The Tour de France in Yorkshire. In 2014 it came, we saw, and the world realised what they had been missing. Except that the world did not necessarily get to see all the best bits, but only the bits that could accommodate the whole Tour ensemble.
In this book a proud Yorkshireman reminds us what Yorkshire has to offer by inviting professional cyclists from the area to ride their own favourite routes while he captures some inspirational images. That man is Rick Robson, who takes cycling-related photos for a living, with his work being used by several magazines and teams. In producing this book he "tried to get the most out of the format, capturing some of the big landscapes of the Dales which is harder to do in magazines or on-line".
It is fortunate that Rick is still alive, let alone be able to work effectively: as a blog that he did for this site shows, he had a brush with death back in 2009. It is worth reading just to remind yourself that no matter how bad things are there is nearly always somebody worse off than you.
All but one of the eleven routes covers at least a small section of the roads that le Tour used, but they spend the most time on "even more scenic and even harder roads that the TdF could not use". You would be hard put to reliably follow the routes from the information in the book, but instead the website provides much better maps, and also .GPX files of the routes.
If all you want is route suggestions then you need nothing more. However, if you take a look around the website you will get a good idea of what to expect from the images in the book. Not surprisingly there is a lot of greenery (except in the black and white photos!), and an almost complete absence of traffic, or indeed other people.
The routes were ridden and photos taken either before or after le Tour, so rather than crowds thronging the route we get a mixture of snow, sheep, cows, and of course that 'road writing' by cycling fans that is causing so much grief.
The book also gives some enlightening insights into the life of the chosen professionals, all of whom either live in Yorkshire, or who live over the border in Lancashire but use these roads for training. The past professionals featured are the legends Sid Barras and Malcolm Elliot, and they are joined by a handful of current pros.
The author has undertaken to donate 10% of all profits from the book to the Dave Rayner Fund, which supports fledgling young riders financially while they try to establish themselves on the world stage. Indeed, some of the riders featured have benefitted from that assistance.
If this book had been completed before Welcome to Yorkshire began negotiations with the Tour de France organisers it would surely have made it easier to win the French over; one look at the book would convince them that Yorkshire had all that was required for exciting racing and the obligatory helicopter shots of dramatic scenery.
With inaugural Tour de Yorkshire coming up in May, Yorkshire is once again going to be in the cycling spotlight, but until then this book reminds us of the beautiful terrain on offer.
Photographic guide around some of the best roads for cycling in Yorkshire in the company of local professional cyclists
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Make and model: DeTour de Yorkshire by Rick Robson
Size tested: n/a
Age: 55 Height: Weight:
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,