Knaresborough gears up to welcome Tour de Yorkshire

Lori and Tony Handley hold up some of the blue and yellow umbrellas which will be used to welcome riders into Knaresborough. Picture: Adrian Murray
Lori and Tony Handley hold up some of the blue and yellow umbrellas which will be used to welcome riders into Knaresborough. Picture: Adrian Murray

Organisers are doing everything to ensure that Knaresborough is the best place to be when stage two of the Tour de Yorkshire soars into the district.

The market town is already abuzz, boasting to have one of the best buntings in the country, the grand return of 'the spotty house' (with a twist!) and a Mexican wave like no other.

Knaresborough Mayor, Bill Rigby, has been helping to organise festivities for the town which will play host to part of the race route for a second year running.

Mr Rigby said: "We are rushing around like headless chickens. It should be a good day, we have got ourselves a reputation now so we have got to match up to it this year.

"We are expecting a lot of interest, it's a lovely setting with the scale of it because it's sort of local and domestic and you have everything close to you.

"The Market Place is really close to where the the race is rushing down and we have all sorts of things going on so people can have the the busyness of the Market Place or go into the Castle Grounds to have a picnic - provided the weather is fine!"

Knaresborough starred in national media coverage during the Tour de France 2014 when Bond End residents Tony and Lori Handley covered their house in red spots.

So famous they became that the spots remained until last year, but now the spots will make a grand return for the Tour de Yorkshire, this time sporting yellow and blue.

Mr Handley said: "It'll be blue on both sides and then yellow in the middle. The original set of spots cost us £90.

"The kids love it as well. I don't know what they will make of the yellow and blue ones because the red ones were known for being similar to a spotty house on Cbeebies."

With the help of Studio 3's Viv Hall, the Handley's have also helped to organise a 'street art' demonstration to welcome riders through the town, as they complete the first sprint of stage two down the High Street.

The couple have purchased 101 blue and yellow umbrellas which will be used by students at King James's High School to perform a Mexican wave outside Knaresborough House.

But the colourful displays don't stop there. This year the Town Council have invested in a bunting to put the rest of the country to shame - and it will be up nearly all year round!

Mr Rigby said: "We have only done bunting adhoc but we felt a bit behind the curb because many other towns of our scale had it up all year round so we made a choice to make the town look good.

"We have royal appointed flag makers in Knaresborough so we have one of the best bunting makers in the country in our town."

The rainbow-coloured bunting which will be up in the town for the majority of the year throughout the summer months, but will also be complemented by blue and yellow bunting to celebrate the TDY.

The Market Square has been designed as the hub of activity for the event. A big screen will be showing live coverage of the races in the corner of the Market Place, while a stage hosting live performances from local music and dance groups will also be erected.

There will be tables and umbrellas for people to relax under and enjoy the atmosphere, while food and drink will be provided by various local traders to ensure money generated remains in Knaresborough's local economy.

Cycling groups will be running a range of activities for children to vintage cycling enthusiasts.

For those looking for a little less hustle and bustle, various displays will also be held at the Castle Grounds where visitors can have a go using a pedal-powered smoothie maker.

Mr Rigby said: "We want to run a family day. promoting local business and persuading people that Knaresborough is the place to be during the Tour de Yorkshire."