World Cycling Championships gets mixed reviews on trip to Yorkshire

Group of ridersThe final day of cycling did not disappoint, despite the rain. Credit: SWPix.com

Local Harrogate businesses have suffered from the UCI Road World Championships. 

Henry Whitaker

The event, run by Yorkshire 2019 came to England for the first time since 1982 with approximately 1,400 cyclists competing.

Despite the the magnitude and profile of the event, road closures and an influx of outside vendors have made it hard for small businesses.

The finish line at the UCI Cycling

Some business owners saw a decline in sales during the week of cycling.

The full effect of this was felt by professional dog walker Amanda O’Rourke who struggled to meet her clients:

“The first three days I couldn’t work at all. I was going crazy.

“For the rest of event I only managed to do one walk a day rather than three,” she added.

“I’ve tried my best to work around it and even got stuck within the road closures trying to drop off my client’s dogs.”

Amanda also suffered financially, losing “on average £1000 “due to some road closures which could turn a five minute trip into two hours.

Confusion

The organising and execution of the event has come under scrutiny after the closing act The Feeling found out they were cancelled due to bad weather through Twitter and not Yorkshire 2019.

 

Amanda added: “I was on Ripon Road on Saturday elated that I could actually cross but listening to Stray FM, they said it was completely closed when I was on it.

“Logistically the UCI was a nightmare. I know other dog walkers have actually gone abroad or taken nine days off completely.”

Councillor and Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Sport, Stanley Lumley believes the event was “wonderful to see” though he understood residents’ frustration:

“Clearly to put on a international sporting event there’s going to be disruption but the Borough Council, County Council and organisers did as much as they possibly could to minimise that inconvenience.

“The very nature of the event meant road closures and disruption.”

Road closed sign

The cycling meant many key roads in Harrogate were closed.

Cllr Lumley believes the weather and people’s busy midweek schedules contributed to some emptier looking streets:

“It’s autumn in Yorkshire so it kind of has to be expected. I think we’ve done the best we probably could with the conditions we had.

“When timings had to be changed due to weather conditions that’s something you can’t plan for.

“All you can do is plan for the event that’s advertised and clearly we had to react to the situations as they unfolded.”

Positive for the future

After hosting such a prestigious event, Councillor Lumley believes it will have lasting positive impact on Harrogate, putting the town “on the map”.

Cycling has been a growing trend since hosting the start of the Tour de Yorkshire back in 2015.

From this, the Tour de Yorkshire has been a game-changer, boosting last year’s economy by £98 million.

Riders in the Road World Championships

The riders had to battle the elements on the final day. Credit: SWPix.com

Cllr Lumley is now waiting for an economic report to help decide the next move for the area:

“We’re always looking at new ideas and ways to attract business and people to Harrogate and the district.

“We’ve employed consultants to look at the economic impact on the town and the district and we hope to have feedback from that over the next couple of months.

“From that, we’ll then know what it has brought.”

More involvement

One aim from the cycling championships is to increase sports participation, something which Julie Harrington, Chief Executive of British Cycling is excited about:

“Hosting a home Road World Championships is a once in a generation opportunity and we must make every effort to capitalise on the buzz of enthusiasm felt, not only in Yorkshire, but across the whole country,” she said in a news release.

“Ever since we won the bid to host the championships back in 2016, we’ve been building robust plans to ensure it has a ripple effect which will enable thousands more people to embrace cycling in whichever way they choose.”

About the Author

student
This article was produced by a student or students on the BA in Journalism at Leeds Beckett University.

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