Tour de France Rides Through City of Cyclists
Tour de France Rides Through City of Cyclists
One of the many bicycles painted yellow to be seen around Yorkshire before and during the UK Grand Départ of the Tour de France. (Epoch Times)

One of the many bicycles painted yellow to be seen around Yorkshire before and during the UK Grand Départ of the Tour de France. (Epoch Times)

A bike painted yellow becomes part of the street furniture outside the main entrance to the Sheffield Hallam University near the train station in the city centre. (Epoch Times)

A bike painted yellow becomes part of the street furniture outside the main entrance to the Sheffield Hallam University near the train station in the city centre. (Epoch Times)

The Arts Tower of the University of Sheffield, said to be the tallest university building in the UK and the second tallest building in Sheffield, is grade II listed because it is a fine example of a 1960s tower block and because of its parternoster lift which is like a train of tall open boxes moving slowly in a vertical loop that people can step into and out of while it is motion. (Epoch Times)

The Arts Tower of the University of Sheffield, said to be the tallest university building in the UK and the second tallest building in Sheffield, is grade II listed because it is a fine example of a 1960s tower block and because of its parternoster lift which is like a train of tall open boxes moving slowly in a vertical loop that people can step into and out of while it is motion. (Epoch Times)

The Arts Tower of the University of Sheffield had all its yellow interior blinds down on the approach to the Grand Depart. Many staff wore yellow tee shirts and there was a yellow bike on the wall behind the till in the basement cafe. (Epoch Times)

The Arts Tower of the University of Sheffield had all its yellow interior blinds down on the approach to the Grand Depart. Many staff wore yellow tee shirts and there was a yellow bike on the wall behind the till in the basement cafe. (Epoch Times)

Two sporting event mementos in central Sheffield’s Barker’s Pool. One a national post box painted gold commemorating the gold medal won by local born Jessica Ennis for the heptathlon event in London 2012 Olympics. And a bicycle painted yellow, one of many around Yorkshire to advertise the Tour de France. (Epoch Times)

Two sporting event mementos in central Sheffield’s Barker’s Pool. One a national post box painted gold commemorating the gold medal won by local born Jessica Ennis for the heptathlon event in London 2012 Olympics. And a bicycle painted yellow, one of many around Yorkshire to advertise the Tour de France. (Epoch Times)

A normal quantity of normal Cambridge cycles parked near the station on the day before the start of the UK’s Grand Depart. Julian Huppert MP for Cambridge said, “I am delighted the Tour de France is coming to Cambridge. It’s great to be given the opportunity to witness one of the world’s greatest sporting events on the doorstep.” (Epoch Times)

A normal quantity of normal Cambridge cycles parked near the station on the day before the start of the UK’s Grand Depart. Julian Huppert MP for Cambridge said, “I am delighted the Tour de France is coming to Cambridge. It’s great to be given the opportunity to witness one of the world’s greatest sporting events on the doorstep.” (Epoch Times)

Shirt bunting on the Tour de France route in Cambridge. “It’s a very historic moment for the city,” Cambridge MP Julian Huppert said, “putting it in the spotlight internationally and reinforcing our commitment to cycling. This is an event which will be recorded in the city’s history to be retold to future generations.” (Epoch Times)

Shirt bunting on the Tour de France route in Cambridge. “It’s a very historic moment for the city,” Cambridge MP Julian Huppert said, “putting it in the spotlight internationally and reinforcing our commitment to cycling. This is an event which will be recorded in the city’s history to be retold to future generations.” (Epoch Times)

Cambridge on the day before the start of the UK’s Grand Depart showing bunting and ‘yarn bombed’ bike wheels. “We have had the banners for the Tour de France hanging from lamp posts for a few months now,” said one resident. “I finally figured out that Cambridge was hosting the Tour when I volunteered at the (huge!) Cambridge Beer Festival in mid-May - the tee-shirts had a funny design on the front with lots of French things and people (croissant, frogs, Marcel Marceau - the tee even had Jean Luc Picard).” (Epoch Times)

