For such a time as this. . .
Over the next 70 days we're going to offer the regular urban cyclist a guide to the one race which inspires all of us to push our boundaries and strive to the very edges of our limits. Whether that's the determination to keep pedaling your daily haul through the long winter nights or the resiliance to stretch your weekend ride just a few more miles; the Tour has a unique capacity to inspire us all.
In writing the subheading’s for this blog series ‘Coming to a Road Near You’ came at the very end of a long list where it seemed most naturally placed as a final call to action; ‘go see for yourselves!’ The more I read and researched the history of the Tour, the achievements of its participants, and the sheer capacity of one race to inspire lasting legacy, the more it struck me that some urgent reshuffling of my planned blog series was much needed. Why? Because the Tour De France is not only a great technical race it is in fact a far more profound glimpse into what it means when we each of us calls ourselves 'cyclists'. The greatest race on earth is coming to a road near you and you’d be very wise to see as much of it as you can. Planning for such a possibility may take a little while and thus the necessary reordering of my blog posts.
Hostess of the mostess. . .
The UK is hosting three stages of Tour De France 2014. Days 1 and 2 in North and South Yorkshire respectively while day 3 leaves Cambridge ending in London. This, the 101st Tour will cover 21 stages and a total distance of 3565 km. The world's greatest cyclists will be pushed to their absolute limits while hundreds of thousands of specatators cheer them on their way.
If all of this leaves you fearing that you don't know your pelaton from your Musette, fear not we're on your side!
Between now and the 4th of July a series of regular blog posts will aim to give you sufficient understanding of the race. Not only will we equip you to appreciate the Tour's more technical complexities but we'll also enable you to recognise how this race might help all of us to understand our lives and the challenges we face. That's right, we see the Tour as far, far more than just another race. The Tour belongs to more than the cycling geeks!
A Unique opportunity
If you want to see some of the finest athletes of our time, pitching the strength of their character and the brilliance of their unity against the sorts of tests which demand unbelievable endurance then now is your opportunity. Of course you could travel to France now or any other year to view any of the Tour's stages but there'd be one very significant difference. When the Tour comes to the UK its riders will travel along roads which you and I can access every weekend of the year. When your kids grow up in awe of these cyclists you can take your them and ride the roads on which the greatest of cyclist proved they had the strength and stamina most of us can only dream of.
Reading all of this and still worried that you or maybe your partner, are not quite cycle geek enough? Then you might be equally interested to know that the Tour's organisers, their partners, our beloved tourist board and even the occasional farmer and brewery are jointly planning something of a unique celebration, based not on the attainment of the elite few but on encouraging and rewarding the aspirations of the people like us.
And so. . . our top 5 links
If you are even slightly persuaded then you might want to check out the following links:
- The official Tour web site outlining routes, team profiles, stages and much much more.
- Velo Fest If you’re looking for a cross between cycling Tour and Music Festival all wrapped up with a touch of glamping then check out Velofest
- The good people of Yorkshire are inviting the rest of us to enjoy the stunning Harewood House for a three day, Festival of Cycling. A real highlight which not only combines great venue and accomodation for all but also hosts a huge and brilliant variety of participant events.
- If you're a member of the National Trust then you'll be interested to know that our favourite charity are offering pop up camping at three different locations along the route.
- Sheffield might be the home of British steel but the guys at Steel Stage are doing their very best to make sure we all know they love a touch of Carbon Fibre. This Festival combines, cycling, beer, great music and the opportunity to observe a fantastic hill climb from a stunning location. We're struggling to think of a better way to spend the weekend!
More to follow
Remember that if you have even the slightest fear that your knowledge of the Tour might not be all that it could be then fear not! Over the coming 71 days we're going to cover a huge range of subjects including:
History of the World's Greatest Race
Stages, distances and the different kinds of race within a race
Not So Great Riders
Tour Rules and the small matter of how on earth anyone actually wins
Tour Jersey's and the big deal with Yellow, Green, White and Red Polka Dot
So go on, get planning and see for yourself the true wonder of that incredible journey we have come to know as the Tour De France.
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