The TDF in Cambridge…..

No, this will not be a standard catalogue of reflections from someone who was roadside at the Tour de France coming out of Cambridge.

But it has to be said, in no other sport (I think….) will spectators stand for several hours (even camp out for several days) to catch so little live action. I was there 3 hours before the peloton arrived, and got to enjoy………wait for it…….believe me this is worth waiting for………. I got to enjoy all of 30 seconds of live action.

The peloton had left the neutralized zone just 500 metres up the road and they were winding up to racing speed as they left the city. Perhaps the most exciting bit was seeing two riders begin a very early break…….but that was it. 200 riders can easily pass you in 30 seconds…..and you don’t even get to pinpoint who is who in the bunch….it is just a wave of brightly coloured lycra topped by sleek aerodynamic helmets and shades.

But it’s amazing how roadies wearing their trademarked club kit find each other at these events20140707_104605_Androidand then after all the excitement (all 30 seconds of it…….), the numbers swell to five as they seek refreshment at the famous Grantchester Orchard Tea Garden, sitting in the shade of the very same apple trees (I guess) as did the First World War poet Rupert Brooke, who lived in the Old Vicarage next door (now Jeffrey & Mary Archer’s house).20140707_130937_AndroidIt’s a hard life!


About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on July 7, 2014, in Aspects of Britain, Cycling UK and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Congratulations for being roadside at the Tour de France — I have to watch it from 4,000 miles away!

    • Being roadside is all about soaking up the atmosphere and living the moment…….everybody has to, then, get in front of a screen to actually see the race. But….a combination of the two is magic.

  2. You saw 30 seconds of action? Luxury! When the TdF reached my vantage point in Rotterdam (2010, I think?) the peloton took 4.5 seconds to pass. But I did see the imprints of Andre Rieu’s hands in the Walk of Fame footpath, so it wasn’t a completely wasted day.

    • Unlike you, Richard, I didn’t actually count the seconds, so my guess is most definitely inaccurate…..but they were just 500 metres outside the neutralized zone, so not yet in full flight……..there wasn’t that characteristic “whoosh” you get when they are at race speed.

  3. Oh so very envious even if it was just for 30 seconds.

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