Le Grand Depart

The Tour de France kicks off this weekend and, this year, it starts in Brussels. The race itself starts on Saturday but the events start today with the official presentation of the riders. This includes a ride-through of the city this afternoon and the police are clearing the roads already.

Stepping out of Centraal Station this morning to see no randomly parked cars and much less — and much calmer — traffic on the road was almost pleasant. They should organise this sort of disruption more often.

I’m in slightly the wrong place to see the cyclists go past but I will try to catch some of the race on TV. I say this every year but haven’t been able to find the time to properly follow the tour since I was a student — I doubt that this year will be any different.

It’s a shame because I used to quite enjoy following the race, and it is an event that really needs to be televised.

I went to see one of the stages of the Tour of Britain back in the early 90s. This involved standing around for several hours until a mass of cyclists shoot past far to quickly to make anything out.

Watching the tour on TV, with the cameras following the race, means that you can actually see how the race is developing — who’s pulling ahead, who went too soon and so on — and it can become remarkably gripping.

It’s also quite nice to follow the event with my feet up.