The Annual Mildenhall Cycle Rally got off to a sunny start on Saturday morning as familes turned out to get involved in all things pedal powered.
With all 230 camping pitches taken for the three day event there is hardly a bed and breakfast or hotel in miles with rooms vacant as the renown event, where the likes of Victoria Pendleton and Laura Trott began their racing caeers, pulled in cyclists of all types.
Whether you wanted to do some serious Lycra-clad grass track racing with your velo club or explore the nine routes Mildenhall Cycle Club had worked out, there was something for you.
Organising committe chairman Mark Burchett said: “This puts about quarter of a million into the town, according to the council. Mildenhall church opens its tower every year and Worlington church has an afternoon tea on the back of it.”
But he stressed that even if you are not coming for all three days, you can still turn up and join in – just get on your bike.
“It’s a good, free family day out,” he said. “we don’t even charge for parking.”
If not all the family cycle, they have a bouncy castle, face painting and traditional childrens games, such as little runners’ races and sack races, tomorrow and Monday.
For young cyclists, West Suffolk Wheelers organise an obstacle course which, though fun, has a serious side in teaching bike handling skills.
“If you can teach children that young bike handling skills, it helps them stay safe for the rest of their lives,” Mark said.
Racing carries on until about 5pm today and begins again at noon on Sunday and Monday. There is also a magician on Sunday and circus skills on Monday.
If you watch the grass track racing you may even see a future cycling superstar. The club has a picture taken at the rally in the late 1990s that shows the young Victoria Pendelton, Laura Trott, Ben Swift, Nicole Cooke and Helen Whyman, all in the same photograph.
The event is based at the Mildenhall College Academy’s Sheldrick Way site, on the Mildenhall to West Row road. For more information visit www.mildenhallrally.org.uk