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Cambridge residents more worried about road closures than celebrations, Otley accuses

Cambridge residents have been branded ‘boring’ by people from Yorkshire who have urged the city to raise its game ahead of Stage 3 of the Tour de France.

Northern residents have said that the ‘flat and boring’ reception to the third stage is not a patch on the celebrations around Stage 1, from Leeds to Harrogate yesterday, and Stage 2 from York to Sheffield today.

Tony Grey, a landlord in Otley, West Yorkshire, told the Bradford Telegraph and Argus that all the town’s pubs had translated their names into French and the council had erected more than 1km of bunting using a cherry picker.

He said: “Cambridge should realise it is a shop window. It is remiss of them not to seize the opportunity.

“We are a bit cannier up in Yorkshire – when we see an opportunity, we grab it with both arms.

“We are obviously a warmer and more welcoming place.”

Another Otley resident Ian Midgley said: “I think they’d get more out of it themselves if they put some effort into it.

“It is a flat, boring stage from Cambridge to London, and it sounds like they are giving it a similar reception.”

Cambridge Council responded with a statement reading: “The Tour doesn’t just start anywhere so it is a huge honour to have the race coming to Cambridge but with cycling in our DNA it is also the right place for it to be.

“We have had a phenomenal response to the Velo Festival with over 120 events celebrating cycling in Cambridgeshire through culture and sport.

“The city itself is looking amazing with bunting, shop windows and even lampposts dressed to welcome the race.

“While in every place there will be some people who don’t get into the spirit of an event, we feel that Le Tour is alive and well here and we look forward to welcoming the colour, passion and sheer spectacle of the Tour de France on Monday.”

In May we reported how disruptions to Cambridge’s transport system for the visit of the Tour de France were dubbed a “nightmare” by one unhappy councillor.

It is probably worth pointing out that the difficulties involved in running a stage from one city in the South East in to the capital on a working day are likely to far outweigh those involved in running one through Yorkshire towns and villages on a weekend. Otley's population is 14,215, while Cambridge is home to 123,900 people, and Greater London - 7 million.

As Cambridge Council announced that no buses will be able to access the city centre on the July 7 race day, the news to the disruption that will be caused by the road closures that were announced in March.

Calling the planned inner-city transport disruption a “nightmare”, councillor Charlie Nightingale said: “I welcome the Tour, but I can’t understand why the roads need to be closed for this long period of time.”

The roads in the vicinity of the Parker’s Piece start line are set to be closed from from 5.30pm on July 6, the day before the race. Some roads will reopen at 3pm, once the race has left the city, but others are expected to stay shut until 6pm. This means some roads will be closed for up to 24 hours.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

25 comments

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dodgy [203 posts] 2 years ago
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This conversation is one that should have taken place 12 months ago.

Bit late now.

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jmaccelari [250 posts] 2 years ago
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I've just got back from Yorkshire, and I think they are right. The show put on by the Yorkshire towns was incredible. I walked around Ripon and the entire town (and environs) was decked out with bicycles, bunting, signs, pictures, ... you name it. A most impressive display which made me proud!

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monkeytrousers [117 posts] 2 years ago
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I rode along 20 miles of Monday's TdF route last Friday and I'd say that all the villages I went through had bunting and stuff like yellow bikes scattered about, so perhaps the villages are getting behind it, just not in an in your face way like the northern types do. Pubs were advertising all day BBQ's and that sort of thing.

I thought it was pretty much the same as you'd get in France to be honest.

Also as it's going to be a Monday a lot of the general public, e.g. not cyclists, will be at work and wouldn't necessarily take a day off just to see it, so you wouldn't expect the crowds to be quite as large.

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CXR94Di2 [1275 posts] 2 years ago
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I had a great day watching from Bradfield just outside Sheffield. The crowds were huge and the vibe was very positive. Keep it up Britain, show the french how good the tour can be!

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EarsoftheWolf [75 posts] 2 years ago
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“Cambridge should realise it is a shop window. It is remiss of them not to seize the opportunity."

If you've ever been to Cambridge, you'd realise it probably doesn't need a "shop window" to promote itself as much as some places in Yorkshire might. Cambridge is heaving with tourists from all over the world, not just in July but most of the rest of the year too. Chinese tourists are queueing to go punting even when there's ice on the river in January. Yorkshire is grabbing the opportunity because it has more to gain.

Also, it's much more easy to be celebratory and welcoming of an event when it's on a weekend and you don't need to worry how you're going to get to work. I'm lucky that my company has closed their office for the day tomorrow so I don't have to worry about it, but many others are not so fortunate. People shouldn't be criticised for having legitimate concerns, just because they're not "getting into the spirit".

