I'm always jealous of you guys and your fantastic rides. Living in Central London doesn't provide much enjoyable cycling. Except today....
Two stops on the 'Tube' (Subway) took me from my front door to Westminster, the heart of the action. It was amazing to witness those normally traffic choked streets transformed into a race circuit, to hear so much French spoken and to see the formal old Government buildings providing a dignified backdrop to the proceedings. The sun shone (we'd had about a month's continuous rain, until yesterday), Al-Queda stayed away and 1 million people didn't. They must have been outnumbered by the police though.
Incredible to see the ingenuity of the broadcast teams - a city of satellite dishes, hospitality bars and TV studios just assembled themselves out of truck trailers and joined a maze of giant LCD screens, inflatable podiums and advertising billboards.
Arriving about 6 hours early, I got to see the riders out and about checking the route. At that stage, the public could still ride most of the course. I saw a 'regular guy' accompanying most of T-Mobile up Whitehall - what a fantastic experience. I nearly went back for my own bike. You could get right up to the service buses and watch the mechanics working on the machines and the riders ensuring that it was done properly. Some of those guys are pretty picky... there were a lot of tape measures waving about.
What a fantastic day. Everyone was good humoured and London, that grimy grumpy old dog of a city, looked just beautiful. I was able to watch the very beginning and then, in 20 minutes, scoot home to see it all properly on the home theatre.
We Brits have not so far had much success in the Tour. Everyone today had hopes for David Millar (placed nowhere) and Brad Wiggins who was just eased out of 3rd place by George Hincapie. That Cancellara fellow can certainly ride a time trial - I mean, he just blew everyone else away.
Tomorrow, Stage 2 departs from historic Tower Bridge, passing equally historic South-East London (for example, the jetty from which the Mayflower set sail) and makes its way to Canterbury through green tranquil Kent....the 'Garden of England'.
I'm off to watch very early tomorrow morning. I'll try and post more pics if people are interested.
regards to all on 50+