Cycling legends were on hand to set the wheels in motion on the UK's first bike libraries

Yorkshire impressed the world in July when it put on what has been described as the ‘grandest Grand Départ’ the Tour de France has ever seen. The event was a huge success for the county, and its people are now being ask to donate their old and unwanted bikes to a new bike libraries scheme.

Britain’s first Tour stage winner Brian Robinson, five time overall winner Bernard Hinault and Commonwealth Games medallist Scott Thwaites were on hand at an event today (December 12) to officially kickstart the new Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries initiative.

Members of the public can make their donations at a number of locations, and in the new year community groups will be able to start applying for funding to run their own bike libraries. The donated bikes will then be repaired and made ready for people to loan out, the aim being that everyone – regardless of their situation – will be able to access a bike and gain the benefits of cycling in a spectacular part of the world.

The initiative has come about due to the Cycle Yorkshire campaign, which is backed by Yorkshire Bank and Welcome to Yorkshire, which was instrumental in getting the 102nd Tour de France to visit Britain, and is another idea from Gary Verity.

Bernard Hinault said: “The Tour in Yorkshire was incredible. I have never seen so many people out supporting the riders and it shows the passion for cycling here. That’s why this project is so important, as it can give our next generation the chance to experience cycling. I’d encourage anyone who can help to do so.”

Scott Thwaites had some good early season form and went into the summer with one eye on selection for NetApp-Endura‘s Tour squad. He was disappointed to not make the squad, particularly as the route passed right through his home town. Much in the same way as Alex Dowsett, who won Commonwealth gold in the Time Trial, Thwaites turned his frustration into motivation with his performance at the Games.

Here Thwaites discusses the libraries scheme, along with Gary Verity and Helen Page from Yorkshire Bank.

The repaired bicycles will be free to use for people of all ages, and the scheme aims to have bike libraries across the whole of Yorkshire by the end of next year. For more information on the scheme, visit bikelibraries.co.uk

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