A CHARITY which aims to help get people active is holding the first in a series of taster bike rides at the weekend.

Darlovelo is giving people the opportunity to try Dutch-style bikes with a guided ride of Darlington's West End on Saturday.

The charity, which was set up to encourage women and young people to cycle, has a fleet of 40 Dutch-style bikes which it rents out on short and long-term hire.

The bikes, which are popular with celebrities including supermodel Agness Deyn, are designed to be ridden around town to help people incorporate cycling into their every-day routine.

The charity was set up following surge in popularity of this style of bike with young women in Darlington after an award-winning documentary, Beauty and the Bike, was filmed in the town.

Annie Ravazzolo, Darlovelo's promotions officer, said: "We want to help people discover how fun and comfortable it is to ride Dutch bikes.

"If you have been wondering whether to ride or hire a bike, have lost confidence in going out alone, or want to discover the routes around Darlington, this is the perfect opportunity for you.

"Cycling is enjoyable, a great way to stay healthy and a good money saver, particularly with the rising cost of fuel."

The first spring taster ride is on Saturday, starting at 2pm at Darlington Arts Centre, in Vane Terrace. Places, which are limited, can be booked by calling 07519-741734 or emailing cool@darlovelo,org. For more information on Darlovelo, visit darlovelo.org