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Tour de France comes to Yorkshire

This weekend Lucy from the Mocks team (who is a bit cycling mad) headed over to Sheffield to celebrate the Tour de France.  This is her blog...

On Sunday 6th July, I woke up with that excited feeling you get when you are about to go on holiday, only it was better than that - the Tour de France was going to ride right past the bottom of my road!  Crazy!

The Tour de France is the world's largest single sporting event and is watched by millions.  The majority of the tour takes places in France, with only occasional visits to other countries, so for the first three stages of the tour to be held in England, with the first two taking place in Yorkshire was excitement beyond belief, not just for cycling enthusiasts but for Yorkshire at large.

I put on my Mocks - I definitely wanted some comfy shoes being on my feet all day - slapped on the sun lotion and headed out.

Tour de France bunting

The tour was expected to pass through the Abbeyfield Park area in Sheffield around 4pm, but excited fans started to line the streets at midday, eager to get a good viewing point and join in the festive celebrations.  It was a glorious day - the sun was out in full force, shining off the home-made bunting put up by local residents the week before.  The wait was far from boring though - the local park had a music stage with some fantastic bands, lots of stalls selling anything from memorabilia to ice-cream, and the jubilant atmosphere was addictive!  I honestly can't remember this kind of mass-crowd excitement since the Olympics in London.  People were kitted out in yellow tees, were waving flags and one B&B owner even brought out his pet Parakeet to join in the fun!

Tour de France Parakeet Tour de France Parakeet

At around 2.30pm the advertising troop began to pass through - cars, bikes and floats of sponsors, working the crowd and giving away freebies.  I don't think I've ever since a police car being cheered and whooped at so much!  I took my place at a corner - I wanted to see the riders whip round the bend.

Tour de France crowds

As I waited I wondered where all this enthusiasm for cycling had come from - I don't remember being that interested about 6 years ago.  I think that we started to become a bit cycling-crazy following the huge success of the GB cycling team at the Beijing (2008) and London Olympics (2012) where they won an astonishing 7 gold medals at each.  The momentum has continued to race ahead since, with Bradley Wiggins becoming the first Bristish cyclist ever to win the Tour de France in 2012, followed a year later by Chris Froome.  I wonder, can we do it again this year?

Before I knew it, the clocks had done their clever trick of zipping forward (they tend do this usually when you're having the most fun, though unfortunately they do the opposite when you are bored out of your mind) and it was 4pm.  Suddenly a single rider came zipping past - he went so close to the edge of the road, that despite the barriers, spectators still jumped back out of the way.  I knew they rode quickly but the TV footage slows them down - in real time they have been and gone before you can blink!  Hot on his heels was a larger group of riders - including Vincenzo Nibali who went on to win this stage.

Tour de France cyclist Tour de France Peloton

I was surprised at how spaced out the different groups of riders were, but was quite pleased as it meant more viewing time for us!  The time it took from the first rider to pass to the last couldn't have been more than 15 minutes.  However, all the hype and build up to this 15 minutes was totally worth it.  What a fantastic experience!
Tour de France Sheffield, Yorkshire

Lucy is not the only Mocks team member who has been gripped by the Tour de France fever - we have all gone a bit cycling-crazy here!  To celebrate, we're giving you 40% off all yellow Mocks during the Tour de France.  Just enter code 'TDF40' at 'My Basket' to claim yours.

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However, any budding cyclist needs one key ingredient... a bike.  So we are giving you the chance to win a brand new, sparkling Mocks bike!  Yes, that's right, we're giving away a bike!  All you have to do to enter is sign up to our mailing list at www.mocksonline.com - it's simple!
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What are you waiting for - sign up now and let your adventure begin...

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