A PROGRAMME of free guided bike rides for South Lakeland has been unveiled by a group that promotes cycling.

Sky Ride has 40 family friendly routes through the Lake District to choose from between Easter and October half-term.

Caroline Gilbert, recreation manager for British Cycling in Cumbria, said: “With starting points at the major tourist hubs, the rides avoid busy traffic and instead take you along quiet, idyllic tracks and roads.

“Sky Ride Local rides are a fun, way to experience the beauty that is all around you in the Lakes.”

It is the second year Sky Ride Local has come to the Lakes, thanks to a partnership between British Cycling, Sky, the GoLakes Travel programme and National Trust.

Cyclists will be guided by ride leaders along routes covering everywhere from Coniston Water, to Grizedale Forest, the Rusland Valley and all the way to Cartmel.

Claire Maclaine, GoLakes Travel programme manager, said: “Interest in cycling continues to grow and Sky Ride Local is a great way for families and friends to enjoy fun bike rides guided by local people.

“They are a great way to get visitors out of their cars and to help them discover the awe-inspiring landscape of the English Lake District.”

Events include a Beatrix Potter themed ‘Biking, Bunnies and Boats’ ride – a gentle six mile ride on Easter Sunday (April 20) from Hawskhead – taking in spots including Wray Castle and and Sawrey.

For more details of the programme, visit www.goskyride.com/lakes