Yet Another Cycling Forum

General Category => Freewheeling => Racing => Topic started by: JJ on July 02, 2014, 10:21:43 am

Title: Tour de France watching
Post by: JJ on July 02, 2014, 10:21:43 am
Here's a question for experienced tour watchers.

We're taking the mini-J's out of school to see it, but we need to choose between going into Cambridge to the start area, or intercepting it out of town, on the Sawston bypass.

Cambridge will be a bit of a nightmare with a convoy of littlies in the crowds, and we may get to see nothing, but if we head out of town, does the publicity caravan slow down and entertain random groups of spectators, or does it just steam straight past?
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: hatler on July 02, 2014, 12:25:07 pm
For the only stage of the TdF I've watched (when it came through Kent in about 2009) the publicity caravan didn't slow down, but they were pretty good at throwing stuff to the masses. There was a lot of it though (the caravan I mean). It wasn't all past in 20 seconds.
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: Little Jim on July 02, 2014, 01:09:27 pm
Like Hatler I have only seen it the once, near Tonbridge in Kent.  The caravan does not slow down ,but it is going fairly slowly - I guess they are travelling at about the same speed as the race and trying to stay in front by a constant time.  My kids (aged about 7 and 9 at the time) thought it was great - loads of cheap tat to collect and lots to see, and it does take a long time to pass, it is not just three trucks!  For me the best one was a large Credit Lyonais (sp?) lion (just like they present to the stage winner) that came wizzing past - it seemed to be built on a go-kart type chassis and the lion was really tall.  Driving that must get "interesting" going up and down the alps.
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: sizbut on July 02, 2014, 03:34:04 pm
Reading from the notes I've been give as a tour volunteer, the caravan will take the best part of 45 minutes to roll past.

The nearest stated time I could find for Sawston is 10:31 at Stapleford just up the road. Some maths on the next time (10:44 at Great Chesterford) gives an expected average speed of 41KM (25mph) so fast enough to do serious damage if they throw anything heavier than a small stuffed toy.

Hopefully wherever you go the mini-ones get some entertaining tat as its then another hour 15 mins before the peleton rolls by, though that gap is filled more motorbikes than you could believe (40 British police, 40 French and a host from event management).
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: ran doner on July 03, 2014, 04:05:56 pm
The caravan is the best bit  :thumbsup:

Watching grown adults diving about trying to grab that last packable seat cover/keyring/pack of madeleines is quite fun.

If you want to get some free stuff or stop the sellers to get a t-shirt I would think being in a small group of spectators is better than being alone. Or you could just make a lot of noise but be warned parts of the caravan are seriously loud and they may be oblivious of you in the quiet sections.

Also the 15 minutes before the race comes by (mentioned above) could be wildly optimistic. I would bank on at least 1 to 2  hours prior to the race.

I haven't got the schedule to hand (it always used to be in the official guide) but the caravan is due at Westminster Bridge at 13.58 but the race isn't in till 15.42 (for 47kph which is the fast estimate).
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: sizbut on July 03, 2014, 04:42:13 pm
@ran doner     "hour 15 minutes" = "should have gone to Specsavers"
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: ran doner on July 03, 2014, 07:55:32 pm
@ran doner     "hour 15 minutes" = "should have gone to Specsavers"

Apologies  :facepalm:
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: seraphina on July 04, 2014, 01:47:55 pm
From the tour maker's handbook: Caravan through Stapleford at 10:31, Tour itself through at 12:16. Sawston times will be very similar, I should imagine.
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: SlowCoach on July 04, 2014, 03:01:38 pm
Some maths on the next time (10:44 at Great Chesterford) gives an expected average speed of 41KM (25mph) so fast enough to do serious damage if they throw anything heavier than a small stuffed toy.

Well aimed packets of Haribos can leave quite a spectacular black eye.  :o

DNAMHIK
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: red marley on July 06, 2014, 06:54:24 pm
I've spent the weekend watching the TdF at the Olympic park. There's a big screen there and a couple of mobile food outlets in addition to the normal cafes in the park. The setting is great with the Velodrome looking down on us and Monday's route passing right by the big screen.

For some reason, hardly anyone else has been here though. Here is the view at 11:00 this morning as the race started.

