It’s not something you’d really expect to see when you pop into your local building society branch – some of Yorkshire’s most elite cyclists notching up the miles on a static exercise bike!
But that’s exactly what happened at Beverley Building Society’s town centre outlet this week.
Three members of the all-female Team Jadan-Weldtite Vive Le Vélo, who will be taking part in next month’s Tour de Yorkshire, popped in to add some pedal power to the Society’s exciting new fundraising campaign.
The Tour de Yorkshire has become one of the biggest events in the sport over recent years, and both the men’s and women’s races will start virtually outside the Society’s doors, in Beverley’s Saturday Market, on Thursday 3 May.
Deciding this is an opportunity not to be missed – and with a number of cycling fans among their own team – the Society is gearing up for a month-long series of activities aimed at adding to the positive community atmosphere and raising hundreds of pounds for official race charity the Yorkshire Air Ambulance at the same time.
With a static exercise bike installed in the branch, they are inviting people from the local area to help them achieve their target of cycling the equivalent of the total Tour distance – 597 miles – between now and the Beverley race stage, on Thursday 3 May. And the Society will be donating 50p per mile, rounded up to £300, when they complete the distance.
The enthusiastic Society team will also be decking out the branch in the famous blue and yellow Tour colours, and have joined forces with the local Minster Cycles shop in Norwood to give away a bike to the winner of its special Tour prize draw.
On the day itself, Beverley Building Society’s team will be circulating with giveaways including water bottles featuring their special Tour strapline, ‘with you for the ride’.
And women’s race competitors Team Jadan-Weldtite Vive Le Vélo kicked off the charity push in the branch, testing out the static challenge bike and having their photos taken with the Beverley team.
Society Chief Executive Karl Elliott said: “Taking an active role in supporting our local community is at the heart of our purpose, and as the Tour de Yorkshire is one of the most popular events in the Beverley calendar, we felt that we just had to be involved.
“A number of our team are also keen cyclists themselves, so it’s great to have the opportunity to help celebrate this special event, and put in a few miles in aid of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance at the same time.
“We’re hoping local people, businesses and schools will come along during April and have a go or simply make a donation, as part of our fundraising push.”
Anyone wanting to help the Society to achieve their mileage target can simply pop into the branch and speak to a member of staff, who’ll set them up on the resident static bike and record how many miles they complete.
To take part in the prize draw to win the bike, all people have to do is like and share the Beverley’s competition-related social media posts on the @beverleybs Facebook and Twitter pages- or fill in an entry form in-branch. Copies of the full prize draw terms and conditions are available from the Society’s website or the branch.
Helen Callear, North Yorkshire Fundraising Manager from Yorkshire Air Ambulance, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have been chosen as this year’s Official Tour de Yorkshire Charity and for the fantastic support we have received so far from local businesses along the route.
“The Yorkshire Air Ambulance provides life-saving emergency service to the whole of Yorkshire and the donations we receive really are the life blood of the charity. We’d like to wish all the staff and customers who may get involved the best of luck with their fundraising event and thank them for their support!”
Team Jadan-Weldtite Vive Le Vélo is the brainchild of cyclist and team manager Victoria Hood, from Brough, who, having come to the sport later than many women is now a real champion for cycling in the East Yorkshire region, and particularly of encouraging other girls and women to maximise their racing potential.
There are 18 team members altogether, aged between 14 and 40, and a number of current and past members have competed as part of Team GB – including Rhona Callander, who won at the Junior Commonwealth Games in 2017.
Joining her for the photo in the Society’s branch were team members Louise Scupham, 20, from Scarborough and a student at Birmingham University; and junior racer Hermione Pickering, from Brough, who is just 14.
Victoria – who is a current double Masters National Champion, having won two national titles on the track (velodrome) in Sprint and the 500 Time Trial in 2017 – is about to choose the five riders from the team who will compete in the Tour.
She said: “I’m passionate about encouraging more women into cycling, particularly in the East Yorkshire region, and therefore it’s great to be involved with the Beverley Building Society campaign, which will raise the profile of the sport and help get more people involved in it.
“The Tour de Yorkshire is one of the pinnacles of the racing season, and brings so much positive profile to Beverley and our wider region.
“We’re keen to do anything we can to support Yorkshire Air Ambulance fundraising too, because they provide a vital service to cyclists and I’ve seen many competitors benefit from their help over the years.
“We hope as many people as possible will pop into the branch to get involved, and help the building society team achieve their total!”
In 2017, the Tour de Yorkshire (TDY) attracted 2.2 million roadside spectators and 549 global broadcasters to watch 252 world-class athletes compete on Yorkshire’s roads.
This year, Beverley will once again be a key location for the Tour, with both the men’s and women’s races kicking off from its Market Place on 3 May.
As a result, the town can expect a huge influx of local, national and even international visitors around this time and an unprecedented level of attention will be focused on Beverley as a celebration of all that’s best about our region.