Women’s Tour’s return to Northamptonshire can inspire more of us to get on our bikes

Cyclists enjoy one of the Sky Ride events delivered by Northamptonshire Sport and British Cycling
Cyclists enjoy one of the Sky Ride events delivered by Northamptonshire Sport and British Cycling

Northamptonshire County Council is hoping the return of the Women’s Tour to the county this summer will inspire even more people to get on their bike.

After hosting the first stage of the inaugural Women’s Tour last year, a survey found 75 per cent of people who watched the world-class cycling race in Northamptonshire were inspired to cycle more often.

As a direct result of the Women’s Tour, British Cycling introduced the Go Ride programme in 10 secondary schools in the county.

It provides a fun and safe way to introduce young riders to the world of cycling sport and provides a platform to improve bike handling skills through coaching sessions, after-school cycling clubs and inter-school contests.

Another consequence of the Women’s Tour coming to Northamptonshire was the inclusion of cycling in the Northamptonshire School Games for the first time, while almost 600 people have taken part in a free Sky Ride Local, Breeze or Ride Social cycle ride delivered by Northamptonshire Sport in partnership with British Cycling.

Dr Akeem Ali, the county’s director for public health and wellbeing, said: “The Women’s Tour 2014 was not only a fantastic spectator event but also had a real impact on people’s interest in sport, particularly cycling.

“With 75 per cent of people who watched the race saying they felt inspired to cycle more often, it’s clear that by bringing this wonderful event to Northamptonshire we managed to generate a real buzz around the sport.

“We’ve worked hard to create more opportunities in Northamptonshire for people to get cycling – whether that’s learning to ride a bike at school or taking part in a social cycle ride – and we hope to continue that good work as we welcome the Women’s Tour back to the county this summer.

“No matter what your age and ability, cycling is a fantastic way to enjoy the outdoors and benefit from physical activity, so I would encourage everyone to get back on their bike!”

The following free bike rides are taking place over the coming weeks:

Sunday, June 28, at 10am, 28-mile route starting from Kirby Hall;

Sunday, July 5, at 10am, 12-mile route starting from Daventry Country Park;

Sunday, July 5, at 2pm, 5-mile route starting from the Salcey Forest cafe;

Sunday, July 12, at 10am, 18-mile route starting from Brampton Valley Way car park;

Sunday, July 12, at 2pm, 4-mile route starting from Stanwick Lakes visitor centre;

Sunday, July 19, at 10am, 21-mile route starting from the Quarryman’s Cafe at Irchester Country Park;

Sunday, July 19, at 10am, 10-mile route starting from the Nene White Water Centre, Northampton.

Since the 2014 Women’s Tour, there has also been the creation of the Northamptonshire Cycling Network, which brings together key organisations involved in the development of cycling, and a ground-breaking urban bike hire scheme called Cycle CoNNect has been launched in Northampton. The scheme now has 10 cycle hubs and since its launch more than 3,000 journeys have been made using the bikes.

To find out more about cycling in Northamptonshire, including details of local cycle rides, visit www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/womenstour.