INDEPENDENT businesses and community groups in North Yorkshire have been reaping the rewards from its growing reputation as a top cycling destination.

As organisations gear up for the arrival of the Tour de Yorkshire in May, some local businesses say they are investing in their business to meet increasing demand for cycling activities.

This year, the four-day men’s race will take place between Thursday, May 2, and Sunday, May 5, and two-day women’s race on Friday, May 3, and Saturday, May 4. Each of the routes passes through North Yorkshire at some point and the county will host three finish points.

North Yorkshire County Council is working with its partners and the organisers, Welcome to Yorkshire and Amaury Sports Organisation, in helping plan and deliver the event and is providing £190,000 of funding to support this year’s event, with a further £190,000 for 2020’s event.

One business owner said he has already seen such an increase in cyclists travelling to the area as a result of the Tour de Yorkshire that he is going ahead with a £1.3m expansion to his business.

Stuart Price runs the Dales Bike Centre near Reeth, in Swaledale, with his wife, Brenda. The centre offers a range of services for visiting cyclists, including bunk bed accommodation, bike repairs and a bike wash service.

Mr Price has just received planning permission to go ahead with a significant expansion to his business, more than trebling the capacity of his café from 23 covers to 70, adding an additional eight rooms of accommodation and extending his car park and bike hire provision.

“I wouldn’t be expanding without the Tour de Yorkshire,” he said. “There’s no way a little business like ours would be looking at a £1.3m expansion without the confidence in this market and seeing a huge increase in business over the last five years.”

Suzy Flintoff, enterprise and partnerships manager of the Thirsk-based charity, The Clock, said they intended to build on the interest generated in cycling to bring social benefits to the community.

The charity is setting up bike workshops, teaching people how to maintain and fix their own bikes, or repair unwanted bicycles which have been donated to the charity’s community reuse store.

The bikes will then be on sale at low cost at their shop.