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Le Tour de France in Hebden

From Andrew Bibby

Saturday, 19 January 2013

So - July 6th next year we welcome le Tour de France in Hebden. How are we going to make the most of this?

From Susi Harris

Sunday, 20 January 2013

What do you want to achieve Andrew? Hebden on the map? More tourists in future? More cyclists? More Francophiles? Making as much money as we can?

From Graham Barker

Sunday, 20 January 2013

It'll all be over in under a minute, so whatever it is had better be fast.

From Ron Taylor

Sunday, 20 January 2013

How about a Lance Armstrong Drug Emporium? Could be nice little earner for some.

From Paul Clarke

Sunday, 20 January 2013

I am already bored to death with the hype around Le Bore and given the scale of the disruption I will be on holiday that weekend.

Ironically I may make it a lycra-free cycling break.

From Roger N

Sunday, 20 January 2013

I'm pleased that the Tour de France is passing through Hebden Bridge, but that's all it's doing.

How do we 'make the most of this'? Well, given that it will all be over in a few minutes (probably somewhat longer that Graham Barker suggests, as the entire entourage is something like 7 miles long) I suggest that there is little chance to promote Hebden Bridge in any meaningful way. Every community along the route will have well intentioned, but sadly misguided, people asking exactly the same question.

So please, no morris dancers, no depiction of downtrodden millworkers or exploited children, no lesbians, no Bernard Ingham, no 'That was so Hebden Bridge'. If our visitors seek the essence of Hebden Bridge, then simply let them look around. But they probably won't have time even for that.

The best way to 'make the most' of the Tour de France is to find yourself a good spot to watch it. Cock Hill, between Haworth and Hebden is an ideal location. Me? Well I'll probably go down to the Old Gate, get a pint, cheer the cyclists, and wish I was 40 years younger.

From Myra James

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Some rather disappointing responses so far to Andrew Bibby's post on Le Tour. We're talking about a lot more than "a minute". People will be taking up optimum spots hours ahead, during which time they will provide an opportunity, it's true, for some money to be made - and let's hope it will be our local businesses that benefit. And what a great shop window it will provide for the beautiful Hebden Royd countryside, as the race makes its way through our town and also up Cragg Road, the longest incline in England. I don't see anything wrong with trying to make the most of this great opportunity.

From Graham Barker

Sunday, 20 January 2013

I accept it may be more than a minute if the whole procession is seven miles long, but if my memories of the Milk Race (?) some years ago are anything to go by, it'll be a fairly brutal experience best viewed, as Roger suggests, from a safe distance.

I remember watching the race come down Keighley Road, and being horrified at how dangerous it all was. First came a long convoy of support vehicles, driving nose to tail at 50-60 mph. Then the cyclists, bunched together and not doing much less. The pavements were crowded and any mishap could easily have resulted in carnage, yet I don't recall any safety measures. It just seemed like a very arrogant, self-serving event that had nothing to do with the pleasure of cycling, and I fear the Tour de France will be the same. Sorry if that isn't quite the right attitude for some.

From Susi Harris

Monday, 21 January 2013

Maybe work out the best vantage point and build viewing platforms for the press? A gallery for interviews, catering, helicopter and hot air balloon flights? Or... maybe we can create some barriers to slow them down? sniffer dogs to catch the sporting cheats?

From H Gregg

Monday, 21 January 2013

A handfull of tin tacks would put us on the map ;-)

From David B

Monday, 21 January 2013

I'd suggest the council gets on their bended knee and begs the people that organised the recent 'Valley of Lights' to become involved.

The level of creativity, wit, humour, and (relative) low cost of that event was an absolute credit to all.

It'll be a great boost to the recently re-opened pubs (like The Dusty), and hopefully help some of the closed establishments (Moyles etc) become viable propositions.

The cycling will be great. So what if they whizz past in minutes. So what if they'll be grumbles about the litter, pollution, road closures, parking, prices being hiked for the weekend etc.

From Barry Mills

Monday, 21 January 2013

What a miserable bunch of responses so far to the news that the TDF is coming through Hebden.

While the Cycling will be past us in a few minutes, the excitement of the event will last all day. The publicity potential is enormous, it's not just the screening of the race, but the endless build up in the media, with journalists and camera crews looking for interesting stories about the route to fill their column inches and TV minutes. Played right, it's a tourism gold mine. And tourism is pretty important to Hebden. In case anyone hadn't noticed, the mills shut down a while ago.

It IS dangerous, especially (but not only) for the participants. 9 riders have been killed on Le Tour over the last 100 years or so. I doubt they will find Keighley Road unduly scary compared to the Alps, but they will come down there at some speed for sure. If the public are allowed to line Keighley Road that won't be without some risk. But little in life worth doing is entirely risk free, and if the health and safety nazis are given too much rope there simply won't be any point in living.

