31 March 2017
With the Tour de Yorkshire now just a month away, Sheffield City Council is looking at how Sheffield is building on its Le Grand Depart legacy. First, we look at the biking businesses and elite teams who are raising the bar for the city’s biking credentials.
Russell Cutts, from Bicycle Shed, and Dave Coulson from the Cycling Sheffield elite racing team, both say that, three years on from Le Grand Depart, the city is firmly on the map when it comes to cycling.
The number of bike-related businesses across the city, and the number of competitive teams, have both rocketed since 2014, following Sheffield City Council’s report into how the Outdoor Economy is worth £53million to the city.
Russell, who set up the Bicycle Shed outside Sheffield railway station a few years ago, now employs nine people at three sites in Sheffield, Neepsend and Nottingham.
A fourth cycle repair hub is set to open in Leicester shortly, while Russell’s abandoned bikes scheme, based at the company’s depot in Neepsend, now has more than 500 re-conditioned cycles.
Russell said: “There’s no doubt that businesses like mine are on the rise in Sheffield. I’ve recently appointed two new directors which isn’t bad going after I started running the cycle hub outside Sheffield railway station on my own not that long ago.”
Russell says there are many reasons why the city is enjoying a boom in cycling provision. New cycle lanes are being built from the University to City hall and there is a new blue bike hire scheme, similar to that run in London launched by Sheffield By Cycle.
He says: “I think Sheffield offers every cyclist the opportunity to enjoy their cycling. Go west into the Peaks and you have hills, big hills for the climbers.
“Go east and you have the long endless flat lands of Lincolnshire both directions offering some stunning countryside whether you are a roadie or a mountain biker you can find just about any terrain to suit you in Sheffield.
“Without a doubt my favourite part is the fact that I can easily ride to it all from my home and most people can, there’s no need to transport the bike.
“You can just hop on and ride and in 15-20mins you can be in the Peak District or ripping up the trails at Parkwood or Lady Cannings. We are a lucky load of cyclists.”
In February, Sheffield City Region announced £7.5m funding to support more than 20 cycle projects in the region over the next three years.
These include cycle training, access to bike hire and maintenance, secure cycle parking facilities and a strong cycling community of support.
Sheffield City Council will also build on its popular calendar of “mass-participation” cycling events, which have already inspired thousands to take up cycling, such as Allez Allez Sheffield, the Magnificent Seven and Sheffield Grand Prix.
Cycling Sheffield, which raced as Envelopemaster Giant Sheffield last year, has launched a new kit which cements its place as one of the most successful cycling teams in the U.K.
The team will be sponsored and supported exclusively by Sheffield-based businesses and organisations.
The team is made up of talented aspiring riders aged 18 to 25 years old and has a
mission to help riders develop and further their careers as athletes by providing a professional and nurturing team environment.
During the 2016 season it finished in the top ten of the British Cycling National Series, ahead of several high profile teams including Team Wiggins.
Connor Swift, one of its most successful riders, became 2016 Yorkshire Champion , winning the prestigious Regional Championship race.
The team race at regional, national and international level, travelling to races across the UK. The race program includes several high profile races in Yorkshire.
Team manager Dave Coulson said: “I believe there’s no better place in the UK than Sheffield to be a cyclist.
“Whether you’re a commuter, leisure cyclist or a more serious rider the city has everything for every rider.
“Sheffield and Yorkshire is now considered to be the heartland of cycling, Through TV and media coverage of cycling, people around the world know what a beautiful part of the UK we live in.
“We are sure to se huge road side crowds again supporting Tour de Yorkshire next month, enjoying this incredible spectacle free of charge.”
Councillor Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for infrastructure and transport at Sheffield City Council, said: “It is very pleasing that businesses and teams are building on Sheffield’s great reputation for outdoor activities with a commitment to the city and to cycling. I’d like to congratulate Russell’s Bicycle Shed and Cycling Sheffield on their ongoing success as we approach Tour de Yorkshire next month.”
The Tour de Yorkshire will bring a great atmosphere when it comes into Sheffield on Sunday 30 April. Cyclists will make their way from Bradford into Sheffield and around Bolsterstone and Midhopestones, before finishing at Fox Valley in Stocksbridge.
It is expected that the race will arrive in Stocksbridge between 4pm and 4.30pm on 30 April and cross the finish line at Fox Valley at around 5.30pm. Full route details and event information can be found at http://letour.yorkshire.com/
The Bicycle Shed is hosting a Bicycle Show in Sheaf Square on 10 April. They will be showing off their bikes alongside representatives from Cycle Sheffield, Sustrans and InMotion. There will also be a Breeze ride around the city.
Research has revealed outdoor businesses in the city have created more than 1,500 full-time equivalent jobs, with a further 2,647 volunteers working to promote activities on offer.
Sheffield launched as ‘the outdoor city’ in 2015 and an economic strategy behind the brand has been published. And now a study by Sheffield Hallam University found outdoor recreation is generating more than £53m for the city every year.