Tour de France: Sheffield riding boom predicted

Mark Cavendish wins Stage 5 of the 2013 Tour de France this year.
Mark Cavendish wins Stage 5 of the 2013 Tour de France this year.

Cycling bosses are predicting a boom in biking on the back of the Tour de France visiting Sheffield next year.

The Grand Départ of the world’s largest annual cycle race takes place in Yorkshire next year, with the second stage, on Sunday, July 6, ending in Sheffield.

And the impact of the Tour’s visit is already been felt in Sheffield, according to one city bike retailer.

James McVey, store manager at Evans Cycles, Queens Road, Lowfield, said: “The Tour has seriously raised the general awareness of cycling in the UK.

“Customers are seeing the humble bicycle as an increasingly viable mode of transport.

“Hopefully, it will encourage people of all types to visit our store, not just riders of a specific discipline.

“We expect the number of first-time road cyclists to sky-rocket.”

A cycling legacy programme of the Grand Départ has been set up, which aims to encourage more people to try cycling and reduce congestion on the county’s roads over the next 10 years.

Many organisations are working in partnership with the programme to improve cycle routes and provide people with more opportunities to get in the saddle, including South Yorkshire Transport Passenger Executive.

Graham Titchener, regional director of the programme, said: “We want to inspire more participation in cycling and get in our great county to discover how much fun it is to get out and go for a ride.

“As for the event itself it will be amazing, something to enjoy and be inspired by at the same time.

“The legacy itself won’t just be about councils and organisations delivering a worthy legacy.

“It will be about each and every one of us showing the organisers of the Tour de France, and indeed the watching world, our passion for Yorkshire and for cycling.

“I’d like to see Yorkshire as the leading destination for cycling in the UK and Europe.”