Cycling is a hard sport. It requires dedication and preparation. It takes us to places far out of our comfort zone. I’m talking here about us spectators, of course. For the riders it’s easy – simply get moved about by luxury bus, get fed and watered, and then do a quick ride each afternoon.
Going to watch the Tour is a much more complex and demanding affair. We have to become masters of our GPS, just to find the race. Then we have to dodge the Gendarmes who want to close the roads. We have to squeeze through traffic jams and load ourselves up with picnics and folding chairs and inflatable beach toys, before trudging up some obscure mountain swathed in mist.
Then comes the wait.
We sit and bemoan the lack of mobile signal, we eat and drink, we stare at a piece of tarmac. For hours. If we’re lucky the sun comes out and we can get mild heatstroke. Falling asleep is justified because we’ve walked a long way to get here, and there’s nothing else to do.
But here comes the caravan! And there’s a helicopter down in the valley! The race is coming. Motorbikes labour past. Police cars. More motorbikes. The race is coming. Everyone wake up!
A few minutes of craziness, then the broom wagon. There goes the Tour de France. Now, who can remember where we parked the car?
Photo by Marshall Kappel