The 12,000 volunteers chosen as Tour Makers to help ensure the visit of the Tour de France on its visit to the UK this year have been told to watch their language – but it’s not swearing that’s the concern, rather whether terms used to address people may be misconstrued.
According to the Yorkshire Evening Post, an online training module for Tour Makers asks them to avoid using words such as “love” – as the newspaper notes, a word commonly dropped into conversation in the region – in conversations with visitors.
Also out of bounds are words that may perhaps be more commonly heard in some of the areas Stage 3 from Cambridge to London will pass through – “mate” and “darling.”
The online tutorial advises: “Be confident and naturally friendly.
“Avoid using words such as ‘mate’, ‘love’ or ‘darling’ – they may sound friendly to you, but they could offend some people.”
The Yorkshire Evening Post said that one volunteer had told it: “I must admit I was a bit surprised when I read the advice.
“I can see why it makes sense but it’s going to need a lot of concentration for every single one of us to stop calling people ‘love’.”
A spokesman for Welcome to Yorkshire, which won the bid to host the opening days of the 101st edition of the race, explained: “Yorkshire is quite rightly well known for its famous warm welcome and that won’t change.
“However, we don’t want volunteers to use language that may cause confusion for our overseas visitors!”
The decision to seek Tour Makers to staff the race was inspired by the success of the Games Makers at London 2012. They will fulfil a number of roles including marshalling crossing points and providing directions to visitors at locations such as transport hubs.
Their recruitment and training have been co-ordinated by Asda, the supermarket chain based in Leeds, which hosts the build-up to the Tour and the start of Stage 1 – and their uniforms have been supplied by its George clothing brand.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.