Watch our gallery of pictures as hundreds join in eighth Sunderland Big Bike Ride

Riders set out from St Peter's Riverside on Active Sunderland's BIG Bike Ride.
Riders set out from St Peter's Riverside on Active Sunderland's BIG Bike Ride.

It was pedal power at the ready as cyclists of all ages took part in dedicated bike events held over the weekend in the city.

More than 450 people turned out to take part in The Active Sunderland BIG Bike Ride.

Riders set out from St Peter's Riverside on Active Sunderland's BIG Bike Ride.

Riders set out from St Peter's Riverside on Active Sunderland's BIG Bike Ride.

A family event took place on Saturday at Herrington Country Park, with a total of 105 riders using a five mile traffic free route within the boundaries of the park.

Then 350 cyclists took their place at St Peter’s Riverside near Sunderland University on Sunday to start their 20-mile or 35-mile ride through the city.

Peter Mooney, event organiser, said: “We have had more than 450 people take part over the two days.

“This is the eighth time we have held the event and we have definitely increased our numbers from last year.

Seeing everybody here, a mixture of ages and abilities taking part, it’s absolutely fantastic.

Peter Mooney

“Seeing everybody here, a mixture of ages and abilities taking part, it’s absolutely fantastic.”

The Active Sunderland BIG Bike Ride was first launched in 2011, Since then it has attracted hundreds of people each year to take part.

The 35-mile route takes riders through to Washington, Fencehouses through to Houghton down near Seaham and Ryhope and back to the start.

Mr Mooney added: “We have tried to cater for everyone with the 20-mile route. It’s just great to see so many people taking part.

Riders set out from St Peter's Riverside on Active Sunderland's BIG Bike Ride.

Riders set out from St Peter's Riverside on Active Sunderland's BIG Bike Ride.

“We have had chopper bikes before, but this is the first time we have had a dog taking part.”

Sunderland City Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture, Coun John Kelly, said: “It was fantastic to see so many people taking part in The Active Sunderland BIG Bike Ride, which has grown into one of

Sunderland’s most popular annual events.

“More than 350 cyclists signed up in advance to take part, with many more entering on the day and I’d like to congratulate everybody involved.

Riders set out from St Peter's Riverside on Active Sunderland's BIG Bike Ride.

Riders set out from St Peter's Riverside on Active Sunderland's BIG Bike Ride.

“I hope everyone enjoyed it, and that the experience will encourage them to cycle even more regularly and take full advantage of the fantastic cycle paths we have in Sunderland with routes stretching across the city.”

Father and son Stuart, 46, and Lewis Coppard, 10, of Penshaw who took part in the event at Herrington Country Park said: “We’ve never done the Big Bike Ride before so it was something new for us. We usually ride for fun so this is a bit more organised. It would be nice to see more family events like this in Sunderland because there’s been a decent turnout.”