SOUTHAMPTON has been chosen as one of ten major cities to host a free family-friendly cycling fest.

The mass participation Sky Ride event aims to encourage thousands of people, of all ages and abilities, to get on their bikes.

The streets of Southampton will be cleared of traffic so cyclists can enjoy a day of bike-based entertainment and to explore the city on two wheels with family and friends.

Participants will be able to ride alongside the likes of cycling superstar Victoria Pendleton, with other names to be confirmed, including a mystery celebrity.

British Cycling chief executive Ian Drake said: "We want to inspire people to get out on their bikes more regularly. After the success of last year's Sky Ride, the initiative is back in 2010 to offer you the opportunity to ride your bike alongside stars such as Bradley Wiggins and Sir Chris Hoy.

"Sky Ride is a fun day out for the whole family and a perfect way to explore your city in a safe environment."

Sky Ride ambassador Sir Chris Hoy said: “Sky and British Cycling have a genuine opportunity to make a positive difference to people's lives by encouraging as many people as possible to get on their bikes."

Fellow event ambassador, model and actress Kelly Brook, added: "It is a fantastic initiative and cycling is a great way to stay in shape and keep healthy."

Southampton will host its Sky Ride event on July 25. It will then move on to the likes of Manchester, Middlesbrough, Birmingham, Glasgow and Leicester.