FYLINGDALES, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom – My boarding school is in a small village where rarely anything happens. It’s no surprise then, that the first Tour de Yorkshire, held early this month, was the biggest event in recent memory.
Everyone was so excited that the headmaster decided to cancel afternoon lessons and the whole school went to see the race, which had been in the headlines all over the UK for weeks.
Despite cold weather that day, it was a great and eye-opening experience to see the race in person, which was different that watching the usual television coverage of the most exciting moments. As I had never actually seen a bike race before, my expectations were way different from what I saw.
The cyclists did not fly past me like a swarm of bees. They were not surrounded by railings and crowds of people. The closest village to our school is Robin Hoods Bay, where the cyclists had to climb up a very steep hill before reaching the main road leading through the moors to Scarborough.
Stage One finished on the prom on the city’s seafront, which may be familiar to those who watched Grand Depart of Tour de France last year.
The race began with a stage from Bridlington to Scarborough (174 km), which some cyclists found difficult due to its small roads and sheer slopes. It was followed by Selby to York (174 km) and Wakefield to Leeds (167 km). The last stage had the most demanding route with six climbs.
A colorful bicycle marks part of the route on the Tour de Yorkshire. (Asia Koter/YJI)
A women’s race, featuring a Paralympic champion Sarah Storey, took place on May 2 across four
20 km laps around the city of York.
It turned out that all people who gathered in Robin Hoods Bay were just a tiny part of more than a million spectators who watched the race that weekend. The event attracted people from Yorkshire and visitors who came to see some of the best cyclists in the world.
I had an opportunity to finally see Sir Bradley Wiggins, the 2012 Tour de France winner. He started his own squad after leaving Team Sky but chose to stay safe, away from the lead.
The Tour de Yorkshire, inspired by the Tour de France Grand Depart, boosted the local economy,
bringing in many spectators. Perhaps even better, Yorkshire is now regarded as the cycling heart of the UK, which is not surprising due to its perfect routes along the North Sea coast and through North York Moors.
Asia Koter is a Junior Reporter for Youth Journalism International.
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