My Tour of Britain Predicament

With great expectation I’ve been awaiting the route and dates announcement for the 2013 Tour of Britain.
Last year, I cycled out to meet up with my friend Simon and his wife, after which we cycled out to Merrivale (a Devon stage King of the Mountains segment outside Princetown) and I was rather hopeful that the Tour would again be going past Merrivale this year.

Sadly, that isn’t the case at all. The 2013 Tour of Britain’s Devon stage, stage 6, starts in Sidmouth and ends at Haytor, on Dartmoor. Also, while last year’s Devon stage was over a weekend, this year it is on a Friday.

Now being on a Friday isn’t in itself much of a problem – I can simply take a day’s leave. The trouble is it takes place on the 20th of September, which is also my daughter’s birthday.
As this is outside the school holidays, we’d still need to get kids to school, same as any normal week day. As I sold my car some time ago, we only have my wife’s car and she’ll be needing it on the day.

Now the end of the Devon stage is at Haytor, which is roughly 29.25 rather hilly miles away from where I live and I can easily cycle out there. Of course, riding out also means avoiding the inevitable gridlock that ensues when thousands of spectators choose to drive to an event and jam the roads full of cars.

If you’ve ever been to any such event, you’d know there’s an awful lot of standing around waiting. As a result, it’s a really good idea to carry snacks and drinks with you, thus increasing the weight you carry when cycling there, which means it will take a little longer to get there.

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Also, the nearer the finish of a stage, the more people there are and the more people there are, the earlier you have to arrive to get a good spot. I expect people would start waiting from at least 7am onwards and by the time the riders actually finish the stage there will be thousands pressed together, trying to catch a quick glimpse.

I have to admit I don’t much like being squeezed from all sides in a crowd like that and besides, it certainly means leaving my bike unattended. And no, in case you were curious, the Dartmoor National Park Authority doesn’t install sheffield stands all over the moor, just in case somebody wants to lock their bike up.

That means I realistically should pick a different spot. The first problem with that is simple: Haytor is the part of the Devon stage of the Tour of Britain that is nearest to where I live, which means picking a different spot will be further away, and will take longer to get there.

If it wasn’t on my daughter’s birthday I could simply have left home at stupid o’clock in the morning, and have cycled to wherever I needed to be. That way I could have arrived early enough to get a good spot.

However, there is simply no way I will not be at home to wish my daughter a happy birthday when we wake her for school in the morning. That simply means the earliest I’d get to the Tour of Britain would probably be from 10h30 onwards.

And before you suggest it, I’m quite convinced my daughter wouldn’t believe me if I told her that she actually was born on the 21st! No, even suggesting that might dramatically shorten my life expectancy, so I’ll move on rapidly.

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I’ve walked around Merrivale often, and I know the area well. As a result, I knew beforehand where would be a good spot and where wouldn’t be. I have no such familiarity with Haytor and the surrounding area, which places me at a distinct disadvantage here.

So I’m open to suggestions: where you YOU think would be a good spot to go and see the Devon stage of the 2013 Tour of Britain?

Here’s a zoomable map of the Devon stage:

2 thoughts on “My Tour of Britain Predicament”

  1. Dear Willcycle

    I came across your blog so decided to have a read and felt depressed! I just got the impression that you only go out on your bike to find something complain about!!

    Leave it behind, abandon the blog, let the wind flow through your hair, smile, enjoy yourself and have fun!! That's what it should all be about not constantly moaning about this and that. You will get cut up like I do – just learn to live with it.​

    ​As for your daughters birthday – that should be a no brainer – surely she MUST come first!!

    With the best of intentions and kind regards


  2. Hmmm… actually I thought I made it rather clear when I stated "there is simply no way I will not be at home to wish my daughter a happy birthday when we wake her for school in the morning" that my daughter (like all three my kids) will always come first. In fact, I've pointed out in other places on this blog that my cycling will ALWAYS come last and my family first.

    Regarding your opinion on me simply going out on my bike looking for something to complain about, the answer is a simple and resounding "no".

    When doing cycle campaigning, it is essential to point out existing failures. This isn't simply "complaining". What you're suggesting is that we all accept the status quo, that we don't expect any improvements at all and that we should simply regard the 112 cyclists killed on the UK's roads in 2012 as an inescapable event, due to be repeated year after year.

    When the Abolisionists in the UK (who campaigned for a far more worthy and importamnt cause) started out, they did so by pointing out the many things that were wrong about slavery.
    When the Suffragettes campaigned for women's rights (another far more important and worthy cause) they too had to point out what was wrong with how things were.

    If you read through my entire blog you will see it most certainly is NOT simply about complaining.

    I cycle because I love cycling and enjoy cycling. Additionally, I also cycle because it's healthy, because it's good for the environment and not the least, because it saves me money.

    I certainly DON'T enjoy being cut up, sworn at, pushed out of the way, nor do I enjoy being treated like I'm somehow tresspassing when out cycling on public roads. I don't enjoy my life (or that of any other cyclist) being threatened through lack of thinking, lack of decent infrastructure, lack of proper road planning or any other reason on the part of others who really ought to know better.

    You are of course entitled to your own opinion, and your own way of doing things. However, I don't believe that freedom extends to telling me not to blog about the reality of cycling in and around Plymouth (and further afield).

    You do however have the right NOT to read my blog, should it upset you in any way.


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