The local council in Otley, West Yorkshire – the home town of Olympic silver medallist Lizzie Armitstead – has approved plans for a strategy that aims to deliver a lasting legacy to cycling in the area following next year’s Grand Départ of the Tour de France from nearby Leeds.
The news coincides with the revelation in recent days that Sustrans, British Cycling and CTC will be working to ensure that the visit to Yorkshire of cycling’s biggest race will translate into cycling raising its profile in the region and becoming more popular, whether for sport, fitness, or simply getting around.
The Yorkshire Evening Post says that local cyclists, including members of Otley Sportive, have been involved in putting together the town’s cycling plan, which has the name, ‘Do You Ride?’
Among other things, the initiative will include a focus on ensuring that cyclists feel safer while out riding and it will also address at a range of disciplines including road, mountain biking, and BMX.
As Otley Sportive says on its website, “This strategy outlines the potential of Otley as a Cycling Town hosting a full range of cycling disciplines. This will provide facilities and a framework for all cyclists from those riders using a cycle as a sustainable mode of transport to those using a cycle as part of their elite sporting ability.”
It adds: “This is an exciting time for Otley to engage in the Cycling Culture. It’s an opportunity that cannot be missed.”
The project’s lead contributor, Luke Minshall, commented: “There has never been such an amazing exciting time to really put cycling at the heart of the community.
“We have an opportunity to ensure that there is a legacy from the Olympics and from the Tour de France.
“This really maps out our approach to get it right and to really involve the community, and reap the benefits that cycling can bring to a town and its economy.”
Otley Town Council leader, Councillor John Eveleigh, added: “Pulling together this strategy has been an amazing collaborative effort from across the cycling community and wider, and I’m pleased that the town council have adopted it.
“Now the hard work begins and although the strategy has some far-reaching and ambitious aspirations, if we all work together we can achieve those ambitions.”
Stage 1 of next year’s Tour de France will pass through Otley on its way from Leeds to Harrogate. The town also hosts the annual Otley Cycle Races, now approaching their 28th edition, which is scheduled this year for 3 July.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.