Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

On Route to Good Health and Fitness; in Association with the NHS North East Cyclists Are Preparing to Get Fit and Healthy by Pedalling into Action for the Northern Rock Cyclone Festival. Health Reporter HELEN RAE Takes a Look at This Year's Event

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

On Route to Good Health and Fitness; in Association with the NHS North East Cyclists Are Preparing to Get Fit and Healthy by Pedalling into Action for the Northern Rock Cyclone Festival. Health Reporter HELEN RAE Takes a Look at This Year's Event

Article excerpt

BIKE riders are ensuring they keep their fitness levels high for one of the region's annual cycle rides.

This year's Northern Rock Cyclone event starts on Friday, with a variety of events for cyclists of all levels being held in the North East, across a week end next month.

The 31-mile event is set to attract some of the best riders in the country and encourage the whole community to get on their bikes and join in the fun, with more than 1,000 cyclists taking part.

Sponsored by Northern Rock as part of its ongoing sports and community investment programme, the Cyclone offers opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to compete.

Dave Henderson, Northern Rock's director of advertising brand and sponsorship, said: "We are committed to supporting all kinds of sporting events and clubs, and our name is synonymous with English sport.

"The Cyclone represents a number of our aims in working with the North East community.

"It not only promotes health and charitable support in the region that we are immensely proud to be a part of, it also provides an excellent opportunity for everyone to get involved and take part."

Showcasing some of the region's most dramatic landscapes and landmarks the Cyclone kick-starts on Friday from 6pm n Leazes Park, Newcastle, against the backdrop of St James's Park.

The evening incorporates a series of youth rides the Go Race for novices and the elite one-hour race which will see past and present world and Olympic medalists competing.

Professional cyclist Rob Hayles, 35, said "The Northern Rock Cyclone is a great opportunitty for participants to have fun, keep fit and see some of the country's leading sports people in action.

"Cycling offers many health benefits, while also encouraging people to do their bit for the environment by ditching the car every once in a while and getting on their bikes.

"I'm looking forward to taking part."

When Northern Rock employee Angela Longstaff had her holiday photos developed last August, the pictures gave her the motivation needed to take stock of her health and fitness, encouraging her to take part in this year's Cyclone.

And this has led to an amazing transformation in under 12 months, as she has lost several stone in weight.

Angela, who's worked at Northern Rock in the insurance department as an operational manager for nine years, said: "Over the years the weight had just gradually crept on.

"I'm sure everyone knows how it is, you have kids and that mixed with work leaves little time for exercise.

"Before I saw the holiday photos health and fitness weren't exactly high on my agenda.

"It was almost my 40th birthday, and apart from the fact I didn't like the way I looked there were issues such as diabetes and heart disease that I began to think and worry about a lot more. …

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