Olympic cycling star Lizzie Armitstead is backing a new project that aims to get more people in Leeds to sample life in the saddle.
Otley-born Lizzie turned out yesterday to run the rule over the city’s first Yorkshire Bank Bike Library, based at Fearnville Leisure Centre in Gipton.
The scheme is encouraging people to donate unwanted bikes which will then be repaired and renovated before being made available for free hire.
It has been launched to try to build on the huge success of the Tour de France Grand Départ and Tour de Yorkshire.
And Lizzie, who famously took silver in the women’s cycling road race at London 2012, is convinced the team behind the project is onto a winner.
She said: “Cycling in Yorkshire is at an all-time high following on from the Tour de France and more recently the Tour de Yorkshire.
“I hope through this initiative people who in the past haven’t had access to a bike will get out there and give it a go.”
The bike library scheme is a three-year project by Yorkshire Bank and Cycle Yorkshire, a partnership comprising Welcome To Yorkshire, local authorities and key cycling groups.
Community organisations, charities and not-for-profit businesses from across Yorkshire can apply for funding to set up a library.
One of the first successful applicants was Fearnville Leisure Centre’s Fearnville Bike Hub Leeds BMX Club.
Fearnville Bike Hub’s Jeremy Hayes said: “We are delighted to be chosen as a Yorkshire Bank Bike Library.
“We have been involved in cycling in the community for a while and believe with the backing we have received we can create a multi-discipline and all-inclusive cycle hub for the people of Leeds.”
For donation station details and other information about the project, visit the www.ybonline.co.uk/we-care-about-here/bikelibraries web page.