WORKPLACES in South Lakeland will start competing in a fun, free competition to encourage more people to ride bikes next Thursday.

The South Lakes Cycle Challenge involved 66 organisations and 253 participants cycling a total of 54,207 miles last year.

Anyone can enter in teams of up to five participants and large organisations can register more than one team.

Challenge manager Isobel Stoddart said: “It’s really exciting to see how many South Lakes businesses have committed to taking part in the challenge in previous years. We hope that these businesses, plus many more will take up the Challenge next week and improve on the numbers of participants in 2012.”

Participants will be able to closely watch how their team is getting on during the five weeks that the challenge runs from September 4 - National Cycle to Work Day - and October 9, via a live league table on the challenge website.

Both leisure and commuting bike miles can be logged. There are team, individual, novice cyclist and community group awards. There is even a prize for the team with the most inventive name.

One of those taking part, Simon Pack, from the Brathay Trust, said: “I cycle because it’s cheaper than driving, quicker and helps with my fitness mentally and physically.”

The event will be launched outside Kendal’s County Hall next Thursday at 11am.

To join the challenge log on to: