Cycling spectacle dazzles a crowd of 3,000 at former Leeds brewery

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A mesmerising cycling light show fusing dance, sport and public art has wowed more than 3,000 people on its opening night.

The Ghost Peloton performance at the former Tetley Brewery’s Waides Yard, in Hunslet, saw 30 illuminated cyclists wearing special light suits ride in unison to a projected film featuring dancers and a BMX stunt rider.

Riders taking part in the Ghost Peloton light show at Tetley's Waides Yard, in Leeds. Picture by Tim Smith

Riders taking part in the Ghost Peloton light show at Tetley's Waides Yard, in Leeds. Picture by Tim Smith

A collaboration between Quarry Hill-based Phoenix Dance Theatre and Scottish arts organisation NVA in partnership with transport charity Sustrans, the event is among the headline attractions of the £2m Yorkshire Festival.

Tonight’s evening show was the first of two free-ticketed performances – the second scheduled for the same venue tomorrow night – aimed to help mark the upcoming arrival of the Tour de France on July 5 and 6.

Sharon Watson, artistic director at Phoenix, said: “Ghost Peloton draws on talented and diverse artists coming together to create something unique, engaging and appealing on many levels. I am proud and excited to be sharing it with the world. It really is Yorkshire giving you more, looking at world class art in a fresh way.”

Cyclists rode along three of Sustrans’ National Cycle Network routes that lead to the crowded Waides Yard performance space, which had a 14metre LED screen featuring the dance performers as its backdrop.

The live Ghost Peloton event, the film of the dancers and the creation of a short film of the Ghost Peloton cycling on the Tour de France route will compiled into a film for broadcast during the television coverage of the Grand Depart from Yorkshire this summer. An audience of 180million people in 150 different countries around the world are expected to tune in.

Angus Farquhar, creative director at NVA, added: “The collaboration with Phoenix Dance Theatre and amateur racing cyclists presents a beautiful and poetic visual response to the Tour de France both as a film work and live public event.”

Ghost Peloton builds on the success of NVA’s Speed of Light art project made in response to the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games, which premiered its remote-controlled LED light suits with the help of 4,000 endurance runners. NVA’s new cycling-inspired project forms part of the Yorkshire Festival, which is seeing 47 creative commissions celebrate the Grand Depart from Yorkshire.

For further information on Ghost Peloton visit or for more on the ongoing Yorkshire Festival.


The word ‘peloton’ is French for ‘rolled up ball’ or ‘platoon’ and is usually used to refer to cyclists.

The term is used to describe a large group of cyclists riding as one unit.

Riders at the front of the pack drawn the entire unit along and help cyclists further back save their energy as those riders face less wind resistance, meaning they experience a reduction in drag.

It is estimated that riders cycling within a peloton can save up to 40 per cent of their energy when compared with riders that are not drafting as part of a group.

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