On yer bike, lad!

On yer bike, lad!

Cycling: I’m quite fond of venturing out on two wheels, tootling around and taking in the scenery.

But I’m certainly not an off-roader, bouncing through puddles and daubing my back in an unattractive streak of mud.

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Nor will you see me donning an aerodynamic body suit and bending at an almost 90º angle over my handle-bars.

Nope, I’m much more a baguette (or a dog) in a basket kind of cyclist.

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However, if last year is anything to go by, today will see a strange phenomenon that will survive across summer.

Much like how January seems to compel thousands into a gym, or everyone starts practising their back-hand (okay, just eating strawberries and drinking Pimms) around Wimbledon season, there is a sporting event beginning that will invoke enthusiasts to pipe themselves into colourful Lycra and ride around en masse, generally blocking the rush hour traffic.

The TOUR de YORKSHIRE!

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Granted, it sounds like a bad tourist attempt at speaking in a foreign language but for the last two years, our glorious county has been host to some of the world’s best cyclists.

Tour de France 2014: Stage 1

In 2014, Yorkshire was the location chosen as Le Grand Départ of the Tour de France, the initial stage that is regularly held outside of the home country.

Naturally, we gave all the riders competing in the world’s largest annual sporting, a reet good Yorkshire welcome.

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So much so, that the following year the Tour de Yorkshire was launched as a race in its own right. I mean, how could they say no when we turned the sheep yellow?!

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Now in its second year, the race, which covers three stages and a total of 520km, will pass through some of the most beautiful (and challenging) countryside, from market towns and moors to coastlines and cliffs. And guess what?! It all began this morning in my (adopted) home town of Beverley! So I felt it my patriotic duty (county-otic?) to write about it!

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Okay, what can I tell you about the place I have lived in for the last 4 years? Well, aside from having a coffee/charity shop ratio to pensioners, seemingly on a par with New Zealand’s sheep to human population, here are some facts;

It’s old. Like 700 AD old. That’s when St John of Beverley built the Minster for pilgrims.

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The name (meaning Beaver Lake) recognises that these creatures were once quite prevalent here. Although, it was formerly known as Inderawuda.

It is home to Beverley Grammar School, the oldest state funded school in England. Again, founded in 700 AD by St John.

It has the beautiful Beverley Westwood, an area of over 600 acres of common land, cared for by the Pasture Masters.

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Beverley has had a racecourse since the 1600s but the current track was an airfield for the Royal Flying Corps in WW1.

Rumour has it that Lewis Carrol, who once visited the town, got his inspiration for Alice in Wonderland after seeing a carving of a rabbit in St. Mary’s Church (in the photo).

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However, rumour also has it that David Bowie once played at a pub around the corner from me and that Daniel Craig was spotted house-hunting here too, so take that story as you want!

The house hunting may not have been a bad idea though, as Beverley was voted the best place to live in the UK a few years ago. 🙂

Despite the awful weather, crowds lined the streets of my little town, to cheer on the peloton (main riding group) as it did an honorary pass through the market square, before commencing the race from Beverley Racecourse on the Westwood.

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The start of the race 2016

Sir Bradley Wiggins, the first Brit to actually win the famous Tour de France ‘yellow jersey’ in 2012 (and also an Olympic gold medalist) was one of the most anticipated riders to be taking part.

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I unfortunately didn’t see him, possibly because I spent most of the morning in a coffee shop, avoiding the downpour. We do have a friend with a dog who has the same name though  (which I feel is the best name ever for a dog) – we’ve never asked why. I’m not even sure if they like cycling…

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Getting warmed up!

Anywho, local schools came out to spectate or take part in the children’s race, shops allowed their staff to hang out windows and wave flags and the streets became as vision of blue and yellow paraphernalia! Everyone seemed to love it. 🙂

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Team GB getting ready to set off

This first stage of 182 km is expected to take around four hours to complete, finishing in Selby late afternoon. And if you want to catch any of it, Itv4 and Eurosport are broadcasting the race throughout the weekend.

I hope you enjoyed my little introduction to my home, if you’re ever in the area, it’s definitely worth a visit!


Image Credits: Mine , plus cyclingweekly.co.uk, telegraph.co.uk, Pinterest and Wikipedia.

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21 thoughts on “On yer bike, lad!

    1. Thank you – It IS the coolest! And proudest and biggest and… I could obviously go on!
      I wish we still had beavers… They seem such a clever animal. I would have loved to see them building a dam in the beck near my house!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, agreed… Although it very much depends on the calibre of the ‘rear’! I did venture out for the official race start but I had a pretty decent view of things from the coffee shop – it seemed rude to purposely make my hair frizz!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It looks like lots of fun to see but I would have been with you in the coffee shop! I envy you living in such a beautiful and especially old place. Knew if the things I loved most about the UK was the history… how old so much of it is. A little bit of a novelty for an American… although I do live in one of the oldest parts of this country.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think history is fascinating, regardless of the length of time that’s passed. But yes, it’s often difficult to comprehend that settlements have been around in some parts of the U.K. for thousands of years. However, I find the opposite amazing – that areas of the US may have only been established in the last few hundred years, yet have grown so rapidly!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A bit like anything WW2 related with me – now it’s one of my favourite eras to learn about. I suppose unless you’re talking about dinosaurs or buried treasure in pyramids, it’s difficult to get the wow factor across the kids. That’s why I love the Horrible Histories series, they love hearing the gruesome stuff!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I was another who hated history at school, apart from when we did the Industrial Revolution, I loved that and still marvell now at all the engineering feats. It was only last week I read that Castlefield in Manchester started out as a Roman fort. Must have missed that at school, I rarely listened in history. They say education is wasted on the young. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Well they were lucky because we woke up to a pretty thick covering of the white stuff this morning along with sub zero temperatures. Bet when they signed up to it they didn’t expect to be frozen half to death in May. I went to Beverley once, we went to Beverley races (it was around 2002 probably). Stayed in a funny little hotel thing in the main street that goes into a kind of courtyard with the rooms around it. Horse racing really isn’t my thing so was really bored with that but we went to a stately home on the Sunday which has Constable paintings? That was much better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, the weather has been atrocious but thankfully no snow here… Yet!
      It could have been Beverley Arms Hotel – that has a courtyard (although it’s closed now). Never stayed, so can’t comment! As for the stately home, there are loads round here. Possibly Burton Constable or Burton Agnes Hall?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes the Beverley Arms does ring a bell. It was OK there. It was a works ladies weekend they used to do one every year, tho’ I only ever went on that one. And yes it was Burton Constable, we had our own personal guided tour, enjoyed that.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve not been to Burton Constable in years but I always was a fan of their grounds. You probably caught the hotel at the wrong end of being decent – it started going downhill around then and think that’s why it’s recently closed. Which is a shame as it’s quite a nice building externally. I was actually stood opposite it for the pictures of the cyclists, you just can’t see it because of the crowds!

        Liked by 1 person

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