One Amazing Saturday

(that’s where I keep my bananas too … )

 

I imagine this is old news now as it’s just over a week since the Tour de France passed through! Still, it was a rather amazing day. My mum and I headed into town early (around 8:20am) with Tiny Tin Bird. Town was busy already with people sitting by the barriers, in it for the long haul to secure their space at the front. A brass band was playing on the balcony of the town hall – we heard their renditions of “Daisy, Daisy” (they said this was their only bicycle related song!), “Working  9 to 5″ and “Never Gonna Give You Up” . They were so good! Andy thought it was hilarious that we got Rick-rolled by a brass band but I don’t care, they were great. Later on we heard them doing some Beyonce as well!

After walking around and taking some photos we did a big loop of the town, going down past the station, out of which was pouring hundreds of people. It was quite something to see.

People had been commenting in the days prior that the supermarket shelves were bare from people panic buying, but when we went to Tesco that morning it was so quiet and the shelves were the fullest and neatest I’ve ever seen them. The roads were closed and so the usual traffic noise wasn’t there, it was rather eerily calm walking back home. That is, until you round the corner and see all the people! In the hour or so since we’d been in town there were about three times as many people and still more were arriving. We went home for a late (second!) breakfast of croissants and then we heard the sponsor cavalcade start to come through the town. Alice (my sister) was up and dressed by then so we grabbed her, stuffed TTB into the Ergo carrier on my back and slipped through the back streets into town. It was HEAVING with people. the narrow pavement where we ended up was three people deep and people were trying to squeeze through. What an atmosphere!

We stayed there to watch most of the cavalcade and then I suggested moving further along the road where there was more space, but we’d be a bit further away from the barriers. I’m glad we did, TTB had started to get overwhelmed by the crowds (he sat on my back just saying “no! no!” and although it wasn’t a scrum, people were just moving through politely, he wasn’t happy and I’m glad we moved. He was happy seeing the helicopters flying overhead! It was actually a much better vantage point as we were able to see the road coming down the hill as well.

After the sponsor vehicles had all gone through I took TTB home because it was still an hour and a half until the bikes were due to come through (they hadn’t even started the race by this point!) and he couldn’t wait that long. I so wished I could have stayed! When I got home I followed the BBC live updates and texted my mum about where the cyclists were. When they got to Addingham I left TTB with Andy and ran all the way back down to see them – I made it just in time! Everyone whooped to see the two breakaway cyclists and then it was an impressively long gap before the peleton arrived. It was wonderful seeing everyone cheering, so loud and so happy. I wonder what the cyclists felt like? They must have had cheering like this along the whole route! And then it was over and people began to disperse. One thing I really liked was that so many local people came out to see it (you can tell because they all went back to their houses rather than to the station!) and I liked that because it’s been so pumped up for ages about how many tourists will be coming to the town, and the council sent round quite a grovelling (in my opinion) letter a couple of weeks ago explaining just how much disruption there would be, but I’m glad that the local people did come out and watch too. That’s a bit rambling but you know what I mean.

The crowds of people were so happy, and so friendly and good natured. Everyone was really helpful and accommodating and nobody pushed or anything like that, it was just a great atmosphere and everyone seemed genuinely thrilled to be a part of it. I admit I was rather sceptical beforehand as it just seemed to be SO much disruption for such a short amount of time (seeing the riders), and also more importantly because Andy and I had tickets for something in Leeds in the evening and we thought that we wouldn’t be able to go because all the roads were closed and the trains were so busy. We did manage to though so that was ok :-) It was a once in a lifetime thing to see and I especially wanted TTB to be able to say he’d been there, even if he doesn’t remember anything about it. Because that’s important, isn’t it? Being able to say that you were there!

16 thoughts on “One Amazing Saturday

  1. It looked amazing on the telly Heather and I loved reading your account of the day.
    So glad you managed to get back in time to see the riders…..I’m sure it’s been a huge boost for Yorkshire…..yay.
    Jacquie x

  2. Claire says:

    Amazing how many people there are there supporting it. Your photos gave me a glimpse of Skipton, and I would value your opinion. We are thinking of moving back from overseas, and Skipton is somewhere that has caught my eye. Would you recommend it? Is there plenty for young children to do? What about jobs?
    I always read both your and Lucy’s (Attic 24) blog, and you both seem so happy where you live, but it is a big step coming home, and I would value the honest opinion of someone who lives there
    Claire xx

  3. Your so lucky to have had the tour ride through your town. I enjoyed seeing all the sponsor vehicles as you never see them on the broadcast. I made sure to drink some Yorkshire tea while watching. And we had Yorkshire Pudding for dinner :-).

  4. Claire C says:

    Never too late to see all the photos – it was lovely recognising some of the places we went to on our Yarndale weekend. I’m glad you were able to get out and see it, it looked like such a fun day, and the sponsor vehicles were brilliant! Big chips! Genius! Claire x

  5. Anne Marie says:

    How lucky you are to live where you were able to see this (for me) momentous occasion. I was in Keighley on the Thursday before and visiting a friend on the road the Tour would have come through. Sadly I was unable to get over to anywhere to see it as we were committed to something else.
    I know people who were moaning over disruption. As I am a keen cyclist I wonder if they would have been annoyed if it had been something they had been particularly interested in. I think things like this all bring people together.

    I wonder if TTB will remember in his long ago memories, this day? I’m glad you had a lovely day with your family and able to see the Tour de France.

  6. Alison says:

    We got up early and were at Harewood by 6:30 am…on a Saturday! But it was worth it for the banter with the other spectators, high fiving policemen, watching the kids as they caught the free goodies and then getting to see the cyclists come past at a leisurely pace (we were on the road inside the gate of Harewood House). It was the most brilliant day.
    We have even been this weekend and driven the route from Skipton up through the dales and back to Harrogate. There were loads of cyclists out and we even saw a few coming over the ‘Cote de Buttertubs’. It will be so good in years to come to say “I was there” – even if TTB can’t remember!

  7. LottieD says:

    Lucky you that looks like it was a most wonderful day. Much to my disappointment I did not get up to see it this time but I have experienced the same atmosphere when the Tour came to the UK the last two times, first in Canterbury and then the second time in Rochester. It is always a wonderful spectacle but this time even more so.

  8. Wasn’t it all wonderful. We started off in Leeds on the Saturday and then caight a very packed train to Harrogate. Then on the Sunday got the train to Mytholmroyd and walked up Crag Vale. Everyone was so happy and good natured. I will never forget the experience.

  9. Julie says:

    Hi Heather, thanks for sharing what looks like a very special and great day with us. Glad it kept dry and the sun was shining. Makes all the difference. We have just returned from the Hebrides and had a similar experience with the Queens baton passing thorough for the common wealth games. Not quite as many people but lots of waiting around and then only got a glimpse of it! But that’s ok. Glad you got to enjoy it. Thanks again.
    Julie x

  10. Marga says:

    Hello Heather,

    I live in Utrecht, the Netherlands and next year the Tour will start in our town.
    I was happy to see that you also posted the foto of Nijntje (or Miffy the white bunny), which is used in the commercial section of the tour to promote our town. Makes me very proud, thank you.

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