Unless you’ve been hiding in a cupboard for the past year or so, you’ll be more than aware that the Tour de France is coming to English shores on Saturday 5th July 2014. It’s a brilliant opportunity for a family day out, and an amazing chance to give your children memories to last a life time.
But, what should you expect when taking your children to watch the Tour de France, and how can you make sure the day is a success? Here are a few hints and tips to help make the day as stress free as possible!
Prepare before you set off
The Tour de France is going to be HUGE, and with over 3 million fans expected to line the routes. The two weekend stages in Yorkshire are expected to particularly busy.
Travel on the day will be difficult and slow, whether you are in a car, on public transport, cycling or walking. Roads will be closed from at least 8 `ours prior to the race passing. Make sure you’ve planned your transport and accommodation (if necessary) in advance.
Do your research before you set off, decide where you are going to watch from, and set off in plenty of time.
Be aware that many of the temporary car parks are several miles walk from the route, and a bike might be the best way to get there. (see the photo on the right from last year’s Tour showing an informal bike park!)
Talk to your child about the race before hand so they know what to expect. The Cycle Sprog Kids Guide to the Tour de France may help.
Pick your spot to watch the Tour de France
There are so many great places to take the kids to watch the Tour de France, but remember where you pick will be where you stay, so choose carefully.
There are lots of Spectator Hubs, where you can not only watch the riders go past but see the rest of the action on the big screens. Entertainment, refreshments, transport links and other facilities will be available, meaning they’ll be popular with families, but be prepared for them to be incredibly busy.
Elsewhere on the route there are plenty of opportunities to watch the riders pass, but you’ll need to be able to get to the route, so make sure your kids have the stamina to walk or cycle the distance.
What to expect when taking kids to watch the Tour de France
The build up to the race itself is the best bit for children. The Tour de France caravan will go past about two and a half hours before the race starts, and kids just love collecting the “Tour Tat” that is thrown out from the brightly decorated vehicles. Remember to take bag to carry it all home!
The riders move very fast, so make sure your kids have a good line of sight, or be prepared for shoulder rides. A view into a corner or a hill can be good, as the riders are forced to slow down.
It goes without saying your child’s safety is paramount, so make sure there is no way they can get away from you and get mixed up in the race as it passes. Do watch out for the occasional idiot who tries to outrun the riders up the hill.
Explain to your kids that they may not be able to pick out individual riders, so they won’t be disappointed if they don’t see their favourite rider.
What to take with you when watching the Tour de France with the kids
- Plenty of water
- Bike locks for all your bikes if cycling
- Comfy shoes for walking
- More snacks for the wait for the riders to pass
- Depending on the weather forecast, sun cream and sunhats or Waterproofs and wellies (or both)
- Clothing appropriate for where you are watching (remember up “on the tops” it can get windy and chilly)
- Bag for Tour Tat goodies
- Fully charged mobile phone / camera
- More snacks for the journey back
For more information on taking your family to watch the Tour de France, visit the Tour website at letour.yourshire.com
To read about how one Cycle Sprog family enjoyed watching the 2013 Tour de France click here
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