Tour de Yorkshire…Doing us Proud Again

Tour de Yorkshire Helen Child

First of all Р“Come on Sir Bradley Wiggins!!”

As part of the legacy of the 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ, the first Tour de Yorkshire will take place from May 1 to May 3 this year. Crowds are expected to flock to the roads of God’s own county to see the pros fly through the striking scenery, while they can also ride some of the same roads during the sportive on May 3.

Last year’s Tour de France barely scratched the surface when it came to exploring the landscape and roads of Yorkshire. This year’s race uses two entirely new routes — stage one will, we suspect, be a sensation — while tweaking the blueprints to the thrilling Sheffield stage of last year’s Tour, running a chunk in reverse before a finish over the Cow and Calf into Leeds.

Eh bah gum…
Eh bah gum…

Organisers don’t just want the Tour de Yorkshire to bask in the reflected glory of summer 2014; they want to create something that will live on. I reckon it has the potential to do just that.

Cycling has experienced a resurgence and increased media exposure in the last few years. This comes as no surprise following the national pride and inspiration of seeing the yellow Tour de France jerseys passing over Yorkshire’s rolling hills. But is this resurgence merely a brief trend resulting from the major sporting event, we know how quick people are to grab their racquets when Wimbledon airs, or is there a long term wider reason, and what are the benefits to the district from this popularity?

Health & Wellbeing

As we know Government and local councils have been seeking to encourage cycling for some time, with differing degrees of success. And cycling needs no endorsing as a means to maintain your health & wellbeing; it’s an excellent low impact sport.

Lancaster with Morecambe, my home area, was one of the original six places in the country to be named a ‘Cycling Demonstration‚Äô Town

Tourism and the economy is also in the spotlight though. Not only do these huge sporting spectacles provide great TV coverage as a sport. What they also do, and this was one of the primary functions of the Tour de France, is to give the opportunity for a region, district or council to showcase itself to the world.

As the riders race past in a colourful Lycra-clad blur, the spectators will have been in the area for hours on some stages of the major races days. To the local businesses that has traditionally offered an almost captive audience to benefit from. On the continent that benefit is not by extortionate parking and camping costs, on the contrary the essence of major cycle events is the cosmopolitan camp sites at the side of the major climbs, a true melting pot of cultures and countries.

A Lucrative Event

Cycle Tourism is big business, worth over £635 million and the organisers of this weekend’s Tour de Yorkshire believe the three-day race this May could bring up to £40m to the local economy. Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, believes the number could be proportionally as significant as that experienced by the Tour de France’s Grand Départ in the county last July.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post, Mr Verity said: “Proportionally you could say it has the potential to be as significant as the Tour de France…it won’t be as big as the Tour but it could be £30m or £40m given the right weather and conditions.”

Verity added: “I’m thrilled for Yorkshire for every business and local authority and everybody who’s chosen to get involved with this event that will potentially go on for decades and will be there for our children and grandchildren. It will benefit the economy going forward.”

More people cycling can have other benefits to the local community, again if provision and planning take place. Secure parking at rail stations can encourage commuters to leave the car for short journeys, freeing up road space. Who know’s it may even encourage the local councils to address the pot holes a judderary nightmare for every cyclist!

Whether you’re riding historic mountain passes, tackling the local hills or out with the family this weekend…

…enjoy your ride!

Helen Child is a highly accomplished senior leader in the financial services industry. With over twenty years proven experience in the prepaid card and payments processing market, Helen’s reputation as an expert in this field is apt. Helen was voted globally as one of the top ten women in the prepaid industry and is currently a leading consultant with Striding Edge Ltd who provide Prepaid Payment Solutions & Prepaid Card Marketing.

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