Cycle Yorkshire is a unique initiative seeking to use Yorkshire's Grand Depart to deliver a region wide cycling legacy for all generations and all abilities.
The last 10 years has seen a revolution in British cycling with Olympic and Tour de France successes galvanising enthusiasm and participation in the sport. Cycling has the potential to help address major social issues in the region through promoting healthy living, increasing green travel, boosting tourism and supporting social inclusion.Yorkshire has a rich cycling heritage.
The region is home to pioneers of British professional cycling such as Beryl Burton, Brian Robinson, Barry Hoban and Malcolm Elliott. More recently Yorkshire athletes Ed Clancy and Lizzie Armistead have been at the heart of British Olympic success.
Every year Yorkshire plays host to major races on the cycling calendar from professional road races to world cup mountain biking. Ilkley, Otley and Clifton cycle clubs are among the oldest in the country. Their members join thousands of other enthusiasts to take part in the hundreds of organised sportives and mass participation cycling events across the county each year.
The drive and passion for cycling in Yorkshire has a long history. Participation is above the national average across our region and York has been named in the top three best cycling cities in the country.
This is a great base from which to start but there is still a lot do. All Councils and Cycle Yorkshire partners are committed to building Yorkshire's cycling reputation even further.
There are wide discrepancies in cycling infrastructure, participation and opportunities across the region. Cycle Yorkshire recognises this and has outlined five key areas of focus to address these differences. In conjunction with local authorities, key partners and its members, Cycle Yorkshire is a broad alliance of enthusiastic and passionate people who are committed to delivering a significant and enduring legacy of the Tour de France's visit to Yorkshire for this and future generations to come.
Learning to ride a bike is a rite of passage for most children. The vast majority of us will remember our first bike, our first ride, that moment where the instability disappears and zooming around on two wheels feels as natural as a walk to the shop. It provides a new degree of freedom and independence, the ability to go where you want under your own steam; that injection of effort to climb a hill and the joy of descending the other side, becoming fitter with every ride.
Our view is that every child should have the opportunity to enjoy this experience and we hope this is yours too. This is why we ask every person in our great region to make it even greater and do your bit to get on your bike, ride more often and encourage others to do the same.
Too often, however, this enthusiasm and passion for cycling remains just a happy childhood memory and the bike gets consigned to the garage all too quickly. The practical issues of cycling to work, highway concerns, lack of awareness and confidence on how to get involved mean that cycling is sometimes overlooked as a leisure, travel and sporting choice.
Cycle Yorkshire has outlined five overall key objectives to address these issues and to get more people cycling more often in Yorkshire over the next 10 years:
1. Get more people cycling
Provide adults and children with greater training and access to cycling to build both the current and next generation of cycling enthusiasts, commuters and maybe even the next sporting heroes.
2. Make choosing cycling easier
Work closely with local authorities, businesses and partners to improve cycling infrastructure and facilities to address both real and perceived barriers to cycling.
3. More events to take part in
Broaden both the number and awareness of cycling events and opportunities for people of all generations and abilities to get involved.
4. Greater awareness of cycling and cyclists
Undertake a range of campaigns and events to generate a wider appreciation of the benefits of cycling, travel planning, bike safety and cycle friendly routes.
5. A thriving network of cycling businesses & social enterprises
Encourage and support all cycling related businesses in the region to provide a dedicated network of experts to sustain the Yorkshire's growing cycling community.
This can only be achieved by each and everyone of us living, working, investing and indeed visiting Yorkshire to do their bit, whether personally or professionally and make every part of our region the best place to live and the best place to cycle in for all the health, financial and environment benefits and especially because it is fun and brings families and communities together.