Sunday, 31 August 2014

Bicycles: the dénouement

It need hardly be repeated that, on the weekend of 5th-6th July, the Tour de France temporarily became the Tour de Yorkshire (including such linguistic delights as "le Cote du Jenkin").

It all made for a great weekend. Day 1: accidental choice, in deepest Wensleydale, of one of the best vantage-points ever (because it happened to lie just after a watering-point, so we got to keep team logo water-bottles as souvenirs). Day 2, riding four miles along the river path to catch the Peloton as they leave town and start the race proper, serenaded by (among other things) the strains of "Riders on the Storm" (it had been raining heavily earlier on) from a local resident's garden, then our delightful glide afterwards along completely car-free roads all the way home.

But I could never quite stop myself from looking twice at each yellow-painted bicycle that the Great Yorkshire Public had put up all along the route just to check: was it my missing bike?..

It was some consolation to read the following week in the local paper that an aid charity had offered to take all the yellow bikes, recondition them, and ferry them to villages in Africa. There they would enable people to launch small businesses, go on health visits, or otherwise improve quality of life at a tiny cost.

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