Yorkshire plans for cycle race legacy

Boris Johnson and Kelly Brook launch the Mayor of London's Sky Ride 2011+.

Boris Johnson and Kelly Brook launch the Mayor of London's Sky Ride 2011+.

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BORIS bIKES, bike banks and major international cycling events are ideas set to feature in a 10-year plan for how West Yorkshire will build on hosting the Tour de France next year.

Leeds City Council is working with authorities across the region and Welcome to Yorkshire, the body organising next year’s event, to make sure the interest it generates in cycling has long term benefits.

Ideas on the table include creating a scheme similar to the one in London where people can pick up a bike from one part of the city and drop it off elsewhere, which has become known as ‘Boris bikes’ after London mayor Boris Johnson.

There are plans being developed to create a series of bike banks which would operate in a similar way to libraries and allow people to borrow cycles for a set period of time.

Discussions are also taking place over improving the network of cycle routes in the region.

Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity said: “We want to make Yorkshire the European capital of cycling.

“This isn’t just a one-off, there are other international races we want to see happening in Yorkshire and we want to see more people cycling at all levels.”

Known as the Grand Depart, the start of the Tour de France will take place in Leeds on July 5 next year before a two-day route around Yorkshire.

Work on how councils build on the Grand Depart is being led by York Council chief executive Kersten England.

She said: “We are already seeing raised levels of participation in cycling. The trick is to keep that going through the Tour and beyond the Tour. We will be the first region in the country to develop a cycling strategy.”

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