Taking Tour de France jerseys out on to the open road

Paul Corcoran, owner of Pennine Cycles, in Thornton Road, Bradford, with two custom bikes made in homage to the Grand Depart. Picture by Gary Longbottom

Paul Corcoran, owner of Pennine Cycles, in Thornton Road, Bradford, with two custom bikes made in homage to the Grand Depart. Picture by Gary Longbottom

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Across the county firms are trying to turn Le Tour into a business breakthrough, as Yorkshire aims to benefit from an estimated £100m economic boost from the July stages.

The region’s cycle shops are trying to cash in by hosting events, harbouring cycle clubs and turning shop fronts Tour crazy, but one Yorkshire framebuilder is hoping to cycle away from the pack with a series of handbuilt bikes that give riders a permanent memento of the Grand Depart.

Le Tour’s famous yellow, green, polka-dot and white jerseys are being immortalised by Bradford company Pennine Cycles, which has been building steel-framed cycles for 68 years.

The family firm started off its Tour de France preparations by creating a special cycle for Gary Verity, the chief executive of tourism firm Welcome to Yorkshire, who is credited with helping to bring the iconic race to the region on July 5 and 6.

Mr Verity’s one-off Pennine combines all four of the Tour de France jersey colour schemes.

“No matter what people tell you, it’s a one-off – I can’t see it coming back and it’s for everybody to make the most of,” said Pennine’s owner Paul Corcoran. “Gary’s bike shows off what we do and obviously the four jerseys come together quite well – I’ve got a special yellow Grand Depart bike of my own.”

The 54-year-old, who is originally from Leeds, started out his working life as a mechanic but after selling his car and buying a bicycle, fell in love with riding. He soon bought a second-hand Pennine bicycle and went in search of the bike shop, before becoming friendly with owner and co-founder Johnny Mapplebeck, managing the shop and eventually buying it outright.

Mr Verity added: “They are one great example among many of the businesses, groups and individuals embracing the fact the world’s largest annual sporting event is coming.”

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