A WEEK of events and competitions to celebrate cycling is being launched in York tomorrow.

National Bike Week, which runs from tomorrow until Sunday, June 21, aims to promote cycling as a fun, safe and healthy activity.

This year’s theme is “live local, get cycling” and features led cycle rides and safety workshops, while The Press, Cycling City York and Cycle Heaven will offer the chance to win a free bike every day next week.

Meanwhile, York’s fourth naked bike ride will set off from the Museum Gardens today.

York was given Cycling City status last year, and millions of pounds are being spent on facilities for cyclists.

Paul Ramskill, participation group leader for Cycling City York, wants to encourage people back on to their saddles.

He said: “One group of people that we’re particularly keen to encourage to get back on their bikes is those who may have cycled in the past but don’t any more.

“By organising a series of bikes rides led by trained and experienced volunteers, we hope to help people to get their confidence back so that they start cycling more regularly.”

Bike Week kicks off tomorrow with a free “save my bike day” for children in Tower Gardens, as well as a display by top cycle stunt riders, a maintenance workshop and the chance to win a bike.

Participants will also get a young mechanic’s pack and learn how to “bling up” their bikes.

Other events include led cycle rides and safety events, while the Cycling City York team will offer advice, information and cycle route maps in Parliament Street during lunchtimes.

The week will culminate with the annual Cycle Show on York’s Knavesmire, on June 20 and 21.

Graham Titchener, programme manager for Cycling City York, said: “Given that York is officially a Cycling City, we wanted to make sure that Bike Week 2009 didn’t pass by unnoticed, so it’s great news that there are so many fun and exciting activities taking place through the week.

“Bike Week presents the perfect opportunity for people who haven’t cycled for some time to get out there and give it a try.”

* For more information on the week, phone Paul Ramskill on 01904 553372 or log on to www.york.gov.uk/cycling

The bicycle bonanza

Young mechanics were getting some practice in for tomorrow’s big Save My Bike Day event in York’s Tower Gardens.

Haxby Cycles mechanic Shaun Lawson, pictured with the pupils from Archbishop of York’s Primary School, Bishopthorpe, will be joining teams of other local mechanics, stunt display teams and hundreds of local school children for a packed day of events, which is York’s Cycling City team’s official celebration of National Bike Week.

Organised by green transport charity Sustrans, the children will spend the day at Brake Time, Wheely Good and Chain Gang workshops to learn how to mend and maintain their bikes, with free Young Mechanics packs with discount vouchers for local bike shops, repair manuals and goodies.

One child will carry off a new bike of their choice with the Name the Bike Part competitions and quizzes, and there will be Bling My Bike craft workshops and visits from the local police.

Also, experts from the Cycling City training and road safety teams will be on hand with information packs and free Get Back In The Saddle trial taster rides along the riverbank cycle paths for parents.

Some cycling happenings in a Cycling City

Tomorrow: 10am to 4pm – Save My Bike Day, Tower Gardens, with a free workshop and cycle stunt display.

10am – The Derwent Arms, Osbaldwick, there is a 30-minute led cycle ride, for beginners.

Sunday: 2pm – a one-hour ride from Tower Gardens.

Monday: 10am to 4pm – Parliament Street, bike safety event; how to stay safe when cycling near heavy goods vehicles and buses.

6.30pm – Oaklands Sports Centre, a 90-minute ride.

Tuesday: Cycle Heaven, 6.15pm to 9pm – commuting bike open evening.

7pm, Goodricke College, University of York – a 30-minute led cycle ride for beginners.

Your chance to win a bike

The Press has teamed up with Cycle Heaven and Cycling City York to offer readers the chance to win a bike each day from Monday to Friday.

Prizes will include a folding bike, a women’s bike, a teenage girl’s bike, a bike for mature riders and a bike for families.

See Monday’s Press newspaper for details.