I’ve just returned from glamorous Paris, France. Oddly, I saw very little of the Tour de France whilst I was there. Moreover, the two stages I went to see were not in France at all; the Stage Three finish in London, and the Stage Five start in Ypres. After years of watching cycling late at night on Australian TV, I must say the experience was much as I expected it would be. By this I mean it was almost unbearably wonderful.
A couple of images.
This is me on my way to see the Tour finish in London. I was told it would be a particularly prestigious stage, so I thought I should wear a nice jacket and tuck my shirt in properly. As it turned out, most people dressed substantially less formally. Also, I’ve never understand why people choose to wear their lycra racing outfits to watch a bike race. If you’re not racing, it seems unusual you’d choose to wear racing attire.
After waiting for about an hour outside Buckingham Palace, the promotional caravan went past. It was perhaps a little more unusual than I’d expected. I never figured out what this Miffy float was trying to sell, unless Miffy’s publishers see British cycling fans as an untapped market.
Predictably it began to rain. All the people at the front were the kind of people who’d come prepared and, accordingly, all had umbrellas. By this point the crowd was seven or eight people deep. Those at the back, who clearly lacked the capacity for preparation and foresight, now found themselves not only getting wet, but unable to see the road due to the barrage of umbrellas blocking their view. They began to shout out ‘Please put your brollies down!” I enjoyed how polite they were. It worked too – all the umbrellas were gone by the time the race appeared.
The race itself went past so quickly I didn’t really get any photos. But you can just about see us in this photo here.