This summer, Britain proudly hosted the Grand Depart of the most prestigious cycle race in the world, the famous Tour de France.The Tour de France is a multiple-stage cycle race, primarily held in France that has been held annually since 1903 (pausing only for the two World Wars). Unlike in 2007, Britain’s involvement in the Tour de France was not centred in London, but in the northern region of Yorkshire. The Tour de France began in the busy metropolis of Leeds, passing through the historic city of York, and ending the first stage in the spa town of Harrogate.

The Economic Benefits for Yorkshire

The Grand Depart 2014 is expected to give Yorkshire around £100 million in economic benefits. The estimated cost to Yorkshire councils currently stands at £6.5 million, and this includes a £4 million staging fee and £10 million in assistance made available by the Treasury. Many local business owners believe that there will be long term benefits for the region’s economy, as the event will have put Yorkshire firmly on the map and will encourage return visits. Leeds City Council recorded footfall of over 1 million people in the city centre from 7-13th July, a 19% increase on the same week in 2013. The Trinity Leeds shopping centre was visited by an additional 100,000 people, and the cycling route starting at Harewood House was lined by around 5 million spectators. The increased interest in cycling is also expected to benefit online businesses like Fatbirds that cater for cycling enthusiasts. The positive economic impact on shops, restaurants, bars, hotels and transport services should not be underestimated.

The Yorkshire Legacy of the Tour de France

The main legacy promises for the organisers of the Yorkshire leg of the Tour de France include a regional cycle hire network, and free access to a bike and training on how to use it. The Tour de France was hailed as a wonderful opportunity to promote cycling as a form of transport and a way to keep fit, in a plan called ‘Cycle Yorkshire’, launched 100 days before the start of Le Tour. Cycle Yorkshire hopes to see the number of competitive and non-competitive races rise, women’s cycling activity rise to make up a third of the total, and the number of trips made by bike in each local authority become a fifth higher by 2023.

By Guest

This is a contribution by a guest author. These guest posts are protected by Creative Commons unported license 4.0. Viewpoints are that of the author only. For posting articles as a guest author, please send your proposals to [email protected]