So what’s happening in Leeds on Saturday 5 July . . .
Is there anyone left who doesn’t know about the Grand Depart?
The Tour de France riders will be setting off up the Headrow – turning along Regent St, out through Moortown and Alwoodley, on via Harewood estate – before the first stage proper begins along the A659 through Arthington, Pool and Otley.
You’ve probably got your place booked already.
We’ve certainly decided on ours.
But when the peloton has passed, when the riders have gone – what then?
Leeds City Council has been busy preparing for the Grand Depart. But it’s also been looking beyond it – to the legacy it could and should bring to the city.
Labour’s Council leader, Keith Wakefield, has challenged the city to do everything it can to deliver a ‘bold and lasting legacy’ to the Tour de France Grand Départ. Councillor Wakefield and other senior councillors recently debated proposals on how the city can realise long-term benefits from hosting the world’s largest annual sporting event.
The proposals outline a commitment to build on existing achievements, events and relationships – to put cycling at the heart of city planning, and to bring about a wide range of benefits.
A new council-led partnership board made up of all key stakeholders in the city would be brought together.
Among its priorities would be:
- Creating a single long-term strategy and vision for Leeds for all forms of cycling
– Focusing on making cycling inclusive and accessible for all
– Encouraging more women and girls to take up cycling
– Building on existing relationships with bodies such as Sport England and British Cycling and developing new partnerships with other key partners
– Looking at ways of securing major long-term investment in Leeds to continue improving cycling infrastructure.
As Keith Wakefield said: “We know the eyes of the world will be on us on July the fifth for the amazing Grand Départ of the Tour de France, but we also know people will be watching to see what we do next to make sure we capitalise fully on the unique opportunity it offers.
“This is our chance to be bold, ambitious and creative by bringing together all key stake holders, their views and ideas to make cycling something which is all-inclusive with no barriers to participation and at the heart of Leeds as a modern city of the future. That would be a proper legacy befitting the world’s greatest bike race. So let’s bring everyone together and work to make it happen.”
So there’s the vision for the future. The Grand Depart is only the beginning.
On the day itself there will be all the excitement of a world-class sporting event – but also, of course, some disruption.
There will be road closures – and remember that they start very early in the morning – you can get information here. There will also be disruption to buses and transport – links here.
And just a last thought – if you live in Adel and Wharfedale, Headingley, Otley and Yeadon, or Weetwood and your normal bin day is Saturday, your bin collection may be affected. You’ll have had a letter about this already – so you’ll know if you should not be leaving them out.
But bins are probably the last thing on your mind – and the eyes of the world will not be on them, unless you leave them out by mistake!
Now have you found that yellow shirt yet . . . ?