As we mentioned on Wednesday, the opening kilometres of the Tour de France are coming to London from July 6th - 8th this year. While this weekend's Vive La France event at Olympia celebrates the culture of those who would have been Frenglish, the Tour organisers are staging an event of their own, a roadshow in front of the Ritzy Cinema, Brixton (LB Lambeth) from noon - 4.30pm this Saturday.
The main thing to know about this event is that there some bikes on the roadshow stage which you are invited to ride. Obviously, these are fixed in place and there are likely to be a couple of hundred people watching you, so it may be something only for the enthusiast with all the right jerseys, etc., and/or cycle couriers, but we are very intrigued that participants will in some way be able "to ride stages of L'Etape du Tour."
Firstly, we're wondering if this will involve one of those nifty variable resistance doobries simulating actual French highway, possibly even enhanced by some sort of virtual reality helmet. Secondly, we're assuming that you won't actually be able to ride a whole simulated stage or quite a queue might build up and thirdly we're curious as to the mention of L'Etape du Tour, which is an annual event first held fourteen years ago that allows several thousand amateur cyclists to retrace the route of a real stage of the Tour de France itself. If we've understood this correctly, then, the roadshow is offering you the chance to simulate riding a portion of the race that simulates riding the Tour de France. Which is why we're confident we must have got that wrong somehow.
Anyway, there will also be lots of information and presentations about the history of what is genuinely one of the world's iconic sporting events, London's role as host and the events in the capital surrounding that weekend in early July known officially as "Le Grand Départ". If you made a New Year's resolution to get that rusty old bike out of the shed and start cycling every day, but are still needing a little extra push actually to do it, you might find the information on pedalling around the capital very helpful. You might even want to snap up one of the final few places available to be a volunteer marshal for the main event, in which case you'll be able to fill in an application form and hand it in right there and then. Throw in some "celebrity interviews, musical challenges, quizzes and the chance to win prizes galore" and it sounds like a pretty decent free afternoon's entertainment to us.
However, as the official Tour de France London website says, "Roadshow may be postponed or cancelled due to circumstances, eg. weather," so, if the gales are blowing again, you might want to consider attending the roadshow instead at one of many venues to be announced in the coming months.
"L'enfer du Nord Paris - Roubaix, Tour de France, Tour de France, Brixton - Hammersmith Palais, Tour de France, Tour de France..."
Picture via Joe Shlabotnik's Flickr stream.