Powering up the notorious Buttertubs Pass climb during the stage one route of the Grand Depart is solely for seasoned cyclists, or is it?
A three-wheeled Tour with a difference is proving anyone can make the climb by making Buttertubs and the rest of the exhausting Yorkshire stages of the Tour de France accessible during special day trips.
Ilkley-based Yorkshire Trike Tours is offering Grand Depart packages, which allow cycling fans to tour the spectacular stage routes in their entirety, whether they are as fit as Chris Froome or unable to ride a bike at all.
Founded by Horsforth couple Jason and Judith Richards in 2012, the firm secured a special novelty private hire licence from Leeds City Council last year making the vehicle the only trike taxi in the north of England.
Jason now takes up to two people on any of 30 guided trike tours of the Yorkshire Dales lasting from one hour to two day ‘safaris’, with their 190km Leeds to Harrogate Grand Depart stage one ride out the main attraction.
The 52-year-old said: “Unless you are cycling fit and you’re at a level where you could get around the Tour de France route in a day on a bike, it’s difficult to get a true understanding of it.
“Riding the route on the trike is the nearest feeling to doing it on your bike – you get the thrill and exhilaration of a motorbike and safety and comfort of a car.
“Why miss out on the Tour because you’re not physically able to ride it?”
Narrating the rides through headsets embedded in the helmets, Jason gives passengers interesting facts about the rural landscape and even drives at similar speeds to Tour riders at certain testing parts of the route that includes climbs such as Buttertubs, Kidstones and Grinton Moor. His open-to-all Dales tours have been taken up by everyone from people celebrating birthdays to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and elderly people.
“As long as we are good and considerate to visitors the legacy of the Tour could mean us taking people around the Tour de France 2014 routes in 10 years time,” he said.
East Leeds couple Nigel and Nadine Good enjoyed a day-long Grand Depart tour on Monday, after a family member bought the ride at a charity auction.
The £450 tour includes a gourmet hamper picnic at Buttertubs Pass, near Hawes, provided by Herriots of Hawes.
Nigel, 48, said: “It’s probably one of the best gifts we have had bought in a very long time. We were going along in a motorised vehicle at a reasonable speed and the cyclists do it in a similar time – I’ve no idea how they do it.”
The £30,000 German-made Boom Mustang three-seater trike run by Yorkshire Trike Tours is the product of Jason and Judith’s six-year love affair with trikes first sparked by a Billy Connolly TV series.
Visit www.yorkshiretriketours.co.uk for information.