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Thursday, 3 July 2014

Le Tour de Yorkshire is all Set to Boost Local Economy

We beat off competition from the likes of Barcelona, Berlin, Edinburgh and Florence for the right to stage the greatest event in the global cycling calendar, and now, after two years of anticipation and hype, it is almost upon us.  I am talking about the Grand Depart of the Tour de France, which in summer 2014 is taking place in the most beautiful place on Earth: yes, that’s right, Yorkshire.  OK,  I may be a bit biased because I have lived in Yorkshire and loved it for most of my adult life, and for anyone not already aware, Leeds is also the great location of Arcturus Global Systems HQ.

Those of us lucky enough to live in God’s Own County are already well aware of the impending excitement generated by the Tour.  Mile after mile of the race route has been festooned with cycling-themed decorations, including wicker bike and   rider sculptures, bicycles mounted on dry stone walls, bicycles trimmed with flowers stuck half way up the outside of local hostelries in lieu of pub signs, and mile upon mile of bunting.  The many ‘Field of Vision’ giant land art installations that have sprung up, like  this ‘One Man and His Dog’ work in the fields above Haworth,are so huge they can probably be seen from outer space. 

One Man and His Dog, by Simon Manfield
Even those of us not actually interested in cycling per se are swept up in the frenzy of excitement, and are enjoying the 100-day cultural festival, the first such event in the 111 year history of the tour. Highlights include music, dance, sculpture and a unique multi-media event known as the Ghost Peleton.

With two successive British Tour de France champions, Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, in the space of 2 short years, cycle mania is now at fever pitch in the UK. The first stage of the tour route is very special, encompassing some of the finest scenery in Yorkshire, including the spectacular Buttertubs Pass, York Minster, Knaresborough viaduct, Leeds Town Hall, Harewood House and Aysgarth Falls to name but a few.

Well the main point of it all is the local Yorkshire economy. £27m of public money has been invested in gearing up for the Grand Depart, so let's hope it is all worth it. Several years after the Credit Crunch the economy of the North of England is still pretty much in the doldrums, and we have not yet experienced the much-vaunted property boom that is now happening down in London. So fingers crossed this wonderful event is also a great financial success, and brings in the profits that our local hoteliers, shopkeepers, restaurateurs, farmers and campsite owners are hoping for.   Good luck to all of you. My personal contribution to the economy so far is a purchase of a £5.99 ‘Tour de Yorkshire’ tea towel from the Yorkshire Post and a £1 flapjack purchased from charity fundraisers right here in Joseph’s Well : I think that covers it!

Well that’s it from me for now; this has to be a rather brief posting due to time constraints: because of a cycle parade taking place in the city centre and the opening ceremony in Leeds Arena this evening we at Arcturus are already battening down the hatches for road closures and major traffic chaos this afternoon. In a rare gesture of magnanimity the boss has granted us permission to go home early.  He also bought us some cake! So I am off now to sample the many festive delights on offer in the Leeds region this weekend, including a Beer and Music Festival in my local pub.  See you all next week!

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