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levermonkey [680 posts] 2 years ago
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EarsoftheWolf wrote:

“Cambridge should realise it is a shop window. It is remiss of them not to seize the opportunity."

If you've ever been to Cambridge, you'd realise it probably doesn't need a "shop window" to promote itself as much as some places in Yorkshire might. Cambridge is heaving with tourists from all over the world, not just in July but most of the rest of the year too. Chinese tourists are queueing to go punting even when there's ice on the river in January. Yorkshire is grabbing the opportunity because it has more to gain.

Also, it's much more easy to be celebratory and welcoming of an event when it's on a weekend and you don't need to worry how you're going to get to work. I'm lucky that my company has closed their office for the day tomorrow so I don't have to worry about it, but many others are not so fortunate. People shouldn't be criticised for having legitimate concerns, just because they're not "getting into the spirit".

Oh! Dear!
So Cambridge has no need for the extra money that the Tour will bring?
There are no 'sink' estates in Cambridge?
No examples of social deprivation, alienation, no social problems in Cambridge of any kind?
You live in a perfect little theme park of colleges, punting on the river and 'traditional' England?

Oh! And of course NO-ONE works on a weekend, do they? And the North is a blasted waste filled with wild tribes and strange beasts.

Yes, I am being facetious. But you started it!  4

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Leodis [407 posts] 2 years ago
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What a fantastic weekend. Riding with Giant Shinamo on Wednesday then Otley Races at night, Thursday a cracking opening ceremony and Saturday watching in Leeds and Harrogate fan park and today watching the race at the history Bolton Abbey.

It is a total shame that Yorks couldnt manage to get all three stages, I think the issue was about transport for stage 4 was the main concern.

EarsoftheWolf
I take it you have never been to York? Far better tourist attraction than cambridge in fact York in 2008 compared to the same year for Cambridge was double the tourist income.

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Stumps [3415 posts] 2 years ago
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The difference as i see it is that up north we get very little in the way of major sporting events as london and the south is seen as "the place to be".

So when we do get something we do it proud and make it as big and as best as it can be, just look at stages 1 and 2.

Whereas to the south its another sporting event in a long line of sporting events.

I hope that Scotland gets another chance of a Grand Depart and i'm 100% sure it will be another massive success just like Yorkshire has been.

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CasperCCC [40 posts] 2 years ago
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I rode the route last week. There was some bunting, some bikes, and lots of pubs advertising BBQs and stuff. But it was pretty underwhelming. Thought it might just be because it was a week away.

But no - I rode the first half again this morning, and it was still pretty underwhelming. I'm sure there'll be shedloads of people out on the route but still, it doesn't look to me as if people have bought into it as much as they've done in Yorkshire. A bit of a shame.

(I'm doing my bit, though. I'm as excited as a five year old before Christmas. And my five year old is...well, she is also as excited as a five year old before Christmas. She has made a flag, and was checking the size of the writing from the other side of the room to make sure that Chris Froome would be able to see it when he goes past...)

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StoopidUserName [213 posts] 2 years ago
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Cambridge is the UK's no1 cycling city (by a large margin), Sheffield and Leeds among the worst (and 2 days marketing wont change 50 years of 100% car centric policy).

Well done to Yorkshire for a great hosting....but would it have been as good if it was on one day, with a much, much smaller pot of money, on a monday...with another region getting all the publicity and credit?

There was no need for this outburst at this stage...by all means say it a year or even a few months ago when changes could have happened...but now they come across as a bunch of arrogant, smug idiots.

By the way I rode part of the tour route this morning for a tour themed sportive and there were plenty of people out in the pouring rain cheering us on and I'm sure those not at work will do the same tomorrow (though to a lesser extent than sun soaked yorkshire on the weekend with many thousands of tourists from outside yorkshire that poured in boosting the numbers)

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jollygoodvelo [1540 posts] 2 years ago
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I've been saying this for at least a year - and yes, as predicted, with certain exceptions Essex is basically shrugging and hoping it's all over quite quickly. The council have essentially done nothing apart from a couple of banners, some flyers ("A cycling event is coming to Essex, there may be traffic chaos!") and a few shops have some bunting.

Rode up to Epping and back this evening (http://app.strava.com/activities/162553276) and unbelievably there are even still a few potholes.

Well done Yorkshire for putting on a fantastic show, that's how it should be.

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Beaufort [270 posts] 2 years ago
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As a Southerner I can confirm that Yorkshire is a much nicer place to Cycle than Cambridge.

What our man sees as flat and boring I prefer to think of as fast and faster.

