Ilkley Tour Baht 'at



How did a county best known for cricket, flat caps and fatty beer, persuade a delegation of Frenchman to award it the first two stages of the world's greatest cycling race? From one-armed time trialists to a cycling mad Michelin starred chef, Yorkshire has a surprising pedalling history.

The bike allowed many to escape the city. Smog left behind. This century-old machine is now visible along towpaths, A-roads, pavements and in parks. They have fashionably slim wheels, signalling a new demographic, the Lycra-clad, peloton-inhabiting, cycling commuter. And West Yorkshire's Ilkley is home to the fastest growing cycling club in the country.

Brian Robinson, the first Briton to win a stage of the Tour, is now 83 but still cycles twice a week.

Simon Gueller - Michelin starred chef, once 15 stone, now a slender athlete who is out on his bike six times a week - welcomed the Tour delegation and cooked the Yorkshire lamb that helped the county win the bid. Cycling has changed his life.

Gary Verity - the CEO of Visit Yorkshire who had the idea to bring the Tour here whilst shaving one morning - is a sheep farmer by trade, but now passionate about cycling and sure to shed a tear when 200 of the best cyclists race into Harrogate to end the first stage.

Cycling is everything to some in the Yorkshire Dales. Beryl Burton was a supreme time trialist, the best all rounder for 25 years. Her daughter Denise and her husband Charlie share their memories of this great woman.

Presented by Hardeep Singh Kohli

Produced by Barney Rowntree

A Hidden Flack production for BBC Radio 4.