From Bryn H

Monday, 21 January 2013

I am really excited about this world famous race passing through Hebden Bridge at the start of its long journey, but that's all it is doing, passing through. So its not really about Hebden Bridge, its about Le Tour and the amazing athletes taking part in it (think your cliched snide thought about drugs cheating if you want).

I've already had friends from across the country expressing an interest in coming over to watch them pass through. We are probably looking to find a vantage point on an uphill section outside Hebden where the cyclists won't be going too fast and we'll cheer them all on - afterwards we will inject money into the local economy with some sociable pints in the town.

Joking about tacks on the road is not funny - it has been done before by curmudgeons in France and it totally ruins the event and can be extremely dangerous at the speeds these guys are going at. I dare say we have enough miserable people in our town who find any reason to grumble about anything going on here which is not to their liking, that they don't agree with or that is done in any way differently to how they would have done it - but suggesting sabotage (I know it was a joke) is dangerous as there are possibly people in the town who would like to make some kind of out of place statement on the world stage which would be damaging to the town and the riders (remember how popular the Oxbridge boat race saboteur, or the Rothko vandal were when they ruined something meant for the masses for their own agenda).

Enjoy the moment, celebrate it, get involved somehow, but don't make it about Hebden Bridge, because it isn't.

From Ron Taylor

Monday, 21 January 2013

That the race is coming through Hebden Bridge is fine by me.I think the real issue is how much more promotion Hebden needs and can actually cope with. There are times, usually at weekends,when I avoid the town centre. At times the crowds, particularly when drinkers spill across the Square, make going into town is a not altogether pleasant experience.

From Jenny B

Monday, 21 January 2013

How on earth can anyone begrudge the opportunity to showcase our beautiful county?

Many contributors to this forum that are keen to speak out on the reasons why they chose to live in the area. This includes beautiful countryside, welcoming atmosphere, great little independent shops etc.
So, whats with the reluctance to share it?

Many local business owners must be over the moon that there will be 1,000's of extra people in the area to improve the economy.

I am not the biggest fan of tourists per se, but will be finding a good vantage point to watch the race, however quickly it may pass me by, wave my flag and give a proper Yorkshire welcome.

Yes, I too can choose to avoid the town centre if I wish, but I am hoping that the event can be combined with street entertainment, maybe a French market/food event and such like.
Those who don't want to do so can always close their curtains, rent their home out, or even have a 'not the tour de France party' of their own.

From Bernard B

Monday, 21 January 2013

How about capitalising on the tour by improving cycle facilities along the route and its feeder roads. Cragg Vale may be the longest incline in our actually-quite-flat land but it's certainly not the safest for cyclists due to hurtling cars. I'd go for a cycle lane for the uphill between Baitings Reservoir and Blackstone Edge to match the one on the Rochdale MBC uphill the other side; and average speed cameras on the open moorland section between Cragg Vale and Blackstone Edge.

From Jason Elliott

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

As the event is filmed predominantly from the air and has a global audience of hundreds of millions, surely a big message in a field next to the route is pretty much the only thing that has any chance of being seen.

Whether this is done by rollering the long grasses that will be abundant (you know, the way aliens do crop circles) or by formations of wood, or school children, it's pretty much the only way a message will get out.

In Spain and Italy people write huge words on the road in chalk but I don't know whether either the rain would make that too hard here, or plod may want to nick you if you try...

From Ian M

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Perhaps the tour could also be a focus to promote road safety for cyclists by cyclists? You know the obvious things, wearing bright clothing at night and during the winter months, not going out dressed like a commando on a raid. You may look cool in the mirror at home but are invisible on the roads.

Have good, working lights on your bike. One tiny LED is not enough - Flashing lights are fine on the back but putting a strobe light on the front is not nice for oncoming traffic!

Having put a decent set of lights on your bike don't then obscure them with that little bag behind your seat that holds your sandwiches.

Finally obey traffic lights, one way signs and keep of the pavement.
Radical, maybe but a whole lot safer.

From Patsy F

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Unfortunately, the race will not be going up Cragg Road, through Cragg Vale, up the famous unbroken incline. I think it's a shame. As I understand it, it will go along Burnley Road and then down Tuel Lane. Look at the route map.

Update: Now I learn that it is going up through Cragg Vale! Yipee!! Sorry for misinformation.

From Myra James

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Here are some other recommendations to cyclists to keep safe on the road, to add to those made by Ian M: take up a position on the carriageway away from the gutter to avoid being intimidated by motorists who pass too close; watch out for cars that will cut you up as they take a left turn or pass you on a bend; and also beware of those (especially at the Heptonstall Road junction for some reason) who continue to proceed through traffic lights after they have turned red.

From Jason Elliott

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Referring to David's comment "I'd suggest the council gets on their bended knee and begs the people that organised the recent 'Valley of Lights' to become involved.

The level of creativity, wit, humour, and (relative) low cost of that event was an absolute credit to all."

Maybe he is unaware that the Valley of Lights cost around £100,000 according to an inside source of mine at Calderdale.

