Todmorden’s Fantastical Cycle Parade on Saturday will have you in a whirl!

Andrew Ellis-Walker on his Fantastical Cycle, ready for the Fantastical Cycle Parade in Todmorden on Saturday, April 26. Picture: Charles Round
Andrew Ellis-Walker on his Fantastical Cycle, ready for the Fantastical Cycle Parade in Todmorden on Saturday, April 26. Picture: Charles Round

Simply spoke-tacular – that’s the best way to summarise the crazy creations which will ride through Todmorden on Saturday, when the town’s first major contribution to the Yorkshire Festival comes to town!

Organisers of the Fantastical Cycle Parade are delighted with how the workshops have gone in the past two weeks and with more than 100 decorated bikes and scooters, four giant kinetic sculptures, bands, giant walkabout puppets and street performers at the ready, Saturday, April 26, is going to be a day to remember in Todmorden.

The parade starts at 1pm from Centre Vale Park, Todmorden, and will make its way to the town centre along Burnley Road and via Halifax Road and Myrtle Street, where you will be able to take a much closer look at the giant models and also admire the smaller scale individual creations,

It is one of the big events which form part of the Yorkshire Festival, a 100 days of artistic celebrations leading to the Tour De France coming to the county, and the Calder Valley, on July 5 and 6.

Only people who have taken part in a workshop can be part of the parade for safety reasons, however “the last minuters among you are not too late,” reassures Hannah Merriman, event organiser.

“We have one last workshop tomorrow (Friday) from noon to 7pm at the High School so if you want to be in the parade there’s this one last chance to makeover your bike/scooter and take part. Remember your helmet,” she added.

Participants under 13 must to be accompanied by an adult. There is a temporary bike park at the end of the parade which will be open until 4.30pm to allow participants to wander afterwards and enjoy the street entertainment without their bikes – but bring a lock, as bikes left at your own risk.

It is likely that not only will there be thousands of local people in town that day, but a large number of visitors too.

Not only have there been interviews on the radio and press throughout the region but the lead up to the event will be covered on BBC Radio Leeds, broadcasting live from Todmorden throughout the morning (9am to noon).

“Let’s make sure that everyone who comes into Tod that day, whether it’s from Hebden Bridge or Hull, has a fantastic day. Cafes and pubs, be kind and open your toilets to our visitors. And make sure there’s plenty of stocks in the fridge so no one runs out,” said Hannah.

Handmade Parade artistic director Andrew Kim says people will be stunned by some of the great creations.

“Our local artists have really gone to town creating some fabulously inventive kinetic sculptures out of old bike parks. It’s some of our best stuff yet – you don’t want to miss this!” he said.

The organisers have been promoting the event with the Tour De Tod steering committee, with the aim of maximising the benefit to Todmorden both in terms of immediate business and also showing what it has to offer, encouraging people to make return visits.

Mayor of Todmorden and Chair of Tour de Tod, Coun Jayne Booth, said: “Its such a privilege to have been part of the team, Tour de Tod, that has helped co-ordinate our town’s celebration of the Tour de France which kicks off with the Fantasic Handmade Bicycle Parade.”

Cynthia Murray, Tour de Tod and vice-chairman of Todmorden Information Centre said: “The Fantastical Bicycle Parade will attract hundreds of visitors to the town which will look wonderful as the market and shops have entered into the spirit with bunting and displaying the little yellow jerseys so lovingly made by local knitters.”

With the parade starting at 1pm, people are advised to arrive in town early to get the best spots and to stay for the street festival, which runs from 2pm to 4pm by Todmorden Market, and see the bike art up close.

There will be some additional free parking at Todmorden High School, Ewood Lane, at Weir’s Halifax Road premises and on Salford Way yard. Handmade Parade thanks the school, Weir’s and the Environment Agency for generously supporting this event.

Organisers warn people in advance of the considerable disruption on Burnley Road and Halifax Road from approximately 1.15pm to 1.45pm - they recommend that if you need to travel at these times plan your diversion route to avoid frustration, or stop to enjoy the parade and travel later.