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NEWS ROUNDUP: Leeds Walk It Ride It campaign


03/06/21 | Leeds local news | People across Leeds are being asked to make one small change to a weekly journey by leaving the car at home and choosing to walk, cycle, or use the bus instead.

A new Walk it Ride it campaign has launched which aims to get people walking and cycling by encouraging them to choose healthier, greener ways to travel.

Leeds City Council has partnered with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and local bus companies to design and deliver the new Connecting Leeds campaign.

The campaign will share individual stories of how people can get around without jumping into a car - whether that’s by wheeling, walking, running or even pushing a buggy. It will run throughout the summer as part of a long-term push to keep more people walking and cycling as lockdown eases and beyond. Stories and messages targeted at encouraging more people to use the bus will be shared later in the campaign. These stories with resource links for walking and cycling are available to view and download from www.walkitrideit.com.

It comes as traffic data shows car usage in Leeds has already returned to near pre-pandemic levels over the weekends – although it’s still more than 30 per cent down during weekday peak hours compared to pre-pandemic levels. Nearly six in ten journeys travelled by residents are under five miles and most trips are taken by car, despite often being within a comfortable walking or cycling distance for most people. The current general trends show a quicker return to areas like retail, tourism, day trips, and hospitality, rather than in trips for work journeys.

Millions of pounds is being invested in a number of programmes to help people travel greener and actively with confidence including priority bus corridors and new cycling and walking routes.

By walking or riding a bike for some trips can also help individuals save money, improve their physical and mental health, and improve air quality.

The council recently consulted on an ambitious new transport strategy with a vision to make Leeds ‘a city where you don’t need to use a car’. The Connecting Leeds transport strategy has set ambitious targets to increase uptake of cycling, walking, rail and bus journeys. Tackling the over-reliance on cars is seen as crucial to achieving Leeds’ goal of becoming a carbon neutral city by 2030 and addressing the climate.



Leeds City Council is urging people to plan ahead for this weekend as the city prepares to host AJ Bell 2021 World Triathlon Leeds for the fifth time.

This year all races will start and finish in Roundhay Park, with all routes finishing outside the park’s Mansion House.

Thousands of athletes are set to compete, from amateurs to elites, and for the first time elite paratriathletes will also be taking to the start line as the event hosts the World Triathlon Para Series.

Access to Roundhay Park 

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the event space within Roundhay Park is limited to a maximum of 4000 people which includes athletes, officials and spectators with a valid ticket.

This means that large areas of Roundhay Park will be closed to the public all day on Saturday 5 June and until 7pm on Sunday 6 June.

A limited area within the park will remain open for the public but people are being encouraged to choose one of Leeds’ other great parks instead if they are able to.

For those who do still need to visit Roundhay Park, pedestrian access will be available via the entrances at Park Lane, Mansion Lane and Wetherby Road.

Parking will be available on Soldier’s Field on Friday 4th, Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th June and access to this car park will be from Old Park Road.

The following car parks will be closed to the public at the times below:

Mansion Lane – Thursday 3rd June from 00:01 until 12:00 on Monday 7th June

Princes Avenue – Thursday 3rd June from 12:00 until 20:30 on Sunday 6th June

Lakeside - Thursday 3rd June from 07:00 until 07:00 on Monday 7th June

The Wetherby Road car park will remain open throughout but there will be no access to it by car during the Wetherby Road closures on Friday morning (09:30 – 11:00) and Saturday afternoon (13:00 – 17:00). Drivers will be able to leave the car park during these times but will be directed towards Easterly Road.

A limited number of tickets remain available for the action on Saturday 5 June, providing members of the public with the opportunity to watch the world’s best paratriathletes compete in Leeds ahead of the Paralympic Games this summer.

Tickets for Sunday have sold out, with tickets for Saturday available for over 16s for £5 and free for under 16s. There will be no tickets available on the day, and all spectators must register online to attend. Tickets are available here https://www.festivaloftriathlon.co.uk/enter-now/.

Road closure information

On Friday 4th June, between 9.30am and 11am there will be closures around Roundhay Park.

On Saturday 5th June Princes Avenue and Park Avenue will be closed from 5am to 6pm with Wetherby Road also closed for a period during the afternoon.

On Sunday 6th June Princes Avenue and Park Avenue will be closed from 4am to 8pm. A cycle route along Street Lane, Scott Hall Road and Stonegate Road, also affecting Roundhay, Moortown & Meanwood, will be closed from 4am to 1pm.

