cycling infrastructure

Leeds recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Tour de France Grand Depart with a weekend of cycling events, showcasing its bike-friendly infrastructure and engaging the community with family-friendly activities. The Legacy Ride, with routes up to 230km, honored both the past and future of cycling in Leeds, highlighting a 40% increase in cycle lane use and the city’s commitment to sustainable transport.

What is being celebrated in Leeds on the 10th anniversary of the Tour de France Grand Depart?

Leeds celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Tour de France Grand Depart with a weekend of cycling events, including the Legacy Ride with routes up to 230km. The city showcased its bike-friendly infrastructure with a 40% increase in cycle lane use and engaged the community with family-friendly activities, honoring both the past and the future of cycling in Leeds.

Embracing the Legacy of Cycling

Leeds recently buzzed with the excitement of commemorating a significant milestone—the 10th anniversary of the Tour de France Grand Depart hosted by Yorkshire. The city streets were awash with enthusiastic amateur cyclists, all participating in the Legacy Ride, a testament to the enduring impact of this world-class event on local culture and the sport itself.

Throughout the weekend, the city wasn’t just a hub for cyclists but a family-friendly venue filled with bike-themed activities. City Square, in particular, transformed into a center for festivities, competitions and educational fun, engaging residents and visitors of all ages and illustrating the blossoming relationship between Leeds and cycling.

Recent research by Leeds City Council reveals a telling statistic: from 2017 to 2023, there’s been a 40% rise in the use of cycle lanes around the city. This is a clear indication that cycling has woven itself into the fabric of Leeds’ day-to-day life, providing a snapshot of a city increasingly on the move with pedal power.

Infrastructure and Initiatives

The tapestry of Leeds’ transport infrastructure is marked with over 12 kilometers of cycle routes. This growing network ensures safe, connected, and sustainable travel options for citizens, aligning closely with the city’s net-zero ambitions and the council’s push for active travel.

In a statement reflecting on the advancements, Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Sustainable Development, said: “I’m proud to see our city come together to celebrate the Grand Depart’s 10th anniversary. The day was made truly special by the support from residents, cycling enthusiasts, and casual riders alike. Our vision for 2040 is to create a city where you don’t need a car, and that starts with an accessible and comprehensive cycling network to foster a safer, sustainable way to travel.”

Leeds has seen considerable enhancement of its cycling infrastructure, notably through the inclusion of segregated cycle lanes. These dedicated paths are a crucial component in the council’s Vision Zero objective, which aims to eliminate road deaths in Leeds by 2040.

A Community Engaged and Informed

Adjacent to Leeds train station lies City Square, an area recently reimagined to be free from through-traffic, promoting a pedestrian- and cycle-friendly atmosphere. The pop-up event space here was a hive of activity over the weekend, offering families the chance to delve into the world of cycling and its advantages.

The square hosted various activities, including a pump track provided by British Cycling and services such as bike registration with BikeRegister and bike repairs from the Dr Bike service. These offerings underscored the emphasis on cycling safety and community support.

The Walk it Ride it campaign, spearheaded by the Mayor of West Yorkshire, also featured prominently during the event. Representatives from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority were present to discuss the numerous benefits of sustainable transport options, encouraging attendees to consider walking, cycling, and wheeling as viable alternatives to motor vehicles.

A Fitting Tribute and a Look to the Future

The weekend’s celebrations culminated on Sunday with hundreds of cyclists embarking on routes of varying difficulty through Yorkshire’s breathtaking landscapes. The Legacy ride, consisting of 70km, 120km, and 230km options, was not just a physical challenge but a scenic journey through the heart of Yorkshire Dales.

In a poignant act of remembrance, a team from Leeds City Council’s safe and sustainable travel team participated in the Legacy ride to honor Dawn Barrett. Barrett, who spearheaded the delivery of Leeds City Bikes before her untimely passing in 2023, was remembered as participants rode in relay on the electric bikes that are her legacy.

Matt Mannakee, Director and Co-founder of Struggle Events, remarked on the significance of the occasion: “The local turnout and participation from cyclists nationwide was brilliant. The Tour de France has left an indelible mark on Yorkshire’s cycling landscape, and it’s gratifying to see that legacy celebrated today.”

Ben Davison, Director and Co-founder of Axiologik, echoed this sentiment, saying, “The Grand Depart stands as a watershed moment in Yorkshire’s history, igniting a new era for cycling. It was an honor to be involved in Legacy Ride, sharing the day with friends and clients, and commemorating an event that will long be remembered.”

As Leeds moves forward, the legacy of the Grand Depart remains a beacon, guiding the city towards a future where cycling is not just a sport or a pastime, but a cornerstone of urban life and transport. The events of the past weekend were not merely a celebration but a reaffirmation of the city’s commitment to a sustainable, accessible, and safe transport ecosystem, proving that the spirit of the Grand Depart lives on.

Leeds City Council Research
Connecting Leeds Vision Zero
West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Walk it Ride it campaign
Struggle Events

  • Leeds celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Tour de France Grand Depart with a weekend of cycling events, including the Legacy Ride with routes up to 230km.
  • From 2017 to 2023, there has been a 40% increase in cycle lane use in Leeds, showcasing the city’s commitment to sustainable transport.
  • Leeds has over 12 kilometers of cycle routes, aligning with the city’s net-zero ambitions and the push for active travel.
  • City Square in Leeds hosted family-friendly activities and bike-themed events, engaging residents and visitors of all ages.
  • The Legacy ride in Leeds honored Dawn Barrett, the spearhead of Leeds City Bikes, by having participants ride electric bikes in her memory.

By george