Break in the clouds as cyclists take to city's streets in second closed-road event in a matter of weeks...

Manchester, the city where the cliché holds it always rains, enjoyed a rare burst of sunshine in this dismal British summer yesterday as around 21,000 cyclists took to traffic-free streets for the city’s Sky Ride.

With the city being home to British Cycling, there was also a full programme of supporting events and acivities aimed at all ages, including Go-Ride Racing at Sport City, taster sessions on the National Cycling Centre’s velodrome and BMX tracks, BMX stunt demonstrations.

There was also an opportunity to learn more about Team GB’s star riders ahead of the Olympics and to get a close look at top-level pro bikes.

Sky Ride Ambassador Kelly Brook got the event under way, while other celebrities in attendance included Lloyd Warbey, presenter of the children’s TV show, Art Attack.

Joel Lavery, British Cycling’s National Partnerships Manager, said: “It's been an amazing day. This year we've been delighted to stage our flagship event in Manchester, the home of British Cycling.

“In such a special year for cycling, it's just terrific that it's been a record-breaking event. Huge thanks to Manchester City Council for letting cyclists take over the streets again!'

Yesterday’s ride was the second time in little more than a month that roads in the city have been closed for a mass participation cycling event.

The Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend at the start of June saw some 7,000 cyclists tackle a 13-mile circuit in the inaugural Great Manchester Cycle, held on a course stretching from Salford Quays to Eastlands.

The Go Sky Ride website gives full details of the programme of events in other British cities this year, as well as Sky Ride Local, Sky Ride Local and other events, including the women-only Breeze rides.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.