After months of preparation and excitement, the Grand Départ of the Tour de France finally gets underway this weekend. And where better than Yorkshire with its breathtaking scenery and friendly welcome to cheer the cyclists on at the very beginning of their 3664 kilometres race?
Road closures aside, Yorkshire really does seem to have embraced the world’s most famous cycle race – now in its 101st year. Everywhere you look there are yellow bicycles, bunting and events. The famous Black Prince statue in Leeds city centre is now wearing a yellow knitted jersey and schools up and down the county are getting involved. Even if Le Tour doesn’t pass their doorsteps the people of Yorkshire are proud to be hosting such an event and showcasing their county to the world.
Rapha Tempest Festival of Cycling
Our most local event to celebrate cycling is taking place on the Broughton Hall Estate, where VWA’s offices are based. The Rapha Tempest Festival of Cycling runs from Thursday 3rd July to Monday 7th July. Visitors can pitch their tents within the picturesque grounds of the magnificent Broughton Hall and it’s just a short cycle ride to Skipton where you can view the race live. Alternatively there will be big screens set up on the estate where you can see the action.
Over the five days there will be talks by leading cycle authors, bike building workshops, live music and entertainment, kids’ games and entertainment, daytime and evening guided bike rides and plenty of stalls selling drinks and delicious food produced locally in Yorkshire.
Take a Detour with Ride Cadence
Another Yorkshire stately home is also hosting a festival of cycling – Harewood House in Leeds. They are giving 25 lucky people the chance to ride with former Tour de France champion Steven Roche. The ride will take place in the lanes around Harewood and will cover 36 miles of beautiful Yorkshire scenery. It will be led by local cycling experience company Ride Cadence, who are also running ‘Detour’ rides throughout July, visiting some of the most beautiful cycling gems of Yorkshire including beautiful back roads, white knuckle descents and best secret climbs missed on the official Tour de France route. Sounds like one for the serious cyclist!
Meet a Paralympic triple-medallist cyclist
A very special guest will also be making an appearance at Ilkley’s Wheatley Arms’ Cycle Inn night this Thursday. Diners will be able to enjoy an evening with Mike Colbourne MBE, the Paralympic gold and double-silver medallist at London 2012. As well as listening to his cycling anecdotes, visitors will partake in a special drinks reception, 3 course dinner and coffee.
Biking bears and TDF ice cream
Speaking of food, a couple of our customers have created products specifically for Le Tour. Delicious ice-cream company, Yummy Yorkshire, is offering its homage in the form of a combination of Banana & Custard, Yorkshire Brack & Jam, and Cassis ice creams. Also, for TDF car parking with traditional ice cream on offer look no further than Just Jenny’s Farmhouse Ice Cream at the Col du Ripponden near Halifax on 6th July.
Famous Yorkshire confectioners, Betty’s, have produced some delightful chocolate bears in vintage cycling outfits. The 1919 Victory Bear sports a yellow jersey (the year it was introduced) as well as cycling hat, goggles and a spare inner tube. Totally cute!
Yorkshire is beautiful whatever the weather, but let’s hope the sun stays out to welcome the greatest cycle race in the world.