The Tour de France: Inspiring more cycling across France and beyond

Aug 7, 2019, 08:58 AM

As the excitement and drama of the recently-finished Tour de France dies down, fans and spectators continue to reap the benefits.

 

While captivating audiences across the globe, the Tour also provides an arena to demonstrate the positive impact of cycling in all forms - something embraced by the organisers and host cities and regions. The Riding into the Future programme acts not only as a cornerstone of Corporate Social Responsibility policy but also helps promote green transport and a more sustainable future in the places the Tour visits.

 

The programme has four pillars, which we look at in more detail below:

 

Riding for our planet

Embodying the climate and environmental benefits of cycling, riding for our planet sees the promotion of environmental best practice under actions including a responsible waste collection, a CO2 emission reduction programme and a biodiversity charter. In 2019, 21 messages were broadcast on French television to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the country’s biodiversity. 

 

Riding for towns and cities

The ‘We have Everything to Win’ campaign takes place across France to encourage TV viewers to commute to school or work by bike. These four advertisements promote the positive benefits of cycling for transportation. The Tour communicated the importance of road safety and ‘sharing the road’, by presenting the French Road Safety Authority’s “La route se partage” campaign at the start of finish of each stage. Within the publicity caravan, there were two vehicles dedicated to raising awareness, 34 stands on the course, and 230 volunteers supporting the action.

 

During the first weekend of June, the Fête du Tour is organised in roughly 80% of stage towns and cities. A celebration of cycling, the Fête has been organised since 2013, and helps raise awareness among the public about cycling and the Tour.

 

Riding for young people

The Ateliers du Tour concept sees dedicated areas set up in host towns offering various activities including bicycle repair workshops, safety/child training and learn-to-ride sessions  on a closed track under expert supervision. This programme was delivered in association with the French Federation of Bicycle Users (FUB), and so far, 7,000 diplomas have been awarded in 11 cities.

 

In 2019, the Dictée du Tour programme also saw 17,000 children from 40 towns and urban areas take part in an educational competition - working on excerpts from articles about the Tour de France. 300 of those who did well in the competition were invited to the Tour. Providing a lesson on grammar as well as the history of the Tour, the programme is helping spark a lifelong passion for cycling amongst children.

 

Riding for wellbeing

Promoting both mental and physical health, the “Vivons Vélo” app helps to encourage cycling for individual wellbeing. Offering 3,000 routes across France, the app was downloaded 25,000 times, with 100 gatherings open to all organised in 2018. For every 10km ridden in the app, one euro is donated to the Pasteur Institute; this represented €85,900 in 2018. The aim for 2019 is to reach €100,000.

 

Grand Départ leaves cycling legacy

In Brussels, excitement around the Grand Départ was seized upon by public authorities to promote cycling for all. In the months leading up the Grand Départ on 6 July #BikeForBrussels, an initiative of Brussels’s regional public mobility agency to encourage the population to cycle more often (through promoting the urban benefits of more cycling), organised the #tourensemble campaign. 

The slogan was displayed across the city in the run up to the Tour - on stickers placed on bike racks, chalked onto the pavement, displayed on public buildings and displayed on posters. The campaign encouraged residents to sign up and join ‘the perfect team for all those who want to turn Brussels into a genuine cycling capital’. For each sign up on the campaign website, the region donated a euro towards a project to provide bicycles for mothers taking their children to school.

By linking in existing cycling promotion activities and events under #tourensemble, the campaign used the energy and excitement around the Tour de France coming to Brussels as a spring board to promote cycling in all forms across the Belgian capital.