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5,000 more people on their bikes every week thanks to legacy effect of Tour de Yorkshire

Cycling as a sport is less popular - unless you live in Yorkshire that is

Almost 5,000 people in Yorkshire have been inspired to get on their bikes regularly following the recent Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour de France’s visit, which saw the pros take on the mountains and moors of the Yorkshire Dales during the Grand Depart.

British Cycling has released new figures showing that nearly 5,000 people cycle at least once a week as a result of the Tour’s legacy, compared with before its visit.

As a sport in Britain, cycling is falling with 50,000 fewer people taking part, but Yorkshire is bucking that trend and local cycle shops say business is booming.

Brenda Price, owner of the Dales Bike Centre in Fremington, told the Northern Echo: “It really is noticeable that there are lots more people riding bikes in the Dales.

“I’m not surprised by the figure of 5,000 more people getting on their bikes at all, and people aren’t just riding the Tour de France route although we are seeing a lot more road cyclists that we used to.

“People come to the Dales from all over the place so the Grand Depart being televised was a fantastic advert for us and the area as a whole.”

Arthur Caygill, of Caygill Cycles in Richmond, said: “There are more people taking up cycling because people seem to be realising that fitness is just a by-product of doing something they enjoy while out in some great locations like the Yorkshire Dales.

“We have been getting a lot of new customers wanting to take up cycling – and it is great and exciting to see the Dales roads filled with riders when you are out.”

Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “To think it’s exactly a year since the world’s greatest bike race came to this county is scarcely believable but I’m extremely proud of the impact the Grand Départ has had on Yorkshire.

“You only have to look at Yorkshire’s roads to see more people have taken to cycling in the county and these new figures are confirmation of just how much Yorkshire wants to be the cycling of capital of Europe.

“The Grand Départ last year, and the Tour de Yorkshire this year, have proven to be just as inspirational as we hoped they would be.”

For more information on last year’s Grand Départ and on the Tour de Yorkshire 2016, click here.

Meanwhile in Cambridge, residents say there has been a similar effect one year on from the Grand Depart passing through.

Mike Davies, cycling projects team leader at Cambridgeshire County Council told Cambridge News: "I hope that more people will consider cycling, and those already cycling might cycle even more.

Cambridge's Labour MP, Daniel Zeichner, said: "The day the Tour de France came to Cambridge was unforgettable and enjoyed by many thousands of Cambridge residents.

"I was struck by how streets like Regent Street were transformed when freed up from traffic and everywhere people seemed to have smiles on their faces!"

He added: "The legacy is that ever more people appreciate the role that cycling can play in tackling our congestion crisis.

"We need to make it easier and safer for more people to walk and cycle and I am particularly hopeful that the investigation into using bikes to deliver goods for the vital 'last mile' will bear positive fruit.”

Earlier this year we reported how Huddersfield decided to build on the Tour de Yorkshire’s legacy and hold its town centre criterium race again.

Held on June 10th, the circuit was extended this year taking in swathes of the town centre including Market Place, John William Street and Railway Street - a route that’s about a mile in length.

“The cyclists who took part last year said they wanted more opportunities to overtake”, Clr Martyn Bolt told the Huddersfield Daily Examiner.

“This extended course gives them more turns, more straights and another climb which should add to the excitement.

“We have secured the circuit for the evening and expanded the number of races to include a women’s race and to reflect the growth and interest in cycling.

“Last year we had the Tour de France to follow the Criterium; this year, our race comes after the Tour de Yorkshire and there is an awful lot of interest being generated.

“But we also believe it offers an opportunity to businesses in Huddersfield to take advantage. The racing starts at 6pm and we hope it draws large crowds. I would hope that businesses that may have closed normally by then will stay open to reach new customers”.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

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