Cycling’s biggest race, the three week Grand Tour – Le Tour de France – is starting on the 5th July in Yorkshire, England. Seeing as it’s so close to me it would be foolish to miss it!

I love cycling! From almost as far back as I can remember in my childhood I was riding bikes, playing parking garage and of course falling off. I got my first bike on Christmas – it was pink – I still remember the day the stabilisers came off – my dad stood behind me, pushed me, I felt the wind rush past my ears, the rosebushes whirred alongside my face, the wheels turned ferociously… for all of 5 seconds, then I went sideways… oh well, try again. It was my greatest moment when I finally, finally, learnt how to raise my hands from the bars and wave them in the air without losing my balance – now I can win the Tour de France, I thought!

So Le Tour is coming to Yorkshire and I cannot wait! Here are my resources….

Nowadays the internet makes booking things so easy – I booked my train tickets on http://www.eastcoast.co.uk/ (the earlier the better for cheaper fares!) and my accommodation on http://www.hostelworld.com/. With the necessities sorted the rest of my planning is focused on getting the best spot from which to watch the race…

The official website of Le Tour de France has the route map for this year’s race:

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There will be 9 flat stages, 5 hilly stages, 6 mountainous stages with 5 altitude finishes, 1 individual time-trial stage and 2 rest days over the course of 3 weeks from 5th to 27th July.

This website also has some specific information for visiting Yorkshire: http://www.letour.com/le-tour/2014/us/grand-depart.html

  • Yorkshire is huge! It has an area of 15,000 km2 and a population of 5 million. Leeds is the biggest city (752,000 people) but there is also Sheffield, York and Harrogate
  • The first stage will run from Leeds to Harrogate, a distance of190 km, on Saturday 5th July
  • The second stage will start in York and finish in Sheffield 200 km later on Sunday 6th July

The weather doesn’t look too promising though 😦

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There will be a couple of official ‘fanparks’ set up in Yorkshire during the Grand Départ. They will have Le Tour live on giant screens, cafés, shops, bars and cycling demonstrations.

This book: Tour de France for Dummies should be a help!

Plus this brief article on checking out Le Tour with a handy tip for catching the riders in Victoria Gardens, Leeds when they are signing on before the race begins!

The Tour’s Caravane, a promotional parade for several sponsors, will have 180 decorated vehicles and be giving away a lot of freebies: as much as 16 million gifts! It will pass by on the route 2 ½ hours before the race, lasting at least 45 minutes.

I’ll be visiting Leeds and Sheffield so I hope I have time to do some sightseeing! For example:

Leeds: The river Aire and the Calls, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds Art Museum, the Corn Exchange, Leeds Cathedral, Royal Armouries Museum.

Sheffield: Milennium Gallery, Winter Garden, the Moor Market, Sheffield City Hall, Kelham Island Museum.

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