Sure, it was a brilliant event, but that's quite a chunk of change...

From Andrew Kim

Sunday, 27 January 2013

David and Jason, glad you enjoyed Valley of Lights. Jason--I'm afraid your numbers are off by several tens of thousands.

Also worth noting that the budget you're referring to paid for many things such as a large print of maps supporting Upper Calder Valley businesses and subsidising the night markets which happened along side the events. Also bear in mind that we produced three events in three towns.

The portion of the budget I had to work with was very small compared to the scale of the event we were asked to produce--almost all of the artists were working on it at about 1/2 of what they should have been paid as they really wanted to support their local community--I had to pull in a lot of favours as I really wanted it to be spectacular. (I know this is a forum about Tour de France so I apologise for getting off subject but I didn't want that misinformation to go unanswered.)

As far as the Tour, I think it's absolutely fantastic for Hebden and Mytholmroyd. I think the focus should be on the famous Cragg Vale incline. How about a long poem on signs, one word on each sign, which is encouraging the cyclists going up to the top of the hill. There should be a party: big band, dancing girls and lots of colour, at the top of the hill.

From Chris Green

Sunday, 27 January 2013

The Tour will be coming right past White Ribbon Offices which has a balcony and three first floor offices. We want to push our White Ribbon message - we've got some great motorbike White Ribbon badges. Maybe do the same for cyclists - other suggestions welcome

From Jason Elliott

Monday, 28 January 2013


I assure you my source is impeccable and I'm completely certain that their sight of total expenditure will be more accurate than any alternative viewpoint.

I'm sure you will accept that the "Valley of Lights" as a whole had considerably more elements that your theatre company, and that therefore, there may be expenditure of which you are unaware in detail.

From S Duncan

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Firstly I think there's some really good suggestions/ comments on this forum...

What hasn't been mentioned that I can see is a possible 'legacy' for Hebden Bridge of the Tour De France (TDF) coming to town.

This incredible event with a huge worldwide audience has to bring with it a positive lasting impact for Hebden Bridge way beyond the few minutes the cyclists whizz passed.

One way to do this is to hold an annual cycling event that includes part of the TDF route. This would attract new people to the area and more money for the local economy.

We at the Community Foundation are using cycling as a vehicle to raise over £100k to support 25 young people into jobs through a project called Cycle for Work.

As part of the project we have organised a daylight version of the Valley of Light cycling event that takes part of the TDF route - a St George's Day (Apr 23) cycle cavalcade involving 7 Land's End to John O'Groats cyclists and 200 local cyclists from Walsden (12noon) through Tod, Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd and Halifax.

The cavalcade of cyclists will be cheered along the route by school children from 12 schools through to the Eureka Children's museum at approx 2.30pm.

The cost of the cavalcade is practically £nil - so it's sustainable.

From Phil M

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

It's going to be an amazing one-off experience for the town. It will be an all-day event where the town has a great opportunity to embrace it and be embraced.

A lot of people want to come to watch the tour but not many will be 'chasing it' they will go to one place and stay there, especially if there's other related events - maybe some music. There's lots of pedal-powered stages out there which might be fun and a great opportunity to raise some money for local charities maybe?

And to those who still whinge about too many tourists, Hebden is a tourist town because its a fantastic place. The feel in the town when thronged with life and vitality is great and you can see local businesses doing well from it, which is becoming more and more of a rarity these days!

From Chris S

Friday, 12 April 2013

In response to Jason.
i was one of the team that did Valley of Lights.

Cost of Valley of Lights was £85k for 3 nights. This included paying for road closures, risk assessments, site visits, lights(!) free market stalls, the putting up of market stalls, insurance, 300 business kits, design, printing of 10,000 brochures, funds to volunteer groups, hire of equipment like crownd barriers etc, all elements of the parades (3 nights, loads of people inc. bands), sculptures on the canals, Web, PR, people to help on the bike ride, subscriptions, co ordination of markets etc, etc.

The parade and display element came in at below half this, which was considered brilliant value for money, especially with the valuation of PR which was huge, covered on tv, radio, local & national press, and lots on BBC News online.

I don't think we would want to do anything like the Tour De France, as the workload for VOL was actually too big and intense for a small group of people, especially with the amount of work we had to do with reports etc after the event. but it was a nice 'comment to hear.

With the TDF similar thing, most of those elements like road blocks and PR would already be covered, so it would probably be be a lot easier, and a big chunk of the Valley of lights was about connecting people with local businesses and getting the press to write about how the valley was open for business after the floods. These were the main objectives of the whole celebrations, and what we acheived, well over target. With TDF it's a whole different thing.

HandMade Parade are brilliant at bringing a celebration to proceedings and involving community , and if I'm honest, I think that is probably all that is needed. The rest will take care of itself. Hebden won't need a lot of persuading to have a party!

See also:

HebWeb news: Tour de France 2014 in Hebden Bridge