Olympic cyclist to open Bike Fair

Olympic silver and bronze medallist Rob Hayles returns to Hampshire in June to open Winchester's annual 'Bike Fair & Cycle Cavalcade'. The event is just one of many cycling activities taking place in the Winchester District during National Bike Week (11-17 June), the UK's annual 'celebration of cycling'.

Rob, originally from Portsmouth, now lives in Derbyshire and trains with the Recycling.co.uk/MG Xpower Litespeed Cycle Racing Team, representing Britain at international cycling events across the world.  His recent successes include winning two gold medals at the World Championships in Los Angeles. 

The Bike Fair & Cycle Cavalcade will be opened by Rob at an informal ceremony near Marks & Spencer in Winchester's High Street at 10am on Saturday 11 June, helped by the Mayor of Winchester.  Nick Harvey, the organiser behind the National Bike Week campaign, is also due to join them as he is keen this year to visit Winchester and see how it is celebrated in the city.

Visitors to the Bike Fair can try out a variety of bikes and equipment as well as talk to members of local cycling clubs and get information on cycle hire, cycle training, safety and cycle rides in and around Winchester.

The Bike Fair line-up includes cycling clubs CTC and VC Venta, and new to the event this year are BMX specialists Just Bikes of Andover and New Force Mountain Bike Club who are on the lookout for new members.  Hargroves Cycles make a welcome return with a selection of bikes and a competition. 

As well as a display of bikes from Victorian times, younger children can make and decorate transport-related toy kits at 'Mister Bigtoys' workshop between 10am and 12 noon. At the Buttercross, mountain bike aerial display stunts will take place at intervals during the day which will be followed by Question & Answer sessions.

The Cycle Cavalcade is an annual fun ride that appeals to cyclists of all ages on all sorts of bikes and Rob Hayles will start it at 11am.  Once underway cyclists will find themselves on a pleasant route around the City, with marshals stationed at all strategic points.  The check-in point for cyclists taking part is in The Broadway by King Alfred's statu) from 10.30am onwards.  Children should be accompanied by adults and although cycle helmets are not obligatory, they are advisable.

Other cycling activities in and around Winchester during National Bike Week include the VC Venta 'Cycle Slalom Challenge' on Saturday 11 June for youngsters under 13 years of age at River Park Leisure Centre, testing children's skill and confidence on their bikes; a 'Back to Biking for Adults' refresher session on Wednesday 15 June with a qualified coach, designed to get older cyclists back on their bikes; and a cycle ride of some 12-15 miles along disused railway tracks around Winchester which ends with a visit to the Chesil Tunnel organised by the CTC. A railway enthusiast will be accompanying cyclists to answer questions along the way.

Winchester Bike Week is supported by Winchester City Council and benefits from MIRACLES (Multi Initiatives for Rationalised Accessibility and Clean Liveable EnvironmentS) funding.