Cyclists serenaded by lines of choirs

Adrian Myers, Julian Hodges and Lee Cropper at The Robin Hood for the Longest Cycling Climb for the longest day, Cragg Vale, Mytholmroyd
Adrian Myers, Julian Hodges and Lee Cropper at The Robin Hood for the Longest Cycling Climb for the longest day, Cragg Vale, Mytholmroyd

It was not so much the long and short of it as the long and long of it, as two stylish events celebrated the Tour De France coming to Yorkshire, and the Calder Valley, for the first time on July 5 and 6.

The Longest Climb saw cyclists aim to complete a 24-hour marathon event on the Longest Day, while the Longest Choir saw some of the cyclists heading up and down Cragg Road, Cragg Vale, being serenaded in song by well over 200 choristers.

First out of the blocks - from 6pm last Friday evening, in fact - were the Longest Climb team, based at the Robin Hood pub on Cragg Road, where a chalkboard and Lego bricks helped keep the tally.

They ensured they had cyclists “on the mountain” for every minute of the 24 hours and organiser Jonathan Emberton said they were delighted with how the event went.

“In all we made 471 climbs, which is pretty special - the equivalent of 15 Everests in 24 hours, and averaging around two to two and a half climbs each, between 220 and 250 cyclists taking part,” he said.

The veauty of the event was that everyone, covering a wide range of abilities, could contribute, from young cyclists doing one climb to a professional racer who completed 22 climbs. Jonathan himself, and fellow cyclist Nick Murphy, completed 17 apiece.

“It was a beautiful event in good conditions. It was not too hot and there was no wind, just beautiful.

“We did one climb using the 18-seater bike which pulled the piano up the hill to mark the Tour and the Piano Festival - and we descended on it!

“Some people came on the evening and came back the morning after. We massively achieved our aims and may be looking at running it again, as a legacy event,” said Jonathan.

He added many of the cyclists weren’t aware of the choir’s event - it was a total suprise for them!

Organiser of the choir event Nicholas Hewlett said 220 choristers from choirs from Burnley, Accrington, Todmorden, Leeds, Bradford, Skipton and Batley, among others, all met at Cragg Vale Park near the Robin Hood before lining up along the road to sing “rounds” which went up and down the lines.

Nicholas said: “The songs were chosen to be suitable for singing in rounds and with the help of stewards and a few ‘break away’ groups, we managed it!” he said.

“Everybody was very happy, it was a great opportunity to get together with 12 choirs taking part. We could share experiences, say hello and get everyone singing.

“A lot of local people came to see us and we had a good day. It was excellent weather, bright and cheery,” he said.

It was certainly a weekend to live long in the memory.