On Sunday 30th April the Tour de Yorkshire cycle race will pass through the Penistone Area. Cycle racing itself is not new and the first is believed to have been held on 31st May 1868 in the Parc de St. Cloud in Paris which was won by an Englishman, James Moore, riding a wooden bicycle with iron tyres.
Over the years cycles have evolved and modern variants are far removed from the ungainly and probably dangerous Penny-Farthings ridden by Victorian gentlemen in top hats. They now have inflated rubber tyres and even brakes. Talking of brakes reminds me of one of the many tales my father used to tell about his time in the local Dads’ Army. They were manning a pointless checkpoint at the bottom of Old Mill Lane in Barnsley, somewhere near Wickes I expect, when a cyclist came speeding downhill towards them. “Don’t shoot! No brakes! Can’t stop!” He was yelling. Lucky for him they had no bullets anyway.
It is three years since we saw the Grand Départ stage of the Tour de France and we hope that this second event will establish Penistone and district as a venue for future cycle races. Who knows, we may eventually even get the Commonwealth Games cycling! This year we will be playing host to part of Stage Three, (The Yorkshire Terrier), 122 miles from Bradford to Sheffield. A race in the international cycling calendar with the participation of top teams and cycling stars and an estimated total entry of around 144 riders. The race will pass through Millhouse Green, Thurlstone, Penistone, Oxspring, Thurgoland, Wortley, Green Moor and Snowden Hill before going on into Stocksbridge to finish at Fox Valley. There are plenty of vantage points along the route and numerous local groups are planning their own activities to add to the enjoyment of the event and to make it a memorable experience for visitors. In addition to the formal race there will be other events for less accomplished cyclists. For up-to-date information please visit:- www.visit-barnsley.com.
We hope that as many people as possible will visit but do ask that care is taken to respect other people’s property and that the general guidance of the organisers is followed. We will be making a concerted effort to clean up the route so that both visitors and the wider television audience see the Penistone Area at its best so, please either take your litter home or dispose of it in a litter bin.
First published in the Barnsley Chronicle - Penistone Living- April 2017