The Grand Départ: Cyclists tow a grand piano up part of the Yorkshire Tour de France route

18 cyclists drag piano and its player up longest continuous ascent in England to mark 100 days to go

by Sarah Barth   April 6, 2014  

Grand Piano © Caroline Jane Kaye

A team of 18 cyclists has towed a baby grand piano up the longest continuous ascent in England, Cragg Vale - part of the Yorkshire Tour de France route.

imove arts and Hebden Bridge Piano Festival staged the event as part of Yorkshire Festival 2014 to celebrate the Tour’s visit to Yorkshire in 100 days.

Using a a PianoPorté – an invention by the sculptor Andy Plant to ascend the six mile climb, the cyclists were cheered on by thousands of locals and tourists along the way, with rousing live piano concertos from 15 on board pianists to encourage their pedalling.

Onlooker and Mytholmroyd resident, Brenda Greenwood, told the Halifax Courier: “It’s been brilliant so far - it’s really getting us in the spirit for the Tour de France. It’s a great way to promote our village as a lot of people don’t know were here or even how to pronounce it - this will certainly put us on the map.”

Another, Nina Wardcock said: “This is a great opportunity for us to show the world what we do and to show people what beautiful landscape we have. It’s great to see the village so full of people.”

To see a film of the cyclists in action, click here.

9 user comments

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Love this. Completely bonkers but somehow very English.

And I'd certainly never heard of Onlooker and Mytholmroyd (though I still don't know how to pronounce it).

Noli porcum linguere

captain_slog's picture

posted by captain_slog [279 posts]
6th April 2014 - 8:51

39 Likes

Really miss that climb, it used to be on my training rides before I moved to the flat south

Housecathst's picture

posted by Housecathst [85 posts]
6th April 2014 - 8:57

35 Likes

There are more images of this crazy event here https://www.flickr.com/photos/90321638@N02/sets/72157643462509984/
And some footage from BBC Breakfast News here
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-26899453
Oh, and Onlooker is a person not a place and Mytholmroyd is pronounced My-thm-royd. Can’t wait to hear the TDF commentators mangle its pronunciation.

bedethebuilder

bedethe builder's picture

posted by bedethe builder [7 posts]
6th April 2014 - 12:24

13 Likes

15 concertos? They were towing the orchestra too? That must've taken a while to get through them.

posted by SteppenHerring [226 posts]
6th April 2014 - 17:08

10 Likes

They use to be a hill climb on this course. I once rode it. Does the event still run?

posted by DeanF316 [99 posts]
6th April 2014 - 17:37

16 Likes

DeanF316 wrote:
They use to be a hill climb on this course. I once rode it. Does the event still run?

Yes but you have to provide your own piano and pianist!!

Chadders x

chadders's picture

posted by chadders [75 posts]
6th April 2014 - 19:48

6 Likes

There are regular TTs on Cragg Vale, I think there was one organised for last week on 3rd April. I heard at the piano pull at the weekend that there are plans for a TT on 21 June to get the largest number of cyclists up Cragg Vale in a 24 hour period. The largest number of cyclists on the longest continuous accent on the longest day. The Robin Hood pub half way up the climb will be open throughout the event. Arrangements are being made for camping. I'll post details when they are available.

bedethebuilder

bedethe builder's picture

posted by bedethe builder [7 posts]
7th April 2014 - 8:21

6 Likes

Cragg Vale is it's not even a classified climb in the TdF. It's a big ring belter, as the avg speed of the Strava top ten shows, but nevertheless a great test of fitness.

minnellium's picture

posted by minnellium [79 posts]
8th April 2014 - 18:40

11 Likes

Great pics by the way, @bedethebuilder

minnellium's picture

posted by minnellium [79 posts]
8th April 2014 - 18:41

9 Likes