• Country

A Bon Jour in Yorkshire

By We Love Cycling

No trace of bad blood or frog-eating jokes. The English are honored to host Le Tour. Not nationality questions, but the love of cycling fills the streets.

A group of “stereotypical looking Frenchmen” are strolling through the center of Leeds sporting stripped sailor shirts and moustaches while the women are decorated with a string of onions around their necks. They’re all wearing berets, speak English and are happily looking for a pub.

“It is a French-themed party, not a mockery,” said one of the ladies decked out in onions. “We had croissants for breakfast and lunch should be Champagne, but we’ll also have a beer and enjoy the Tour spirit.”

(Photo: WeLoveCycling.com)

“I am so excited that the Tour starts in England,” her cheering partner chipped in. “We’re all cyclists and we can see the cream of the sport here”. Followed by a unanimous, “Santé!” they cheer while toasting with English beer to the success of the French race.

Ripley in Yorkshire is a perfect English town with chimneys ready for Oliver Twist to climb. Perfectly tended lawns and a French flag on every second house just a few kilometres from the first stage finish and the road is already surrounded by hundreds of waiting fans.

(Photo: WeLoveCycling.com)

They’re sitting on piled up bales of hay, eating chips, chatting and showing their support. Whenever a car passes by, the horns and chants rise up and the French gendarmes on motorcycles are greeted by a wave of “Bonjours!”

The locals are excited by the Old Lady’s visit. In the Boar’s Head pub a special French menu is being prepared, with reservations now impossible to secure. Tonight belongs to French cuisine, honoring Le Tour.

Text: Jan Hanzlík