Hexham Courant - Tour Of Britain Preparations

22nd July 2015

Gearing up for Tour of Britain

TYNEDALE is clicking through the gears in readiness for the appearance of the world’s top cyclists in the district in September.
 
 
Pupils at the Northumberland School Games paint a bike in the county's colours of red and yellow, helped by the Aviva Tour of Britain mascot.
Coun. Anne Dale, headteacher Andrew Hudson and pupils Jacob Cann and Imogen Dixon with their decorated bike at Mickley First School.
 
For it’s not only the professionals who will be involved in the Tour of Britain race which speeds through the district on September 10.

Local residents can also get out their own bikes to share the international spotlight with the likes of Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish – although they won’t be competing.

Northumberland County Council is asking residents to donate or decorate their unwanted bikes in the county colours of red and yellow for the prestigious event, and schools and community groups across the county are already taking part by painting and displaying bikes to celebrate the Northumberland stages of the race.

The community arts project is being co-ordinated by Northumberland County Council, Active Northumberland and WATBike, a Northumberland-based organisation that promotes cycling and related activities within the county.

The project organisers want to collect as many bikes as possible during July and August and they are calling on the public to help.

Chairman of the council’s walking and cycling board, Coun. Anne Dale, of Stocksfield, said: “We would love people to get involved by donating a bike, or by setting up their own bike decorating group.

“Bikes that are fixable will be donated to North-East recycling projects and others that are beyond fixing, but still look like bikes, will be decorated to add a real Northumbrian red and yellow splash of colour to the race routes.

“Northumberland is going to look fantastic.”

Among the schools involved is Mickley First School, where headmaster Andy Hudson said: “The pupils were getting excited about the Tour of Britain before the holidays and they will be painting the bikes we have collected in bright red and yellow colours once they return to school.”

As well as decorated bikes, there will be a lot of other attractions going on when the Arriva-sponsored tour hits Tynedale on September 10.

The race is due to leave Prudhoe at 11am, where there will be a schools’ ride-out to send the riders on their way.

There will be a series of rolling road closures of up to 90 minutes as the riders make their way along the Tyne Valley through Stocksfield and Riding Mill towards Hexham.

The riders will take part in a sprint as they head into Hexham and, at the Wentworth leisure centre, there will be the chance to enjoy the latest cycling craze – a street velodrome.

Prior to the event, Hexham Community Partnership will be running a competition for shop/business front displays with three cash prizes at stake, along with two VIP invitations to the stage start at Prudhoe.

Town Mayor Coun. Trevor Cessford is putting up the £100 prize money for the shops’ competition, as well as a further £30 prize for a separate competition for the best decorated bike.

Coun. Cessford will judge both the competitions on Saturday, September 5, before the race comes through.

From Hexham, the riders will make their way to Haydon Bridge, which will see a “king of the mountains” section up the punishing climb from the village to the Roman Wall.

The Military Road will be closed for three hours for this part of the race and members of the public will have the opportunity to follow in the tyre tracks of the pros.

The tour leaves Tynedale via Gisland and Greenhead before heading off into Cumbria; the stage finishing with a lung-bursting climb up Hartside Pass.

Tynedale bicycle donors will be able to take their unwanted bikes to collection points on August 19 at Prudhoe Waterworld car park, from 9.30am-10.30am; Stocksfield railway station car park, from 11.30am-12.30pm and Wentworth car park, from 1.30pm-2.30pm.

For those unable to donate on the collection days, contact the county council on (01670) 624762.