Wheely packed Sheffield weekend marks one year since Tour de France

NSST 6-7-14 Bradfield 13'Tour De France comes to Bradfield
NSST 6-7-14 Bradfield 13'Tour De France comes to Bradfield
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More than 5,000 people will bike through Sheffield as a cycling packed weekend marks one year since the Tour de France.

Sunday’s Sky Ride – which is set to attract up to 5,000 cyclists – is just one event planned to celebrate the anniversary of the second stage of last year’s bike race in Sheffield on July 6.

It will allow families to ride through traffic-free streets, while a hill climb challenge on Wincobank’s Jenkin Road will take place on Saturday for those who want more of a gruelling ride and to follow in the steps of last year’s elite riders.

Rotherham-born professional cyclist Ben Swift – a team-mate of 2013 Tour de France winner Chris Froome at Team Sky – is to join the crowds at the Sky Ride in Sheffield.

He said: “Cycling has been growing massively in the last couple of years – it is great to be a cyclist at the moment.

“If they are expecting 5,000 people, that is a testament to the Sky Ride and shows people have got behind it. I think people now are understanding the freedom you get from cycling, as well as the health benefits and the enjoyment.

“It’s something you can do as a family – you can take it as far as you want.

“Across Yorkshire, the cycling growth there is massive, and when I get to come home to Sheffield or Rotherham, the number of people on bikes is unbelievable.”

Sheffield Council has also agreed to permanently remember the Tour – which had an estimated economic benefit of £11 million to Sheffield and is the most watched sporting event in the world.

It intends to install stone markers at Midhopestones – the start of the 22-mile route the stage took through Sheffield – and in Attercliffe, where the stage finished.

Celebratory street art will also be painted on to each of the stage’s four ‘King of the Mountain’ climbs in Sheffield – at Bradfield, Oughtibridge, Jenkin Road and Midhopestones – while a guide for visitors or cyclists will be created.

Public consultation is to be launched on the £15,000 scheme this weekend and will run for three weeks.

All of this weekend’s events are free and include bike checks and coaching sessions.

C oun Isobel Bowler, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said:“Since the end of the Tour de France, everybody I have spoken to loved the fact they could walk on the roads before the bikes came through, they didn’t have to worry about cars and traffic and there was a nice community feel.

“That’s what we are trying to do this weekend, bringing the community together.”