(http://www.soi.city.ac.uk/~jwo/acf/tdfViewSmall.jpg)

Even by this afternoon towards the end of the race, there were less than 100 people here at most. I'd guess there is capacity for 10 000 plus with good views of the screen. I imagine things will be busier tomorrow as the route comes though the park (it passes 100m off to the left of this photo), but I'd recommend it as a good place to watch for any Londoners.
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: αdαmsκι on July 06, 2014, 07:00:03 pm
@Jo: I live not far from there, but didn't know about the big screen.
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: red marley on July 06, 2014, 07:27:25 pm
Are you planning to be there on Monday Adam? Assuming I can get out a work meeting promptly, I should hopefully be by the picnic bench (from where that photo was taken) from about 11:30.
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: tiermat on July 06, 2014, 09:38:46 pm
I've spent the weekend watching the TdF at the Olympic park. There's a big screen there and a couple of mobile food outlets in addition to the normal cafes in the park. The setting is great with the Velodrome looking down on us and Monday's route passing right by the big screen.

For some reason, hardly anyone else has been here though. Here is the view at 11:00 this morning as the race started.

(http://www.soi.city.ac.uk/~jwo/acf/tdfViewSmall.jpg)

Even by this afternoon towards the end of the race, there were less than 100 people here at most. I'd guess there is capacity for 10 000 plus with good views of the screen. I imagine things will be busier tomorrow as the route comes though the park (it passes 100m off to the left of this photo), but I'd recommend it as a good place to watch for any Londoners.

Maybe anyone withany sense was in Yorkshire, enjoying the weather and the race for real?
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: SlowCoach on July 07, 2014, 08:16:38 am
Jo, I got the general impression that half the country was in Yorkshire this weekend. The crowds were incredible, but what was particularly  was how friendly everyone was.
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: Mr Larrington on July 07, 2014, 08:46:45 am
@Jo: I live not far from there, but didn't know about the big screen.

This ^^^^.  But I think I'll watch somewhere on the Lea Bridge Road this afternoon.
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: Redlight on July 07, 2014, 08:57:57 am
I'm thinking of riding up to Epping, maybe somewhere near the Robin Hood roundabout (although the Olympic Park does look interesting and is much nearer to home).
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: HTFB on July 07, 2014, 07:56:54 pm
I only made it as far as Silvertown, and really it was as unexciting as you'd expect, even standing at a right-angle bend just after a fairly sharp few minutes of rain. But I did enjoy the chance, once the race had all passed, to ride into town along the closed roads. I've never been along the Limehouse Link before. Surprisingly few other cyclists were doing the same.
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: geraldc on July 07, 2014, 10:08:55 pm
My dad went to Parkers Piece in Cambridge to watch the depart. It does show the reach of cycling now, normally he only watches golf. He was quite impressed by the whole spectacle.
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: tiermat on July 08, 2014, 08:09:47 am
My dad went to Parkers Piece in Cambridge to watch the depart. It does show the reach of cycling now, normally he only watches golf. He was quite impressed by the whole spectacle.

On a similar note, I had reason to visit my FiL yesterday evening.  He only, normally, watches cricket, football and boxing.

He commented on how good the stages looked and on the idiocy of some of the spectators!
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: Redlight on July 08, 2014, 09:43:55 am
I only made it as far as Silvertown, and really it was as unexciting as you'd expect, even standing at a right-angle bend just after a fairly sharp few minutes of rain.

We must have been quite close. I ended up there, on the final roundabout at the south of Connaught Bridge.  In the end, it wasn't a bad spot and the rain did mean that the peloton may have slowed just a little.  This time I was actually able to pick out a few riders, which has never been the case before.

Worth it for the van drivers wearing Wiggins masks, perhaps. 
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: Exit Stage Left on July 08, 2014, 09:55:37 am
We went to two very different locations. Masham and Keighley. Masham is a classic market town with two breweries, and Keighley is a multi-cultural town with lots of small engineering works.
Keighley put on a good show, with the locals in all their finery, a welcome banner on the mosque and a sprint on the by-pass. Lots of support for Peter Sagan from the recent wave of Slovakian immigrants, as in Sheffield.
The most striking part of the day was walking down a completely empty Skipton Road. The towns in that part of the world are built from a dense, honey-coloured sandstone, and underneath all the accretions of street furniture and signage they've got 'good bones', so it's nice to get a hint of how they looked in their heyday.

The route didn't go past the cycling club.

