Spring is in the air. The daffodils are out. The clocks have changed… Here in Yorkshire that means only one thing: the Tour de Yorkshire will soon be upon us. It’s not difficult to tell if the race is coming to your town as in the few weeks before the cyclists, mechanics, organisers, sponsors, media and, of course, spectators arrive, this happens:
The official colour of the race is actually blue but since the Tour de France visited the county back in 2014, the colour yellow has been difficult to displace. The yellow bunting has been going up in Halifax as we prepare to welcome, for the second year on the trot, the cyclists of stage 4 of the Tour de Yorkshire on Sunday 5th May 2019.
But this year something rather nice has happened; we’ve also been given a bit of red, white and green to add to the yellow in the form of these wonderful bicycle stands manufactured by a company called Cyclehoop.
There are only four of them – perhaps more will come – but I think they look absolutely marvellous. They are not, however, to everyone’s taste. As I snapped a picture of one of them earlier in the week, a woman walked passed me and vented her fury: “What a waste of public money!“* she snarled. I wasn’t going to let such an ignorant comment pass and rebuked her, politely, for her negativity. Her husband was somewhat taken aback by me challenging his wife – perhaps he had never dared – but I told her I disagreed and, as she edged away, glancing over her shoulder, I made clear by my bemused expression that I thought she was talking utter nonsense. Her comment will no doubt be repeated on the letters page of the local newspaper and online. I will again beg to differ because:
- they look fantastic, are well-designed and just as well-made
- they are bright, colourful and eye-catching
- they are practical and will be put to good purpose by the cyclists of Halifax
- the fact that they catch the eye means that they are less likely to attract passing thieves who will be more likely to be caught in the act, but above all…
- …they send a message to anyone who doesn’t cycle that the town has put cycling on the agenda and that, in turn, might encourage a few more people to cycle into the centre rather than drive.
Halifax, like most other towns in the UK, has a long way to travel down the road of sustainable transport before it can be considered as a truly cycling-friendly place to live and work but by spending a little money in this way, it’s a sign of good intentions. Watch this space!
( * She may be a little disappointed to discover that the funding for these bike storage racks came not from the local council but from the local BID – Business Improvement District.)