BUSINESS owners are gearing up for the visit of the Tour de France’s Grand Depart to the region next month.

Five businesses in Northallerton are creating special bike-themed window displays to raise awareness of the importance of the visit of the world’s most famous cycling event.

Lewis and Cooper, HSBC, Montana Country Collection, Colin Hutson Accounting Limited and the Joe Cornish Gallery are adding bikes from the town's Cowley Cycles to their displays - and are hoping other businesses will follow suit.

Hambleton District Council has been working with businesses across the district as they get ready for the expected influx of visitors to the area to make sure they benefit from the event.

“We are determined to take advantage of any business opportunities made available by the visit of the Grand Depart," said deputy leader Peter Wilkinson.

"We want our businesses and communities to benefit, and our residents and visitors to understand what a great opportunity this is in July and beyond.

“We want to showcase to the world wide audience and not just the Grand Depart what great towns and communities we have in the area.”

The timing of the windows and displays is planned to coincide with the Vintage Cycle event on Saturday, June 14, a display of vintage machines run by local town councillor John Coulson.