(http://www.slimmerandfitter.com/wordpress/wp-content/images2/cycling-club-house.jpg)
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: HTFB on July 08, 2014, 10:41:38 am
I only made it as far as Silvertown, and really it was as unexciting as you'd expect, even standing at a right-angle bend just after a fairly sharp few minutes of rain.

We must have been quite close. I ended up there, on the final roundabout at the south of Connaught Bridge.  In the end, it wasn't a bad spot and the rain did mean that the peloton may have slowed just a little.  This time I was actually able to pick out a few riders, which has never been the case before.

Worth it for the van drivers wearing Wiggins masks, perhaps.
Indeed we must. I had a good view from atop my crash barrier. Possibly if I'd been able to watch more of the weekend's action I'd have known better whom to look for, but we had guests staying who'd come over to the UK at least partly for the full Wimbledon coverage.
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: trekker12 on July 08, 2014, 10:50:32 am
The caravan is the best bit  :thumbsup:



I was a little disappointed with the caravan. It may have been some of it skipped Essex and headed to France but although there were quite a number of vehicles it didn't seem as large a convoy as I thought it would and only seemed to be a select few companies each with quite a lot of vehicles. And the freebie throwing was scarce but that could well have been because we were on a small stretch of road between villages with not a particularly large crowd. The gifts that were thrown was aimed at the nearby kids which is fair enough. I didn't particularly need to carry a load of extra stuff in the panniers home into the headwind!

Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: sizbut on July 08, 2014, 11:25:57 am
Partner who has seen the caravan in France thought it was much reduced. Still, more amusing than nothing during the long wait. The gap between it and the race is a bit too long but probably an unfortunate necessity to allow for breakdowns and accidents, etc.

There is also a knack in judging how far ahead of the particular "strange item on wheels" you need to start waving and cheering in order to have a good chance of not only being noticed but also then still being in line with the thrown gifts.

All said I will cherish my small rubber cow key ring for a good while since it was one of the few bits of cheap tat that actually had TdF branding on it.
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: Redlight on July 08, 2014, 01:36:39 pm
I only made it as far as Silvertown, and really it was as unexciting as you'd expect, even standing at a right-angle bend just after a fairly sharp few minutes of rain.

We must have been quite close. I ended up there, on the final roundabout at the south of Connaught Bridge.  In the end, it wasn't a bad spot and the rain did mean that the peloton may have slowed just a little.  This time I was actually able to pick out a few riders, which has never been the case before.

Worth it for the van drivers wearing Wiggins masks, perhaps.
Indeed we must. I had a good view from atop my crash barrier. Possibly if I'd been able to watch more of the weekend's action I'd have known better whom to look for, but we had guests staying who'd come over to the UK at least partly for the full Wimbledon coverage.

Aha. I think you may have been been behind me. I was at the front with an red and white Audax England jersey on
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: ran doner on July 10, 2014, 12:39:48 pm
The caravan is the best bit  :thumbsup:



I was a little disappointed with the caravan. It may have been some of it skipped Essex and headed to France but although there were quite a number of vehicles it didn't seem as large a convoy as I thought it would and only seemed to be a select few companies each with quite a lot of vehicles. And the freebie throwing was scarce but that could well have been because we were on a small stretch of road between villages with not a particularly large crowd. The gifts that were thrown was aimed at the nearby kids which is fair enough. I didn't particularly need to carry a load of extra stuff in the panniers home into the headwind!

It was definitely a reduced caravan with a more English lean than those in France. I didn't manage to get any haribo or madeleines  >:(

I shall try and remember to report back France  :smug:

Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: SlowCoach on July 10, 2014, 02:02:15 pm
It was definitely a reduced caravan with a more English lean than those in France. I didn't manage to get any haribo or madeleines  >:(

The Haribos were there - a woman near me caught a packet which she promptly shared out on the roadside. All I got this time round was an inflatable pillow and a pink elastic band, though my son did seem to corner the market in keyrings. I nearly got a packet of teabags but the bounced off my head and snaffled by someone behind.
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: hatler on July 10, 2014, 02:59:48 pm
Over a couple of days (first with three mates and the second with three families) we managed a pack of tea, an inflatable pillow, one spotty Carrefour cap, one packet of Haribos, about five wrist bands, and two or three key rings.
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: Deano on July 10, 2014, 03:01:41 pm
All I got was a packet of seeds ??? ;D

