COLUMNIST: Tour de Yorkshire sparks cycling fever

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By the time you read this, the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire will have just taken place and I expect to nursing a few aching muscles after completing the Tour’s sportive ride – the 100km route for amateurs which takes in many of the same roads as the professionals’ race.

It’s not the longest distance I’ve cycled but certainly one of the hilliest routes, starting and finishing at Sheffield’s Fox Valley and taking in the Last of the Summer Wine Country of Holmfirth on route.

I enjoy cycling and can thoroughly recommend it as a pleasurable way of keeping fit and getting the whole family involved. As a doctor, I also know it’s good for you, here’s why:

· It’s a low impact form of exercise, therefore easier on your joints compared to running or other high impact aerobic activities.

· It involves every part of your body, not just your legs. It increases stamina and muscle tone and is particularly good for keeping knee and hip joints mobile.

· It’s a good way of getting rid of unwanted calories. Steading cycling will help you burn around 300 calories an hour.

· It reduces stress and depression and improves wellbeing and self-esteem.

You don’t have to embark on long route cycling if you don’t want to, just enjoy a relaxing ride over whatever distance you choose. You can build up the distances you cover at your leisure.

There’s a lot happening in Doncaster this year to encourage local people to get on two wheels. Every Wednesday at Keepmoat Stadium, there’s a free bike ride for the over 50s starting at 10am. It’s for all abilities, takes a couple of hours and includes a short café stop. There’s also an opportunity to hire bikes by prior arrangement. Ring 01032 865970 for details.

Also, every Wednesday at 6pm at the Keepmoat is the free DCLT bike ride for all ages, though under 15s must be accompanied by an adult. Families are welcome. Again, ring 01302 865970 to book as places are limited.

The Doncaster Cycle Festival takes place at over a one kilometre circuit in Doncaster town centre on Sunday 11 June. There will be eight races throughout the day, starting at 10am, including children and closing with the men’s professional Grand Prix.

If you fancy a real challenge, you can take part in the Cusworth Hill Climb on Wednesday 6 July at 6pm. Up to 100 people will compete to see who can cycle up the Cusworth Park hill in the fastest time.

You can find out more about these and other events, including details of Doncaster based cycling clubs, at www.doncaster.gov.uk/cycling.

The better weather is coming, so get on your bike and let’s get Doncaster cycling. Just make sure it’s in good working order, has fully inflated tyres, brakes that work and that you wear a safety helmet.