South Molton is pulling out all the stops to welcome the Tour of Britain as it hosts a historic race first on Monday (September 3).
Competitors will ride directly through the town’s Pannier Market – the first time ever the race has passed through a building.
To welcome racers to the town, South Molton Town Council has held a ‘bike amnesty’ and has hung green painted bicycles throughout the market as well as on the front of numerous town centre businesses.
The council has taken a leaf out of the Tour France’s book, where painted bicycles are often hung along the race route, but in this case they will be green to match the race jersey.
It is just one feature of a packed day of cycling related events in the Square and Broad Street and around the Pannier Market.
There will be big screens up to watch the progress of the Tour and inside the market the council is having a 2,000 seat grandstand constructed the night before to hold spectators – seats are first come, first served, but get there early.
The market building will be open from 9am and the market stalls themselves have relocated to South Street for the day, which is hosting a market from 10am-4pm.
An Inflatable Theme Park will be set up in Sheep Fair Field on the other side of the main car park and there will be lots more to see and do.
This includes vintage penny farthing cycles parading around the Square, children’s bike races and bicycle polo in the morning, while the deputy mayor Jean Foster and clerk Andrew Coates will be taking to a giant tricycle.
Stiltwalkers, street entertainers, bunting, stalls, food and drink will add to the occasion.
Market manager Matt ray said: “It’s fantastic the race is coming through a historic pannier market and it would be great for people to come and see some of the greatest sportsmen in the world up close in their home town.
“Hopefully this will have a long-term boost for the area by showcasing what South Molton and North Devon have to offer.”
The first cyclists are expected in South Molton at around 1pm. All roads into the town centre will be closed from 8am-4pm and diversions will be in place.
Find out more and how to sign up for the children’s races via the South Molton Country Pannier Market Facebook page.
Competition: win VIP seats for a family of four to watch the race pass through the Pannier Market. Simply send your name, address and a contact number to – South Molton Tour of Britain Competition, North Devon Gazette, Unit 3, Old Station Road, Barnstaple, EX32 8PB or email your entry to firstname.lastname@example.org . Closing date is 10am on August 29 and the first out of the hat wins. Terms and conditions apply.