I have been an avid cyclist for almost ten years now, whether that’s mountain biking, road cycling or just commuting to university. Getting out on the bike is a great way to be physically active, whilst taking in the breath-taking scenery that Leeds has to oﬀer. Especially as the sun starts coming out, there is no better time to pedal around the city and beyond.
In recent years Leeds has become a global hub for cycling events. This started with the Tour de France cycling through Yorkshire in 2014. Since then, with the emergence of the Tour de Yorkshire, Leeds has become immersed in world cycling, with lots of pro cyclists whizzing through the city each year. The Tour de Yorkshire provides a great chance to break out from the city, experience the surrounding Yorkshire Dales and watch the race. This year I decided to watch the race in Ilkley, just a short train from Leeds, to see the race unfold up the brutally steep Cow and Calf climb. Getting out of the city and standing on a hill in the spectacular countryside is a great way to experience rural Yorkshire.
As well as just regular cycling, Leeds also has a thriving triathlon scene - the world’s best triathletes, Johnny and Alistair Brownlee, even reside in the city. A great example of triathlon at its best was the ITU world triathlon event held here in 2017, and the event will be returning on the 8th and 9th of June 2018. This event boasts elite and amateur events across the weekend, followed by over 80,000 spectators cheering athletes on. In 2017 this event gave Leeds an electric buzz with a party-like atmosphere.
Following the Brownlee brothers successes in world triathlon and at the Olympics, a brand new facility has been built in Adel, North Leeds. This facility oﬀers a purpose-built cycling circuit and a speciﬁc triathlon training centre. I would massively recommend this facility as it is a useful traﬃc free solution to riding or racing on the road. The centre hosts lots of free sessions, with opportunities to hire bikes and helmets. I would also suggest checking out the British Cycling website to ﬁnd out if any races are taking place, as they happen every month throughout the summer. These races are a great introduction to racing and also make exciting spectating.
If you’re looking to take your cycling further there is no better way to do so than by getting involved with a local club. There are plenty of local clubs that welcome a range of abilities, with the likes of Alba Rosa Cycling Club being one of the largest. Being part of a club will be able to show you the best roads around the city and further aﬁeld, whilst hosting a range of training and social rides each week. If triathlon takes your fancy, Leeds Beckett has its very own triathlon club that caters for any student looking to take part in a multi-sport event. The triathlon club runs alongside Leeds Triathlon Centre and coached under the expertise of nationally recognised coaches.
With the increased popularity of cycling there is no better time to get involved and Leeds is the perfect place for new and experienced riders alike. I hope to see you out on the road!