FORMER world road cycling champion Mandy Bishop is touring schools across North Yorkshire to inspire youngsters into getting on their bikes.

Mandy, who won the championships in 1982 the last time it visited Great Britain told youngsters she had started off on a shopper bike and had to be pushed into her first race at 13 by her dad. Now she is leading the Rainbow Jersey Tour around schools across the region to encourage youngsters to get involved in the championships and in cycling.

The former Elite Women's Road Race champion visited Mill Hill Primary in Northallerton and Richmond Methodist Primary, both towns are playing host to major events in the nine days of races which start with the Para-cycling International on September 21 and the world championships from September 22.

Over 1,400 cyclists from 90 different countries, from the US to Syria and Guatemala will be descending on Yorkshire. Mandy Bishop was one of the trailblazers of the sport, on the dole during her training and relying on her parents to take her to events. She said:"There will be something for everyone. Yorkshire is great at putting events on.

"The championships has cycling events from time trials to road racing, junior races, right through to elite, so we have a much wider range of competitors racing in many cycling events that gives people the opportunity to see different types of racing. It captures people’s imagination even if they’re not cyclists.

"If you’re watching at the roadside, you get the atmosphere; the caravan, cyclists and team cars going by. It's great and hopefully it will also encourage more young people to take up cycling."

North Yorkshire County Council leader, Cllr Carl Les said: "It's great to see so many local school children so captivated by Mandy Bishop’s inspiring story and their excitement about the pending world championships. We’re all looking forward to the county taking to the world stage in a few days’ time and the fantastic coverage for North Yorkshire.

"Our communities like to make their own events on top of the event. Race viewers will not be disappointed, North Yorkshire is promising to put on a fantastic show and provide a warm welcome to the race."