RYEDALE is gearing up for the Tour de Yorkshire with events and activities for residents and visitors.

The inaugural three-day event, which will be held in May, will go through Pickering, Dalby Forest, North York Moors National Park and Norton.

Organised by Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) and Welcome to Yorkshire (WTY), supported by British Cycling, it is expected to attract cycling enthusiasts from all over the world.

Organisers in Pickering are preparing to welcome visitors to the town on Friday, May 1, with bunting, art work to ensure the town is noticed by the helicopters filming and streaming the race, as well as cycling-related events and activities in the town.

Plans are also underway to close the Market Place to enable entertainment, cycle skills and races and a hog roast and picnic to take place.

Town councillor William Oxley said businesses would also be encouraged to dress windows and help theme the town to welcome and host cycling fans.

“This a great opportunity for groups in the town to work together to put Pickering firmly on the world cycling stage,” he added.

“Welcome to Pickering, Newbridge Park and the town council have started planning and are keen for others to be involved.

“We are hoping that schools, youth groups and voluntary bodies will throw themselves in and help recreate the impact we had when the Olympic torch came to town.”

Mike Hawtin, chairman of Newbridge Park, who runs Gone Mountain Biking, in Pickering, said it was really exciting for the town.

“There is a lot of interest in and around Pickering in biking and road cycling, which is building each year with more and more people coming to the area,” he said.

“Pickering is already a tourist hub with places to stay and eat and we want to build on that by encouraging people to stay in the area after the race has gone through.”

Norton councillors have set aside £5,000 to spend on the event, which will pass through the town centre on Saturday, May 2.

Bunting will be put up across the streets with entertainment and refreshments at various points along the route, along with shop window and bike decorating competitions.

The council also hopes to have the race streamed live on a big screen and a wrap round promoting Norton at a central point in the town.

Mayor Councillor Ray King said: “This is something really positive for Norton. We want to create a real buzz in the town with a build up to the event as well as the day itself.”

Businesses are invited to attend free roadshows to learn more about maximising the economic benefits of the Tour de Yorkshire.

Hosted by Ryedale District Council and Welcome to Yorkshire, the events will take place tomorrow at Ryedale Community and Leisure Centre, Norton, and on Monday, March 9, at Rosedale Reading Rooms. Sessions start with refreshments at 10am and will finish by noon.

To book, visit letour.yorkshire.com/roadshows