On yer bikes! Velo Vintage spectacle rides into town

Alistair Cope with his son and daughter, Sebastian and Rachel, lead the Exmouth Velo Vintage ride ea

Alistair Cope with his son and daughter, Sebastian and Rachel, lead the Exmouth Velo Vintage ride earlier this year. Ref exe 9044-25-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

They say fashion comes in cycles. Well, that will certainly be true when Sidmouth’s first Velo Vintage bike ride rolls into town.

On Saturday, December 5, enthusiasts will be digging out their tweed jackets, petticoats and flat caps before mounting an aged array of wheeled contraptions.

Organiser Alistair Cope has long viewed this Regency town as the perfect setting and this year won over civic and business leaders to stage a ride.

Addressing the chamber of commerce last week, he said: “It’s become great fun. It’s very visual and draws a lot of attention.

“If you haven’t got an old bike it doesn’t matter – we would encourage everyone to get involved.”

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The fun will follow the late-night shopping event on December 4, organised in an attempt to encourage visitors to stay in the town.

It will be the tenth Velo Vintage for Alistair, who has seen it spread to Exeter and Barnstaple since the inaugural event in Exmouth six years ago.

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“This will be a shorter ride – I won’t be able to get up Salcombe Hill or Peak Hill, let alone back down again,” said the penny farthing rider.

Decorations and adornments can be added for anyone who does not have a vintage bicycle.

Alistair has a loyal following, with people coming from as far afield as Edinburgh and London to take part.

He expects some 120 participants for the Sidmouth ride and hopes many more people will get in the spirit and line the route.

The ‘vintage’ they are aiming for is between the 1920s and the 1950s, and participants are encouraged to get festive in their attire.

Registration will be at The Loft at 11am, before the cyclists set off along The Esplanade and up the Byes to Sidford Social Hall for a cream tea.

The event does not use road blocks and in the past has succeeded by using sheer numbers to slow traffic – with motorists generally enjoy the spectacle.

After a ride of about six miles, the procession will finish at the Anchor Inn at around 4.30pm, where a jazz band will play until about 7pm.

Tickets (£22.05 for adults or £14.70 for juniors aged 10 to 17) are available now at velovintage.co.uk.

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