London’s blatantly getting on its bike.
Next month, the world’s largest annual sporting event, the Tour de France, freewheels into the capital for the first time in the race’s 104-year history. You won’t be able to avoid this juggernaut of an event, which will “see London turned into a huge cycling stadium” – so you may as well let out a deep sigh and throw yourself into it.
The festival planned around the Grand Départ over the 6-8 July weekend will see Hyde Park taken over by a ‘village’ promoting cycling, while 18 giant screens will pop up around the capital so everyone can gets a good view of the Lycra. Fetishists rejoice! Helpfully, an additional 11,000 cycling parking spaces will be available that weekend – but with an 83% increase in cycling over the last seven years, we hope these won’t be temporary ones.
Details of what’s on is here. If you’re headed to watch the riders, we’d suggest finding your vantage point an hour earlier than the riders start, as a rather ridiculous publicity caravan passes with 200 floats playing music and handing out gifts. Think of it as a boisterous, french version of Gay Pride.
Before all this hoop-la, the World Naked Bike Ride takes over our streets this Saturday afternoon. It’s effectively a protest against oil dependence and car culture as well as calling for more rights and safer roads for cyclists (all of which seems fair enough to us) by… …cycling without any kit on. This ride is gaining more participants each year, up from 58 in 2004 to 800 last year, so they’re definitely doing something right.
Fancy it? Read about how to join in here. If you’re nervous, organisers have developed a way of stopping determinedly pervy photographers in these ingenious cards. So, as the publicity says, “BE AS BARE AS YOU DARE, AND BE THERE!”
Pic taken from tylerbrekko’s Flickr Stream