Triple gold medal-winning Paralympic cyclist Anthony Kappes returned to the saddle with a brand new co-pilot to get the Peak District & Derbyshire Summer of Cycling off to a trailblazing start.
Anthony, 41, – who struck gold twice at Beijing in 2008 and again in London in 2012, all in tandem track events – teamed up with Olympic mountain biker Annie Last to launch a wide-ranging programme of more than 100 events throughout
the Peak District tourism destination from April to October.
James Berresford, Chief Executive of national tourist board VisitEngland, and other invited guests joined Anthony and Annie, joint ambassadors for the area’s Summer of Cycling, to celebrate the start of the six-month celebration of life on two wheels on one of the area’s most popular routes, the Monsal Trail, during English Tourism Week, on Wednesday, April 2.
“Cycling fever is stronger than ever this year as the popularity of the sport following the 2012 Games continues to gather momentum,” said James.
“The Peak District & Derbyshire Summer of Cycling is a fantastic and timely way to celebrate this legacy as it launches during English Tourism Week.
“There is an exciting line-up of cycling related events coming up this summer, from Yorkshire’s Grand Départ in July to the first-ever L’Eroica Britannia, which will be staged in the Peak District National Park in June - these events
create fantastic opportunities to entice people to explore the wonderful cities, countryside and scenery on offer in England.”
David James, Chief Executive of Visit Peak District & Derbyshire, said: “Cycling is going to be huge for the Peak District tourism destination throughout the spring, summer and beyond, thanks to everything from major international events to gentle, have-a-go family cycle rides.
“We’re delighted that the area is the focus for a much larger Summer of Cycling that everyone from visitors to residents can enjoy.
“We’re aiming to make it Britain’s number one destination for cycling, by encouraging everyone from beginners to experts to come and stay, have fun, get fit and enjoy some fresh air amid some of the country’s finest landscapes.
“Whatever your age or ability, there’s a route and a bike to suit, ranging from safe, traffic-free former railway trails to more challenging off-road tracks – and you don’t have to own your own wheels. You can hire them from one of the area’s many cycle hire centres – where you can take your pick from everything from mountain bikes to trikes.
“At the moment, more than 100 events are taking place throughout the summer, but there may be more to come – I’d advise regular visits to our dedicated webpage, www.summerofcycling.co.uk, or Twitter feed (#summerofcycling) to keep up to speed with what’s happening.”
Anthony Kappes, originally from Chapel-en-le-Frith, said: “I grew up on the fringe of the Peak District, and discovered a sport that has given me a lot of pleasure over the years here, so I’m delighted to support the Summer of Cycling, which aims to introduce the activity to as wide an audience as possible.
“Whether you’re a complete beginner or have plenty of experience, there’s excellent cycling on everything from relaxing trails and quiet roads to more demanding upland routes – and the scenery is so varied and beautiful.”
Annie Last, who achieved eighth place in her mountain bike event at the London Olympics 2012 and hails from Great Longstone, added: “I was lucky enough to spend my childhood in the Peak District, and now, as a professional cyclist, I love to return between international events to train on roads, tracks and challenging trails amid wonderful, yet accessible countryside.
“The Summer of Cycling is a brilliant opportunity for everyone to get on their bike and get involved. Cycling’s good for both the head and the heart – as well as the very best way to get around.”
Some of the key events during the Peak District & Derbyshire Summer of Cycling include the follwoing:
Igloo Eastern Peak District Sportive, April 6
High Peak Hog, May 11
JE James Cycle Fest, May 17 to 18
Wiggle Tour of the Peak, May 18
Peak Epic Sportive, June 1
Chinley & Buxworth Cycling Festival, June 14
L’Eroica Britannia, June 20 – 22
Tour de France – Le Grand Départ, July 6
Buxton Spa Sportive, July 27
Staffordshire Cycling Festival Sportive, August 1 to 2
Glossop Criterium, September 7
Grindleford Goat, September 13
Cycle Derby Sportive, September 21
Bike Fest at the Big Shakeout, September 26 – 28
Buxton Adventure Festival, October 11 – 12
For full details, visit www.summerofcycling.co.uk, where you can also download the printed brochure - or pick up a copy from tourist information centres, tourist information points and a variety of other venues in and around the area.
The launch was hosted by Hassop Station and Monsal Cycle Hire, which is supporting the Peak District & Derbyshire Summer of Cycling by offering discount servicing at sister company Bakewell Bikes, two for one cycle hire on ‘Wicked Wednesdays’ during June and an electric bike demonstration day on Saturday July 12. Hassop Station Café will also be opening until 10pm, seven days a week, throughout the summer season, from Friday May 23. For details visit www.hassopstation.co.uk.
The Derbyshire Times is also holding its popular, annual Flagg Cycle Challenge fundraiser on July 27 for Chesterfield’s Ashgate Hospice. For more details on this event keep posted to the DT website www.derbyshiretimes.co.uk and newspaper.