You might think that selling the trials and tribulations of British cycling to the pampered Dutch would be an uphill struggle – but that was exactly the point of a recent delegation.
Because if there’s one thing that Yorkshire does well, and Holland doesn’t, it’s uphill cycling. And Rupert Douglas from cycle charity Sustrans, accompanied by Malcolm Hodgson for the Yorkshire Wolds Way and Cleveland Way walking routes, was in the Low Countries to promote cycle tourism in our rather more rugged landscape.
In January the pair were at the Fiets en Wandelbeurs (cycling and walking) show in Mechelen, Belgium, where almost 13,500 people came through the doors. And last weekend, they were at its sister show in Amsterdam, which is estimated to have had around 20,000 visitors.
Rupert Douglas explained: “With P&O ferries from Zeebrugge or Rotterdam, Hull makes a great gateway into East and North Yorkshire for the Belgians and Dutch. With our growing network of cycling and walking routes we're increasingly able to tempt them to spend more, if not all, of their trip in our area, which is very good for our local accommodation and other tourism-related businesses.”
Several high-profile cycle routes run through the area, including the Way of the Roses, the Pennine Cycleway, the Yorkshire Dales Cycleway, and of course, the opening stages of 2014’s Tour de France. Janet Deacon, from local tourism body Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “With the Tour de France, the biggest annual cycling event, visiting the county this year, the eyes of the world will be on what Yorkshire has to offer those who love the outdoors.”