Calderdale gears up for Tour de France

Children cycling

The countdown is on!

As this year’s Tour de France gets off to a thrilling start in Corsica, Friday 5 July marks one year to go to the Yorkshire Grand Départ 2014.

The excitement is building amongst cycling fans in Yorkshire, with many travelling to France for this year’s event. A corner of the team time trial circuit in Nice was even renamed ‘Cragg Vale Corner’, after the famous Calderdale climb.

The 101st running of the Tour will kick off in Leeds and hits Calderdale on Sunday 6 July 2014 as part of stage 2 – the ‘Historic Stage’ where riders will take on the aforementioned Cragg Vale, England’s longest continuous road climb. The borough hosts 35km of route before the race heads to Huddersfield.

In anticipation of this amazing event next year, Calderdale Council is running a series of road shows along the route to get local communities and businesses clued up on what Le Tour will involve and how they can make the most of the iconic event – for example, by adapting their products and spreading the word now to make sure visitors come back our area to experience Le Tour. Road shows have taken place in Hebden Bridge, Ripponden and even Todmorden, which is not on the route but will certainly benefit as a visitor destination. Further road shows are planned for Elland on Monday 8 July and Hebden Bridge on Thursday 18 July. Brighouse and Halifax meetings will follow. The enthusiasm and momentum from businesses and communities has been inspiring, with lots of quirky ideas being developed to celebrate the lead-up to Le Tour.

Communities and businesses interested in finding out more about the road shows can register their interest with the Council’s tourism team at

As well as exploring benefits to tourism, businesses and communities, Calderdale is upping the ante on all things cycling to build excitement and encourage more people to get out on their bikes.

A wave of cycling activities is set to hit Yorkshire and Calderdale as British Cycling launches Sky Ride Local, starting in July and running through to the end of September. As part of this exciting programme, people will be able to dust off their bikes and get involved in one of 25 guided bike rides. The aim is to encourage more people to take up cycling. Riders will be guided by friendly British Cycling road leaders along scenic planned routes. With three different levels, there’s something for everyone, whether it’s about building confidence or setting yourself a challenge. For more information on beautiful guided rides available in Calderdale, visit link) |External link

Calderdale is fast becoming an area respected for not only great road cycling and mountain biking but quirky fun too. Friday 5 July sees the launch of the South Pennines Walk and Ride Festival, organised by Pennine Prospects, with a fun-for-all event at Hollins Park cycle speedway track in Sowerby Bridge. The fun continues on Saturday 7 September with the ‘Up the Buttress’ event in Hebden Bridge, an extreme hill climb where participants are challenged to conquer a 450 metre ascent up a steep cobbled incline – certainly not for the faint-hearted but great fun for spectators!

Calderdale is also leading the way on culture. The Council is leading the biggest ever cultural festival, which will start on 27 March 2014, 100 days before the start of the race. The festival will showcase amazing artwork inspired by Yorkshire’s famous heritage, great outdoors and landscapes, with a focus on French connections. There will also be lots of opportunities for local communities to get involved in celebrating with fringe events and existing festivals. Calderdale Council will shortly be offering bite sized sessions to ensure that local arts, cultural and community groups don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to get involved.

Calderdale Council’s Leader, Cllr Tim Swift, says:

“With one year to go, excitement is really building in Calderdale. The Tour de France is a huge event that will showcase our area on the world stage, so we are working hard to make sure local people and businesses know how to make the most of the opportunities it will bring. And with the brilliant range of cycling activities across the borough, we’re really highlighting how great cycling is for health, fun and seeing our spectacular scenery.”

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