Monday, 14 July 2014

Yorkshire turned yellow

It's difficult for me to express how immense the Tour de France in Yorkshire was.  Driving down for the week we were surprised that places well away from the route had embraced the event with shop window displays, bunting in the streets and of course yellow bicycles everywhere. So we were a bit concerned that we wouldn't get a decent place to watch with all the expected crowds and set off quite early on Saturday morning.
We headed for the little town of Masham, one of the closest places to where we were staying, and managed to find a parking place with only a mile and a half to walk to the action and about 4 hours to wait.  It was all happening in Masham, a big screen on the green, food and drink stalls, thousands of happy people setting themselves up for the day.  There were amazing picnics with beautiful crockery, garden seats complete with pretty cushions dragged to the roadside, barbecues, blankets, everything was elegant and delightful.
We walked around enjoying the sunshine and taking in the atmosphere before finding a spot just out of the town where we could get a decent view and a quick exit as we imagined there would be sizeable traffic jams after the boys passed by.
I can't tell you how enthusiastic and excited everyone was, it was reported that there were around 80,000 people in each of the various towns the tour passed through but there was no trouble, no visible policing, just happy people. The police we did see, motorbike riders driving along the route, were saluting or waving as they passed, laughing and thanking us all for coming. Several cars passed full of what I imagine were officers in yellow caps marked police, everyone got a huge cheer, it was a great PR exercise.
Of course there was the usual caravan of sponsor and support vehicles, then the helicopters before the peleton passed us by in an instant.  
By this time they were all grouped for the sprint finish into Harrogate so it was just a mass of riders.  And yes I was devastated when Mark Cavendish came off, was badly injured and had to abandon.  We were in the car heading home when I heard the news and I couldn't speak, I've come to terms with it now as I'm sure as he.  It did seem like a big dream that he could take the yellow jersey on UK soil and in his mother's home town.
But the big winner of the day was definitely Yorkshire, I felt incredibly proud of my home.  There are already calls for the organiser Gary Verity to receive a knighthood though apparently his refusal to bow to the establishment might influence this.  I wouldn't be surprised if the county doesn't start negotiating for independence soon, Home Rule for Yorkshire. Everywhere looked gorgeous in the sunshine, each town and village was decorated beautifully and apparently will stay so for the duration of the tour, but it was the people who made it so very special.  From the moment we parked our car we got into conversation with strangers, for the week we stayed on in Yorkshire the Tour has been the topic of conversation everywhere we have been and even the dissenters are revising their opinion.  Certainly an astonishing day I shall never forget now I'm thinking that we should look for a new home somewhere on the Tour route, it has become hallowed ground to me, as we say After Yorkshire it's all downhill.  


  1. Good to hear you made it! Of course you should move back down here. Pronto. And yes, I still think of myself as being in Yorkshire (the Boro was always in the north riding until stupid LGR!)

  2. Loved looking at all your photos Jenny, you really captured the atmosphere of the occasion.

  3. I was sat in my position from 9.10am - they didn't come past till about 3,30pm! I loved it though. Hubby was a police motorcyclist at the very end of the race. I've teased him all week saying that he came last in the TDF - and on a motorbike! Yorkshire - don't let on to the southerners though!! xxxxxxxxxxx

  4. My other half was in Yorkhire and Cambridge for the race, he says that Cambridge was very much half-hearted after Yorkshire.

  5. Oh dear, I can't get excited about cycling! But if you want to move to somewhere beautiful, do have a look in the Glorious Scottish Borders, rich in history and with wonderful scenery!!

  6. I didn't think you'd pass up an opportunity to see Le Tour on home soil, and Yorkshire soil too no less! All the photos and coverage I saw looked fabulous and amazingly the weather cooperated too, which I'm sure went a long way to explaining the happiness level!

    I totally blame you for my sock knitting addiction, you were the encouraging enabler a couple of years back. I just finished pair no8 for this year, with pair no9 at 70% complete, pair no10 at 55% complete and two more pairs languishing a bit behind at around 20% complete.

    That last comment on this page made me laugh out loud, lol!