Le Tour Yorkshire - Le Grand Départ... coming soon to close a road near you... well, if you live in Yorkshire that is. There is a grand opening ceremony at the Leeds Arena on Thursday evening, with a plan for every bell in Yorkshire to be rung at 8.30pm - from church bells to bike bells. You might hear that if you listen carefully!
The Tour de France race itself begins on Saturday in Leeds city centre, circling up through the Yorkshire Dales and ending in Harrogate. Sunday sees a route beginning in York and ending in Sheffield, round via Keighley, Haworth and Hebden Bridge. Both days the Tour goes through some spectacular countryside. I can't wait to see what they make of the cobbles up Haworth's main street! It passes very close to here, within about eight miles of Saltaire - through Otley and Ilkley on Saturday and Keighley and Haworth on Sunday. It goes through the village of Addingham twice (lucky them!)
Roads will be closed for hours. It may be quite difficult to get to see the race, I think. The real afficionados will be camping somewhere for the weekend. There are some 'spectator hubs' with big screens, food and fun but getting to those will mean a train journey and I imagine they will be packed with people. I could possibly get to Ilkley. However, I don't think it is very realistic to expect to take my first-ever bike race photos of Le Tour and expect to get anything worth having! The race itself will pass and be gone in a flash. I don't think they'll be using stabilisers!