The event takes place in Bike Week each year and usually gets a brief mention in the mainstream press. This year, however, it's not just about 'aren't-bikes-great?', members of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group are encouraging everyone to reduce their weight, and their cancer risk, through cycling.

Stick-thin MPs and peers to raise obesity-awareness on annual Parliamentary bike ride

The ride takes place next Wednesday and will start at the Royal College of Physicians, Regents Park and will block traffic through until Parliament Square.

Around 60 MPs and peers are expected to take part, including Jane Griffiths, chair of the APPCG, and Hazel Blears, a junior health minister.

This year’s Bike Week is being staged in support of Cancer Research UK and also present at the parliamentary bike ride will be Baroness Hayman, chair of the cancer research charity.

The ride aims to raise awareness of the increasing evidence of a link between obesity and cancer.

Obesity is linked to cancers of the bowel, breast, womb, kidney and oesophagus.

Levels of obesity are increasing. Around 20 per cent of the UK’s population is estimated to be obese and a further half are overweight. Regular cycling can help to reduce body fat bringing a range of health benefits including helping to prevent some forms of cancer.

“It is increasingly clear that cycling is not only good for health but also an active deterrent against the likelihood of some cancers," said Griffiths.

"Cycling is a fantastic form of exercise that is enjoyable as well as healthy. Members of the APPCG are not lycra-clad fitness fanatics, we believe cycling is for everyone.”

Baroness Hayman said: "It is encouraging to see so many parliamentarians taking on board important lessons about the role that lifestyle changes can play in the fight against cancer. Among non-smokers, who now comprise the majority of the population, obesity is the most important preventable cause of cancer. We hope that this event will help to raise awareness of how individuals can act to reduce their cancer risk."

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