July 4, 2014, by Emma Thorne

The Tour de France is coming to town … time to get on your bike

University of Nottingham Physiotherapy lecturer and ex-Tour of Britain rider, Alan Taylor reckons there has never been a better time to get on the cycle path to health and happiness.

The Tour de France is coming to town LITERALLY as it visits Yorkshire for the ‘Grand Depart’ on Saturday 5th July.

Exiting times … and your chance to soak in the unique atmosphere of the biggest bike race on the planet. Cycling and the Tour de France in particular, has a little bit for everyone. Billed as the world’s toughest sporting challenge, it has more than its fair share of blood, sweat and tears, with drama and controversy never far away. That’s not to mention the beautiful countryside that serves as a backdrop to those well oiled legs.

The world’s top bike riders take on the hills and valleys of Yorkshire as they make their way from Leeds to Harrogate (Stage 1) and York to Sheffield (Stage 2) before heading south for leg between Cambridge and London (Stage3). It promises to be a party all the way as the bunting goes up, the flags are waved and the music plays, all along the route.

But it’s not just about being a spectator there’s a host of events for wannabee Chris Froomes’. For those of you who may have missed it, Chris Froome won last year’s event for Team Sky following the success of Sir Bradley Wiggins in 2012 – Team Sky hosts a series of rides to keep up the momentum of the Tour visit and encourage cycling for everyone.

From a health perspective, cycling gets people active, it’s gentle on the joints and gives a cardio vascular workout. It’s also a super cheap and quick way to commute in busy cities. As a pastime that can be enjoyed by all age groups, it fits well with Government-backed activity schemes like ‘Change4life’. The positive benefits of cycling on happiness and mental health shown by recent research, have far reaching health benefits for everyone.

Remember, Einstein said of his theory of relativity … “I thought of it while riding my bicycle.” If you need any convincing at all that dusting off that old Claude Butler is the right thing to do, then take a look at this. You’ll find no less than 30 good reasons for joining in the fun.

So if you want to look younger, live longer, improve your brain power and … errr improve your sex life? (to name a few benefits) then it’s time to get those wheels turning. British Cycling is on the threshold of a change in attitudes in the UK, and we can all get the wind in our hair.

As ex-tour rider Chris Boardman so rightly said:  “This isn’t just about cycling, it’s about creating accessible, pleasant, healthier places.”

Read about the Tours projected lasting legacy here.

Alan Taylor is a Lecturer in Physiotherapy and Sport Rehabilitation & Exercise Science at the University of Nottingham. He rode the Kellogg’s Tour of Britain in 1988 and still rides a bike for pleasure and commuting. Follow him on Twitter @Tayloralanj

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