WALLINGFORD residents and visitors will soon be able to take advantage of new cycle routes around the town.

The three routes will be launched in May to help cyclists explore the areas to the west of the town, including villages and country pubs, Wittenham Clumps and Cholsey and Wallingford Railway.

Members of the public will be able to try the new routes from Sunday, May 1, when leaflets detailing the rides are published for the first time by Sustainable Wallingford, a group committed to making the town more environmentally sustainable. To celebrate, cyclists of all abilities are invited to join a ride on the launch day. The event, which will start from Wallingford Market Place at 2.30pm, will take in the shortest of the routes and includes a stop at the Red Lion pub in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell. Wallingford town mayor Bernard Stone will wave the cyclists off on their way.

All routes, which have been designed and tested with families in mind, start and finish at the information centre under the town hall.

The routes cover between 11 and 22 miles and include: * Ride A — 11 miles taking in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, Sires Hill and the Bear at Home Pub.

* Ride B — 15 miles exploring Wittenham Clumps, Long Wittenham and Didcot.

* Ride C — 22 miles following Sustrans Route 44 along the old railway line to Upton.

The scheme is a Sustainable Wallingford project and is funded by South Oxfordshire District Council, Wallingford Town Council, Oxfordshire Community Foundation and South Moreton and East Hagbourne parish councils.

Alison Smart, of Sustainable Wallingford, said: “With rising fuel prices, it’s a great time to encourage people to travel for free — by bike.”