This summer is all about cycling in Warwickshire, as the Aviva Women’s Tour comes to the county on Thursday 16 June for Stage Two of the international race and cycling fever grips the nation!

In the lead up to the event, you can feel inspired and get involved with a series of Pedal & Picnic events organised by Warwickshire County Council, the first taking place on Thursday 7 April.

Meeting at 12.30pm outside Shire Hall, the 30 – 40 minute bike rides around Warwick will be led by a fully qualified ride leader and will take in a 20 minute lunch stop in St Nicholas Park. So don’t forget your sandwiches as well as your bike! There will be a free goody bag for all participants.

The Aviva Women’s Tour is fast becoming one of the most eagerly awaited cycling events on the annual sporting calendar. Over five days of gruelling racing at locations around the UK, the world’s best female riders will compete for the coveted Aviva Yellow Jersey.

Stage Two, on Thursday 16 June, will race the full distance of Warwickshire from Atherstone to Stratford-upon-Avon. In total, 16 of the world’s top female cycling teams, made up of 96 of the world’s best women cyclists, will take part.

The University of Warwick is partnering with Warwickshire County Council to host the Warwickshire stage of the Tour. The route will pass through the world-class university campus, ranked 6th in the UK (Times and Sunday Times September 2015) and 48th in the world (QS World University Rankings, September 2015).

Leader of Warwickshire County Council, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, said: “Warwickshire is giving its full support to the Aviva Women’s Tour and we are truly excited to welcome this significant event to our beautiful county. We intend to embrace the opportunities the Tour will bring, by showcasing the county as the best place to invest, live, work and visit as well as helping to encourage more women and girls into cycling and sport in general.”

Councillor Peter Butlin, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Transport & Planning said: “If the news that the Aviva Women’s Tour is coming to Warwickshire has inspired you to dust off your bike and go for a ride, Warwickshire County Council is running a series of free bike rides to get you pedalling in the lead up to race day.

“Warwickshire has excellent transport infrastructure, as demonstrated by our ability to host a world-class event like the Women’s Tour, and we want to showcase this when the county greets the world’s best female cyclists in June.”

Councillor Philip Johnson, Chair of Warwickshire County Council’s Overview & Scrutiny Committee, said: “With the Pedal & Picnic events, the planning has been done for you. Working with trained-up friendly ride leaders to guide and support you, we’ve found the best cycle routes around Warwick – and you certainly don’t need to be a pro rider to take part!

“We want the Aviva Women’s Tour to have a lasting legacy for Warwickshire, its communities and for women’s sport in the county.”

There are two more Pedal & Picnic events taking place on Thursday 12 May and Thursday 9 June.

If the news that the Women’s Tour is coming to Warwickshire has inspired you to get cycling, follow #AvivaWT2016 and @ChooseMoveWarks on Twitter for the latest Tour news and events in Warwickshire, or ‘like’ the Choose How You Move Warwickshire Facebook page.