And so, it’s almost upon us. A whole weekend of horrible road disruption, blanket media coverage by reporters with not an ounce of topic knowledge, fat blokes (Yes: like me!) inappropriately dressed in lycra (NO! Most definitely NOT me!), and overpriced tat being sold at the side of the road. Yup, the Tour De France 2014 starts … in Yorkshire.
To be fair, I would have liked to have witnessed the event, or even better, have been involved. But by the time I found out that my sometime employer wouldn’t be providing their services (Le Tour have their own body for that purpose – hmmm!), I was precisely 24 hours too late to volunteer as a Tour Maker.
I have a number of friends who live on the route, and Plan B was to park with them, and get myself and my girls roadside. Our own Worm-Wrangler AliM has a ringside seat, for instance. Unfortunately, it turned out that the Dance Show that Darcey is in at the Bradford Playhouse is also on Sunday 6th July – two performances, and with a dress rehearsal on Saturday 5th! D’OH!
As a result, I won’t get to see any of it. However, I did today drive twenty miles of the route (Halifax to Woodhead, over Holme Moss), as I had to pick up DsGran and bring her back here. I have to tell you, Holme village and Holmfirth (top right photo) in particular have gone absolutely TdF mental.
For those who haven’t noticed it yet in the comments, it turns out the “cycleton” sculpture in that photo is being used as a fundraiser.
Here’s a link to the page that will explain all: PrintImp Giving Page.
During the first half of this year, I have also driven a regular commute across another section of Day 2’s route, Stanbury to Oxenhope. One of the most eye-catching symbols of the impending tour has been the Oxenhope Hollywood Project installation, which is what the top left photo is of. On a hillside visible as you come down towards Oxenhope is the 2014 & bike you see in that picture, but what’s made it noteworthy has been the rotating list of phrases built as Hollywood-sign-style boards behind it. YORKSHIRE, LOVE LIFE and ON YER BIKE were all fair enough, but I admit the first time I glanced up at the hillside and saw EAT PIES, I laughed so hard I nearly drove off the road. And when it said DRINK BEER, I immediately went home and succumbed to the power of advertising. We’ve also had KNIT WOOL, READ THE BOOK, FAIRTRADE, BAKE BUNS and more.
Ach, as I type this, I’m getting more and more cross about the scheduling conflict with Darcey’s show now.
Really feel like I’m missing something that, in truth, is to do with a sport I have absolutely no interest in.
EDIT ON SATURDAY 5th JULY – So we went. Had a good day all round, but is this really what we were roadside for SIX HOURS for?!?!?
EDIT ON MONDAY 7th JULY – I think that Saturday question sounds a bit churlish. We were undoubtedly entertained by the atmosphere and bonhomie of our co-spectators, as well as the caravane. Let’s see if I can create a photo gallery …