Nearly 300 cyclists took part in the Wooler Wheel events on Saturday, giving local accommodation providers and other local businesses a welcome boost.
Despite some challenging weather conditions, and a tough route, the response from those taking part has been overwhelmingly positive, with many already committing to coming back next year, and planning to sign-up for October’s 100km and 50km rides.
On Saturday, the cyclists took to the minor roads round north Northumberland on the 160km, 100km and 80km routes, which took them through some of the most beautiful locations in Glendale and Coquetdale.
Beth Mills, chairperson of the organisers Wooler Cycle Hub, said: “The event went very smoothly, thanks to the fantastic voluntary efforts of the cycle hub committee, marshals and those who manned the feed and water stations.
“I’d also like to say a huge thank you to main sponsor Northumberland National Park for its support before and during the event.
“Thanks are also due to Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative, who provided roving mechanical support on the day, and to Northumberland County Council who provided and operated the trailing recovery vehicle.
“We are grateful to Milan Restaurant for serving much appreciated hot pasta to the returning cyclists throughout the day, to Morpeth sports masseuse Anna Stokoe for dealing with their aches and pains, and to all the local businesses that helped make the event such a success in so many ways.
“Without their backing we would not have been able to put on such a great Northumbrian welcome to all the riders, which has led so many to say that they will be back in the future.”
One rider commented: “My thanks for organising such a fantastic event. Seamless organisation, clear route signing, friendly and helpful marshals and helpers, and a fantastic route. This is unquestionably the best sportive I have ever undertaken.”
Beth said: “So many local businesses have benefitted from the weekend’s rides, with many riders staying in local accommodation, eating in cafes and restaurants and spending money in our shops.
Local butchers T R Johnson put on a hog roast for the day. Joint proprietor Derrick McDougal gave a succinct summary: “It went well. When's the next one?”
Beth concluded: “The main idea behind running the Wooler Wheel events is to bring in people to the area, especially outwith the traditional tourist season, and we look forward to doing the same in October.”
Also in this year’s programme are free on and off-road guided leisure rides, including ones tied in with the Glendale Festival, the exhibition of the Lindisfarne Gospels at Durham Castle and the Flodden 500th anniversary.
For more information on the events programme see http://woolerwheel.com