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On your bike for Pedal Norfolk festival

PUBLISHED: 13:16 15 May 2017 | UPDATED: 13:16 15 May 2017

Cyclists setting off from the Holkham Estate, taking part in the 'Pedal Norfolk' weekend (photo: Ian Burt)

Cyclists setting off from the Holkham Estate, taking part in the 'Pedal Norfolk' weekend (photo: Ian Burt)

Archant 2016

Push yourself to the limit or take a leisurely ride through the north Norfolk countryside - whatever your cycling passion don't miss this year's Pedal Norfolk festival

Cyclists returning to the Holkham Estate after a ride out (photo: Ian Burt)Cyclists returning to the Holkham Estate after a ride out (photo: Ian Burt)

Whether you are a lycra-clad cycling enthusiast who covers hundreds of miles every weekend or someone who simply enjoys getting out and about with your kids on their bikes for fun, Pedal Norfolk is sure to be a big hit.

Now in its fifth year, the three-day family event in the grounds of Holkham Hall has a fantastic programme of races, events, demonstrations and riding routes which will leave everyone happy.

“We think that we’ve built the ultimate cycling festival for the whole family. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve ridden a bike in years or not, you’ll still have a brilliant time,” says organiser Peter Flett, who runs specialist online bike business Fatbirds in north Norfolk.

“We want the event and the routes we set to show off this part of the county. We have designed the course in 50 mile loops so you are never more than 25 miles away from Holkham Hall. It’s fantastic because the roads are quiet and there are good long stretches without interruption.

The Action Sports Team performing at the Pedal Norfolk' weekend (photo: Ian Burt)The Action Sports Team performing at the Pedal Norfolk' weekend (photo: Ian Burt)

“About 60pc of the people come from outside of the county and we have already seen an increase in those bookings this year. I think partly this is because we also offer camping in such an incredible, unique setting. It is the only time you can camp in the grounds of Holkham Hall which makes it pretty special and the atmosphere is fantastic.”

Festival organisers expect more than 2,500 cyclists and more than 8,500 visitors to take part across the weekend – including plenty of youngsters.

The event, which is run with charity partner Walking With The Wounded, is held in May half term and attracting families is key, with plenty to entertain and challenge children from toddlers to teens.

“There is no other family cycling festival in the country and we believe this is what helps make the event so special,” says Peter. There is a kids’ cycling academy, grass track training, a safe seven-mile car-free cycle route and a mountain bike course through the woods. Young cyclists can also take part in the longer rides as well as the mountain bike racing.

Festival-goers will have the opportunity to ride 20, 50 or 100 mile signposted, safe and supported routes along north Norfolk’s scenic country and coastal roads with feed stations along the way. From the gentle and easygoing flat routes to the more gruelling up hills, the quiet roads offer enjoyable and safe riding conditions.

“The idea behind Pedal Norfolk was to emulate those spring classic races in Europe and while we don’t have the huge climbs, we also wanted to show that Norfolk most definitely isn’t flat. Behind the coast there is a shelf and so we zigzag that shelf; on a number of the courses so you are doing a good 1,000 metres of climbing. It is not like Yorkshire, but it certainly isn’t flat and it is a challenging terrain.”

For the first time this year, a closed road race will take place on Saturday, May 27, starting in front of Holkham Hall and will take serious competitors on a route through some of the park’s key landmarks at speed.

“There are very few closed road races across the country, so being able to run one on such a great cycling weekend in such incredible scenery is very special.

“With British Cycling, we’ve ensured that it will be a challenging course, so it will be exciting for spectators to watch too. There will also be an Eastern Region MTB XC event for the first time run by King’s Lynn Mountain Bike Club.”

Across the three days, there will be a packed programme of demonstrations, talks, trade stands and events, as well as a great food offering from local suppliers and the Adnams beer tent where there will be live bands in the evenings. There will also be the chance to try some water sports, with stand-up paddle boarding, zorbing and kayaking on the lake.

Book your preferred events and camping at www.pedalnorfolk.co.uk. Day admission to Holkham park for visitors to enjoy the festival will be £5 per adult, children 16 years and under. www.holkham.co.uk. To enter the British Cycling Eastern Counties closed road race, see www.britishcycling.org.uk

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