Some Very Fast Bicycling Indeed

Not me, naturally. But we did go to see the Tour of Britain on Saturday when it passed sufficiently close to our particular bit of the middle of nowhere. I’d post some pics but, while I carefully packed my camera in my bag in preparation, I then rather less carefully left it on the kitchen table. So, words it is, then:

Arrive in plenty of time at our chosen spot and find a place to park. On the col du Galibier, ‘plenty of time’ means about a week in advance, but here on the col du Mennock Pass, an hour or so will do.

Eat our sandwiches

Walk about for a bit, enjoying the scenery

Wonder whether we’ve got the best spot but decide it’s too late to change now

Sit in the car, turning on the wipers occasionally so we can see out.

Police car goes past. Get very excited.

A cyclist! Get out of the car. Decide that, given he’s about fifty, a little paunchy, and practically going backwards, he’s probably not part of the race. Give him an ironic cheer anyway. After all, he’s the one who came on the bike, not the nice heated car.

Find optimum spot on the road to take pictures, if I had a camera. Realise that this was also the optimum spot for the last dog that passed through to have a dump. Scrape off dog poo. Find slightly suboptimal but less smelly spot. Wait



Another police car. Hurrah! Give it a wave. They don’t wave back. Boo.

About four thousand police motorbikes come past. None of them wave. One of them yawns. One of them is eating a banana.

Another cyclist, this time wearing a king of the mountains jersey, but for a different race. Another spectator getting to the top the hard way. We watch him with some anxienty. How will we know when the actual race comes past? What if it did and we didn’t notice?

More police motorbikes. Other non-police motorbikes in official orange vests. Closer inspection reveals them to be more paunchy blokes in their fifties. Are the Hells Angels doing the security then?


Sound of helicopter. Hurrah. Wave.

Lots more cars. Carbon footprint of a bike race must be huge. Where’s the publicity caravan? Where are all the pretty girls dancing to Europop and throwing out sweeties?

Advance car drives past slowly, telling us what’s going on. Which is good because we have absolutely no idea. Wave. They wave back

More cars. Motorbikes. Helicopter approaches.

Bikes! I can see bikes! Here they come it’s …



zwimm zwimm zwimm zwimm zwimm*** …


… over.

And then we drove down the hill and did it all again further up the road.

Wouldn’t miss it for the world.

**Chasing group of two

12 Responses to Some Very Fast Bicycling Indeed

  1. Nick says:

    Ah but it’s the anticipation that’s the best part of all (fortunately!).

  2. disgruntled says:

    True for more than just bike racing…

  3. The Jim Clark Rally comes by our house most years. The first year we lived here, back in the last century, we set up chairs in the garden to watch the unfolding spectacle. After maybe half a dozen cars had vrooom-ed their way past us we decided that perhaps the television was tad more interesting. This year we finally took the ultimate avoidance tactic – we went to Skye for five days!

  4. disgruntled says:

    Ah yes, I have heard all about the Jim Clark Rally from Huttonian.

  5. Tour of Britain?


    The title of a Josie Dew book…?

  6. Huttonian is fond of musing about such things 🙂 Being away in Norn Iron means he missed Hutton on the TV tonight…he’ll be distraught!

  7. disgruntled says:

    WW – eh?
    RH – Hutton on the telly? The Hutton?

  8. The Hutton, the centre of the known Berwickshire, no less. It was all about Post Office closures, Horrified of Hutton was interviewed and she maintained the PO should be kept open because it’s where she met friends and caught up with the news. It’s a social dilemma being played out across Britain, but ultimately they wil be shut and life will go on, albeit a little differently.

  9. disgruntled says:

    She should start a blog…

  10. Flighty says:

    I saw a bit of the Tour de France one year and it was just like that! It’s one event that is rather better when seen on TV. xx

  11. disgruntled says:

    Oh I think it’s worth doing both, even if you’ve no idea what’s going on at the time – it’s something just to be there.

  12. […] wasn’t going to go and see the Tour of Britain this year. We’ve have done in the past but I was a bit busy yesterday and I’d failed to book myself one of the free bus […]

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