels

The Northern Rock Cyclone Challenge, the biggest mass-bike ride to take place on open roads in the UK.'Climbing Ritton Bank near Forestburngate.
The Northern Rock Cyclone Challenge, the biggest mass-bike ride to take place on open roads in the UK.'Climbing Ritton Bank near Forestburngate.

OVER 4,000 cyclists of different levels pedalled hard through the county as part of the Northern Rock Cyclone weekend.

And festival organisers are celebrating the success of the fifth event – which has grown to become England’s largest cycling festival and brought in 5,000 spectators this year.

The Northern Rock Cyclone Challenge, the biggest mass-bike ride to take place on open roads in the UK.'Going through Netherwitton.

The Northern Rock Cyclone Challenge, the biggest mass-bike ride to take place on open roads in the UK.'Going through Netherwitton.

The Cyclone Challenge, an open event consisting three different rides, of 33 miles, 66 miles and 107 miles, took place on Saturday. It all started and finished at Kingston Park and travelled throughout Northumberland, calling in atNetherwitton and Forestgateburn.

Sunday hosted the prestigious UK National Road Racing Championships which attracted the cream of professional cycling and saw Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins scoop the first prize, while Olympic hopeful Lizzie Armistead pedalled to victory in the women’s equivalent.

Festival organiser Peter Harrison said: “We’re absolutely delighted that the Northern Rock Cyclone Challenge has grown to become the largest cycling sportive in the UK.

“This year’s event has seen a huge rise in participants and spectators from both inside and outside the region, demonstrating how popular cycling has become in this country.

The Northern Rock Cyclone Challenge, the biggest mass-bike ride to take place on open roads in the UK.

The Northern Rock Cyclone Challenge, the biggest mass-bike ride to take place on open roads in the UK.

“I am absolutely delighted that Northern Rock has confirmed their intention to sponsor the event in 2012.”

Bradley Wiggins pedalling to victory.

Bradley Wiggins pedalling to victory.