From the rolling green hills of the Cotswolds to the rugged coastlines of Cornwall, the Tour of Britain 2023 is more than just a bike race; it’s a journemy through the very heart and soul of a nation. As wheels spin and the peloton weaves through centuries-old towns, we’re reminded of Britain’s deep-rooted love affair with cycling, rekindled anew this year. This year we were fortunate enough to be able to experience the Tour starting off in Manchester – Altrincham in fact – and finishing off on Deansgate in Manchester city centre, and we were able to catch it – all one minute of it – this year in Bramhall, Stockport.
4th September, or was it 3rd September?
For about 10 days before the Tour came to Manchester, road signs were going up warning drivers that the roads would be affected by the cycling. In our area the signs were warning that they would be affected between about 11:30 and 13:30. No problem we thought, Mila had a birthday party in Marple that Noemi was taking her to, which was at 11:00.
This gave the girls ample time to leave the house and get to Marple before the roads near us were closed, and at the same time the party would be finishing at 13:00 which would be just after the Tour of Britain had gone through Marple.
So there we were on the morning of Saturday 3rd September – a blisteringly warm September’s day – wrapping presents and writing birthday cards for the party, with me and Sam covering ourselves in suncream lotion.
Noemi had agreed to take one of the other girls who lives near us to the party, and she gave her mum a quick call just as she was leaving to say she was heading off. Georgie replied, “but the party’s tomorrow”!. B*****r we thought!
But no problem, as it meant we could all enjoy the cycling.
So off we set. We decided we’d all take our bikes and scooters in with us and get into the spirit of the day. We decided we’d head to Bramhall as we could get a good breakfast beforehand.
As we were on our way in, an older couple stopped us – Sam draws a lot of attention when on his bike, as he resembles Mad Max! They asked us where we were going and we explained we were going to the cycling. But it’s tomorrow, they replied kindly!
Noemi and I looked at each other! Neither of us said a word, but both knew what the other was thinking! Not again!
Sunday Finally Arrives! The Tour of Britain 2023 is Here
A bit like waiting for Christmas Day, we wake up early and excited. A bit like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, the girls start getting ready for the party, whilst me and Sam get the bikes out. And we all head off for the day. Much like the day before, Sunday proves to be an exception to the summer that was 2023!
It was beautiful, no clouds, no rain; just wall to wall sunshine!
Breakfast in Juniper
We decided we’d get in early so that we could go to get some food. Juniper is one of our most favourite cafes in Bramhall, and although it is a little chain, it’s not to be mistaken for the Juniper in Chorlton, which is a completely different chain (and probably our other most favourite cafe in Manchester).
As we got into Bramhall village we saw the windows retracted and a table near the front. Perfect we thought – if the food wasn’t served and we’d not finished eating, by the time the cyclists descended on Bramhall, we could see from our table. Or so we thought (we had no idea how busy it would get).
Food was served and we had a delicious breakfast. We both had a ‘full English’, mine off the adult’s menu and Sam’s off the child’s menu. We’ll definitely be doing a full write up of Juniper in the future, but the food is always amazing!
Just as Sammy finished off his last mouthful of scrambled eggs, the first team vehicles started to drive through Bramhall.
At this point, there was a chap with a mega-phone stood in the middle of the road starting to build the atmosphere!
The Tour of Britain 2023 has Started
At this point it was about 11:45, the time the cyclists taking part in the Tour of Britain 2023 were heading off from Alty Market. With the atmosphere building and more and more team cars driving through the village along with a number of police outriders, we decided to find our spot on the road.
We crossed the road and camped up outside the Mounting Stone. We thought this would give us a great view of the cyclists coming down the road from Woodford!
The crowds continued to build, and with each outrider and team car, the guy with the megaphone was getting louder! Someone had brought an airhorn and a few people had brought cow bells. We almost felt like we were in the French Alps, but the Greggs opposite, kept knocking that reality!
And There It Was, The Tour of Britain 2023! Over in 1min 15 seconds
Well, not quite, the leaders came by about two minutes beforehand, but yeah within 75 seconds, it was all over! At 12:30, almost to the minute that the Tour of Britain 2023 was due to hit Bramhall, the peloton arrived. Shortly afterwards they were zooming off down Bramhall Lane South towards Bramall Hall, Uppermill and onto Manchester City Centre
From memory the Tour of Britain came through Manchester a couple of years ago. I’d definitely recommend heading down to watch the tour, if you’ve never been before! However, if you live a long way from one of the circuits, I’m not sure I’d recommend travelling from afar, unless you’re Bradley Wiggins, or a die hard cycling fan!