Le Tour Essex

When it’s announced that Le Tour de France will be passing almost past your doorstep, do you think a farmer would:

(a) complain that they can’t get into certain fields because the road is going to be closed for the whole day to keep it clear for some cyclists
(b) decide that if the biggest cycle race in the world is coming through, then maybe they could forget farming for the day and watch the race?

Naturally, first of all our farmer chose (a) and a few weeks later succumbed to (b).

Yesterday, as Le Tour gathered outside the magnificent surroundings of Kings College in Cambridge we bundled into the Land Rover, drove down the fields and scrambled through the hedge to find the best spot to watch the spectacle. On the green, gazebos had been put up, garden chairs dragged to the verge and an elevated viewing platform had been made on the tailgate of a horsebox. People arrived on foot and a variety of bicycles from sleek racing cycles to old bikes still dusty from storage; one couple cycled up on a tandem and Mrs Egg  arrived on a tricycle with her two dogs sitting in a box attached to the back. It was all very British.

part of Tour de France caravan at Frenches Green
We ate our picnic and waved to the caravan of vehicles that preceded the cyclists (our policemen on motorbikes waved and beeped but the French ones were far more serious) and finally the helicopters were spotted in the distance.

tour de france essex

Soon the cyclists came into view and we clapped and cheered

Tour de France at Frenches Green-

as they whizzed past in a blur of lycra and spinning wheels.  Thirty seconds later they’d all disappeared.
Somehow it didn’t matter that it was over so quickly because we had such a good time and quite frankly, I don’t suppose anything this big will ever happen around here again.

30 thoughts on “Le Tour Essex

  1. How fabulous! Andy loves the Tour and told me some of the start of it was going through England… seems a bit strange but lovely nonetheless. I did glance at a little of it on the telly last night. Shall imagine I saw your place!

  2. I’m glad people have turned out to watch! This year the Grand Depart was in our usual neck of the woods, Yorkshire, although we’re currently living in Brussels for a couple of years. My husband went ‘home’ to watch; the cyclist went virtually past the front door of various friends. I missed the whole thing, having stayed with the children in Brussels, but it sounds as though it was very popular. In a similar vein, I was in Athens for the 2004 Olympics and watched Paula Ratcliffe run in the marathon. I think I got a photo of her heels disappearing in the distance… but it’s all about the atmosphere.

  3. I’m totally unsporty but this looks fun! Bit bewildered about the meaning of the giant plastic Miffy (if it is she?) on top of a Skoda, tho…

      1. I loved Miffy, a sweet children’s classic with hardly any words and very simple pictures. Can’t for the life of me imagine what she would add to Brand Skoda!! 🙂

  4. It is quite an event the Tour. I have been twice in France. I liked the merchandise thrown at us and the cyclists were impressive, too. I was surprised though to see most of them were wee. My husband packed bikes and three pals in the car and drove down to Yorkshire. Mad.

  5. Brilliant….I missed it when it started in London a while back and came close to where I live. But I watched the Olympic Para cycle road race at Brands Hatch ….respect! 🙂

  6. Sounds fab – the crowd as well as the cyclists whizzing by. Glad you and the farmer made the most of it.

  7. How exciting Anne! I love how country people get into the spirit of these things. This reminds me of when a car rally once passed through our property and we did the same thing. Nothing quite as high profile as the Le Tour de France though!

  8. Oh Anne, how fabulous! I love watching the TDF and spend many a late night during the 3 weeks that it’s on, glued to the TV! So lovely to see the first few days through parts of England – what amazing crowds turned out… absolutely wonderful to see! Such a shame though to see Mark Cavendish crash on the first day on home soil!

  9. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but when I saw the Tour de France in London signs, I initially didn’t grasp that it was the actual Tour de France (I didn’t know it could come to England!) and thought it was some local spin off. So, my reactions were very much aligned with the (a) in your list. By the time I had grasped the reality, we were too disorganised to brave the London crowds and see the riders come through – or at least not motivated enough to do so – but I wish we had managed it. I’m glad you did!!

  10. How exciting to the the Tour pass right by your property. England in the summer always looks so pretty so I love your images. It’s hard to believe that the cyclists whizz by so quickly – you were lucky to get a photo! xx

  11. It sounds like what people along the Boston Marathon feel when the roads in a number of towns are closed down for the race but oh what fun to watch! Plus, it’s a good excuse to take the day off and relax.

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