Yorkshire riding high on Tour de France coup

The county of Yorkshire in the UK is already benefiting from its coup in being chosen as the start point for this year’s Tour de France cycle race, by reporting an impressive increase in its tourism figures for the first part of the year.

In January and February, Yorkshire shrugged off the effects of particularly hard winter weather to record the highest year-on year rise for tourism spend in the country. The county’s tourism revenue grew by 47 percent for the period.

Figures from the Great Britain Travel Survey (GBTS) also reveal that trips to Yorkshire increased by 6.6 percent during the period, while overnight stays increased by 24.2 percent. By comparison, the GBTS survey also revealed that the national average increase for trips to destinations within England for the same period was just 0.9 percent, with overnight stays up by 7.3 percent and visitor spend up by an average of 9.2 percent.

Welcome to Yorkshire is the organisation responsible for promoting tourism in the county, and its chief executive, Gary Verity, said, ‘Stats like these are testament to the hard work and determination of our tourism businesses, coupled with the innovative work we do to market Yorkshire. These encouraging figures follow our announcement that we had secured the Tour de France – and the subsequent international media coverage it brought for Yorkshire, thrusting it into the spotlight once more.’

He added, ‘Yorkshire is now recognised as one of the leading tourist destinations in Europe and our summer guide is just one of a number of initiatives we are leading to build on this momentum.’

Le Tour’s Grand Depart, stage 1, takes place in Leeds on Saturday July 5 and follows a route to Harrogate. Stage 2 leaves York on Sunday July 6, and finishes in the city of Sheffield.

Cycling tourism receives increased promotion in Europe

Touring on a bicycle, is catching up fast globally, and is to be promoted by authorities in Europe in a big way.

According to a new study, cycling tourism is one of the sectors in tourism that holds great potential with respect to growth and development. With more people becoming environmentally conscious and with air and sea travel becoming costly, cycling tourism is taking its much deserved place in the tourism industry as an affordable, sustainable and cheap means of tourism. Countries that are promoting cycling tourism are already offering new attractions and activities with a view to lure more tourists to this mode of tourism.

According to a new study authored by Dr Richard Weston from the University of Central Lancashire, cycling tourism is one of the biggest growth sectors in tourism in Europe, worth €44bn per annum in Europe. Now that tourism officials have been exposed to the potential that cycling tourism holds, experts are converging at Nantes, France, as part of the ECF/EGWA Cycle Tourism Conference to discuss how they can grow this particular tourism sector.

The report by Dr Weston said that there were an estimated 2.295 billion cycle tourism trips in Europe annually. The author said that since it was not dependent on air travel, it was more sustainable environmentally, socially and economically. Weston would be speaking at the ECF/EGWA Cycle Tourism Conference.

In an interview, he said that cycling tourism could be expanded to those areas where traditional tourism could not be expanded due to a variety of reasons.

The conference is also to be attended by Dominique Lebrun, France’s national cycling coordinator, and Jim Sayer, executive director of Adventure Cycling (US).

Lebrun said, ‘France has seen an important growth in cycling tourism in the past few years, so I’m really happy to see a conference like this take place in Nantes. France wants to become Europe’s Number one cycling tourism destination.’

France, which has taken to cycling tourism in earnest, has already established a national bicycle plan, which looks to develop off-road cycle paths. The project would get a 50 per cent increase in state funding.

The ECF/EGWA Conference starts today in Nantes, and would look to unveil plans aimed at maximising the benefits of cycle tourism in regions, cities and countries.

Tour of Britain to visit popular tourist destinations

Cycling’s Tour of Britain race is well under way and will be visiting many well-known tourist destinations over the next few days.

The Tour of Britain will provide holidaymakers across the country with the chance to see famous professional riders like Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish in competitive action just weeks after they were carrying the nation’s hopes in the highly successful London 2012 Olympic Games.

Tomorrow, visitors to the Scottish Borders will be able to line the 161.4km route for Stage 3 between Jedburgh and Dumfries. Commencing at 11.00am, the route will include Hawick, Cappercleuch, Moffat, Johnstonebridge, New Abbey and Cargenbridge, finishing at Dumfries Whitesands at 2.30pm.

