The Friends Life Tour of Britain's passage through the Northumberland town of Wooler in September is likely to inspire a new generation of cyclists in north east England, but the promise of free ice cream for junior riders in the Wooler Wheel Borderlands in May could well have them on the road already.
Doddington Dairy, the north east's leading independent producer of farm-made ice cream, has once again offered to sponsor British Cycling's only affiliated dedicated junior sportive, following the success of the inaugural event last year.
The 30km ride is for under 16s only and takes place on May 16, when up to 1,000 cyclists will hit the roads of Northumberland and the Scottish Borders on the Wooler Wheel Borderlands, which has routes of 170km, 100km and 60km for adult riders.
The Borderlands is also the first leg of the Wooler Wheel Triad, which will see those riders who complete the longest routes in each of the three Wooler Wheel sportives this year made inaugural members of the WW 300 Mile Club.
Neil Maxwell from Doddington Dairy said: "The junior sportive was a great success last year and we are delighted to give this local event our full backing once again. All the young cyclists from the north east of England and further afield who tackle this wonderful route in May definitely deserve one of our ice creams at the half way stage, and we hope that this helps to play a small part in encouraging more young people to get out on their bikes."
The route for the junior sportive has been specially designed to give younger cyclists a challenging ride along quiet roads which experience very little traffic. Being run alongside the adult sportives, the junior ride gives the youngsters a great experience of being part of a much larger event, and for many it is the perfect introduction to organised sportives.
Each junior entrant will receive a timing chip and will get food and drink and a T-shirt at the end of the ride, which starts and finishes at Wooler livestock mart.
Beth Mills, of Wooler Cycle Hub, said: "Many of the Wooler Wheel sportive routes go right by Doddington Dairy, so it is great to have them onboard as sponsors of the junior sportive again this year.
"The fantastic ongoing support of our sponsors, volunteer marshals and of course all the riders who take part, has helped make the Wooler Wheel name stand out in the cycling world, and that has helped to contribute to the wonderful announcement that the Friends Life Tour of Britain is coming to the town in September.
"Year after year this event helps to inspire new cyclists wherever it visits, and we have no doubt that will be the same in Northumberland, and the Wooler Wheel events are a great way for young and old to get into sportives."
All entrants to the junior sportive must be accompanied by an adult, but the adult will not be charged an entry fee and can also use the amenities at the mart.
The route will be signposted and there will be marshals at key locations and a dedicated support vehicle for the junior ride.
Entries to all four Wooler Wheel Borderlands rides close on May 3 and can be completed on the British Cycling website.
For more information about the event, and to sign up to any of the four rides on offer, visit www.woolerwheel.com