BIKE shops in York have recorded a big rise in sales as the region prepares to welcome the Tour de France.

Various shops and related businesses across the city said business is booming as North Yorkshire prepares to welcome the Grand Depart.

Businesses have noticed a marked increase in the popularity of cycling in recent months and years and said they hope the trend will continue.

Nicola Doody, of Giant Store York in Lord Mayor's Walk said it had noticed a "significant growth in sales" which has exceeded expectations, with the Grand Depart playing a part with some customers.

She said: "The type of sales that have increased as a result of the pros coming to the roads of Yorkshire tend to be road bike sales to newcomers to road cycling, and functional cyclists who have been inspired to take up cycling as a recreational sport rather just as a way of commuting."

Bernie Cullen, founder and director of the Bike Rescue Project in Wellington Row, said it has been inundated with customers.

She said: "There has been a non stop queue of people asking for bikes, who knows if this is just a bubble. It will take long term changes in infrastructure and attitude to make cycling a first class choice of transport, and it would be great if the Tour de France was part of that shift in Yorkshire".

They have been deluged with people donating bikes as they are getting new ones, enabling the organisation to give bikes to the Margaret Carey Foundation which are fixed by prisoners and sent to third world countries. Meanwhile, its scrap bikes have been sprayed yellow and are now all over North Yorkshire.

Jim McGurn, the chief executive of Get Cycling in Hospital Fields Road, said it had noticed that sales were up a little, however he said: "The big story is our events department: our bike try-out roadshows for local authorities and corporate are up by 30 per cent. On some days we are running six roadshows in different parts of the country on the same day. We’re back to pre-2008 levels of bookings and have taken on six extra members of staff to cope."

Meanwhile, Carol Walker, of Shannons Cycle Centre in Boroughbridge Road, said: "We do think the tour has helped boost people’s interest in cycling but there also has a definite increase in sales since the Olympics and the increased mainstream coverage of the tour over the last few years and people becoming familiar with personalities involved in the tour such as Bradley Wiggins and of course their success recently had helped with that."

She said the business had seen a rise in families cycling together and more people doing charity rides and getting involved in sporting events such as sprint triathlons.

- The Bike Rescue Project currently has some apprenticeships running, and there is funding for mechanical training available via the Tour de France legacy fund.

As there is a marked lack of women involved in cycling, the organisation has emphasised that girls or women wanting mechanical training will be made to feel welcomed and supported. Anyone who is interested should visit or call the project on 01904 733789.