Special fabric Le Tour maps on course to get people on their bikes

Face of Ordnance Survey Nicky Busby, who is a Garforth-based photographer, with a Le Tour du Nord SplashMap.
Face of Ordnance Survey Nicky Busby, who is a Garforth-based photographer, with a Le Tour du Nord SplashMap.
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Waterproof cycling maps of Yorkshire’s Grand Depart routes are hoped to help get riders back in the saddle to enjoy this summer’s Tour de France.

A series of specially-made Le Tour du Nord SplashMaps have been created to guide would-be riders along both the July 5 Leeds to Harrogate and July 6 York to Sheffield stage routes.

With help from transport planning consultancy Steer Davies Gleave (SDG), the firm has also added in on and off-road cycle routes to help riders both explore Yorkshire on two wheels and find top vantage points for the July spectacle.

The Le Tour du Nord maps are designed to be lightweight, can be scrunched into your pockets and are being sold at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s visitor centres.

SplashMaps founder David Overton started the company having spent years as an innovation manager at mapping authority Ordnance Survey.

He told the YEP: “It came about because of my frustration of riding a mountain bike and not knowing where the other end of a bridle path was, then riding past it.

“It turns out road cyclists are just the same. GPS units are still too fragile and can run out of battery, whereas paper maps are too much of a faff.

“Our job is to make a map that’s simple and better in every respect, so with all our maps we print them on a waterproof fabric and they’re just always on hand.”

The company, which was founded in Hampshire in 2012, was one of the first start-up businesses in the UK to be crowd-funded by donations through the Kickstarter website.

Mr Overton, who is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, added: “They are great for the legacy of the Tour as far as getting people on their bikes, while on the day they can help you see your cycling heroes whizzing past.

“I hope it will persuade riders, and potential riders, to be a part of this fantastic cycling event.”

The SplashMaps innovation comes as we encourage readers to get on their bikes and engage with our Let’s Get Cycling campaign. Our two-wheeled push is hoping to tap into the growing interest in cycling ahead of the Tour de France by urging readers to email their cycling pictures and stories to jonathan.brown@ypn.co.uk or tweeting them to @jonnybrownyep.

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