Around 48,000 people will descend on Knaresborough this July for the Tour de France, according to latest estimates.
A weekend of activities is being planned for le Tour, and Coun Tony Handley said he thinks the fact the world’s largest cycling event will be coming through Knaresborough has ‘started to sink in with people in the town.’
“People are now stopping me in the street to talk about it,” he said.
“I think it is changing and people are are thinking and talking about it all a lot more.
“48,000 people: that’s more than the bed race!”
The 2013 Great Knaresborough Bed Race attracted crowds of 30,000 and was thought to be have been one of the busiest in the event’s 58- year history.
The world’s greatest cyclists will speed down Knaresborough High Street on the A59 en route to Starbeck on July 6, the day after the first yellow jersey of the 2014 race is handed out to the rider who wins in Harrogate on July 5.
A three-day food festival is planned for Knaresborough Market Place, which will be pedestrianised for the weekend of July 4, 5 and 6.
Knaresborough Chamber of Trade is encouraging local caterers to get in touch if they want to have a stall. Coun Handley, who will be Mayor of Knaresborough when Le Tour comes, said: “We want to offer local businesses the opportunity to make the most of the huge numbers of people.”
The castle grounds will be home to a giant screen beaming live coverage of the weekend of sport, and a yellow bicycle trail is being set up.
Coun Handley said: “We will make a route around the town for people to follow the yellow bikes. This way, they come to Knaresborough and what the town has to offer.”
More than 20 bikes have been painted yellow by Econ for the Le Tour Knaresborough group who will send the bikes to a charity in Africa after the Tour de France.
The Frazer Theatre is hosting bike-themed film nights to get people in the mood.
Chasing Legends will be shown on March 5 and A Sunday in Hell on April 9. For more details see www.bike-film-nights.eventbrite.co.uk.
l Keep up to date with plans for the Tour de France across the district with our weekly Tour de France features, see pages 16 and 17 or catch up online, visit www.harrogateadvertiser.co.uk/sport/tour-de-france.