Racing towards the sea through the moors, an international cast of cyclists will again take to the roads of Yorkshire this month. The Tour de Yorkshire is returning for another year to bring the excitement, speed and strategy to the region again.
Cycling in and around the North York Moors is often fantastic. But after hundreds of professional cyclists show you exactly how to do it - this summer is the perfect time to plan a cycling holiday for you and your loved ones.
If planning a stay at a Scarborough hotel to enjoy the Tour de Yorkshire, or planning the perfect launching point for your own cycling adventure, here is some information to help you create a great experience.
The Tour de Yorkshire
The cycling event begins on 29 April and lasts through the weekend. It starts with 186km stage race from Beverley to Settle. The second stage takes riders on a 136km journey from Otley to Doncaster. The final stage - the one that enjoys the heart of the North Yorkshire Moors - takes place on 1 May and is a gruelling 198km from Middlesbrough ending in the seaside treasure of Scarborough.
There is also a women's race held on the Saturday on the same course as the tour's Otley to Doncaster stage. For complete details on the stages, please visit the Tour de Yorkshire website.
The first stage will lead riders on through Harrogate towards Hull. It will pass inbetween the cities of Leeds and York. The second stage takes a southerly route along the outskirts of Leeds and ending in Doncaster.
Stage 3 - which starts in Middlesbrough - will take the riders on a journey south towards Thirsk. From there, cyclists will make the right turn into the beautiful North York Moors National Park. They will ride through Helmsley, north through Church House towards Danby. From that point, they will race towards the coast eventually reaching Whitby. The final portion takes them through Robin Hood's Bay, Ravenscar, and eventually ending in Scarborough.
More than just cycling
Although the cycling is amazing, the weekend's festivities are so much more than just two wheels, Lycra and racing. At the various start and finish lines, there will be acrobats, stilt walkers, live music, giant viewing screens, unicyclists and stunt performers.
On the first day, Olympic track cyclist Rebecca Romero will be joined by thousands of local schoolchildren to kick off the event. An obvious goal of the event is to get more people into cycling and a healthier lifestyle. At many of the venues, there will also be fitness events as the racing action unfolds.
After three days of racing, organisers are planning a tremendous end to the event in Scarborough. There will be a host of street performers and entertainers on hand to wow the crowd. Concerts and live music are also planned.
"It's fantastic that each of the start and finish towns for the Tour de Yorkshire and the Asda Women's Tour de Yorkshire Race will be hosting exciting family-friendly events to entertain spectators and create a real buzz on the streets," said Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire in a press release.
"The Tour de Yorkshire offers a unique opportunity for towns across the county to showcase themselves to the world, and as we enter into the last month of preparations I am sure that local communities will be vying to create exciting land art, fun and engaging street decorations and an atmosphere to remember," he said.
The North York Moors were made for cycling
Watching seasoned professionals is one thing, but feeling the wind in your hair on a beautiful Yorkshire day is something else. The North York Moor National Park is the perfect location to release your inner Sir Bradley Wiggins or Lizzie Armistead.
There are several places - including the park itself - that can set up you and your family with a complete bike hire solution. The park has created a number of marked routes for cyclists of all abilities, including mountain bike trails.
For some beautiful scenery, park officials recommend cycling routes along Sutton Bank on the western edge of the park. There are three trails that start and finish at the amazing bike rental outlet Sutton Bank Bikes.
The park is most proud of its series of cycling routes that lead riders from the moors to the sea. A network of more than 150 miles, these routes take riders through villages, wooden pathways and along horse bridle paths. There is also a 21-mile section of the old Whitby to Scarborough rail line.
For more information, visit the park's the Moor to Sea Network.
To pique the interest of mountain bike riders, Dalby Forest is England's largest trail centre. This area offers more than 40 miles of trails. It is perfect for experienced bikers and families too.
Main Image Credit: Dan Atrill, YorkshirePhotoWalks , Bryan Ledgard , Phil and Pam Gradwell (to be) (flickr.com)