Cambridge on the day before the start of the UK’s Grand Depart showing bunting and ‘yarn bombed’ bike wheels. “We have had the banners for the Tour de France hanging from lamp posts for a few months now,” said one resident. “I finally figured out that Cambridge was hosting the Tour when I volunteered at the (huge!) Cambridge Beer Festival in mid-May - the tee-shirts had a funny design on the front with lots of French things and people (croissant, frogs, Marcel Marceau - the tee even had Jean Luc Picard).” (Epoch Times)

An Epoch Times reporter heard a conversation between people standing near the starting line. They were saying how people in the North had painted the sheep yellow to celebrate. The response was,

An Epoch Times reporter heard a conversation between people standing near the starting line. They were saying how people in the North had painted the sheep yellow to celebrate. The response was, "Well, the Cambridge analogy would be to paint the students yellow and I don't think they'd like that too much." (Epoch Times)

An amusing sign in Cambridge displayed in the weeks before the third stage of the Grand Depart of the Tour de France. (Epoch Times)

An amusing sign in Cambridge displayed in the weeks before the third stage of the Grand Depart of the Tour de France. (Epoch Times)

Cambridge train station, where there is usually a sea of everyday cycles every day. (Epoch Times)

Cambridge train station, where there is usually a sea of everyday cycles every day. (Epoch Times)

As Tour de France bicyclists set off in the late morning through cheering crowds of sunny spectators in the north of England on Saturday July 5th, the English weather was keeping the streets of the UK’s busiest cycling city fairly quiet.

Cambridge has the highest level of cycling in the country with one in three residents cycling to work, according to its City Council website. But before the city hosted the start of the third stage of the Tour on Monday July 7th, some critical eyebrows had been raised at what was considered a lack of enthusiasm from the university city compared to ‘Up North’. 

“I can’t understand why anyone would think that Cambridge is not celebrating this momentous day,” Julian Huppert Member of Parliament for Cambridge told the Epoch Times in an email.

“There is mounting excitement in Cambridge as the event gets nearer. Businesses have given their staff the day off to watch the cyclists come through the city and school childen will be lining the route having learnt all about it in their lessons.”

One local resident said, “We have had the banners for the Tour de France hanging from lamp posts for a few months now. I couldn’t figure out why there were Tour de France banners around Cambridge in the Spring. 

“I finally figured out that Cambridge was hosting the Tour when I volunteered at the (huge!) Cambridge Beer Festival in mid-May. The tee-shirts had a funny design on the front with lots of French things and people—croissant, frogs, Marcel Marceau—the tee even had Jean Luc Picard!”

Besides bunting, banners, and a lot of French themed activities, the stage one start in Leeds had a giant inflated bike as well as the city centre’s equestrian Black Prince and other prominent statues rigged out in yellow jerseys. 

The second stage finish in Sheffield had one of its main educational buildings, (said to be the tallest university building in the UK, the grade II listed, 1960s Arts Tower of the University of Sheffield) have all its yellow interior blinds pulled down, all the staff wearing yellow tee shirts, and the café had a yellow bike on the wall behind the till.

Part of the heightened contrast between the two Yorkshire stages, London, and Cambridge could be the integration of the event in the north by Welcome to Yorkshire. The company was launched in 2009 and has achieved record revenue for local businesses and lifted the World Travel Award for World’s Leading Marketing Campaign.

London, the last UK venue for the Grand Départ, greater promotional resources than the smaller city of Cambridge that relies mainly on its ancient university for outside earnings from students and tourists. 

London also has valuable experience from previously hosting the Tour in 2007. All of which seems to leave Cambridge out on its own. 

Although the Olympic-style Opening show in Leeds on Thursday July 3rd may not be matched by other cities on the way to Paris, each route will have the business promotional caravane travelling two hours before the cyclists and taking about three quarters of an hour to pass. 

By the time the 197 professional, lycra-clad cyclists and their entourages left the UK for the start of the fourth stage in Le Touquet on Tuesday, 180 cars and floats emblazoned with logos had given out millions of freebies including teabags, sweets, hats, rubber bracelets, soft drinks, and tee shirts.

And Cambridge had returned to more normal clothes and cycling habits.

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