Bradford is often overlooked when it comes to Northern cities in favour of Leeds and Manchester. As someone who grew up on the border of North and West Yorkshire I have a fondness for the city – not least for its world class National Science & Media Museum, Pictureville Cinema and healthy craft beer scene. But it turns out it’s also a great city for cyclists, too.
It is a fantastic time for cycling in the Bradford district. The hugely successful Stage Three of the Tour de Yorkshire started in the multi-award winning City Park in Bradford City Centre on Sunday. It took in around 60 kilometres of beautiful Bradford countryside and included three of the eight UCI classified climbs of the stage. These were the 25% gradient Cote de Silsden, the famous cobbled setts of Haworth Main Street on the Cote de Haworth, not to mention the energy sapping 2.1km climb of Cote de Leeming. Early estimates from race organisers Welcome to Yorkshire suggested that around one million people lined the streets of Stage Three, according to City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council.
It’s too early to say what the economic impact of the Tour de Yorkshire has been, although Welcome to Yorkshire will be compiling a countywide evaluation of the event which will make for some interesting reading.
Communities in the district pulled out all the stops to celebrate by holding events and decorating their towns, villages, streets and neighbourhoods, many with the help of Bradford Council by way of small community grants, logistical support and advice from council officers.
Many communities and organisations not directly on the TDY route still found a way to be involved by knitting and making mile upon mile of bunting, getting creative and producing artwork and flags, and lining the route on race day.
It’s estimated that more than 6km of bunting was used to decorate the route, 200 yellow plastic ducks floated in the Mogul Gardens in Lister Park and three giant ducks were painted along the road in Addingham in special permanent road-marking paint to be shown on TV across the globe to over 175 countries.
The Annual Women & Cycling Conference
City of Bradford MDC is keen to point out that the cycling fun in the city doesn’t stop at the Tour de Yorkshire: the momentum has continued this week with the role of women in cycling being championed at the third annual Women and Cycling Conference. The conference is being attended by women from across the district and beyond and seeks to encourage more women and girls to start cycling. The conference is being attended by Tour de Yorkshire winner, Olympic medallist, Commonwealth and World Champion local girl Lizzie Deignan. Also attending the event is ITV4 Bike Show presenter and cycling blogger, Jools Walker.
Cycle City Active City
Keeping up the cycling theme, Bradford will also be hosting the extremely popular Cycle City Active City conference on 11 and 12 May. The two-day conference will see delegates from across the country take part in discussions and workshops on all things cycling.
There will also be satellite events in City Park for members of the public to enjoy, including a Pedal-Powered Cinema showing Bradford-related films at 7pm on 11 May, a performance by Bicycle Ballet and an after party of musical performances featuring the Bradford Cycling Band 53-10.
Bradford City Cycle Event
A fun bicycle ride that is open to all will be held on May 14 at the Bradford City Cycle event which takes place on traffic-free roads in Bradford city centre.
The route winds its way through 2.5 mile loop of traffic free roads and people can start and finish at any point on the route. They can also do as many laps of the route as they like. The event has been designed so that anyone of any age, physical ability or cycling experience can have a go.
There will be a range of bikes and helmets for people to borrow if they don’t have their own, as well as adapted bikes for those with disabilities that mean conventional bikes are not accessible to them.
The city of Bradford is now also home to a cycling hub which aims to bring cycling to the fore with a programme of events and cycling themed activity that people can get involved in.
Bradford has more cycling clubs per population than anywhere else in the county and cycling continues to grow in popularity in the region.
Kersten England, Chief Executive of Bradford Council, said: “There really is a passion for cycling in our district. This was shown on Sunday for the start of Stage 3 of the Tour de Yorkshire.
“I’d like to thank everyone who made the event such a success. Hosting events like this take a tremendous amount of hard work and effort not just from communities, residents and businesses, but also from council staff and it really shows what we can do when we pull together.
“There is so much going on in the world of cycling in the district, so if you’ve been inspired by the success of the Tour de Yorkshire come along and get involved in the events that are planned over the coming weeks and months.
“Cycling is of great benefit to the city not just in terms proven health and wellbeing benefits, but also the social aspects of getting together both in hosting and taking part in cycling through events.
“The economic benefits of cycling in the district can not be missed – not just the spending power of people attending events but also the growth in cycling tourism and the boost to the amazing bike building and retail businesses we have in the district.”
For more information about cycling in the Bradford district visit cyclebradford.org.uk.