THE first Lakeland Monster Miles has been hailed a roaring success by organisers.

On Sunday, 644 people pedaled out of Keswick to try Cycling Weekly’s new event - more than double the number of riders expected for an inaugural challenge.

Every type of two wheeled bike was seen at the start line, but by the end everyone was yearning for a cross bike.

Keith Foster, Publishing Director for IPC Media Ltd, said: “This new type of event – a mix of road and off-road riding we’re calling ‘Adventure Cross’ - was a first for us, so we were a bit apprehensive about how it would be received.

"But, thanks to everyone’s magnificent efforts, particularly the Rather Be Cycling team, we needn’t have worried.

"The feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive and encouraging.

"Participant numbers were almost twice what we had realistically expected, so at this moment in time, I can’t see any reason why the ‘Lakeland Monster Miles’ shouldn’t become a regular annual event."

Keith explained why the Lake District and Keswick in particular was chosen for the Lakeland Monster Miles: “Keswick offers the perfect mix of ingredients - a great route, a beautiful setting, great facilities and plenty of friendly local accommodation for those wishing to make a weekend of it.”

Gav McDonald, Director of Rather Be Cycling, said: “Cumbria has some of the best terrain in Britain for road and mountain biking and now we can add Adventure X cyclo cross riding to that list. 

“The message is that biking is big business in Cumbria and it looks set to grow as a biking destination.”

The event organisers wanted the local community to get involved and benefit in some way from the event, so the Scouts were invited to offer a bike washing service at Fitz Park.

The Lakeland Monster MIles was a choice of two routes - the 44-mile Mini Massif or a 62-mile Massif, both circumnavigated Skiddaw, England’s fourth highest mountain.

Both routes started and finished in Fitz Park, Keswick.