Graphic: Estate gets set for some cycling fever
09:41 30 April 2014
Archant © 2013
Cycling fever is set to arrive at Holkham Hall as the country estate plays host to a three-day festival.
-Click the gallery to view the schedule
Olympic medallist and former world champion Emma Pooley will launch this year’s Pedal Norfolk Cycling Festival next Saturday.
Now in its second year, the event promises to be bigger and better with nine different road rides ranging from 20 miles to 100, a mountain bike course, a time trial and a range of different activities for people of all ages.
Last year’s inaugural event saw 500 cycling enthusiasts take part - this year’s edition, which takes place over the bank holiday weekend, looks set to attract twice as many people.
Sportive director Peter Flett, who runs Fatbirds bicycle shop in Hunstanton, said: “It’s not all about Tour de France Lycra-clad cyclists, it’s about anybody - even if you’ve got a bike in your shed which you haven’t looked at for a long time, dust it down, come up to Holkham, have some fun and ride around some very beautiful and safe roads.
“There is so much going on, I can’t imagine it not being a smiley, happy weekend - it’s going to be a really fun weekend for everybody.”
Mr Flett and co-founder Charles Wilson were inspired to create Pedal Norfolk after they took part in an event in Brittany, France, four years ago.
They cycled 450km in a weekend and decided to do something similar in Norfolk. Three months later, while riding with some of the Holkham Estate team, they discovered they had a similar idea and Pedal Norfolk was born.
This year’s event, which is sponsored by the Times’ sister paper, the Eastern Daily Press, will kick off with a 100-mile sportive, started by Miss Pooley, at 8.45am on the Saturday.
People are being invited to camp at the site with 150 pitches already booked and there will be live music, displays by the Zero Gravity BMX stunt team, a chance to try Doctor Spinoff’s “wacky” bicycles and activities with Highline Adventure.
Miss Pooley, who grew up in Norwich and won silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, will also be taking part in the cycle rides, including the 10km (six mile) time trial, and will be hosting a question and answer session on Saturday evening.
The 31-year-old said: “When I heard about Pedal Norfolk it sounded like such a great idea - a festival to celebrate two of my favourite things: cycling and Norfolk, so of course I wanted to be involved.
“It’s the perfect combination of cycling - with sportive and race combinations for lots of different levels - and festival. It sounds like the non-cycling programme is going to be loads of fun, with plenty to do for family and friends who aren’t biking. And the north Norfolk coast is simply a lovely area to visit, especially Holkham.”
Other event sponsors are Adnams, North Norfolk District Council, Leathes Prior, Tyrrells, Handelsbanken, Holkham Emerald and Purple Chilli Events. The festival is supporting Prostrate Cancer UK.
Prices to take part in the rides start at £6.50. Camping costs £17 a night. For more information, or to book your place on the rides, go to www.pedalnorfolk.co.uk.