THOUSANDS of cyclists will descend on Southampton today as the Sky Ride returns to the city for the fifth year.
Streets will be cleared of all traffic for the mass ride that will see Olympic gold medallist Jason Queally pedal into pole position at the start of the route.
He will be joined by Olympic torch bearer and Southampton’s very own fundraising superman Gus McKechnie, who has raised more than £2m for charity, as well as Team Sky rider Nathan Earle.
The Bargate monument and Southampton’s historic walls are among the iconic sights that can be viewed from the saddle as bikes take control of the roads for one day only.
The 7.8km route across the city will start and finish at the Guildhall and hopes to attract more than the 10,000 cyclists aged from six to 70, who all took part last year.
A carnival atmosphere will be created with live music entertaining cyclists along the route, as well as skills sessions for children, plus a competition to win a bike.
At The Marketplace in Guildhall Square there will be also be a number of community organisations and clubs, local bike shops, retailers and places to grab a bite to eat or drink.
A new exciting addition this year will be the new “tricks and tunes” area that will give cyclists the chance to try out extreme moves, such as jumping on your bike on a giant air bag or watch dramatic stunts from the Voodoo Unicycles team.
Riders pass the Bargate on the Southampton Sky Ride.
Councillor Jacqui Rayment, Southampton City Council’s Cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “Sky Ride Southampton this Sunday is set to be an unforgettable, fantastic day out packed with activities organised by My Journey, British Cycling and Sky for all the family.
“I am proud that this year we have seen the registration numbers soar and, with one day to go, I would like to encourage everyone else to sign up to enjoy Southampton landmarks on a free, traffic-free and fun event.”
Sky Ride Southampton is one of 15 major events going on across the country this summer in cities including Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield, Hull and Bolton.