I was oop Norf in Yorkshire this weekend with Tomo for a spot of bike riding and a bit of bike watching. Here’s how it went down in seven bitesized chunks:
- Le Tour de Yorkshire is run by Sir Gary Verity along with Christian Prudhomme and his chums from ASO (they run the Tour de France). As such, we had an authentic TdF pro rider experience of staying in an out of town 2* hotel on the outskirts of a (North) Rotherham retail park, opposite ALDI. It was actually pretty decent to be fair, and breakfast was included.
- Believe the hype, Yorkshire bloody love a bike race. Bunting everywhere, yellow bikes in hedges and hanging off lamp posts, bands playing in town squares. It wasn’t just a novelty thing when La Grande Boucle came through in 2014, it’s getting bigger each year.
- The 100km sportive showed how big cycling is now in the UK. Living in a London bike bubble which consists mainly of fast laps round Regent’s Park, crit races and trips to Mallorca, you can lose touch with the masses. There were people there of all ages, shapes and sizes on all kinds of bikes out having a great time tackling the course.
- Having said that, it’s fair to say that putting the 1.1km, 12% climb of Pea Royd Lane at the start didn’t please everyone. Particularly those who had to ride it twice because the official car park was at the top. I enjoyed it though.
- The feed stop was a bit odd. There was only one of them in the 100km route, at around 45km. We got there to see massive queues, and then sacked it off and carried on. Looked like a 15+ minute wait for whatever it was that was on offer. Would have made more sense to break it up a bit I’d say?
- Yorkshire is massive and very nice. Smooth road surfaces, flat bits, climby bits, lots of expertly constructed dry stone walls and the twenty-fourth tallest tower in the world, Emley Moor Transmitter.
- The pros are always awesome to watch. Power, speed and teamwork on a scale we can barely comprehend. Watching them fly past up a climb is pretty awe inspiring stuff. I do wonder though every time I do it if there’s many other sporting events where you wait for so many hours for so few seconds of entertainment. I look forward to doing it again soon.
We were looked after for the weekend by the friendly people of Yellow Jersey Cycle Insurance. Their website would have you believe they can cover you for all kinds of cycling events and eventualities that other insurers can’t, and it’s cheaper. Which seems to me like a pretty decent deal.
Sportive details & Strava.
Some more pics.