Tour de Yorkshire 2017: Crowds savour party atmosphere in Knaresborough

A wave of yellow and blue welcomed the Tour de Yorkshire to Knaresborough,where community efforts helped craft an all day showcase of the town to mark the historic event.

Lori and Tony Handley outside the famous spotty house!
Lori and Tony Handley outside the famous spotty house!

While the eyes of the world followed the action of the men's stage two and women's race, pelting down High Street and past the iconic Spotty House of Knaresborough on Bond End, spectators were also treated to festivities held across Market Place and the Castle Museum Gardens.

Voluntary efforts from across Knaresborough transformed the surrounding area into a buzzing hub of music, food and colour that kept spectators enjoying the town in their hundreds, long after riders continued their push into nearby Ripley.

Co-organiser Andrew Grinter said: "It was never just going to be about the bikes, it was about promoting Knaresborough and the district. There is just such a buzz on the day with the events that we are able to put on, which bring people to the town.

"Businesses that stayed open have helped to raise their own profiles, even if it does not bring much directly on the day we are showing the world where we are. It is not about making profit on the day.

"But ultimately everyone should be really grateful to all of our volunteers, associations and groups who gave up their time for free to promote this town."

Communal tables and rows of seating were set up throughout Market Place, with a music stage and live screen showing up to date footage of the race set up a short walk apart.

Castlegate was awash with Tour de Yorkshire coloured chalk art, separating the stretch of cafes, art gallery and other businesses that are between Market Place and the Castle grounds.

With yellow and blue umbrellas in hand 50 children from King James School and Studio 3 lined the road in front of Knaresborough House, an idea put together with residents of the iconic spotty house Tony and Lori Handley.

Rolling the colourful brollies one over the other to perform a Mexican wave to entertain the crowd and welcome the passing riders.

The town was even host to a brief but heart warming moment during the caravan parade across the high street, where icons of the cycling world Denise Burton-Cole, Brian Robison and Barry Hoban met a cheering crowd.

One spectator, Gordon Beal, reached out to shake hands with Mr Robinson, telling him that he still remembered that 50 years ago they rode together in a local competition.

It is hoped the efforts of the town's numerous volunteers created an unforgettable experience, creating memories match this benchmark.

Mayor of Knaresborough, Bill Rigby said: "Everyone has been managed put their time on this and we have managed to pull together and get it done. We have been able to create a party atmosphere to get people here and wanting to stay."​

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