It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event…and what better way to mark it than to saddle up and enjoy the ride!
To celebrate the arrival of the Tour de France in the region the Yorkshire Post is launching a fantastic new campaign to boost health and fitness across the county by urging everyone to get cycling.
Our Let’s Get Cycling project is a chance for everyone – no matter what age – to embrace the cycling spirit of Le Tour.
We are calling on families, schools, communities and businesses to get involved in our landmark initiative which is being backed by everyone from health organisations and local authorities to cycling superstars and Grand Départ organisers.
And as a starting point we want you seasoned cyclists to tell us why you love taking to two wheels and want to encourage others to do the same.
You might be a hardened race cyclist, a student who cycles to school, a businessman or woman who cycles to work – or maybe you’re a family who loves going out cycling on weekends.
Contact us with your stories and let’s encourage others to get in the saddle too.
Through a series of how-to guides, special reports, giveaways and competitions published both online and in print, we’re determined to help the cycling legacy of Le Tour flourish in our region.
Despite the fact that more people own a bike than own a car in the UK, only 13 per cent of people in Yorkshire and the Humber cycle at least monthly at present.
In some areas such as Craven, the East Riding and York this rate is 20 per cent or more, but several districts have less than 10 per cent of residents cycling regularly – something we’re determined to see change.
Jeremy Clifford, Editor of The Yorkshire Post, said: “The world’s most watched annual sporting event is coming to our region for the first time on July 5 and 6, so what better time than the present to take up the challenge and get involved.
“They say once you’ve ridden a bike you never forget, so even if you haven’t ridden for years, there’s no excuse not to take it up again.
“Cycling can be great, whether you go solo, with friends or as a family. It is a social pastime and you won’t fail to be glad you have decided to join the campaign.”
One of the first key backers of the campaign is Bruntcliffe School in Leeds where many pupils cycle to and from home every day. Headteacher Heather Scott said: “Campaigns like this really whet the appetite and make the most of that fact that this fantastic event is happening not just in our county but in our town.
“It’s important because with cycling there is a health aspect.
“If our pupils are cycling to school or through activities with their friends, it’s a really good way to keep fit.”
Dave Stevens, Yorkshire volunteer co-ordinator at Sustrans, works with the sustainable transport charity’s 400 regional volunteer trainers, environmental groups and events teams.
He said it was important to start slowly. “If you watch the Tour de France and realise people can cycle from Leeds to Harrogate via Buttertubs Pass in the Yorkshire Dales, maybe you can ride to the railway station and back.
“Don’t overface yourself just because you’ve seen Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome doing 100mph and just see how far you can get.
“Increasingly there is a cycling network and we are getting more and more routes suitable for novices and people returning to cycling and more and more of those are on your doorstep.
For more information on how to sign up visit www.yorkshirepost.co.uk and look out for the stories over the coming days and weeks. Also turn to Page 14 for details of how you can win a fantastic cycling prize.
•Video from Sustrans.org.uk