BOTH the sunshine and the crowds were out in force last Saturday (14 September) to ensure the warmest of welcomes to the Tour of Britain.
And those feeling inspired by the elite riders were able to get involved in different cycling activities themselves at Tameside Bicycle Festival, held in Stalybridge the following day.
The eighth and final stage of the Tour of Britain, supported by Tameside Council, entered the borough at Werneth Low – which was bursting with spectators and enthusiasts keen to see competitors take on the ‘King of the Mountain’ climb.
The tour, which was broadcast live on ITV4, then passed through Gee Cross, Hattersley, Mottram, Stalybridge and Mossley - with large crowds lining the route and cheering.
Tameside looked spectacular for the event with schools, businesses, community groups, sports clubs and residents working with the council to decorate the route with painted bicycles, bunting and art displays.
The council worked with Stalybridge Celtic and Brother UK to create a spectacular piece of land art at the football ground to celebrate the race. Pupils at Millbrook Primary School also performed live human land art as the riders passed.
Professional artists worked with St Raphael’s, St Paul’s and Millbrook primary schools to create colourful roadside displays to decorate the route. And residents at Oakwood Care Home created woven bike wheels for the day.
There were displays of over 50 painted bikes as well as stunning displays of decorated bike wheels along the route. While Hattersley Brass Band captured the celebratory spirit of the day with a bill of rousing numbers to entertain spectators and VIP guests, including Civic Mayor Leigh Drennan and Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington, outside Hattersley Hub.
The weather may have been bit greyer but spirits were still bright the next day at Tameside Bicycle Festival. There were lots of free family-friendly activities including guided bike rides led by local cycling volunteer Phil Allen, amazing cycling stunts, cycling skills and an obstacle course.
Tameside Council Executive Member Cllr Leanne Feeley, who is responsible for culture, said: “I couldn’t have been more proud of Tameside – the borough looked fantastic for the Tour and the community spirit and atmosphere was amazing. A huge thank you to everyone who got involved. I think we were all left feeling inspired by the incredible cyclists so it was brilliant that people could come along and have a go at cycling activities at the bicycle festival the next day.
“The weekend was a wonderful community celebration for all ages but I also think there is a longer legacy to this – I know for sure it has got more of us interested in and talking about cycling. Hopefully, as a result, there will be more people won over to the joys and many benefits of cycling for health, travel and leisure.”
For more information on cycling opportunities in Tameside see www.tameside.gov.uk/cycling
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