A BUSINESS collective is behind the launch of an ambitious new cycling festival announced for Accrington.

North Lancs Training Group and Coach House are working with Amazing Accrington to promote the town’s first-ever Bike Fest, on April 7.

Everything from penny farthings to the latest mountain bikes will be incorporated into the gathering at the Property Shop Arena, the home of Accrington Cricket Club.

Lancashire County Council’s own cycling promotion service, Connect, will be among those taking centre stage, from 11am to 3pm.

Project officer Amanda Jenkinson said: “The is the first event of its kind in Accrington and we are fully supportive of it.

“With a variety of fun activities taking place throughout the day, there will be something for every member of the family to get involved with.”

Bike doctors will be on hand to perform health checks on various cycles, before riders are encouraged to embark on their own tour of the area, from noon.

A bike swap is being arranged, for which donations are being sought, and a free prize draw is being offered, featuring a host of cycling-related goodies.

Later on, around 1.30pm, an electric bike ride will also depart from the festival grounds. Riders must be aged 14 or over,and confident in the saddle, with places needing to be booked online via www.amazingaccrington.com

Gareth Lindsay, managing director at North Lancs Training Group said: “We are really proud to be sponsors of this new initiative.

“It’s a wonderful idea and will be of real benefit for the community. I will definitely be bringing my bike along to the bike doctor and making sure it’s summer ready.”

Rod Kenyon, Property Shop Arena’s chairman, added: “We are really looking forward to welcoming the Bike Fest to the cricket ground.

“We relish any occasion where we can encourage people to get involved in sports or to be more active.

“The Bike Fest will provide family-friendly fun just in time for people to get bike ride ready for the summer.”

The bike swap is part of a series of revival schemes for cycles which is being co-ordinated by North Lancs.

Would-be enthusiasts will also be given details of how they can hire their own conventional or electric bikes, for up to a month.

Demonstrations of tandems, hand bikes and trikes have also been lined up by organisers, while penny farthings and clown bikes will also be rolled out to add a little levity to the proceedings.

Connecting East Lancashire, the county-backed bike riding training initiative, will also be on hand to offer support to those who lack confidence on two wheels.

Later in the year, Amazing Accrington is looking to turn the focus from two to four wheels, with plans also being confirmed for their second annual Soapbox Challenge. Promoted by North Lancs and Emerson and Renwick Engineering, the proposal this year is for the finishing line to be in Accrington’s newly-laid town square.

An improvement is being sought on last year’s grid, which saw 21 entrants battle it out in front of more than 8,000 spectators at the Accrington and Rossendale College campus last September.

Judges will be on the lookout for the most imaginatively-designed soapbox and the best team costume, as well as keeping tabs on the speediest performing rigs, when the track is laid out for Saturday, Augsut 31.

Last year the event raised more than £1,660 for Maundy Relief, with the 2019 winner nominating their own good cause.