What a Grand day to be a York cyclist

tdf14-york-excerptThe 2014 Tour de France will go through York. Local bike blogger and author Rob Ainsley is delighted…

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The 2014 Tour de France will go through York. Local bike blogger and author Rob Ainsley is delighted…


Sunday 6 July, 2014: ring-fence the weekend in your diary now. That day’s Tour de France – the second day of next year’s edition of the world’s biggest annual sporting event – will start in York.

It will start at the racecourse (says the BBC) and go through the centre of town. Presumably not via the riverside path, especially if it’s another wet summer.

The world’s greatest road cyclists will whoosh through our city centre. For once, awestruck tourists won’t be stepping backwards into the path of passing bikes as they try to fit the Minster frontage on their iPhones.

Brad Wiggins

   Brad Wiggins

I guess the peloton won’t be funnelled through the Shambles, though it’d be fun to see the entourage’s car-roof-surfing cameramen ducking the overhangs.

Then the Tour will flash past Bootham, over Clifton Bridge, and along Boroughbridge Road towards Harrogate.

I repeat: the 2014 Tour de France will go past the bottom of Burton Stone Lane. Many of us won’t even have to get out of bed to see it.

  Chris Froome

  Chris Froome

It’s unbelievable, it’s fantastic, and given the astonishing roadside turnout for the Olympic torch last year, we’ll give TV audiences in 190 countries something special. Here’s where York and Yorkshire can show the world that we’re an entire country-in-a-county.

You want stunning scenery, alpine climbs? We don’t have Galibier or Mont Ventoux, though Buttertubs Pass will test any hill-climber. Especially when they get stuck behind a tractor.

Picture-perfect villages and market towns? From Harrogate to Hawes we’ve got it. And the fish and chips are far better than in France.

And the famous, wheel-testing cobbles of Paris-Roubaix-Paris? Hah! We’ve got Micklegate.

We already have a British Tour de France winner. Lord Sir Bradley Wiggins of Wiggo, CH (Cycling Hero) was our first, in 2012. This year we may have another in Chris Froome. And another in 2014?

Or maybe it’s time to be generous, and let a Frenchman win: they haven’t got a yellow jersey since 1985.

You’ll have to be generous that weekend anyway. Because everyone you know round Britain will be angling to come and stay with you.

So make the most of it. Not only will York be flavour of the day on 6 July 2014. You’ll be more popular with your friends and relatives than ever. Start bargaining now…


Rob Ainsley is the author of 50 Quirky Bike Rides…in England and Wales. To read more of Rob’s adventures on two wheels, check out his Real Cycling blog