Today was the penultimate stage of the 2014 Tour of Britain Cycle Race (http://www.tourofbritain.co.uk) which saw about 120 riders pedal from Camberley in Surrey to Brighton in East Sussex (after a detour to Eastbourne and back first). The route for this race passed through Billingshurst and it seemed daft not to take the time to go and watch it pass by, after all what is the likelihood of it coming so close again? It seemed only fitting to ride my trusty bike (Beryl) to the place I had chosen to watch from, and I am sure she enjoyed watching all those fit-looking bikes hurtle by as well!
Beryl (the bike) waits for the Tour to arrive
Fortunately the weather was lovely so the 35 minute wait for the race to come past was reasonably enjoyable, and made pleasant by chatting to a very nice lady who was also watching from the same spot. The police were obviously having a great day on their motorbikes hurtling up and down the road at incredible speeds with sirens blaring and lights flashing, while others were involved in a sort of ‘leap frog’ where they took it in turns to block of side road access points to the main roads which were closed in advance of the Tour arriving.
A couple of “serious” spectators bikes
The riders arrived in two sections, the first group of 5 were the leaders and a full 4 minutes ahead of the main Peloton (note to use of cycling term – I learned this one today). Once the main group arrived it seemed they were gone again in almost the blink of an eye, although it took a couple more minutes for the entourage of media and support vehicles to pass by. Still I got to see both Mark Cavendish and Sir Bradley Wiggins pedal past to shouts and cheers of encouragement from other spectators who were obviously more knowledgeable about these things than me!
I hope you enjoy a few of the photos I took.
Members of the Redhill Cycling Club going the wrong way!
Friendly policeman from Staffordshire enjoying a paid for motorcycling holiday!
The first group of 5 leaders pass by
Here they come…
The main Peloton passes by
…and gone! Just the support vehicles left.