Strange how a ‘blink and they’re gone’ bike race can mesmerise and fascinate.
Tour de Yorkshire on its first outing last year did just that, scratching a cycling itch that first started to tingle with Le Grand Depart in 2014.
Since then many thousands of bikes have been bought and pedal passions roused by the thrill of the open road and serious climbs, not to mention the fervour to spend Sunday showing off a finely tuned thigh.
Next month, from 29 April to 1 May, Tour de Yorkshire comes to its most northerly route yet. The third stage will see cyclists set off from Middlesbrough on 1 May.
The 198km route will wind its way from its industrial starting point to the Cleveland Hills, Yorkshire Moors and the North Yorkshire coast.
Favourite landmarks will earn their own notoriety as Sutton Bank becomes Cote de Sutton Bank and the lofty Blakey Ridge reveals Gallic charm in a new guise as Cote de Blakey.
Along the route, from Hutton Rudby to Helmsley and eventually Robins Hood’s Bay, the route will be lined with enthusiasts and supporters buying in to the spirit of the cycle.
The event is also a valuable marketing opportunity for the county with live coverage on ITV4, British Eurosport and 177 countries around the world. Last year’s event saw four million page views on the race website in the month running up to the first stage with nearly two million on race days, and a Twitter reach of 5 million.
For Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, this year’s event builds on a fantastic foundation; “Yorkshire’s ability to host a world class sporting event is now proven; with our partners and the local authorities we have created a fantastic event which we are confident will grow year on year to become one of the biggest sporting events in the world.”
Local towns and villages are seizing the moment to shout about their great places on the route.
Stokesley will celebrate with its own TourFest on the final day of the three-day race, Sunday May 1 when the race heads through the town from its starting point in Middlesbrough.
The High Street will be closed to traffic for the whole day with extensive car parking available on the Showfield. A number of family focused activities are being organised as well as live music, rides, street entertainers, food stalls, a mobile bar, marquees on The Green, official merchandise stalls, a children’s treasure trail and parades along the High Street.
The whole race will be shown live on a large, outdoor TV screen and a stage will have a programme of music performances as well.
Local businessman Stewart Brennan, a parish councilor, is one of the organisers.
Favourite landmarks will earn their own notoriety as Sutton Bank becomes Cote de Sutton Bank and the lofty Blakey Ridge reveals Gallic charm in a new guise as Cote de Blakey
“This will be special day with a whole range of events and activities in town aimed to entertain and interest the crowds who want to see the race come through Stokesley. Our local shops, pubs, restaurants and businesses have been very keen to take part and many of them will be open and running their own TourFest activities to celebrate the Tour de Yorkshire. There will be something for everyone and we aim to make it a really great day for residents and visitors.”
Steven Bell, owner of Chapters Hotel, is a keen racing cyclist and runs local cycling team Fietsen Tempo. He said: “We have over 40 riders, many over 50 who just enjoy riding a bike and keeping fit. It’s great that the Tour de Yorkshire is coming through Stokesley. The team at the Parish Council have been passionate about putting Stokesley on the map, and this is an opportunity for people to see the carnival caravan of a major cycling tour pass through.”
Peter Holligon, who runs Howard’s in the town, said: “We’ve been in Stokesley for eight years and the town really is thriving. Having the Tour de Yorkshire pass through Stokesley is a really exciting prospect as it showcases what our town is all about: community, businesses and tourism. We’ll certainly have a few special events and are really looking forward to the whole weekend as we’re big cycling fans.”
Tour de Yorkshire; 29, 30 April – 1 May
Sunday May 1 – Stage 3 from Middlesbrough to Scarborough – 198km
Thirsk and Whitby
Sutton Bank, Grosmont, Blakey Ridge, Robin Hood’s Bay, Harwood Dale and Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough
Stay on the way
Make a trip of it – where to stay, eat, picnic and cheer
Chapters Hotel & Brasserie in Stokesley is right in the thick of the action with the market town pulling out all the stops in celebration of the cycle-fest. The brasserie is a cosy spot to fill up on carefully-prepared bistro classics, cocktails and well-chosen wines straight from the vineyard.
Tour de Yorkshire passes through Helmsley where the Black Swan is a great place for fine dining, delicate afternoon tea or a gutsy pie and a pint moment
Just a few miles away and also on the TDY route you find the gastro gems that are The Pheasant and The Star Inn at Harome. They’ve got a great pedigree and the ultimate picnic for your wheel-watching escapades.
Cote de Sutton Bank is one of the mighty climbs along the route. Handily lying at the top of the bank is The Hare at Scawton. The husband and wife team scooped Welcome to Yorkshire’s Restaurant of the Year 2015 and the Restaurant of the Year 2015 accolade at The Flavours of Herriot Country Awards. By the time you read this they should be up and running with new rooms.
High on the moors, the race zooms through Egton and The Wheatsheaf is a grand place to take a pew and watch it flash by. Acclaimed Sunday lunches, nice fish from Whitby – a very good fish pie and fabulous ales.
Not far from Sutton Bank in Felixkirk you The Carpenter’s Arms offers swish accommodation in a courtyard of modern suites and a really cosy country pub
which has a wonderful gastro touch.
Glam up. How about a luxe lodge? Wraparound sofas, outdoorsy balcony and hot-tub for wine-sipping and inside there’s Nespresso on tap.
Or the glamping thing? Head to Yurtshire (see what thy did there?) and stay cool under canvas at Newbrough Priory near Coxwold – not far from the TDY route. Yurts that are cosy to be in with floors, beds and everything.
Four wheels to follow two. Hire Monty, Margo. Bluebell or Harry and make it a retro four-wheeled occasion. Dashing VW campers are the perfect partners to the two-wheeled dash – whether they can cope with Cote de Blakey Ridge is another matter.