The Tour De France was coming to Yorkshire and as this is right on our doorstep we thought it would be rude not to go & join in the fun. My grandma lives in Pool-in-Wharfedale and has for most of her life so we decided to set up camp in her front room to make sure we could be ready for the race early doors.
So myself, husband, little boy, mum, dad & grandma set off at 8.30am to support the local Methodist chapel, which my grandma still attends, by going for breakfast. Well, why cook a bacon sandwich for yourself, if someone else is willing to do it for you. However, they had sold out 100 bacon baps sold before 8.30, that’s good going. So we had sausage ones instead & even then we bought the last ones.
After wandering up & down the village, we staked our claim on a small area outside the chapel & waiting patiently for the publicity caravan which was travelling the route 1.5 hours before the riders themselves. We got my grandma a chair, so she could stand up & sit down whenever she felt like it, as at nearly 90, she gets a little tired now & again.
At approx 10.07am the caravan passed through, supposedly over 200 floats, however, they passed so quickly it didn’t seem like there was that many. But along with the number of police, gendarmerie, press cars, etc, it did take about 20 mins to pass through. The number of different sponsors threw freebies out to the crowds, things like wrist bands, Yorkshire Tea, t-shirts, etc. My favourite bit was getting high 5′s from the police on motorbikes as they drove past. I won, with a total of 3.
We then had to wait just over an hour for the main event. Although over in about 3 minutes, there was nothing that could prepare me for the noise & the throng of the peloton. Firstly 3 racers, who had managed to pull clear of the pack, past about a minute & a half before the rest of the competitors. Then another 195 cyclists & their support cars passed through, amongst cheers, whoops & of course, cow bells (courtesy of my mum), it was a wonderful atmosphere.
The amount of people who had turned out in Pool-in-Wharfedale was phenomenal. A carnival atmosphere was created, throughout the village, with all sorts of fun & games going on at the village hall/cricket club all day long. If it causes the same amazing throng in every village it touches over the next few days, then all I can say is, whatever you do, DON’T MISS IT!!