Tuesday, 8 July 2014

The Tour de France - Yorkshire's Grand Depart

On the weekend of the 5th and 6th of July the 101st Tour de France came to Yorkshire. Stage One on the Saturday went from Leeds to Harrogate. The Sunday saw Stage Two, from York to Sheffield, racing through my local towns and villages. Yesterday the Tour went from Cambridge to London and it is now back in France to carry on with the rest of the race.

Willow bike in Todmorden
Tour de Yorkshire fever had been steadily building and was even beginning to affect those of us (me) who did not have even the remotest interest in bikes and racing and who knew nothing whatsoever about the Tour. All the towns and villages got creative, producing fantastic decorations and displays. I thought that it would be fun to take a look at some of them in my local town. This post is picture heavy!

Le Tour sheep at Ribbon Circus.
French themed soaps at The Yorkshire Soap Company.
Wallpaper in the window at Cabbages and Cushions.
Illustrated bikes at The Old Treehouse.
Knitted yellow jersey bunting and a yellow bike at Spirals.
Bike race lamps at Radiance.
Fabric bunting at Molly and Ginger.
Yellow bike at The Vine.
AstroTurf bunting and tree wrapping at Heart Gallery.
Perspex rings designed for the event by Element
A bike and painted bunting at The Bookcase.
A bike and fabric bunting at Cafe Solo.
One of many yellow bikes on the route at Blazing Saddles.
So that is just a snapshot of the decorations, there are so many more fabulous ones. I just can't include them all sadly, not enough space and some photos didn't come out well due to the reflections in the shop windows and I was mostly using the camera on my phone.

The other amazing decoration that I want to mention is the Cragg Vale bunting.

Cragg Vale starts in Mytholmroyd in West Yorkshire and goes up 968 feet to moorland at the top. It was one of the climbs of the Tour and was the place where I watched all the action on Sunday. The residents of Cragg Vale and other local residents, school children, community groups etc have spent at least the past year making bunting to attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the longest stretch of bunting. Some of the bunting was patterned fabric, some plain, some printed, some illustrated. The pennants and the distance between them had to conform to strict regulations.

All those pennants were illustrated by local school children. Here are some pictures of the bunting as it goes up Cragg Vale.

The brilliant news is that they did manage to beat the world record and the bunting looked amazing stretching up the hill on the day of the race. There are 52,939 flags stretching 12,115.4 metres! It was a sight to behold.

The atmosphere on the day was electric with thousands of people walking or cycling up to line the route and welcome the Tour. I didn't take any pictures of the caravan of sponsor's vehicles and the team cars or of the cyclists themselves as I decided I didn't want to miss anything whilst trying to take a perfect photo. My cousin took a screen shot of the TV coverage where you catch a glimpse on the right of the group of us watching the race!

I am so glad that I didn't stay at home and do my knitting like I originally planned to!


  1. This is so awesome! How did I not know you lived in Yorkshire:) I spent some of my childhood in Yorkshire. My parents, grandparents, etc are from Yorkshire. I went to school for a short time in Gildersome and still have many relatives in Yorkshire. I haven't been back for years but still hold the place very fondly in my heart. How fun!

    1. How exciting to find out that you know Yorkshire well! That is amazing. Gildersome is not so far away from me. I am not from Yorkshire originally, but my mum is, and is definitely my adopted home now!

  2. I was in York for that! (Though we used the Tour as an excuse to pop round the museum while everyone else was watching the cyclists...) It was really impressive how much care local people had put into the preparations, and the city felt really warm and welcoming.

    1. I am glad that you enjoyed your visit to York, good timing to get to experience the Tour fever too!