Author Topic: Tour de France watching  (Read 4964 times)

JJ

Tour de France watching
« 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?

Re: Tour de France watching
« Reply #1 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.
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Re: Tour de France watching
« Reply #2 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.

Re: Tour de France watching
« Reply #3 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).

Re: Tour de France watching
« Reply #4 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).

Re: Tour de France watching
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2014, 04:42:13 pm »
@ran doner     "hour 15 minutes" = "should have gone to Specsavers"

Re: Tour de France watching
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2014, 07:55:32 pm »
@ran doner     "hour 15 minutes" = "should have gone to Specsavers"

Apologies  :facepalm:

Re: Tour de France watching
« Reply #7 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.
"Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world."

Re: Tour de France watching
« Reply #8 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

red marley

Re: Tour de France watching
« Reply #9 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.



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.

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Re: Tour de France watching
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2014, 07:00:03 pm »
@Jo: I live not far from there, but didn't know about the big screen.
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Re: Tour de France watching
« Reply #11 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.

tiermat

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Re: Tour de France watching
« Reply #12 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.



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?
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Re: Tour de France watching
« Reply #13 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.

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Re: Tour de France watching
« Reply #14 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.
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Re: Tour de France watching
« Reply #15 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).
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Re: Tour de France watching
« Reply #16 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.

Re: Tour de France watching
« Reply #17 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.

tiermat

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Re: Tour de France watching
« Reply #18 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!
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Re: Tour de France watching
« Reply #19 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. 
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Re: Tour de France watching
« Reply #20 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.



HTFB

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Re: Tour de France watching
« Reply #21 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.

Re: Tour de France watching
« Reply #22 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!

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Re: Tour de France watching
« Reply #23 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.

Redlight

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Re: Tour de France watching
« Reply #24 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
Between the Disney abattoir and the chemical refinery