SUNDERLAND residents are being encouraged to wrap up warm and get on their bikes in the run up to Christmas.

Sunderland City Council is teaming up with cycling platform Love to Ride for Winter Wheelers – a challenge aiming to get more people riding bikes through winter.

The cold, wind and rain can deter people from riding a bike, but the Winter Wheelers campaign, running from December 1 – 25, aims to show that with a little preparation, cyclists can continue to ride throughout the colder months.

Last year over 30,000 people took part, including over 2,600 new riders.

Love to Ride is an online platform for both people who ride a bike regularly and those who are completely new to cycling, allowing users to share their cycling experiences, challenge others and log how far they have cycled by syncing with Strava or MapMyRide.

Encouraging cycling instead of driving is another step towards cutting Sunderland’s carbon emissions, as the council and partners are committed to making the city carbon neutral by 2040.

Councillor Linda Williams, Portfolio Holder for Vibrant City at Sunderland City Council, said: “Since partnering with Love to Ride earlier this year, we have already seen workplaces and individuals across Sunderland sign up and enjoy all the benefits cycling can offer. It is a fantastic, sustainable and healthy way to get around, and there is no reason to stop in winter.”

“Winter Wheelers will show that cycling is not just for summer, while making cycling enjoyable and adding a fun sense of competition for friends, families and colleagues who want to challenge each other.”

Love to Ride have helped hundreds of thousands of people around the world get into cycling. With quick courses, tips and articles, everyone registered with Love to Ride can access the tools they need to build their biking confidence.

Taking part in Winter Wheelers is easy. You only have to ride for ten minutes to be entered into the daily draw. Simply register for free at lovetoride.net, log your bike rides before 3pm the following day and wait and see if you won.

There are prizes to be won every day and one lucky winner will receive a text on Christmas Day saying they won a bike.

More information is available at lovetoride.net