British cycling star Sir Bradley Wiggins declared it “good to be back” in Barnoldswick on Sunday as the town was the centre point for the cyclist’s second annual sportive.
Hundreds took up the opportunity to “Ride with Brad” and after wishing the first riders at 7am a “good luck” for the 160km route, Wiggins climbed onto his bike for the 100km route alongside Laura Trott, Dani King and Rochelle Gilmore from the female Wiggle Honda team, backed by the Bradley Wiggins Foundation, and An-Post rider Kieran Frend who has also benefited from the charity.
Joanna Rowsell, who was scheduled to be riding but broke her collarbone in a race the weekend before, was at the event village in Barnoldswick’s Victory Park where a Festival of Sport took place.
Wiggins’ Foundation was set up by Britain’s first Tour de France winner with a wider remit of increasing participation in all sports.
A variety of these were on offer throughout the day in Barnoldswick and the West Craven Warriors put on a show in the afternoon with Barlick Barons FC when both reversed roles in games of football and rugby respectively.
Riders doing the new 50km route, including Ben Horgan (8), from Cork in Ireland, were on the road by 9am.
Joining him on the start line for the 100km route were many from local cycling clubs such as Pendle and Clitheroe.
Philip Cook (43), from Chatburn, a keen cyclist and Wiggo follower, said: “I’m really looking forward to it. I’m a bit of a Wiggins fan as well, I love my mod music and I have a 1964 Lambretta.
“There has been a big increase in people taking up cycling. I think it’s pretty unbelievable how many people are giving cycling a go now.”
Pendle companies were also heavily involved, Earby-based holiday firm Cottages4You had an incredible 29 riders involved while Barnoldswick’s Hope Technology fielded a team of eight.
Riders were cheered on by spectators dotted around the course. Proud mum Michelle Horgan was in the Cork family’s very own team support car behind son Ben and husband Robert having travelled over specially for the ride.
She said: “It’s a birthday treat for Ben, Santa brought him his racing bike. Bradley Wiggins is one of his favourite cyclists. You had to be eight to enter the race and Ben was eight yesterday. It’s the most he’s ever done but I think you can tell he’s loved it.”
After completing his ride, Sir Bradley said: “It’s great to see so many people out on the roads supporting the event and the foundation; this is what cycling is all about.
“Our goal is to use the event to raise awareness, and importantly, funds so that the foundation can continue to support and help give opportunities in both grassroots and elite sport.”