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Town gears up for cycling fun

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: September 06, 2012

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BARNSTAPLE is gearing up for its Big Cycling Weekend as North Devon prepares to welcome Olympic and Tour de France heroes, Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish.

Both have been named in Team Sky's line-up for the Tour of Britain, which starts in Ipswich on Sunday.

Stage seven of the Tour begins in Barnstaple on Saturday, September 15, and will include a sprint section in Torrington as the riders make their way to the finish in Dartmouth.

Events and entertainment will be taking place in Barnstaple to mark the start of this stage of the Tour including a children's ride-out over the Long Bridge just moments before the world's top riders set off along the same route.

A helicopter from RAF Chivenor is set to fly down the Strand and over the Square to coincide with the start of the race.

And Royal Marines will be involved in the celebrations by taking part in a charity static bike ride.

A children's slow bike race will take place on the Square after the Tour riders leave Barnstaple at around 10.45am.

And a series of criterium bike races will be taking place the evening before the start of stage seven.

These circuit races will give club riders of all abilities the opportunity to race for up to an hour per race, around a 1.1k tight and twisty town centre circuit.

People will also have the chance to have a go at Roller Racing on static bikes in a virtual velodrome at the Bike Shed in aid of the Devon Air Ambulance.

The Bunny Hop dance theatre street team will be entertaining crowds, and local primary school children will be showcasing their visions of a Barnstaple Bicycle.

Businesses are being encouraged to get involved in a window dressing competition.

And there will be a vintage bike display from local collector Robert Brain.

Barnstaple Town Council is organising the Big Cycling Weekend, with support from North Devon Council and Barnstaple Town Centre Management.

Barnstaple mayor Lesley Brown said: "We want to make sure there is something for everyone at these events so it's not just for keen cyclists but also for people less accustomed to the saddle."

For more information on stage seven of the Tour visit www.south westtourofbritain.co.uk

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