Vive le Tour de France

Years ago I lived in Ottawa and fell in love with how they closed some of the roads on a Sunday in the summer to allow cyclist etc. to use them freely. I saw many “pro-looking” Québécois cyclists take to the road and thought with my bad knees from running that that was the sport for me. I loved the idea of going fast and farther on the roads than a traditional mountain bike would allow. Unfortunately, I quickly learned that a good bike was the price of a small car so instead got more road like tires for my little red Gary Fischer mountain bike. Not the same! But I wasn’t to fear because years later while working at my first school in Cambridge I met a cycling enthusiast teacher friend named Kari who helped to fuel my old inspirations. She helped me to learn about the components of a road bike and what to look for when purchasing. I believe it was after one of John’s bonuses that I worked my magic and was able to convince him to buy us both bikes at a good entry level to the sport. (Soon enough he was into it as much or more than me and began riding to work!) We began watching the Tour de France on t.v. and got right into it. It is extremely exciting and you quickly pick a favourite to root for. You also get to see and learn a lot about the French countryside from the helicopter coverage. The long time commentators Paul Sherwen and Phill Liggett are wonderful to listen to and make any new comer to the sport feel welcomed and quickly knowledgable. It’s still on so give one stage a go! When I knew we were moving to the U.K. I immediately thought great, now we can go and watch the Tour. John added it to the long list of things I had already said I wanted to see, lol! My birthday is tomorrow and my present was to make sure we saw the Tour pass by. We went yesterday and it was better than expected. It was a quick pass by but we went to a lovely town called Auch were there was lots of Tour atmosphere. It was a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere which I wasn’t expecting. At what other sporting event can you A) get in free and B) sit at a cafe in the sunshine and drink coffee while waiting for it to pass!…

We did walk and find a nice stone wall to sit and watch from, just above street level. In our magazine it said that the “caravan” would come through at 1:00. We weren’t sure what to expect. It turned out to be a wonderful parade from all the sponsors who were all throwing out free stuff. I got a little polka dot jersey key chain!…

Here are some parade pictures…








Then it all got really exciting because the red car came through which is the official car at the front of the race and the t.v. helicopters came right over head…



The small break away came through first…

And then the main peloton came through. They were quite stretched out in a line but I imagine going through a town can be dangerous and it looked safer on the narrow roads lined with fans to space out a bit! Below are a few of the shots of the riders, of course not as large as life as on t.v. but still amazing to see such incredible athletes. Take a close look at the picture with the rider in the yellow jersey. That is the leader of the race in the maillot jeune, British rider Bradley Wiggens. They went by so fast that I didn’t see last year’s winner Cadel Evans or my favourite sprinter Brit, Mark Cavendish but I think John did. (My favourite rider Andy Schleck is out with injury and didn’t start the race. The Canadian, Ryder Hesjedal got injured in the first few days of the race and had to abandon, boo.)…




After they passed by that was it and we walked around this beautiful town a bit. It truly felt and looked how I imagine France in my head!…






After we drove back towards Roland’s house and stopped for a coffee in the lovely town of Condom, yes have a wee giggle! Apparently, Dartagnan, one of the 3 musketeers, came from this area so there was a modern statue installation, a bit tacky Roland thought but I loved it!…

The statues are at the foot of a famous church. There is a pilgrimage route in this area of France and we saw many walkers at this church as one of their stops. They all had shells hanging off their bags for some reason?…


A full day! Off for a bike ride and lunch now!