Two Kids and this Thing Called the Tour de France

Today Cambridge played host to Stage 3 of the Tour de France. The entire city was pretty much shut down other than pubs and Starbucks. It was a gloriously sunny day, so my wife and I decided to join about a million other people to cram the streets and watch the riders go by.

Our original plan was simply to attend the morning festivities, and then I would fly solo to leverage my height (and street smarts, and brute strength) to find my way to the race course to see the riders. But once we were there, we just tried to make a go of it with our 4 year old and 2 year old. They actually handled the crowds quite well. (The crowds, on the other hand, did not much appreciate our double-wide B.O.B. stroller).

We arrived for the morning festivities at Parker’s Piece, where the race officially began. There was a huge LCD that didn’t actually show anything useful and several vendors of food, etc. It was neat to see all the riding groups from around the city out in full force in their club uniforms.

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Aspiring Tour riders. This must have been one of the most exciting days they’ve ever had.

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Make way for our stroller, people!

The event’s main stage took life as they began announcing stuff, asking trivia questions, and generally burning time for a TV audience about 2 hrs before the start. The girls, however, got official flags of one of the sponsors, which was about the best thing they’ve ever gotten.

Go Skoda!
Go Skoda!

We made our way to the race course off Regent St and stood for a while, but once it started getting tight, we got out of there. Many thanks to the security officer who helped clear a path for the stroller!

Regent Street, right near the starting line.
Regent Street, right near the starting line.

As it approached 1 hour before the race, we realized we might get stuck in Parker’s Piece when they shut off access. So we finally found the last remaining crosswalk that was open, and we took a break at Starbucks. A cold treat was key to getting C & A to press on through the fatigue that was setting in.

We made our way to Christ’s Pieces and found a much smaller crowd. We elbowed our way to position right on St. Andrews Street, on the second row of spectators. The girls were great at hanging in there despite not really understanding what the big deal was with people riding their bikes, since they, you know, ride their bikes all the time.

St. Andrews Street, right before the big turn back down towards King's Parade.
St. Andrews Street, right before the big turn back down towards King’s Parade.

Finally, at a little after 12:15, the official caravan came through followed by the big group of riders. I was able to get a pretty decent video:

You’ll notice at the end of the video that everyone comes to a complete stop. I’m guessing the turn up ahead was too sharp for the motorcade and riders, causing a logjam. They weren’t really “racing” at this point anyhow, but it was pretty funny to see.

Everything came to a complete stop right after the riders passed us.
Everything came to a complete stop right after the riders passed us.

After about 32 seconds…it was all over. Back to normal life. But it was a great experience. Though the girls will probably not remember it at all, and though the whole “taking the kids to see the Tour” thing was a little stressful, we’re glad we did it.

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One thought on “Two Kids and this Thing Called the Tour de France”

  1. Great post (except the sirens/crowd was scary loud on the video – had to mute it!) I’m officially jealous…just kidding. Glad y’all got to take it all in. Can’t imagine navigating the double stroller thru the throng of people!

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