On Wednesday, Stage 4 is a 156km ride from Carlisle to the traditional seaside resort of Blackpool. Between the start at 11.00am and the finish at the tower on Blackpool’s promenade at 2.35pm, the route will include Shap Fell in the Lake District National Park.

On Thursday, Stage 5 is a circular route around Staffordshire, centring on Stoke on Trent, before Stage 6 on Friday crosses the border into Wales for a 189.8km ride between Welshpool and Caerphilly, including Builth Wells, the Brecon Beacons National Park and Caerphilly Mountain. The Welsh stage starts at 10.30am and finishes in Caerphilly at 2.48pm.

Saturday, and Stage 7 is a 170.7km ride across the southwest peninsular from Barnstaple to Dartmouth. The route visits Bideford, Tavistock and Buckfastleigh, taking in a number of Dartmoor climbs on the way. The Devon leg starts at 10.15am and finishes on Dartmouth Promenade at 2.09pm.

Sunday’s final stage is in the southeast on a winding 177.7km course between Reigate and Guildford in Surrey. This stage starts at the latter time of 12.00pm and will finish between 3.30pm and 4.12pm.

Full details are available at http://www.tourofbritain.com/

London 2012 Olympic Festival Encourages Fans to Cycle and Walk To Games Venues

The London 2012 Festival, a 12-week celebration for international travellers visiting London for the 2012 Olympics Games, which start later this month, has urged Olympic fans to consider cycling or walking to the Games venues.

The Active Travel programme has invested around £10m in the development of approximately 75km of walking and cycling routes to London 2012 venues, both inside and outside London. Parking spaces for cycles, which are offered free of charge, will be available at the Olympics Games venues, and guided walks are being organised to assist spectators in getting to the Games.

The organisers of the Olympic and Paralympic Games are also arranging a Get Walking for the Games project, encouraging spectators to walk to venues, in order to avoid traffic congestion.

Two special walks during the London 2012 Open Weekend will be launched at the end of July 2012. One walk commences from Windsor to the rowing venue, Dorney Lake, and back along the Thames. The other walk includes the main Olympic Park in Stratford, East London, and local waterways, offering views of several of the landmark venues.

Hugh Sumner, the director of transport at the Olympic Delivery Authority, said in a statement, ‘Cycling is a fun and healthy way to get around at Games time.

The ODA and its partners have made a significant investment to ensure London 2012 is a sustainable transport Games.

All London 2012 venues are accessible by bike and free, secure, managed cycle parking will also be available at each location. During Games-time there will be more than 16,000 temporary cycle parking spaces for spectators at Games venues, with around 7,000 spaces serving the Olympic Park alone.’

Bike Maintenance Tips for Riders Going on Bike Trails

With the onset of summer, many bike riders will be dusting off their bikes to prepare for the riding season, either to work, or on pleasure trips.

Hank Krause, the owner of White Lightning, a company manufacturing bike maintenance supplies, said, ‘It’s a great time for cyclists to re-educate themselves and learn more about the activity. Accidents send more than 500,000 people to the emergency room each year. Most can be prevented by learning basic bike safety and proper maintenance.’

Here are some of the safety basics that bike riders can follow:

  • The habitual wearing of a helmet is a prime basic safety procedure that all bike riders should follow. Applying reflective decals to bike parts, and adding a bike light for better visibility, are two other important safety features that will help to keep the rider safe.
  • Following the rules of the road is important.
  • Bike brakes must be checked regularly and sandpaper should be used to take the shiny coating from brake pads, as glazed brake pads are not fully functional. Brake pads must also be checked for wear and tear, and replaced regularly. Wheel rims should be cleaned regularly for better brake performance.
  • Regular use of a cleaner and bike lubricant on the bike chain is also important to reduce wear and tear.

Krause said, ‘If you regularly clean your bike frame, de-gunk the gears and lube-up the chain, your bike will be safer, it will last longer and it will shift and pedal more easily.’