With the Tour de France in town next weekend, a popular Harrogate pub has changed its name in support of cycling star Mark Cavendish.
The Coach and Horses on West Park, where stage one of the Tour will finish, is now calling itself the Cvndsh and Horses and has new signage devoted to the man pub landlord John Nelson hopes will win the first leg of the world’s biggest annual sporting event.
This supportive rebranding is, however, a community effort with many people and groups involved in its progress, including Harrogate College which is responsible for the bikes running around the outside of the building, Horticap, who have filled the space with yellow flowers, and local sculptor Steve Blaylock constructing the central sculpture in dedication to the pub’s own Tour de France ale Pedal Power.
Mark Cavendish himself responded to this tremendous show of support, tweeting a picture of the pub on Tuesday, July 1, and writing: “Love this pub, 100 or so meters after the Stage1 finish in Harrogate. Thanks so much for the @cvndsh support guys!”
Mr Nelson said: “Mark Cavenish has local connections and talking with Antony Robinson of the Lift Agency, Mark’s creative team based here in Harrogate, we wanted to do something special, something that wasn’t just a banner. What better way to show our support than renaming the pub?
“Mark is part of our town and we are proud to be associated with him. We wish him all the best for every stage of this fantastic race.
“This is a fitting way to celebrate what will be an amazing weekend for Harrogate and everyone involved in the Tour de France. We are sure it will be a fantastic occasion and will be a source of many great memories for years to come.”
Mark Cavendish is also honoured in more subtle ways at the pub. The small bikes lining the shelf above the entrance are all yellow except one, which is painted green in a significant nod to the cyclist.
Made by Harrogate College engineering technician Martyn Wood, with a little help from some motor vehicle students, there is also a story behind these mini sculptures.
Mr Wood said: “John approached me and asked if we could do something for the front of the pub and I introduced him to a guy in the art department and he spotted some of the sculptures and said that was what he wanted.
“They are iconic bicycles, including the recumbent and the penny farthing and the American clunker from ET, so there is pretty much every bike that people will know.”
Mr Nelson said: “About a month ago Mark Cavendish came in after he had been doing some training and I showed him the bikes in storage and asked him to choose one and we would pain it in his colours.
“Martyn said we could do better than that and said we will do a replica of his bike and that is the one up there now, just above the door.”
And in a final dedication to the cycling star, the Cvndish and Horses has Cavendish corner, full of exclusive items lent to the pub by Mark Cavendish including a signed shirt.
Now, not only is the space full of vintage posters on the Tour de France and yellow flowers surrounding the outside, but as Mark Cavendish makes his way through the town towards the finish line he will see the welcome sight of the town’s own shout of support.
Harrogate College head of school Penny Garner said: “We just wanted to show our support for the Tour de France ,which is just absolutely fantastic, and we wanted to have some way of showing our involvement and just really being a part of what is going on in the town at the moment.”