Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Grand Departs

by Rod Ismay

For tough, cultural, Yorkshire cyclists, pulling a grand piano uphill is perfectly normal.

Especially in celebration of the 2014 Tour de France Grand D├ępart from Leeds just 72 days away.

Yoked together, 18 bikes towed the piano and  international concert pianist, Kathy Stott, up the 5 mile climb from Mytholmroyd up Cragg Vale, the longest continuous incline in England. This climb features in Stage 2 of the 2014 Tour de France. At nearby St Michael's Church, the bell ringers not only provided accompaniment but strikingly launched the Grand Departs on its way. A deliciously post modern post medieval fusion of church bells, piano and hip hop from the cars the result.

A headline event of the Yorkshire Festival, the first ever 100 day cultural celebration ahead of a Tour de France, "The Grand Departs" was an idea born in a pub, a ludicrously wonderful play on the "Grand Depart."

At the Robin Hood pub, the name "Bernard Hinault" appears atop the Cragg Vale climber's leader board, a hint the Badger visited just the day before.

Welcome to Yorkshire, as they say in Yorkshire!

Watch the Grand Departs on the BBC One Show here 

For more information about the Yorkshire Festival, click here.

Check out the bellringers' story in full at Bells and Bikes 

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