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Warning: bad puns ahead

The opening days of the Tour de France are called the Grand Départ, and as you know unless you’ve spent the last year under a rock, Yorkshire is hosting them this year. So, if you were going to celebrate the occasion by having a team of cyclists tow a large, horizontally stringed piano up England’s longest continuous climb, what would you call the event? The Grand Departs, of course.

On April 5, as a prologue to the Hebden Bridge Piano Festival (April 11-13), a team of Calderdale’s most resilient cyclists will pull a grand piano up Cragg Vale, the longest continuous ascent in England.

To haul the instrument, the riders will use a PianoPorté, a new invention by sculptor Andy Plant that has a 2CV gearbox as part of its gubbins. While they toil up the six-mile ascent, local and international pianists will play a specially composed musical work by the festival’s director David Nelson.

The piano-shifting team will set off from Mytholmroyd at noon on April 5, but aren’t guessing how long it’ll take to reach Blackstone Edge. It's a safe bet that that Richard Bideau’s and Vicky Clark’s Strava KOM and QOM of 16:26 and 19:03 respectively are in no danger.

However, Richard’s mark might be in trouble on July 6 when the second stage of the Tour heads up the Cragg Vale climb.

The Grand Departs is also an official part of Yorkshire Festival 2014, the first ever arts festival to precede the Tour’s Grand Départ in its 111 year history. It is also supported by Calderdale Council and Legacy Trust UK.

Want to take part? Drop the organisers a line at grand [at] imovearts.co.uk.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

14 comments

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mingmong [257 posts] 2 years ago
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King of the Mehlin&Sons!

(get my coat)

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allez neg [497 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm no good at piano based punning - it's just not my forte.

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shay cycles [320 posts] 2 years ago
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Pull a piano up Cragg? that'd be grand!

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Steve Jarvis [5 posts] 2 years ago
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Lots of hard work and training are the keys to this event

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YorkshireMike [91 posts] 2 years ago
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That's quite a hill to scale.

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jollygoodvelo [1398 posts] 2 years ago
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One thing's for sure - the pros won't be soft-pedalling.  4

When I saw the headline I thought it was going to be a Last of The Summer Wine bathtub-type jape...

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chokofingrz [404 posts] 2 years ago
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Hopefully no minor falls will accompany this major lift.  22

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allez neg [497 posts] 2 years ago
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Hopefully it won't break loose and run down the hill and crush any kids or you'll end up with a flat minor.

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Him Up North [235 posts] 2 years ago
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They should play the Led Zep classic Steinway to Heaven...

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chrisl [51 posts] 2 years ago
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Pitch perfect interval training?
 29

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notfastenough [3673 posts] 2 years ago
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Hope they get better weather than when I battled up there on Sunday in the wind & hail.

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KiwiMike [1171 posts] 2 years ago
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notfastenough wrote:

Hope they get better weather than when I battled up there on Sunday in the wind & hail.

You only had one job.

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jollygoodvelo [1398 posts] 2 years ago
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Let's be honest here, the event is about promoting the piano festival. The fact they're pulling the thing up a hill that the tour will ride up is incidental.

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notfastenough [3673 posts] 2 years ago
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KiwiMike wrote:
notfastenough wrote:

Hope they get better weather than when I battled up there on Sunday in the wind & hail.

You only had one job.

I'm sorry, I don't even know what you're trying to say.