Woolly bikes to stitch together Yorkshire as Tour de France arrives

Knitting enthusiasts are being tasked with stitching together a trail of Tour de France cycles that will stretch across Yorkshire.

Monday, 3rd March 2014, 12:42 pm
Yarn storm artist Cassandra Kilbride pictured with an example of a wool-covered bicycle similar to those that will be exhibited as part of her Woolly Bike Trail project. +picture: Jess Rowbottom/ jrphotos.net

Yarn storm artist Cassandra Kilbride, from Ossett, is calling on nimble-fingered residents to join any one of 20 woollen workshops from next week, which will spawn 10 bicycles covered in crochet inspired by our region.

Once complete the artistic cycles, themed on everything from whippets to the White Rose, will go on display together at Sheffield Cathedral from July 1 to 31 as part of the Yorkshire Festival which precedes the Grand Depart.

The woollen cycles will then return to the towns, villages and cities across Yorkshire in which they were created, forming The Woolly Bike Trail across the county for 12 months.

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Cassandra, 29, told the YEP: “It will be good to show the world Yorkshire wool and what can be created with it. I hope the trail inspires people to think about the towns in which they live, their heritage and what we have achieved as a county.”

The festival, which is the first arts celebration to build up to the Tour in its 111-year history, officially launches on March 27.

Cassandra will host two workshops in each of 10 Yorkshire towns to create the bikes with up to 20 volunteers each time, starting at Wakefield One on Thursday, from 10.30am to 3.30pm, ahead of visits to the likes of Leeds, Sheffield, Halifax and Haworth before her July exhibition. To get involved visit www.yorkshireswoollybikes.co.uk.

Henrietta Duckworth, executive producer of the festival, said: “It’s exciting to see the Yorkshire Festival 2014 projects get underway – this is such a terrific, quirky project.”

Wool-weaving Tour de France fans in Harrogate have already shown their enthusiasm for the event, with almost 8,000 pledges to knit yellow, white, green and red dotted jerseys that will decorate the streets of the town as bunting this summer for the big race’s arrival on July 5 and 6.

Harrogate Borough Council set the needle high with a 3,000-jersey target but pledges from as far as Austria, Bermuda and Canada have seen the total soar. Anyone wishing to contribute must hand in creations at drop-off points by March 10.

Patrick Kilburn, head of the council’s parks and open spaces department, said: “We don’t mind whether people send us one jersey or a box full – the most we know one person has knitted is 89 so far.”

Visit www.harrogate.gov.uk/letourdebunting for further information.