For full information about road closures and access to Roundhay Park please visit: Local Road Closure Information - AJ Bell 2021 World Triathlon Championship Series Leeds

Councillor Salma Arif, Leeds City Council’s executive member for public health and active lifestyles, said:

“We’re looking forward to once again hosting the AJ Bell 2021 World Triathlon Leeds this weekend. We’re working hard with the event organisers to ensure the weekend runs smoothly and as part of that effort there will be some road closures and changes to public transport over the weekend in the areas surrounding Roundhay Park.

“Make sure you plan ahead for any journeys in this area and, if you intend on visiting a park this weekend, we’d encourage you to avoid Roundhay Park and visit one of the many other amazing green spaces the city has to offer instead.”

Andy Salmon, British Triathlon CEO, said:

“We’re immensely grateful to Leeds City Council and the people of Leeds for welcoming everyone involved with AJ Bell 2021 World Triathlon Leeds once again to Roundhay Park.

“Our team have been working incredibly hard with Leeds City Council and event partners to put on a safe and enjoyable event experience for everyone, and I’d encourage you to purchase a ticket for Saturday in advance of the weekend and to come along to cheer amateur athletes in the morning and the British Paratriathlon Team in the afternoon.”



A student whose weight ballooned to 22st after he fell into the “uni lifestyle” of heavy boozing and takeaways has shed a staggering seven stone - in less than a year.

George Millward, 21, looks unrecognisable as he shows off his new trim figure after he shifted the pounds using just a set of dumbbells and a set of resistance bands.

The Sheffield Hallam University student weighed a whopping 22st 4lbs and wore a XXL sized shirt and 40 inch trousers at his heaviest last May.

But now, a year on, he comfortably fits into a size 34 inch jeans and a large shirt after his astonishing weight loss during lockdown and is down a trimline 15st 2lbs.

George, a sports coaching student, said: “I caught Covid the week before the first lockdown. I had symptoms but nothing I couldn't handle.

"Afterwards I'd try to go for a few walks and I couldn't breath and that kick started my health kick.

"I didn't like how I looked and how I thought of myself but now I feel so much better when I look in the mirror.

“It was a total lifestyle change. I did four or five days of weight training and walking a week.

"I'd get up, have a healthy breakfast, weight train for two hours and then go for a walk for two or three hours. I would walk every day.

George, originally from Banbury in Oxfordshire, was into his fitness before he moved to Sheffield for university.

But too many boozy nights out, a lack of exercise and a bad diet saw his weight spiral out of control.

He would skip breakfast, often because he slept in after a heavy session, then stuff his face with sandwiches, crisps and pizza throughout the day.

On top of that, he stopped working out like he used to and eventually he got to the stage where he could not face himself in the mirror.

He added: "I'd always been very prone to putting weight on, I was always the big kid at school, but I became a proper gym head at 16 and 17 and was in good shape.

"It was when I got to uni that the weight ballooned. I stopped going to the gym, I was hungover most days, I'd eat rubbish and then go out boozing again at night.

“My family were concerned for me, they had been for a while, but it was only when I got that low that I thought I needed to do something about it.

"I'm studying to be a sports coach too and I thought, who is going to take me seriously as a sports coach looking like that?”

After a health scare last year when he contracted Covid, George moved back home during lockdown and began training four times a week and walking daily.

He also totally changed his dietary habits and began eating healthier, lighter meals and swapped the sandwiches for fruit.

He also started training every day at home using his 10kg dumbbells, resistance bands and would go on daily walks.

The weight soon dropped and despite not being able to run for more than a minute when he first started, he completed a 10km run in October.

George added: “My step brother asked me to do a training programme to help him get fit so I thought 'this is the time for me to do something'.

"I'd always been able to lift fairly heavy weights, but I only had a pair of dumbbells that were 10kg and some resistance bands. I would do lighter weights, but more reps.

"In May when I started, I couldn't run at all, but I did my first 10k run in October which was amazing.

George now runs social media accounts on Instagram and You-tube to promote both a healthy lifestyle.

He has also raised money by walking and running 247 miles during the second lockdown for MIND charity who help people struggling with mental health issues.


Breakfast: Nothing

Lunch: Sandwiches stuffed with ham and cheese, two packets of crisps

Dinner: Chicken and chips, then George would order a pizza or burger at around 10-11pm


Breakfast: Poached egg on wholemeal toast

Lunch: Fruit

Dinner: Chicken, vegetables and rice or a jacket potato.

(SWNS | Ashley Pemberton)

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