In the first weekend of July I was fortunate to spend 3 days watching the Tour de France when it came to Yorkshire and London! Having watched cycling for my whole life and also working at a bike shop this was set to be one of the most exciting weekends ever! Here is my blog from the weekend plus a vlog from my adventures! It also seems that we liked to take a lot of selfies over the weekend too!
Pre-Race Warm Up
The weekend really began on Thursday night when I went to watch the Team Presentation at the Phones 4 U Arena in Leeds. This was a fantastic show and it was great to see all the riders before the race began.
The Tour de France started on Saturday and so it was an early morning as I set out with family to Harrogate where the finish was going to be. We decided to not go to Leeds for the start as that seemed to be where the crowds would be heading. When we saw the start on TV it was even busier than we could have imagined!
Once we arrived in Harrogate there was plenty of time before the race would arrive so we went for breakfast in Betty’s. It was delicious and nice and relaxing before the madness of the Tour de France arrived. Once we came back on to the streets it was already getting very busy. Harrogate is a small spa town and has probably never seen so many people. We had a quick look around some of the stalls before saying goodbye to mum and Paul who were going to some hospitality. Me and Keil made our way to the Fan Park, stopping to see the team buses arriving and for a glass of wine.
We really enjoyed spending time in the Fan Park, this was always going to be our plan trusting the weather was nice, which it was. There was a bar, lots of food stalls which were very busy and big screens to watch the race unfold. I got a few glasses of wine and enjoyed watching the race. There was a great atmosphere in the park with people clapping and cheering as it got closer to Harrogate. We watched the final sprint on the big screen.
Once the race had finished we went back out to the team buses for a look around. We saw one of my favourite Australian riders Simon Gerrans (who was taken out by Mark Cavendish in the finish). He was being interviewed about the crash. I also got a wave from his team Director Matt White who was another favourite when he was a rider!
We then regrouped and made our way back on the busy train home, ready for stage 2.
Vive Le Tour de France
Sunday morning was another early start and this time me and Keil stayed closer to home. We decided to watch the race come up out of Keighley on Halifax Road. We have ridden up here ourselves so thought it would be fun to see the best in the world go up here. We got a great spot and it was great to see so many people getting into the spirit and watching the race. There were lots of cyclists riding on the closed roads, we should have done this really! Then came the caravan. This is the sponsors of the Tour de France who go past in cars and floats. Some of them throw out freebies.
There was then a little wait until the race. We kept up to date via Twitter and knew there was a 7 man breakaway. Some of the people in the houses opposite were watching on the TV so they would shout out to where the riders where. It was soon time to ride on Halifax Road. First came the breakaway, followed by the peloton. They were not really racing at that time, taking up the whole road and not going too quick. Although it was certainly a lot faster than I have ever ridden up there! We then hotfooted it home, stopping for a quick sandwich at the pub in Crossroads. We wanted to see the rest of the race on the TV!
Monday morning was time to go to London for stage 3 and the last stage in England. We arrived early in the morning and went for brunch in Carluccios before going to the Le Coq Sportif shop in Covent Garden. Here they had a competition so we all dressed up in cycling gear for a photo!
We made our way to Trafalgar Square which had a Fan Park and were showing the race on the big screen. We stayed here for a little bit before walking down Pall Mall.
I wanted to check out the Fan Park at Green Park. All of the pedestrian crossings were closed so we had to walk to the 1km sign cross and pretty much walk all the way back! We eventually got to the Fan Park. It wasn’t as big or exciting as Harrogate had been but it was still good. We managed to get some french potatoes with ham which was delicious! We then went back towards the 1km to find a good spot. It was getting really busy outside Buckingham Palace so we kept walking.
Having watched so much cycling I am good at getting a good view! We found the perfect place at the 1km banner and waited for the race to arrive. The riders were soon zooming past as it was a sprint finish. Like all the other days there was a great atmosphere, lots of cheers and clapping!
Once the race was over I was desperate to sit down after all the walking and standing! We went for tea at Pasta Browns before grabbing a quick ice cream. We then had to go back for the train.
The Grandest Grand Depart
In all it was a phenomenal weekend. I am so grateful I was able to experience the Tour de France on my doorstep for 2 days in Yorkshire and then travel to London. I am very proud to be from Yorkshire after the great success the weekend was. I now get to watch the rest of Le Tour on the TV!
If you’ve got Tour Fever head over to Pennine Cycles to see the blogs and videos from each day!
Did you get a chance to watch the Tour de France? Comment below!