Time to choose your distance...

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Caroline Gilbert, British Cycling Recreation Manager for Lancashire, is working with Preston Council and South Ribble Council to bring a series of free, fun guided bike rides to the area this summer.

Spring is finally here and with it comes a series of free, fun, guided Sky Ride Local bike rides in Preston and South Ribble.

If you’ve been thinking of dusting off your bike but haven’t quite got round to it yet, Sky Ride Local might be just the thing for you.

With different levels, there’s something for everyone – whether you’re building your confidence or already comfortable on a bike and looking for a challenge.

Running on Sundays through to October, the rides are guided by friendly British Cycling Ride Leaders along scenic planned routes.

They’re a great way to get out and explore the local area with family or friends.

The first Sky Ride Local of the year will take place in Preston on Sunday, May 11, starting at Frenchwood Rec Car Park at 10am.

At 12 miles long and rolling along at a leisurely pace, the SW Guild Wheel route is ideal for families and those looking to build their confidence in an almost traffic-free environment.

Setting out from Avenham Park, you’ll head along the Guild Wheel to Haslam Park duck pond.

There’ll be time for a drink and some snacks before heading on, taking in some lovely views of the Riversway Docklands and plenty of industrial heritage along the way.

This ride is suitable for people of any age but please note that children under the age of five must be in a BSA approved child seat, trailer or tag-a-long.

Then on Sunday, May 18 there’s a chance to ride another section of the Guild Wheel with the Guild North Explorer ride.

At 16 miles this ride takes you to many of Preston’s beauty spots.

Suitable for families, the route is mainly traffic free with any busy road crossings negotiated by cycle crossings. Children must be eight or above to take part in this ride.

How to book on to your ride:

Places on all the Sky Ride Local rides are free of charge and first come, first served.

To be sure of securing your place, book online beforehand at www.goskyride.com/Preston or www.goskyride.com/South-Ribble.

Then simply arrive at the start point for the ride with your bike in full working order.

The Ride Leaders will undertake a simple bike check at the start of the ride but are not mechanics so you need to take responsibility for your own bike.

Helmets are recommended and you should wear comfortable clothing.

Remember to bring a drink and a snack, especially on hot days.

Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Look out for details of future rides, along with cycling tips and information, every fortnight in this column and you can find full details and maps of each ride at www.goskyride.com

Until next time, happy cycling.

The events are brought to the area by British Cycling, Preston Council and South Borough Council