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Bike Week is 14 to 22 June

With petrol prices soaring to £1.20 per litre and the average tank of petrol now costing over £60, cycling has never been more appealing. Families have been hit the hardest by the fuel crisis, making this year’s Bike Week (14-22 June) a timely way to help families feeling the pinch.

Bike Week, the UK’s biggest mass participation cycling happening, starts this weekend. Thousands of events across the UK will offer families the perfect opportunity to dust down old bikes, benefit from some free cycle training and pedal off the post-winter paunch – whilst rediscovering the financial, health and environmental benefits of cycling.

Phillip Darnton, Chairman of Cycling England says; “The credit crunch means there has never been a better time to take part in Bike Week and start cycling. Over half of all car journeys are under five miles long, as we pop to the shops or do the school run – and yet swapping short journeys like this with a 30 minute bike ride could save the UK £2.5 billion each year.

You will work off the cost of a new bike in only a few weeks by filling the tank less regularly – a genuine carbon and financial offset!”

Nokia is the official sponsor of Bike Week and their latest mobile devices can help families make the switch from cars to bikes. The phones have built in GPS tracking, maps and voice-guided navigation ensuring families can confidently plan a cycling trip, discover new routes, or just find the quickest way from A to B.

James Cracknell, Olympic Gold Medallist, used a Nokia N82 to navigate himself 1,400 miles across France and Spain on his bike for Sport Relief. “Nokia’s Sports Tracker can help you find the quickest routes to cut down travel time and track your progress to help shed the pounds. With the average person driving 526 miles in short journeys a year, hopping on a bike will work off a whopping 13,150 calories.”

Boris Johnson, the new London Mayor and famous supporter of cycling said; “As you know, cycling is a personal passion of mine. Events like Bike Week are just what we need to get people on their bikes, so they can experience first hand what a fun and all round positive activity cycling can be. Riding and maintaining a bike is something that won’t break the bank, and no-one can deny its green credentials or value to health. One of my personal aims is to encourage many more Londoners to get on their bikes, so I hope that Bike Week 2008 helps achieve this, and that all sorts of people get into the spirit of the event.”

Bike Week is delighted to have Sport Relief as its official charity. Why not donate the money you save on fuel to Sport Relief and make a difference to people across the world living unimaginably tough lives. To find out how, visit www.sportrelief.com/bikeweek.

On Thursday 19 June, as Bike Week is in full swing, Ruth Kelly will announce the towns and cities that have been awarded Cycle Town status, a further demonstration of the government’s commitment to encourage a cycle culture that would put us on a par with the more cycle friendly European countries.

To find out what Bike Week events are taking place in your local area, visit www.bikeweek.org.uk and enter your postcode. If you’d like to take part but don’t have a bike – this shouldn’t stop you – you can simply search for your nearest bike rental outlet on the website. All participants get the chance to win a Center Parcs family holiday – giving another excuse to get on your bike!

Five reasons to get on your bike:
  • 1. Cyclists live on average at least two years longer than non-cyclists and their fitness levels are equivalent to being ten years younger – so forget nip and tuck, think pedal and push!
  • 2. Cycling is the ultimate family activity; it’s healthy, fun and encourages children to be independent.
  • 3. Twenty minutes of gentle cycling burns up to 100 calories, so if you cycle to work, you’ll be able to have that afternoon treat without feeling an inch of guilt!
  • 4. Studies show that car drivers are exposed to five times as much polluted air than cyclists, making cycling good for the environment, as well as your health
  • 5. In a rush? Cycling is often much quicker than public transport or taking the car – even better, you won’t spend a penny on public transport, road tax, parking, MOT or fuel.

    For more information log on to www.bikeweek.org.uk or phone 0845 612 0661.

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