Yesterday was one of those days I wished I had begun to cycle in Cambridge. On a whim I decided to take the day off work to be a part of Le Tour de France. Not that I had ever watched it before but as it was passing through Cambridge for the first time, and I happen to live here, I had to experience it.
We parked our car as close as possible to our walking route and set off on our 3.5mile journey on foot and scooters.
Almost immediately we saw cars with spare cycles driving past and the excitement began to set in. Le Tour de France was in Cambridge. Aaaaaaaaargh!!!!!!
It was such a lovely day and going on the journey with two young children would have it’s share of challenges but I was determined. 🙂
It was a surreal journey walking on roads that were usually busy, now closed off for the tour.
And then we saw saw some cyclists. I don’t know if they were part of a cycling club or Le Tour de France party but it was exciting all the same. 🙂
And so our journey continued, navigating through the crowds. I thought it was more sensible to avoid Parker’s Piece, where the race kicked off from, and secure a place along the route closer to Round Church or St John’s College. Considering some people were up since 7am, arriving at 11am, we were greeted by crowds.
Undeterred, we snaked our way through, scooters in tow, and found a spot that gave us all a vantage point. And THEN we waited an hour and half, entertaining ourselves by cheering whenever police cars, ambulances or sponsorships cars passed through the route. There was a funny moment when an elderly gentleman passed by on a moped and the crowd cheered him through. The atmosphere was amazing! Children sitting on their dad’s shoulders because they couldn’t see the street, little ones asleep in their prams, the less able to stand brought along benches, staff from surrounding shops cheering from door frames, students leaning over windows above us – all under the gaze of a bight blue sky and hoovering helicopters of course. It was simply amazing!
Just as my children were getting restless, my son had the ingenuous idea to set a timer to count down. It certainly helped to while away the time for them. They stared at it for thirty minutes believe it or not. As we got to 5 minutes to go, cameras were at the ready all over the street. And then the moment arrived. The peloton rode by!
I heard a volunteer make a comment just before it happened. He said most of the people here are not going to actually see the Tour de France but will be watching it through a lens and when the moment passes by they would realise they hadn’t actually watched it all. Well, he was partly right. My son was trying to capture the moment on my phone and missed it all. He burst into tears instantly. I guess he got his first lesson on being in the present but how could you not try and capture the moment? You have to. To be fair to him, as soon as the cyclists came through, the maddening crowd blocked the perfect view he had all along. I felt really bad for him though. So I’ve told him what to do the next time we are at a similar event – put the camera down. 🙂
Nonetheless, we had a pretty good time going round car-less Cambridge roads and ended up at Parkers Piece where my son could watch the rest of the race on a big screen.
And then we commenced our 3.5 mile plus walk cum scoot home.