Written by Debs; part of the Tripility team.
So, last weekend I donned my official Tour de France t-shirt, painted my nails yellow (I’m a VERY supportive person) and headed on down to support the Lycra clad cyclists speeding through Yorkshire at ludicrous speeds. It was absolutely brilliant! I have never really paid much attention to this great race before and cycling hasn’t really come onto my radar. However, with the introduction of the electric bike, this has all changed (although gutted to find out electric bikes aren’t part of the Tour de France?!). Last week we informed our lovely social media followers about all of the accessible routes that had been outlined for people wanting to watch the Tour. Mark and I decided to forgo our own advice and off road it (although we actually stayed on a road). We set off relatively bright and early on Sunday to grab a great view, we were staying with family just outside of Knaresborough, so it was a 2 minute stroll to the cycling action. We had heard on the village grapevine, that people were going to be camping out from first light in order to get the best view of the cyclists whizzing by. Thankfully, our little group decided we didn’t have enough Tour fever to do this and that 2 hours before would be sufficient enough to get a good spot and hopefully grab some goodies (sadly I was disappointed on the goodies front). The cyclists would be passing by the main road at the end of the street near us and when we got there, we were extra pleased we had not camped; there was loads of space. I was using my wheelchair for this task and Mark’s nephew was all snug in his pram, so we wanted to find a good spot to park up both vehicles and ensure that people who were standing did not block our view. This was when we realised just how pleased we were that we didn’t get up early; no matter how brilliant a spot you have, someone will always come and stand in front of you!
Since having to use a wheelchair, I have found events a very different experience; going to watch a band, going to fayres (which I of course do often) or local events is just that bit different. I often find that once I have battled to get a good view, or even just to get near the event, depending on the terrain, I am just a bit over the whole affair. Watching other people dance around and throw themselves into joining in, can often make me feel a bit left out and envious. Don’t get me wrong, just because I am in the wheelchair does not mean that I can’t join in and life is what you make of it, but it is different. Having said that, after making loud disgruntled comments to the man that blocked my view of all the Lycra at the weekend, it was utterly brilliant to see the Tour de France going through Yorkshire. The atmosphere was amazing and the cyclists (although I only glimpsed them as they whizzed through at a great speed) were bloomin fantastic; I have know idea what drives them to cycle every day for 3 weeks, but they looked like they breezed through it!
If, unlike us, you used some of the accessible routes, how did they work out? Did anyone attempt the steep climb of Buttertubs? More importantly, did anyone manage to get their hands on some free Le Tour Yorkshire Tea?! I for one, did not: I was devastated.