Hotels in Leeds have been cashing in on early signs of a two-wheeled tourism boom, after seeing a surge in bookings from cyclists wanting to tackle Le Grand Depart for themselves.
The Premier Inn chain, which has hotels all over Yorkshire, has seen a 67 per cent increase in rooms being booked by people wanting to bring a bike, while its Leeds city centre premises had over 150 bike-related enquiries within three days of stage one getting underway.
Hotels and bed and breakfasts across the region have set about becoming more bike friendly by installing cycle racks and offering bespoke cycling packages for a new breed of Yorkshire tourist.
In Leeds the likes of The Headrow’s Radisson Blu hotel, City Square’s Queens Hotel and the suburban Weetwood Hall Hotel are offering everything from storage and packed lunches to cycling maps for fans in a move being mirrored county-wide.
Peter Chubb, development director at Weetwood Hall, has seen as many as 80 cyclists gather in its courtyard every weekend and recently set up packages for fans wanting to view the Tour routes by bike or by car.
Mr Chubb, who is also on the executive board at the 35-hotel Leeds Hotels and Venues Association, told the YEP: “I sincerely believe, with the exposure coordinated with Welcome to Yorkshire, there will be a continuation of people for some time wanting to come and visit Yorkshire.”
Elsewhere in Yorkshire many hoteliers in Sheffield, Harrogate and York are starting to offer similar packages, while out in the Dales the roads are still “manic” with cyclists according to Lizzie Sowden who runs the four-room Pennycroft Guest House in Kettlewell.
She said: “It’s been busy all the time, we’ve had a 60 to 70 per cent increase in the numbers of cyclists staying. The Tour just opened it up, people discovered there’s so much more to do here.”
Tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire set about giving cycle training, including bike maintenance, to hoteliers 18 months ago. A spokesman said: “As Yorkshire is now firmly on the international cycling map as a result of the Tour de France, we’ll see more tourists bringing both their walking shoes and cleats for holidays in the county in the future.”