CYCLES speeding past in the blink of an eye, brightly coloured jerseys, streets lined with eager onlookers - the Tour de Yorkshire is the perhaps the most exciting event straddling the region.

But the four day spectacle itself is just one part of it. The tour delivers opportunities for all sectors, from tourism, to commerce and education.

For schoolchildren, the event offers the chance to use their imagination in ways that challenge and stimulate their thinking.

Who can forget the giant picture of Branwell Bronte striding out on his bicycle, that took up an entire school field? The mammoth artwork - measuring 80 by 65 metres - was made with the help of schoolchildren to coincide with the 2017 race.

Using waste marquee carpet and 3,000 plant pots, the work - to celebrate the bicentenary of Branwell Brontë - was created with the help of children from Haworth Primary School. Branwell’s head and hands were sprayed with grass-friendly paint, while pupils placed and pegged the plant pots into position to create the bike.

The work was crowned the Land Art winner after an international public vote.

The Tour de Yorkshire route has become famous for creative and colourful street decorations. Last year children from Oxenhope Primary School painted white roses to be fixed to signposts around local villages. “They loved creating art work for the day and were thrilled to see their efforts on TV and enjoyed making their village look good,” says head of school Alice Jones.

From art to geography, history and literature, the Tour - which this year runs from from Thursday April 30 until Sunday May 3 - offers many educational opportunities.

This week Tour de Yorkshire organisers Welcome to Yorkshire launched their free education pack for 2020, providing schools with a whole host of fun and exciting ways to get involved.

The pack is aimed at children aged between five and 16 . It details the history of the race, the route, jerseys, teams and riders along with a variety of activities, from course designing, race reporting and practical riding advice. The resource can be used by teachers in a variety of ways including lesson plans, and can be matched to pupils’ skills and needs.

Youngsters can design their own route to challenge the riders, create their own team and enter a competition to design a poster about reducing litter.

The pack has been circulated to every local authority across Yorkshire, who in-turn, have been requested to make it available to every school.

The Tour ties in to so many different subjects,” says Welcome to Yorkshire’s head of sports media Nick Howes. “Obviously there’s the sporting aspect, but there’s also geography as well where pupils can learn about the nationalities of the different riders and teams and also about the other famous races around the world.

“We also focus on the science of the equipment - like the bikes and jerseys - the history of the race, and art - where we encourage pupils to design race jerseys and giant land art installations to display along the route.

“Schools can work together on projects if they want to. In previous years we’ve seen several schools come together to create giant land art pieces and decorate their towns with bikes, banners and bunting.

“The winning design for our World Championships land art competition for instance, saw five schools from Baildon working together on a brilliant piece using recycled materials to create a giant design.”

He adds: “We hope the pack will be of use to teachers and community group leaders, not just during the race itself, but throughout the year. For instance, a lot of the information in there could easily be adapted to the Tour de France, which takes place in July, and right throughout the cycling season.”

The pack is changed every year in order to keep it fresh for the pupils. “We develop it with education consultant Nathan Atkinson to ensure it remains up-to-date and can be worked into the latest curriculums,” adds Nick.

“Having the Tour pass through so many schools and villages each year has proved massively inspirational - that’s the great thing about cycling, you can get so close to the very best riders in the world. It’s so exciting when the peloton approaches, and when they whiz past it’s a flash of colour, noise and wind. I remember myself, watching the Milk Race as it came past my house in Steeton the 1980s, and that’s what got me into cycling – as soon as I’d seen them I wanted to get on my bike and I’m still riding today.”

Says Alice Jones of Oxenhope Primary “The children really enjoyed being part of what was not just a local but national event. They have developed a great pride in their community since the Tour came through our village and they look forward to it now as an annual event.”

Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive James Mason says: “While it’s aimed primarily at teachers, the pack can be used outside the classroom as well, by parents, youth club leaders, or anyone who works with children. We hope it will provide an interesting and useful resource, and that it gets more youngsters to give cycling a go.”

He adds: : “One of the key reasons why we organise the Tour de Yorkshire is to encourage people to lead healthier, more active and greener lives.

“Riding a bike ticks all those boxes and that’s why we produce this pack, to inspire children to get excited about the Tour and the many benefits cycling can bring.