BIKE riders of all ages enjoyed a ride from Brimscombe Mills to the Farmers' Market on Saturday, with a special festive guest.

Santa took time from his busy toy-making and sleigh-polishing schedule to join cyclists on their monthly bike ride into town.

Cllr Robin Drury-Layfield, an organiser of the monthly rides, who kindly lent Santa his bicycle to join in the ride, said, “It was wonderful to see the reaction from passers-by and other road users.

"We had smiles and waves; people were calling out ‘Santa!’ and grinning from ear to ear.

"It was a nice way to bring a bit of cheer to people.”

James Beecher, Manager of Access Bikes and another organiser of the ride, said: “Lots of us decorated our bikes with tinsel and wore something festive.

"One of our riders brought a sound system and played Christmas tunes to accompany us along the way.

"It was great fun and something that all ages enjoyed.

"We're hoping that regular rides show the demand and potential benefit of better cycling infrastructure along this route - which is sorely needed.”

The rides from Brimscombe Mills happen each month, on the first Saturday morning of the month.

Riders meet at the Long Table and enjoy a free drink, courtesy of the Bike Drop – who want to encourage social rides in the area – before they head down the A419 in a group into town and stop outside the Electric Bike Shop.

Jointly organised by Bike Drop, Access Bikes and the Cargo Bikes of Stroud group, organisers say the aim is mainly to celebrate cycling and to socialise, but that they also hope the rides help to gently push for better cycle infrastructure

“It’s a great and fun way to get to the Farmers' Market with no parking worries," said Cllr Beki Aldam. 

" The ride brings people together who ordinarily might not have the confidence to ride along a busy road like the A419, helping them to feel safe and at ease. 

The next monthly ride is Saturday, January 7.