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The Tour de France comes to Ripon!


What a weekend this has been! French workmen were out in force setting up the sponsors’ banners along the route before most of the locals had left their beds. Chosen to host Le Grand Départ, Yorkshire certainly pulled out all the stops and Ripon was determined not to be outdone. Our little city was awash with bunting and yellow bicycles.


This wonderful bicycle can be seen outside the Sun Parlour café in the Spa Gardens.


Many local businesses were keen to offer their products à la française.  


Even the barber’s shop patronised by the Cobbett men wasn’t going to be left out.


People found all kinds of ways of marking their pitches for the race!


When the route through Yorkshire was published, I could hardly believe my eyes. Having watched the Tour de France year in and year out on television, I discovered that it was actually going to pass the top of our street! After a delicious barbecue with friends, we only had to carry our chairs a couple of hundred yards or so and take up our positions.


Blessed with good weather, we rather regretted not having dressed up for the occasion like some of our neighbours. Don’t they look splendid! It was a long wait in the strong sunshine and the sponsors’ caravane that preceded the arrival of the cyclists, colourful though it was, was rather a disappointment to the younger children, poised to collect the freebies they’d been told to expect. (The Fan Pack van had pulled up earlier on but found no parents willing to lash out £20 without even knowing what was inside the packs on offer.) Still, with many miles already behind them and through crowds of spectators that had topped the wildest estimates, we thought that maybe supplies were close to exhaustion by the time the caravane reached Ripon.


Rumours flew around and anticipation mounted. The riders had reached Middleham, Masham, West Tanfield, North Stainley and…


Suddenly  a loud cheer went up and here they were!


With a flat surface that must have provided some relief for their tired legs, they passed by us in a flash on their way to the bypass and the final stretch of their journey to Harrogate.

TDF spare bikes

Every team had plenty of back up, including spare bikes, and they needed them. A couple of riders came to grief just after they passed us and had to negotiate a sharp bend onto the main road out of Ripon.

Was it all worth it? Definitely. I’ve never seen such enthusiasm in Ripon before for any event. I think most of the population turned out to watch the race and there were shenanigans in and around the Market Place all weekend, including a huge screen, stalls, games for the children and live music. Vive le Tour! Vive le Yorkshire!



7 July, 2014 - There are 6 comments on this story

  1. Looks like it was a great day for you all, Maggie. We were all watching it on TV here in Canada. It must be quite a boost for Yorkshire economy.

    Gayda Jackson -

  2. I believe so, Gayda. The pubs and restaurants around the Market Place were certainly doing good business throughout.

    Maggie Cobbett -

  3. They hadn’t run out of freebies, Maggie. They hardly chucked out any. Really disappointing caravan – it was also goign far too fast. In France it goes at walking pace. Really wish I had messaged you, about camping on your drive having seen your photos, as you seem to have had fewer crowds.

    Lol Barnes -

  4. That’s true, Lol, although people were standing six deep a few hundred yards further down, where the riders turned sharp left onto the main road to head for the Ripon bypass. A couple of them came off their bikes there too and had to be rescued.

    Maggie Cobbett -

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