COMMUNITIES in Bradford are gearing up for the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire, which brings riders into the city centre for the first time next weekend.
A programme of events, activities and entertainment is being organised for the city centre and across the district to celebrate Stage Three of the Tour starting from City Park and will see cyclists racing through the district on Sunday, April 30.
In addition a giant jersey, decorated lions, huge banners and various art installations are part of the final preparations leading up to race day.
City Park will be the focal point next Sunday where a host of bands and street theatre will be aiming to get the crowds fired up and people will also be able to watch the race live on the big screen.
There will also be a small Made Bradford market at the bottom of Darley Street with items on sale from local Bradford producers.
Bradford Capital of Cycling - the final event of the Creative Streets activities - will take place at on Darley Street, Ivegate, Kirkgate and Oastler Square from at various times throughout the day.
Spectators in City Park will also see a stunt display from Yorkshire’s UCI World Trialbike Champion Jack Carthy and Bradford City Football Club are displaying a giant yellow jersey with polka dots in the centre of their pitch.
Birkenshaw singer Paul Stone will be performing his new Yorkshire anthem, You’ll Never Ride Alone, in City Park, as well as at the beginning and end of each of the Tour’s stages.
Three Council-run parks on the route will also offer a variety of free fun activities. At Lister Park in Manningham, Roberts Park in Saltaire and Victoria Park in Keighley there will be a climbing tower, surf board simulator, bouncy castles, and inflatable play park, among other things.
Further along the route, Baildon and Queensbury will spell out their names in huge banners and statues of lions in Saltaire will be dressed up in yellow and blue. Pupils at Saltaire Primary School have been working with an artist to decorate bikes to help decorate the village too.
Bright coloured ducks have also been painted on the road in Addingham ahead of the race as an eye-catching addition to the main street.
And there will be other events in the city centre and across the district to help celebrate the Tour de Yorkshire coming to the district.
These include: an event at Bradford Cathedral where two yellow jerseys will be hanging from the tower and Cathedral bell ringers will ring the riders out of the city; a bicycle-powered pottery wheel experience in Shipley for families to make small ceramic items as the race passes; family fun activities at the Halfway House pub in lower Baildon, as well as community events in Addingham and Silsden.
As well as a roadside cheer station at Centrepoint Denholme for young people who use the service to watch the race, there will be a community event in Queensbury with a big outdoor screen to watch the race live, market stalls, and community brass bands.
Artwork celebrating the Tour will appear on the big screen in City Park, with 13 Yorkshire artists contributing nearly 50 images for a special Celebrating Cycling presentation.
The images were pulled together by Colin Neville, curator of the Not Just Hockney website in partnership with Bradford UNESCO City of Film. He said: “It’s marvellous that day three of the Tour this year will start in Bradford City Park and these images will look great on the big screen as a backdrop to all the cyclists and crowds massed there.”
And a new Tour-themed art exhibition is now open at the Harrison Lord Gallery in Brighouse celebrating the cycle race and the scenery of the county, timed to coincide with the first visit of the cycle race to the town.
Councillor Sarah Ferriby, the Council’s executive member for environment, sport and leisure, said: “The Tour de Yorkshire coming to Bradford is so exciting and I know communities across the district have been hard at work organising events and activities to help local people to get involved in welcoming the race.
“City Park will be without doubt the best place to watch the start of the race and the events and activities in the city centre look amazing.
"The parks in Manningham, Saltaire and Keighley look like excellent places for families to catch a glimpse of the professionals as they whizz past as well as making a day of it with the activities.”