I did get a share of some Haribo, mind.
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: hatler on July 10, 2014, 03:46:37 pm
Ooo yes. I forgot the McCain seed packet.
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: contango on July 10, 2014, 04:05:38 pm
The caravan is the best bit  :thumbsup:



I was a little disappointed with the caravan. It may have been some of it skipped Essex and headed to France but although there were quite a number of vehicles it didn't seem as large a convoy as I thought it would and only seemed to be a select few companies each with quite a lot of vehicles. And the freebie throwing was scarce but that could well have been because we were on a small stretch of road between villages with not a particularly large crowd. The gifts that were thrown was aimed at the nearby kids which is fair enough. I didn't particularly need to carry a load of extra stuff in the panniers home into the headwind!

When it came through London my wife and I were right at the front of the crowd. We got a box of teabags and a wristband advertising the Yorkshire Building Society (with no mention of the Tour on it at all). Later on at one of the fans' areas I picked up a Skoda water bottle (which leaks) and a couple of boxes of cakes from Ibis Hotels. We saw other stuff being thrown but nowhere near as much as I'd expected. Then after the caravans was a two hour wait for the riders to come through.

From what I'd heard I'd rather hoped for something a little more than a few bags of sweets and generic stuff being thrown around but there you go I guess.
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: tiermat on July 10, 2014, 04:32:06 pm
Apparently the fan parks were the places to go to collect tat, but not the one in Knaresborough, at least not on Sunday, when we were there!
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: drossall on July 10, 2014, 10:23:41 pm
We were in Felsted in Essex, and only got a wrist band and a reflective band each.

We chose a spot just after the sharp 90-degree bend, because the riders would have slowed down. There was a decent crowd, two deep in most places, but not massive - it was after all a working day and just one village.

After the race had passed through, however, we walked round the corner to the (smallish) spectator park. The whole village north of the bend was packed and we hadn't realised.

Good day out.
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: Exit Stage Left on July 10, 2014, 10:57:53 pm
Heather got a Festina bag, but bought a Black Sheep Brewery shirt.
http://www.blacksheepbrewery.com/shop/bike-legends-t-shirt.html#sr=g&m=o&cp=or&ct=-tmc&st=(opu%20qspwjefe)&ts=1405029013

(http://www.blacksheepbrewery.com/shop/images/detailed/0/bike-legends-medium.jpg)

I've been inspired by all the Yorkshire flags to get a Duchy of Lancaster Flag, in order to confuse everyone at Semaine Federale. It's from a firm in Knareborough, and the castle is a Duchy property.

(http://www.flyingcolours.org/uploads/u-z/united_kingdom/royal_and_vice-regal_flags/duchy_of_lancaster.gif)
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: drossall on July 10, 2014, 11:10:25 pm
I got one of those shirts for Father's Day, and (as a Yorkshireman) wore it in Felsted. Possibly the only one in Essex...
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: mr magnolia on July 11, 2014, 01:50:55 pm
I'm loving the TdF app on my android phone this year.

Loads of 'stuff' that helps keep the interest up.  Its getting ever harder to find even the hour that ITV give to the race on a daily basis, given the generally over riding need to not fall out with the rest of the family... (I am hoping that the lack of ongoing footy will ease the queue in front of the telly though)

If anyone knows how to get to see the route maps of the previous stages I'd be grateful, as they seem to disappear once the stage is completed.
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: T42 on July 11, 2014, 02:10:32 pm
Don't get it... it's just all these blokes on bikes. ???
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: mattc on July 11, 2014, 03:44:52 pm
A few weeks ago I saw a picture of Cav wearing a T-shirt with the slogan:
"
I haven't seen today's stage yet
"

Can anyone find this ? :-\
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: αdαmsκι on July 11, 2014, 09:47:53 pm
http://votsketm.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/mash-sf-todays-stage.html or https://oldbonemachine.wordpress.com/tag/i-havent-watched-todays-stage-yet/

Both from http://bit.ly/1mHjOEc
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: mattc on July 12, 2014, 07:13:23 am
I meant CAV wearing one! But thanks anyway  :)
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: andyoxon on July 12, 2014, 03:26:20 pm
Anyone know if there's full coverage of first two days available anywhere?  I recorded it all, but it's not downloadable from our TV box - and my bro wants to watch it.
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: billplumtree on July 15, 2014, 01:15:04 pm
https://oldbonemachine.wordpress.com/tag/i-

