Le Tour de France in Lyon
We watched the main pack of the tour de france pass through Lyon. We were lucky to be in Lyon when the tour passed through; the route changes each year and rarely visits this city.
We arrived soon after 3:30pm and found a quiet section of the road to stand by and watch. Our section had no barriers and the crowd surged forward each time enough people suspected something was going to happen. The police had a hard time asking the crowds to retreat. The atmosphere was happy, relaxed, and fun.
As we waited for the cyclists, a convoy of cars and vans passed along the route. Most vehicles were splashed in logos and branding. A handful of cars had what looked like communication equipment strapped to the roof.
The organisers of the tour had selling merchandise down to a fine art. Six to eight large vans decorated in tour colours and sporting a clear “20 euros for 10 items” messages appeared and then stopped at intervals beside the crowds. From each van two young energetic characters, on a platform mounted on the the back, jumped off and started accepting euros for yellow tour branded bags. All the time, the vans pumped out dance music from roof mounted speakers.
The vans came and went before a short lull in activity, then the press bikes passed through. These powerful motorbikes carried a rider and a photographer.
As the cyclists appeared over the horizon the crowd surged forward, the police called out to move back, and a sea of camera phones were held up to capture the moment. I too caught a few seconds of footage as the pack flew passed. It was all over quickly but great fun.