As Yorkshire gears up for this summer’s most anticipated sporting event, the Tour de France, budding cyclists in the North East are also being encouraged to put their passion for two wheels into action on a number of free guided bike rides.

The National Trust has teamed up with experts from British Cycling and Sky Ride Local to put together a number of guided bike rides which vary in length and difficulty level. The rides begin in May and take in some of the North East’s most scenic countryside, much of which is in the care of the National Trust, the UK’s largest conservation charity.

Jo Foster, outdoors programme manager for the National Trust in the North East said:

“Like loads of people across the UK we’re getting really excited about the Tour de France starting just down the road in Yorkshire. The buzz has certainly reached the North East and there’s a desire to explore on two wheels. We see so many people turning up on their bikes to visit the places in our care and we wanted to create more opportunities for people to enjoy the countryside in this way. We have events for families and beginners to more experienced riders.”

There will be 15 Sky Rides taking place throughout the summer, exploring routes such as the Derwent Valley to Gibside, the quiet country roads around Wallington in Northumberland and the South Tyne Trail from Haltwhistle.

The first guided bike ride takes place on Sunday 18 May. Setting off from Newburn Activity Centre the ride will head out towards Gibside, where there’ll be time for a break before returning back to the starting point. The next ride takes place along the South Tyne Trail on Sunday 1 June. Starting at Haltwhistle, the route takes in the old Haltwhistle to Alston railway line, including the spectacular views from Lambley Viaduct.

Nick Chamberlin, National Operations Manager at British Cycling, said:

‘We love cycling, and we want to see more people cycle. We know that the routes that take us through National Trust properties are some of the most inspirational, beautiful places to ride in the UK. We want to introduce a whole new raft of people to the fact that there are such wonderful places to ride in the UK.’

For more information on National Trust Sky Rides or to book your place visit