CYCLISTS are gearing up for the return of a popular festival that will see hundreds of bikes descend on Abingdon.

The Abingdon Cycle Festival takes place on Sunday with a series of guided rides along sessions throughout the day aimed at building the skills and confidence of riders.

A parade of vintage bikes will also assemble from 11am in the Market Square, with people encouraged to dig out and show off their retro rides.

It will be the seventh time the one-day annual event has been put on in the town, though it was not held last year due to a change over in the organising committee.

Mark Travis, part of the new team, said: “It takes a lot of time to plan this and make sure it is well run and everyone’s safety is paramount so it was decided to rest the festival for one year.

“I think people are really eager to see it return as we’ve received lots of requests on social media from those wanting to know when it was coming back.”

With sunshine predicted, Mr Travis said organisers are hoping the event will be bigger than ever and turnout could reach between 500 and 600 cyclists.

He said: “We are really targeting people who may have a bike but don’t use it often, maybe because they don’t feel confident about the local routes and so this is a perfect chance to change that.

“All our rides are led by experienced cyclists and there are a wide range of sessions with ones for families, mountain bikes and road tracks.

“There’s something for everyone to enjoy.”

New this year will be cycle training on Dalton Barracks airfield for those less confident on bikes and who want the extra security of not being on the open road.

As well as the cycle events, which will start from 9am in the Market Square, there will be stalls with bike demos and representatives from the fire and police services.

There will also be live music from Tony Lewis & Band, The Bellini Sisters and choir Vocalize throughout the day in Market Square.

Registration for all rides will take place on the day.

Although all rides are free it is recommended cyclists arrive at least 30 minutes before the ride leaves to book a place.

For a full rundown, including expected completion times, search Abingdon Cycle Festival on Facebook.