Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Last Word on the Tour de France

David writes…

“Allez, allez.”

Or, if you prefer, pell-mell to the Mall for the peleton.

Yup, the Tour de France in London.

Makes a change.

Or does it?

Certainly there were overtones of the Marathon. And the Olympics. And London cycling generally – “Boris Bikes” included of course. 

And a zillion photographs, including the new “pain in the arse” for the athletes: “selfies”.  

Selfish selfies. Let alone dangerous. Team Sky rider Geraint Thomas said they’re – British crowds taking selfies – “endangering the safety of riders”. American cyclist Tejay van Garderen described the craze as “a dangerous mix of vanity and stupidity”.

That need unpacking? If so, “picture it”, so to speak. Back turned. Backing toward the peleton to get “self” and the peleton in the photo. Peleton moving at high speed.  Selfie-taker and cyclists “inside” the peleton effectively blind to each other. Well, you get the, er, picture. Yikes.

So much for the hordes. As for London Walks – well, famously, we always drink upstream from the herd. Which is just about as good as advice gets.

So, the Tour de France – the world’s most popular sporting event – comes to London, what does Adam do? He goes out and gets a series of wonderful photographs of London bicycles that most certainly are not Tour de France steeds – “machines you won’t be seeing in today’s London stage of the Tour de France” – and DC’s ‘em (click HERE for yesterday's post).

Meanwhile, I, David, am chewing a slightly different cud. The cud: "the more we turn the pages of London’s story the more does the sense of change become the sense of continuity" (as a great London journalist once put it).

Chewing it and thinking about those London cyclists all those years ago, back in the long Edwardian summer.

These London cyclists. Sense it? The sense of continuity, I mean.

Aren’t they a treat? These old pix, I mean. Fun – and a teensy bit satisfying – to think that this’ll be the only place in the billion starred universe of the Internet that these images can be viewed.  The few hundred of you – well, it’s hardly like being at Thermopolae, especially in the matter of the finis – but, hey, you have seen something that other people don’t get to see!

A London Walk costs £9 – £7 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.

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