Further down that page is another T-shaped shirt:

(https://oldbonemachine.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/ciclismo_fiasco-supha-front.jpg?w=320&h=320)

Pronounced "suffer", obv.
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: rafletcher on July 15, 2014, 01:23:56 pm
Anyone know if there's full coverage of first two days available anywhere?  I recorded it all, but it's not downloadable from our TV box - and my bro wants to watch it.

https://www.itv.com/itvplayer/tour-de-france
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: drossall on July 15, 2014, 01:34:01 pm
I'm wondering whether anyone's going to make a DVD of Le Tour en Angleterre (i.e. including Essex). Obviously there'll be the usual highlights, but when you know so many places it's better to have the full race. A full recording of the whole Tour might be beyond my present budget (and shelf space...)
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: JJ on July 15, 2014, 10:24:19 pm
Well, thanks for all the good advice.  We went to the Sawston bypass.  Got there just in time before the caravan and set ourselves up with a picnic on a blanket on the verge.  The kids collected quite a bit of tat, and I do mean tat!  The people manning the floats looked a bit glazed, but the police riders and drivers were up for high fives.  The brits were anyway.  I guess the French were on their best behaviour.

Then the riders came by, and it was all over really suddenly, though I did enjoy watching a gruppetto of my clubmates hammering along the route behind the race.  They got lots of cheers.
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: asterix on July 17, 2014, 05:36:44 pm
I'm wondering whether anyone's going to make a DVD of Le Tour en Angleterre (i.e. including Essex). Obviously there'll be the usual highlights, but when you know so many places it's better to have the full race. A full recording of the whole Tour might be beyond my present budget (and shelf space...)

Great Idea!

I have a picture of myself at the start of stage 2:

(http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t51/asorim1/souvenirandmerci_03_zps764708fc.jpg)

Unfortunately a few other people had to get in on the act ..
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: drossall on July 17, 2014, 11:59:57 pm
I was trying to spot you. Are you the one in yellow in the middle?
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: De Sisti on July 20, 2014, 06:04:23 pm

Listening to the commentators on Eurosport and ITV4, they sometimes refer to the race manual/handbook,
presumably given to all of the riders. I'd love to get hold of one to see the sort of information it contains.
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: Mr Larrington on July 22, 2014, 09:26:50 am
Did anyone else notice 1981 World Rally Champion Ari Vatanen on the podium the other day?  Not sure whether he was there due to being the nearest thing to a sleb they have in those parts or in his capacity as a former MEP; I suspect it may not have been due to sideways antics in a Mk 2 Escort ;)
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: Wascally Weasel on July 22, 2014, 09:40:54 am

Listening to the commentators on Eurosport and ITV4, they sometimes refer to the race manual/handbook,
presumably given to all of the riders. I'd love to get hold of one to see the sort of information it contains.

I got given a copy of the roadbook in 2007 - it's got lots of stuff like routes for support vehicles and fairly detailed information about each stage, including climb gradients broken down by kilometre, feed points, hazards and things like that.  Most of this stuff is usually available in one publication or other each year but it was a great souvenir.
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: drossall on July 22, 2014, 10:11:04 am
I Googled (https://www.google.co.uk/?gws_rd=ssl#q=tour+de+france+roadbook+2014).

There's an article about the road book (http://www.veloveritas.co.uk/2014/02/01/the-famous-tour-de-france-roadbook/).

There's also a listing of links to roadbooks (http://velorooms.com/index.php?topic=2384.0) on the Velorooms site. At first sight, it looks as though it was posted a year before the 2014 TdF one could have been ready, but actually it's been updated with new roadbooks (check the last edit date) and that one has been added.
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: mzjo on July 23, 2014, 12:12:36 pm
Anyone going to be in or around Périgeux saturday? Daughter and boyfriend have a desire to see it so we will be probably at Font de Meaux, it looking to be the most accessible point that won't have been invaded by the masses of Périgeux.
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: Mr Larrington on July 25, 2014, 04:30:41 pm
Just spotted a part-faired Kingcycle in the closing overs of the live coverage.  Sticker placement on the nose was such that I thought it was me, fallen through an eddy in the space-time continuum from 1998!
Title: Re: Tour de France watching
Post by: Oaky on July 25, 2014, 05:16:43 pm
Just spotted a part-faired Kingcycle ...

FPA "fart-paired"