Despite living a mere 40 miles away from where the Tour de France passes through Yorkshire in July 2014, I think it’s fair to say that when it comes to organising a plan of action for seeing this once-in-a-lifetime-happening, I’ve left things a little late. This is typical of me. For what seems like years now, I’ve talked vaguely with friends and family about where we’ll go to see the race (the Buttertubs Pass of course), how we’ll get there on roads that will undoubtedly be closed well in advance (ride, drive, walk?), and how brilliant it’s all going to be.
Except that, due to inaction on my part, plans appear to have formed all around me…none of which include me!
Early on, myself and a regular cycling buddy talked of riding to the route, or riding around the route, or…well, just something involving riding our bikes and watching the race (it was never clear). But my mate’s wife scuppered that one. She threw an incredibly generous and thoughtful spanner in the works by bagging tickets for herself and her beloved husband (my mate, don’t forget) to attend some kind of gorgeous and beautifully tailored Rapha VIP type event; which, as far as I can tell, involves watching a bit of cycling, drinking Prosecco and generally worshiping at the altar of well-designed race cut cycling kit.
Which sounds like fun…if you like that sort of thing…(sob!)
‘Never mind’, I thought, ‘let them have their fun. Let’s see how much they enjoy rubbing shoulders and schmoozing with the beautiful people. I’ve got a bike race to watch!’
So I turned to my various family members, lots of whom are fans of a good bike race, only to find that they too have got their collective acts together and sorted out some rather impressive arrangements; we are talking three nights on a campsite which is located about as close as you can get to the route of the race without an officious steward sticking his clipboard in your face.
By now, early April, all such sites are surely fully booked.
So, as I sat in a local pub the other night and poured out my woes to another of my cycling obsessed mates (you’d think none of us had anything else to talk about), he pointed me in the direction of any number of family friendly festivals of camping, music, entertainment and…importantly, the Tour de France. It seems that just about every farmer in Yorkshire has decided to find alternative accommodation for their animals and make every field in the county a shrine from which to worship at the alter of all things two-wheeled (out of the goodness of their hearts…for a small fee, of course).
If I can find one of these pop-up campsites; close to the route, great sweeping views of the peloton, big screens showing the race…basically, Tour de France related fun for all the family, I might even get away with convincing everyone that this was the plan all along!
But this was last week, and being the pontificator I am I still haven’t booked anything.
We could always stay at home and watch the race on TV I suppose.