Video/Gallery: Cycling legacy from Women’s Tour in region
PUBLISHED: 14:00 13 May 2014 | UPDATED: 14:44 13 May 2014
It is hoped the Women’s Tour cycling race will leave a legacy in Suffolk and north Essex of more people getting on their bike whether for sport, commuting or pleasure.
The Women’s Tour, which was the country’s first ever international stage race for women, saw some of the world’s best riders pass through the region, including Marianne Vos who was named the outright winner.
The last stage of the five-stage race finished at Angel Hill in Bury St Edmunds on Sunday.
Councillor Sara Mildmay-White, St Edmundsbury Borough Council cabinet member for health and wellbeing said: “We estimate up to 6,000 people of all ages came to the finish line and seeing young riders, charity riders, club riders all together highlights how many opportunities there are in the borough to take up cycling.”
Councillor Alan Murray, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for health and adult care, said: “I hope the buzz from the Women’s Tour inspires all those across Suffolk to consider cycling as an enjoyable mode of transport and a means to keep fit. This event and others in the future will assist us in our bid to become England’s most active county.”
Mick Hailstone, who owns Mick’s Cycles in St John’s Street, Bury, said he saw an increase in road bike sales in the week leading up to the event.
He said: “There are more people taking up cycling, definitely [as a result of the Women’s Tour].”
Business owners in Felixstowe have reported a growing interest in cycling among residents in the town, which the Women’s Tour has helped boost even further.
Richard Gardner, branch manager at Wilco Motor Spares in Undercliff Road West, said: “We are selling lots of bikes anyway but people have got more impetus because of events like these.
“The Olympic Games helped to begin with and now people are becoming more conscious of cycling and actually buying more bikes.”
Mr Gardner also welcomed the publicity generated by the event, which he says has helped “put Felixstowe on the map”.
Paul Rippon, membership secretary at Ipswich Bicycle Club, said there has been a general upturn in the number of women going cycling and that national coverage of the tour had promoted Suffolk and Ipswich.
He added: “With the tour going through at the weekend we are hoping there will be an increase in numbers.”
Tendring District Council (TDC) leader Mick Page said: “What a brilliant weekend and what a shot in the arm for Tendring and its tourism economy.
“The atmosphere with people banging on the boards at the finish in Clacton was truly electric.”