Slow Cycling Tour in Yorkshire Brings Many Community Benefits
The Tour de Yorkshire is a well-loved cycling race around the city of Yorkshire, which has been going since 2015. At the same time, a more-accessible tour was set up to provide recreational cyclists with similar but more relaxed routes. There are many health benefits to cycling, such as improving muscle tone and heart health, but safety considerations should also always be taken into account when undertaking longer rides. While the health benefits of cycling far outweigh the dangers, you can still protect yourself to ensure that you have the best possible cycling experience.
The Slow Tour in Yorkshire is a group of cycling paths which are easier and accessible for all ability levels, which encourage riders to explore Yorkshire and its beautiful scenery. It was set up in 2015 alongside the Tour de Yorkshire, and passes by a number of heritage sites and interesting historic locations.
The purpose of the Slow Tour was noted by Sheridan Piggott of Sustrans, who explained that “[w]e want to show people that you don’t have to be an elite cyclist to enjoy Yorkshire’s countryside by bike. The county has some of the best cycling routes in Britain and … [t]he Slow Tour offers a cycle route for every ability, so it’s a great chance to explore Yorkshire at your own pace.”
Some of the highlights of the Slow Tour include Saltaire, Conisbrough Castle, and Bolton Abbey. Saltaire is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is a Victorian model village known for its role in the industrial development of the area and in particular its old textiles mill. Conisbrough Castle is an 11th century medieval castle, known as an example of Norman defensive architecture.
The Humber Bridge is another highlight, which was one of the longest of its kind when it was opened in 1981. The Tour also passes by Beningbrough Hall, along Woldgate, and a number of beautiful railway lines, coastal scenery, and good eateries such as wineries, pubs, and picnic spots.
The cycle routes and maps are all available online, so riders can easily plan a path to follow.
Cycling brings a number of health benefits, including increasing cardiovascular fitness and heart health, decreased body fat and increased muscle, better bone strength, and improved joint mobility. Cycling can also help with stress levels and reducing anxiety and depression. Cycling can easily be incorporated into your life as either a sport, relaxed recreational activity, or a commute option. In all cases you need to be sure that your safety is a top priority, so be sure to consider the most common hazards and how you can protect yourself.
Cycling is generally a safe activity, but accidents can and do occasionally occur. A legal team specialising in bicycle accidents undertook research that discovered most accidents occur during leisure rides, simply because this is the most common type of cycling activity. However, cycle paths that comprise much of the Slow Tour routes are much safer than minor and major roads.
The easiest way to protect yourself while cycling is to ensure that your bike has working lights and reflectors, including additional reflectors where possible. Cycling single-file or two-abreast, and wear a helmet if you wish to do so. Research has found that cyclists should not over-rely on reflective aids and high-vis clothing to protect them, as it may make less of a difference than simply having safe roads, cycle routes and drivers who are aware of cyclists and drive carefully around them.
In any case, enjoy the health benefits that cycling provides, and take steps within your power to increase your visibility and cycling safety. Cycling and popularising routes like the Slow Tour can help to bring driver awareness to cyclists on the road, and also allows many people to enjoy an accessible and beautiful route around the city.
Featured image: Tejvan Pettinger via Flickr under the Creative Commons license 2018.