GET on your bikes again – Sky Ride is coming back to Southampton.

More than 10,000 cyclists young and old took to the traffic-free streets of the city last year as part of the national scheme aimed at getting people to rediscover the joys of pedal power.

And now Southampton has again been selected as a venue for the initiative, backed by British Cycling and a host of celebrities, including multiple Olympic gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy, X Factor winner Alexandra Burke, TV presenter Lorraine Kelly and former Blue Peter star Gethin Jones.

It is the second major event to be lined up for the city in as many days, with the announcement coming 24 hours after it was revealed the Olympic torch will be making an overnight stay in Southampton in the run up to next year’s London games.

Southampton City Council leader Royston Smith said he believes it is a major shot in the arm for the city to host such prestigious occasions.

He said: “I’m delighted that Sky Ride is returning to Southampton this summer.

“It will be another great boost for the city and will be a fantastic way for people to enjoy all that Southampton has to offer.

“I’m sure our residents will get right behind the event in their thousands to make this year’s Sky Ride an even bigger success.

“Sky Ride will open up the streets for cyclists for one special day and inspire people to get back in the saddle and have a wonderful day out with friends and family.”

Last year’s Sky Ride Southampton was hailed a major success, with the number of people taking part well exceeding organisers’ expectations.

Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Victoria Pendleton and multi-Michelin starred chef Jean-Christophe Novelli led the 10,000 pedallers on the 10km route around the city’s major landmarks, with roads closed to all traffic for the day.

It was followed by a series of smaller-scale local rides of differing lengths and difficulty, all aimed at encouraging people of all ages and abilities to take up regular cycling.

This year’s event will take place on August 14.

• To find out more about Sky Ride, and details of how to register, visit