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Him Up North [235 posts] 2 years ago
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Not sure quoting Yorkshire town populations is a valid comparator or evidence for "easier" logistics. Every town on the route probably saw its population quadruple this weekend. And it was still amazing.

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TimC340 [75 posts] 2 years ago
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I live in Essex, close to the Suffolk border and about 10 milers from the route. My impression is that the county and local authorities have put less effort into the TdF than they did the Women's Tour, but that individuals, pubs, shops and villages have made a good effort. No, it's perhaps not as good as Yorkshire's, but this is Yorkshire's show - Stage 3 is a transit stage to get the Tour to London and closer to France. I hope the finish in London does the Tour justice, and I'm sure everyone on the route tomorrow (and there will be loads!) will give everything they have.

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Colin Peyresourde [1773 posts] 2 years ago
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Let's put this in perspective: weekend action when people don't have to take time off versus work day. It's not going to get the same following. And, if does then fair play. London is still going to be rammed.

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Colin Peyresourde [1773 posts] 2 years ago
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My friend put it this way "free, major sporting event in Yorkshire. It's not rock science!"

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Colin Peyresourde [1773 posts] 2 years ago
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levermonkey wrote:
EarsoftheWolf wrote:

“Cambridge should realise it is a shop window. It is remiss of them not to seize the opportunity."

If you've ever been to Cambridge, you'd realise it probably doesn't need a "shop window" to promote itself as much as some places in Yorkshire might. Cambridge is heaving with tourists from all over the world, not just in July but most of the rest of the year too. Chinese tourists are queueing to go punting even when there's ice on the river in January. Yorkshire is grabbing the opportunity because it has more to gain.

Also, it's much more easy to be celebratory and welcoming of an event when it's on a weekend and you don't need to worry how you're going to get to work. I'm lucky that my company has closed their office for the day tomorrow so I don't have to worry about it, but many others are not so fortunate. People shouldn't be criticised for having legitimate concerns, just because they're not "getting into the spirit".

Oh! Dear!
So Cambridge has no need for the extra money that the Tour will bring?
There are no 'sink' estates in Cambridge?
No examples of social deprivation, alienation, no social problems in Cambridge of any kind?
You live in a perfect little theme park of colleges, punting on the river and 'traditional' England?

Oh! And of course NO-ONE works on a weekend, do they? And the North is a blasted waste filled with wild tribes and strange beasts.

Yes, I am being facetious. But you started it!  4

Woow! Didn't know it was a competition?!? Someone ought to tell France and Belgium

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Tovarishch [59 posts] 2 years ago
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I assume he meant geology  17

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notfastenough [3715 posts] 2 years ago
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Stepping away from this debate for a second - which would you rather visit for a couple of days cycling, and spending money in the pubs/restaurants etc - Yorkshire or the New Forest? Yorkshire has basically shouted out "Hey, come visit anytime! Bring your bikes and some cash!"

New Forest, not so much...

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pmanc [206 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm very glad I got to see the tour in Yorkshire in the sun at the weekend.

But it's a fair point that once the tour has gone, Cambridge will still have a far healthier culture of everyday cycling than places like Leeds, the "Motorway City of the Seventies"!

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dodgy [203 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm watching the coverage on TV and I think some of the criticism of Cambridge and the villages on route to the stage finish in London's enthusiasm is a bit premature.

The crowds in Saffron Walden for one are absolutely massive!

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CasperCCC [40 posts] 2 years ago
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Yeah. OK. I need to apologise to Cambridge. It was absolutely, completely rammed this morning. Not bad for a work day. Masses of enthusiasm. Good show by England all round.

(Daughter loved it. And even if Froome didn't notice her flag, ITV did - got a shot of her on TV at the start line, and replayed it on the end highlights. Fame!)

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Colin Peyresourde [1773 posts] 2 years ago
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A really good showing in London too. People lined the roads everywhere. I wish I had gone up to where I cycle in Essex as it would have given a fantastic opportunity for some great photos. Anyway 'Bravo Angleterre' I think we did ourselves proud.

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banzicyclist2 [299 posts] 2 years ago
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After Yorkshire.... they needed the rest.  4

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RobD [293 posts] 2 years ago
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Well having been on the route yesterday, and seeign the coverage on tv, I don't think there was any lack of support for the tour, especially having seen how packed Saffron Walden was and hearing Phil Ligget getting emotional at the sight of people crowding 50-100 deep. I'm glad I went to Great Waltham, relatively small village with a little bit of a hill meant they came through (a tiny bit) more slowly.
It was still jam packed with people, and the atmosphere was incredible, I think everyone's done the country proud over all three days.