SCHOOLS and businesses on the Tour de Yorkshire route are preparing to welcome the riders as they sweep through north Ryedale.

Stage Three of the race on Sunday, May 1 will go from Middlesbrough to Scarborough, via Helmsley, Kirkbymoorside and Hutton-le-Hole. As well as lining the route with old bicycles painted in the blue and yellow colours of the Tour, communities along the route have additional plans.

Lizzie Rohan, of Helmsley in Business, said: "We're putting up lots more bunting. Everyone is getting on board with decorating their shop windows and there will be another push for businesses to get in the swing of things."

Ms Rohan added that they have got 2000 balloons that will line the route on the day. "It will look fantastic," she said.

Some of the bunting is recycled from the Norton decorations that adorned the route last year, but more will be knitted, as well as a knitted "welly" trail raising money for the RNLI, the official race charity.

A piece of "land art" is being considered, ready to catch the eye of passing helicopter camera crews.

Younger residents are also making ready. Pupils at Helmsley primary school have been studying the race and route and incorporating the cycling theme into their lessons as part of a mini-topic.

Children at Kirkbymoorside primary school will be running a race as part of the town's 10k on the day, but have also painted large advertising boards with bright pictures representing their town, including of the brass band and local shops. These will go on display along the route.

Pupils at Nawton and Rosedale primary schools are doing bicycle-related activities in class and on the day will set up a "photo booth" board on the green. "We're doing a quite a few bits and pieces," said headteacher Nicola Johnson. Many are also taking part in the Beadlam Tractor Run which will precede the race.

The Tour de Yorkshire will pass Kirkbymoorside at around 1.45 to 2.30 pm.

The town council have said there will be a big screen arranged for the centre of town to provide live streaming of the Tour throughout the day, and free car parking at the Town Farm Car park (vouchers are available from the Post Office and Library prior to the event).

There will also be face painters, stalls and tombolas, and at the sportsfield there will be two bouncy castles and other entertainment for youngsters.

Extra car parking will be provided at Ryedale Auctioneers.