last July, York was one of the cities chosen to host the start of one of the opening legs of the Tour de France. the whole 'grand depart' was a roaring success and Yorkshire really put itself on the world map and visually it shone on both tv and print. eager to continue the sporting high of last summer, we were once again a host city for this new cycling event.
not only are we fortunate to live in one of the most historical and beautiful cities in the world, we are also lucky to live within its most vibrant and charismatic neighbourhood. just a stones throw from the Knavesmire (a large, open, green space which also houses York Racecourse) our part of the city, to the southwest, is now synonymous with community events and street parties. and as the tour passes down our main street to make its way to the finish line at the Knavesmire, it makes sense that we play host to the city's biggest knees up to celebrate. this year's street party, aptly named E by Eck street party, was perhaps bigger and better than last year French themed affair.
we headed down to prepare for the bike's passing and soak up the atmosphere after lunch. we met up with friends and enjoyed a pint whilst the buzz on the street built. ive always loved how, in such a busy and complicated world that we now live in, simple pleasures like the gathering of a community and a sporting spectacle, bring a smile to people's faces. there wasnt a grumpy face in the crowd as the police on motorbikes started passing through. some flashing their lights and beeping their horns in chorus, some high fiving the crowd and fist pumping the air. and hats off to the police; they did a fantastic job of not only keeping everyone on the course safe but also getting into the spirit and, in the case of the bikers, really energising the crowd.
as happens in the age of the smart phone camera, when the tour actually flew through at god- knows- what- per- hour, most of us were holding our phones high trying to get the best photograph we could and trying not to drop our phones in the process. a year of planning and thousands of pounds spent and Bradley Wiggins and gang were gone. but the atmosphere was electric and the smiles were beaming. after the first passing we decided to head towards the Knavesmire, where a small food and beer festival and children's carnival was cranking up, to see out the rest of our day.
its days like Saturday that really make me appreciate where we live. i know if we lived in London there would be event and community gathering every weekend if you really wanted to find one. but there's something satisfying about a lesser known place, a smaller city like this, getting its moment. its days like Saturday that bring a community together and it doesn't matter who you are, what you do or how much your house is worth (property prices are a huge thing in York) that saturday was for us. and it makes me feel lucky.
Seb and Did enjoying the mini festival
obligatory family selfie...