Sky Ride events have been announced for 12 British Cities between June and September – but this will be the final installation of the event as Sky and British Cycling end their eight year partnership.
The mass participation, family-friendly bike rides will see city centres across the country closed to motor traffic for a few hours so people of all ages can feel safe cycling on the streets, and this year will see the millionth person participate in the popular events.
Four cities that held events last year – Plymouth, Bolton, Newcastle Gateshead and Hull – won’t take part this year, while Glasgow joins, after not taking part last year.
Sir Chris Hoy, Sky Ride ambassador, said: "I’m delighted to be involved again in this year’s Sky Ride campaign. Over the past eight years, tens of thousands of local cyclists have taken to the streets as a result of the successful British Cycling and Sky partnership and we look forward to making 2016 the biggest and best yet."
Ian Murray, head of brand, cycling and Team Sky said: "We’re thrilled that Sky Ride has returned and that so many people across the UK will get the chance to enjoy cycling through their town or city on traffic-free streets. 1.7 million Brits now cycle regularly as a result of our eight year partnership with British Cycling and this year will see the one millionth rider take part in Sky Ride. Together we want to continue to inspire even more people to get out on their bikes and enjoy the sport.’
Sky and British Cycling say the decision not to renew the partnership was because the events’ aims were achieved, and other goals are now in focus.
Among British Cycling’s current targets are to get a million more women into cycling by 2020, and transforming Britain into a “true cycling nation” by improving infrastructure for anyone who wants to get around by bike. There will continue to be Sky Ride Local, Ride Social and Breeze Rides for women.
Although most proceed hitch-free, Birmingham cancelled its 2014 and 2015 Sky Ride events due to clashes with an Ashes test match at Edgbaston and redevelopment work taking place in the city, and is not participating again this year.
The following cities will hold Sky Ride events in 2016:
Participants will get a free reflective Sky Ride bib, and a free bike check at Halfords worth £14.99.