Stage 3 of the Tour of Britain went through Market Weighton today – a £2 bus ride on the X46 from my house, with bikes welcome on board – so I went along to enjoy the roadside spectating festivities.
Watching the race flash past is a bit like an eclipse. There’s an hour or two of anticipation as things gradually, gradually build up.
A few police outriders, then more motorbikes, then some team cars with bikes on the roof.
Then a helicopter appears.
And, suddenly, there’s the breakaway group…
…closely followed by the peloton, surrounded by more cars and motorbikes and camera operators, whooshing past in a matter of seconds.
Then more cars, a few motorbikes, and, er, that’s it.
But it’s all free, it’s all sociable, and I was pleased with my choice of spot: on the climb from the roundabout outside Market Weighton up Towthorpe Lane (Category 3).
I picnicked along with maybe a hundred or two fellow watchers, many of them road cyclists who’d clearly built the stop in to their day ride.
My day ride consisted of less than theirs, I suspect. I simply went the mile or so back to Market Weighton and got my bus back home.
And watched the highlights on telly, so I could see what actually happened. (The stretch of road I saw is at about 1:12.)