The Tour de France – the biggest annual sporting event in the world has come to Britain, and not just Britain in the obvious sense of a quick stop of for a stage in London, but a full on assault across two stages in God’s own country.
How Yorkshire embraced it too!
There were all sorts of scandalous press reports about hotels ripping people off, and profiteering with car parking and inflation on everything you looked at, but put aside your cynical side and see this for the brilliant event it is.
The organisation is truly huge. It’s not just 198 cyclists and their entourages, it’s a wealth of sponsorship vehicles, that are even referred to as the caravan, and thousands upon thousands of spectators.
In Ripon it was probably the most exciting day the town had seen since back in the day when people knew their neighbours, you know, like D-day or something like that.
The market square was pulsing with people watching the events unfold on the huge screen, and then after the racing there was entertainment in the evening too – could it sow the seed of the Ripon summer festival?
And on the roads the throngs were huge.
We watched on the double roundabout of the by-pass where it heads up hill towards Harrogate. A brilliant spot as the riders took both sides of the roundabouts (bizarrely referred to as traffic circles by the English commentators).
Despite waiting for several hours and getting thoroughly bored at the time, when the event came though it was all worth it – even if it was only about 15 seconds, the rush of emotion, adrenalin and excitement through the crowd was palpable.