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TdF day two

July 12, 2007

Out the house by 7.30 am, on the bike into the city – I’m determined to catch the pre-Tour roadshow this morning, and score Tour free crap souvenirs and keepsakes which I somehow missed getting on Day One.

People ride quite quite a bit in this city, which is not surprising, given the congestion charge that all private cars pay to drive in central London, and the sense that while bombs are perhaps inevitable (and Londoners have at least a couple of generations of being bombed on and off on a fairly regular basis, for which they largely thank the US), you’re definitely a smaller target on a bike. At the same time I hear many stories of cyclists being abused by motorists, particularly cab-drivers, and of riders being killed in Trafalgar Square, and similar, but my natural tendency is to assume that that’s all part of a normal Gaussian distribution of cycle-related incidents – that is, where there are a lot of bikes, there will be a lot of incidents. I’ve survived as long as I have on bikes simply by keeping well clear of the bad part of the bell-curve. Easy =^)

That being said, though, the streets here are often verging on the medieval in their bumpiness and narrowness and quaintness. This is London, after all. It often makes navigation in general, and car-dodging in particular, that much more demanding. So it was nice to ride around central London on this day with 90% of the traffic removed.

TdF empty Pall Mall SP

I saw the roadshow go by in Trafalgar Sq., but the only swag available seemed to be Skoda hats, which were not cycling caps, and made the people wearing them look even more like they should have been turning lobster-red on Bondi Beach rather than toddling around in London town. Hmm, not for me.

So I cycled around some more, watched the team coaches for a bit as they arrived at the start line, but no celebrity rider sightings, sadly; cycled over to the Tour village – nope, too early for that – cycled around some more, this time down the previous day’s time-trial course around the Serpentine in Hyde Park. That was fun! Then back to the start line to watch the proceedings for a bit, with the boys in busbys belting out marching tunes, and then I headed down the course to find a spot to watch the race from. I decided Blackfriars Bridge was not a bad spot – nice and wide, long and straight, and not too crowded. Perfect. Photos here. The Bobbies were ever vigilant making sure that no-one’s toes extended beyond the cordon, advice which was taken farily loosely as soon as they moved on, I mean, this was London on Day One, not a critical stage finish on the Col de Whatever. The crowd, and not this British crowd , simply wasn’t going to hurl itself into the path of the riders in a lather of excitement. We heard the immortal Phil Liggett say later that with close to 4 million people lining the roads over the 2 days in England there wasn’t one Tour-related arrest.

Then it was all over so quickly! The cavalcade of official cars went by, with their squeaky musical horns – yes that sound on telly is them, really – then the cyclists. I literally had time to take about 4 photos and they were gone.

I went back to the Tour village – scored a couple of t-shirts, only available in medium, sadly, but not too unstylish as these things go: black with yellow London TdF logo (hands up if you want one), and bought a very tasty sausage at the French Village, before a lovely quiet ride home, to watch the rest of the stage on TV.

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3 comments

  1. Pick me! Pick meeeee…!

    Actually it probably will be a bit small đŸ˜¦ Maybe I can pass it on to Danya.


  2. My hand is up very high and straight. I was watching on the TV for you but the cameras kept look at the guys on bikes. Chris


  3. Well I think both of you will be too big for the shirts in question, but I’ll send them on anyway. I’m sure you’ll both find good homes for them somewhere!



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