CYCLIST Mandy Jones is using bike ride tours of Swindon to get riders of all ages socialising with each other.

The 43-year-old passed her British Cycling course last summer with the goal in mind of providing an activity that gets people to mingle while being active.

She said: “I love being out on my bike as do many others but there is a lot of riders who are not confident enough to go out by themselves.

“Being able to give people my guided tour is a great way to spend the day. It helps participants to socialise and learn routes around the town.

“I have never been the most naturally athletic but I give it my all and I thoroughly enjoy doing this.”

She had to do a one-day course which taught her how to check bikes’ roadworthiness, ride on the road safely, use hand signals and do first aid in case of injury. It was paid for by British Cycling.

Mandy, whose role is a volunteer ride leader, then had to agree to deliver at least eight rides a year.

So far she has led five rides and she is hard at work devising new routes around the town that are accessible to all.

The next ride, which is also the first one of the new year, is known as the January Leg Warmer. It will start at Coate Water and lead out to West Swindon and back again.

People of all different ages and backgrounds have already taken part in the rides from retired folk to mums with young children.

Mandy explained: “For many of us it becomes harder to socialise and be active as you get older.

“I want whoever comes along on the tour to feel excited and part of a team. I make sure no one is ever left behind and that we all ride at a similar pace.”

Mandy designs her 10-mile routes around incorporating pieces of Swindon heritage and areas in the town that are not quite so well known.

Although one of the conditions of British Cycling events is that at all times they must be within a 10-minute walk of an ambulance being called to allow easy access.

The socialising doesn’t stop after the tour ends because part of the experience includes setting some time aside for everyone to stop and have a coffee and a chat.

At the moment the cycling leader can only accommodate up to eight riders per event. But if another qualified leader joins her on the trip they will be able to take more.

The next ride takes place on Tuesday. Riders meet at Coate Water near the diving board at 10am. Riders should use mountain bikes or hybrid machines and the route is described as easygoing.

Five places are left on the ride. To book a space visit