We beat off competition from the likes of
Barcelona, Berlin, Edinburgh and
for the right to stage the greatest event in the global cycling calendar, and
now, after two years of anticipation and hype, it is almost upon us. I am talking about the Grand Depart of the
Tour de France, which in summer 2014 is taking place in the most beautiful
place on Earth: yes, that’s right, Yorkshire.
OK, I may be a bit biased because I have lived in Yorkshire and loved it for
most of my adult life, and for anyone not already aware, Florence Leeds is also the great location of Arcturus Global Systems HQ.
Those of us lucky enough to live in God’s
are already well aware of the impending excitement generated by the Tour. Mile after mile of the race route has been
festooned with cycling-themed decorations, including wicker bike and rider sculptures, bicycles mounted on dry
stone walls, bicycles trimmed with flowers stuck half way up the outside of local hostelries in lieu of pub
signs, and mile upon mile of bunting. The
many ‘Field of Vision’ giant land art installations that have sprung up,
like this ‘One Man and His Dog’ work in
the fields above Own County Haworth,are so huge they can
probably be seen from outer space.
|One Man and His Dog, by Simon Manfield|
Even those of us not actually interested in cycling per se are swept up in the frenzy of excitement, and are enjoying the 100-day cultural festival, the first such event in the 111 year history of the tour. Highlights include music, dance, sculpture and a unique multi-media event known as the Ghost Peleton.
With two successive British Tour de France champions, Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, in the space of 2 short years, cycle mania is now at fever pitch in the
. The first stage of the tour
route is very special, encompassing some of the finest scenery in Yorkshire,
including the spectacular Buttertubs Pass, York Minster, Knaresborough viaduct,
Leeds Town Hall, Harewood House and Aysgarth Falls to name but a few. UK
Well the main point of it all is the local
Yorkshire economy. £27m of public money has been invested
in gearing up for the Grand Depart, so let's hope it is all worth it.
Several years after the Credit Crunch the economy of the North of England is
still pretty much in the doldrums, and we have not yet experienced the
much-vaunted property boom that is now happening down in . So fingers crossed this wonderful
event is also a great financial success, and brings in the profits that our
local hoteliers, shopkeepers, restaurateurs, farmers and campsite owners are
hoping for. Good luck to all of you. My
personal contribution to the economy so far is a purchase of a £5.99 ‘Tour de
Yorkshire’ tea towel from the Yorkshire Post and a £1 flapjack purchased from
charity fundraisers right here in Joseph’s Well : I think that covers it! London
Well that’s it from me for now; this has to be a rather brief posting due to time constraints: because of a cycle parade taking place in the city centre and the opening ceremony in Leeds Arena this evening we at Arcturus are already battening down the hatches for road closures and major traffic chaos this afternoon. In a rare gesture of magnanimity the boss has granted us permission to go home early. He also bought us some cake! So I am off now to sample the many festive delights on offer in the
region this weekend, including a Beer and Music Festival in my local pub. See you all next week!