It was a grand day out for thousands of Huddersfield people.
Yorkshire’s hosting of the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart inspired hundreds of locals to break out the bunting, decorate and display bikes in their gardens on the route and cheer on the cyclists.
Massive crowds thronged the streets of Huddersfield, Calderdale and other parts of Yorkshire for the massive event and there was global TV coverage which captured the White Rose county at its best.
Now the Tour has inspired West Yorkshire author Lisa Firth, who writes as Mary Jayne Baker, to pen her latest novel.
A Bicycle Made for Two is a romantic comedy novel set in the fictional village of Egglethwaite.
Spotting an opportunity to drum up business for her struggling medieval-themed restaurant – and as a memorial to her beloved late father – heroine Lana hatches a plan to lure the Tour route through her village.
She enlists the help of a colourful cast of villagers, including pro cyclist turned bike shop owner Stewart McLean, whose offbeat ideas might just end up costing them everything.
Bingley-based Lisa Firth said: “I wanted to write a story that wasn’t really about the Depart as a sporting event so much as it was about people’s response to it – that quintessentially Yorkshire character encapsulated in the yellow bikes, the dyed sheep, the knitted bunting. It was such a proud moment.”
While Egglethwaite is fictional, its environs may well ring a few bells. “Several landmarks in my little patch of the West Riding have made it into the book in fictionalised form,” said Lisa. “Druids’ Altar, on the St Ives Estate near Bingley, and Hewenden Viaduct and Reservoir in Cullingworth, are likely to be instantly recognisable to those who know them.”
Lisa was educated at Bingley Grammar School before studying English Literature at Durham University, where she graduated in 2003. She has published two romcoms to date, both with HarperImpulse, part of HarperCollins Publishers. A third HarperImpulse title, Runaway Bride, is due to be published as an ebook on February 16.
A Bicycle Made for Two is the first of two titles set in Egglethwaite with the series title Love in the Dales, under a new contract for Mirror Books, part of the Trinity Mirror group. It will be published as an ebook on February 1 and in paperback on April 5.
For details go to www.maryjaynebaker.co.uk