Velocipedes attract visitors in Grosmont

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Among the more unusual sights of the Tour de Yorkshire in Grosmont on Friday were a small selection of velocipedes (track bikes).

People were invited to ride one of the quirky vehicles in one of the community-based activities going on around Grosmont in the build-up to the big race.

There are dozens of different kinds of velocipede, explained Jackie Thomas, with rail workers once using them to get about instead of having to wait for the train.

Louis XIV of France was so impressed by them, he had half a mile of track installed at one of his palaces.

The North York Moors Railway has a velocipedes group which owns four of the old bikes, but they are hoping to bid for £10,000 of lottery funding to open a museum called the Velocipede Hub.

Tammy Naylor of NYMR said the group also wants a vehicle to transport the velocipedes around, as they are asked about going to other heritage lines to put an event on.

Howard Smith, who is pictured on ‘Morticia’ the coffin velocipede, said: “We’re hoping the authorities will lay on a bit of track for us at the next Whitby Gothic Weekend.”

Also getting into the community spirit were ladies from the Commondale Wool Workshop, who were demonstrating the ancient craft of spinning.

Lesley Chapman said the women spin, knit, crochet and dye the wool from Fowl Green Farm, with profits from sales going to help the Hayshed Experience, run by people with learning disabilities.

The 14-strong group meets on Thursday nights at the farm.