PEDAL power pulled in the crowds at Abingdon Cycle Festival with up to a thousand people descending on the town for a day of guided riding sessions.

The popular event returned after a year's break on Sunday aiming to boost the confidence of cyclists and encourage more people to get out and about on their bikes.

In a first for this year, organisers also included a new cycle training session on Dalton Barracks airfield for those less confident on bikes and who wanted the extra security of not being on the open road.

Mark Travis, who was part of the committee who organised the festival, said: “It was a fantastic day and we had 400 people of all ages and levels of experience taking part in our free ride along sessions.

“Between the spectators at our Dalton Barracks event and those stopping by Market Square we must have had up to a thousand people over the course of the day.”

He said ‘perfect weather’ proved a draw for visitors, which included Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran who stopped by to show her support.

The celebration of cycling also featured a parade of vintage bikes, with people encouraged to dig out and show off their retro rides – the oldest on the day a restored bike from the early 1900s.

It was 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.

Mr Travis explained: “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.”

Stalls with bike demos and representatives from the fire and police services were in Market Square, along with a hog roast and live music from Tony Lewis & Band, The Bellini Sisters and choir Vocalize, helped keep the festival spirit going for those who had completed their rides.