Great Notts Bike Ride marks 35 years in Nottinghamshire

Start of the first ride, from The Forest in June 1982 Image copyright Pedals
Image caption About 250 riders took part in the first ride in June 1982, which began at the Forest Recreation Ground in Nottingham

A charity bike ride founded by volunteers in 1982 is being held in Nottinghamshire for the 35th time after growing into a huge annual event.

The Great Notts Bike Ride was started by Pedals, a group which campaigns for safer cycling conditions around Nottingham.

Pedals member Hugh McClintock has ridden every year since it began.

He said the ride has changed considerably since then, growing from a few hundred participants to thousands.

Mr McClintock said: "The first ride was organised at very short notice and there were only 250 riders.

"People were encouraged to wear fancy dress and that was quite an important part of the ride for a few years, but I think that died out when lycra became more fashionable."

Image copyright Pedals
Image caption Riders stopped off for refreshments in Bleasby in 1982. The refreshment stop later moved to nearby Thurgarton Village Hall, which had more room, and other refreshment stops were added
Image copyright Pedals
Image caption Hugh McClintock said Bleasby (pictured) and Thurgarton had a great reputation because of their homemade buns and cakes, and strawberries and cream
Image copyright Pedals
Image caption The ride was called the Great Nottingham Bike Ride when it was first held

A wider variety of riders now compete in the annual event.

"There are short rides on the Saturday, which are great for bringing in kids," Mr McClintock said.

"Having longer rides - 75 and 100 miles - is very good for people keen on racing."

The name became shortened to the Great Notts Bike Ride over the years, and there are now 25, 50, 75, 100 and 125-mile routes.

There are 4,000 people signed up for this year's main rides, which are on Sunday, and 500 signed up for shorter City Rides on Saturday.

Image copyright Pedals
Image caption The ride began at Holme Pierrepont from 1986 to 2011

History of the Great Notts Bike Ride

Image copyright Pedals
Image caption The first ride started at the Forest Recreation Ground in Nottingham and ended in Newark

1982 - The ride was founded as the Great Nottingham Bike Ride, inspired by the London to Brighton Ride which had started a few years earlier. The 250 riders set off from the Forest Recreation Ground in Nottingham, rode 18 miles to Newark, then had to make their own way home

1983 - More than 650 riders took part

1984 - More than 1,000 riders took part, making it too big for Pedals to organise on its own, so the group approached Nottinghamshire County Council for help

1985 - Nottinghamshire County Council took over from Pedals as the main organiser. The name changed to the Great Nottinghamshire Bike Ride and riders set off from County Hall

1986 - The start was moved to the National Water Sports Centre at Holme Pierrepont, and a choice of 50 and 18-mile circular rides was offered

2008 - a longer 100-mile ride was added

2009 - a 70-mile sportive ride was added

2012 - Nottingham City Council took over after the county council ended its involvement due to financial cutbacks. Marketing and events company Perfect Motion started running the ride as part of the Cycle Live Nottingham weekend festival of cycling, and the start switched to Victoria Embankment in Nottingham.

Image copyright Pedals
Image caption Pedals member Hugh McClintock, shown here at the start of 2011's ride, has taken part in every Great Notts Bike Ride
Image copyright Pedals
Image caption Hugh McClintock, pictured at the start of 2010's ride, is taking part for the 35th time this year

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