Tour De France fever is set to send Wakefield into a spin this weekend.
The great race will be shown live on a big screen at Trinity Walk from 9am to 3pm on Saturday and Sunday while viewers will be able to cycle alongside the professionals as they watch. There will also be street entertainment in the city centre.
The Hepworth Wakefield will run a range of tour-themed activities. Visitors will be challenged to cycle as fast as they can in order to power up a Scalextric track and film screening. Youngsters can test their skills on a range of unconventional bikes and help create artwork so large it can be seen from the air.
At Sun Lane Leisure, tour enthusiasts can enjoy outdoor spinning classes while all Wakefield Council leisure centres will be showing the event on television.
Coun Les Shaw, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “We want to celebrate the world’s greatest cycle race and we have a great range of exciting and fun activities for the entire family. We urge everyone to come down and enjoy this iconic race.”
Plans have also been put in place to help spectators who want to watch the Grand Depart live.
Trains are likely to be a transport lifeline owing to the closure of hundreds of miles of roads, so operators have laid on more than 90,000 extra seats for passengers travelling from now until Sunday.
Northern Rail will more than double its capacity on trains between Leeds and Harrogate, Leeds and York and Hull and York on Saturday and Sunday. The operator said demand for rail travel was likely to be high and advised cyclists to try and avoid bringing their bikes on board busy trains.
Visit letouryorkshire.com/travel for travel and road closure information.
Wakefield people are also being encouraged to get on their own bikes with a new ride for rewards scheme. People taking part can log their cycle rides and earn bike miles, which can be swapped for one of 150 prizes ranging from bikes to Amazon vouchers. The rides can be logged using a free app called pleasecycle or the go:cycling website.
The website will let people see how far they have cycled, how many calories they have burned and the CO2 emissions they have saved, showing how healthy it really is to cycle.
The scheme has been set up to encourage more people to use their bikes safely. Sign up at www.gocycling.com/rewards
The go:cycling team also organises a range of events and rides and free cycle training sessions. Visit www.wygocycling.com for details.
The Tour De France legacy will be carried on throughout July by local cycling clubs. A number of Go-Ride Tour events, co-ordinated by British Cycling, will give youngsters a chance to get involved with cycling. The Calder Clarion Go-Ride Club will host one of the events at St Thomas A Becket’s, Barnsley Road, Sandal, on July 13. All events will take place in a safe, traffic-free environment and will be led by club volunteers and trained coaches.
John Mills, British Cycling’s director of coaching, education and development, said: “We have a fantastic summer of cycling ahead of us and we wanted to provide an opportunity for young riders to emulate their cycling heroes and experience the thrill of racing. We look forward to welcoming lots of new riders to the Go-Ride Tour, which will undoubtedly be a highlight of the year for the Go-Ride programme. These racing events are developing the next generation of bike racers, so you never know, we might also find another Laura Trott or Chris Froome!”
Visit www.britishcycling.org.uk/go-ridetour for details of other rides in the area.