Cycling clubs are expecting another upsurge in interest from youngsters as the Tour de Yorkshire approaches.
More children are choosing cycling as a sport – with two wheels attracting youngsters who may previously have opted for football or more mainstream sports, says a city cycling club.
Leeds’ biggest cycling club, albaRosa Cycling Club, is spending £1,000 on specialist racing kit and equipment for its young members to encourage more participation in racing.
The club’s Joe Kraskinski said: “Where previously kids might have chosen footballers as role models or dreamed of playing in the Premiership, we’re now seeing youngsters who’d love to be pro cyclists and win the Tour de France.
“We’re seeing a big appetite for cycling amongst kids. They want to race. They identify Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins as their heroes.
“And it’s not just boys. Cycling historically has tended to be male dominated but the success of Lizzie Armitstead in winning the World Champions jersey has really started to catch the attention of more girls.”
Weekly training sessions, run by Joe and Stuart Westley, for budding racers at Allerton Grange School have seen consistently high attendance from youngsters.
Stuart said: “Nothing seems to put them off. It can be tough training on a cold Wednesday evening but we get a great bunch of regulars every week and they just love racing – it’s all they want to do.
“In a few years time we’d like to see some of these kids good enough to take part in events like the Tour de Yorkshire.”
Both World Champion, Otley-born Lizzie Armitstead and cycling legend, Sir Bradley Wiggins are confirmed participants at the Tour de Yorkshire, April 29 to May 1.