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Tour de France: Five top tips for the tour
Millions lined the roadside as the greatest cycle race in the world rode though Yorkshire this weekend, and now it is Essex's turn.
I was fortunate to be among the spectators on the Cote de Jenkin Road in Sheffield yesterday as the best bike riders and last year's winner Chris Froome raced to the summit.
The tour was a great advert for the north and now Essex can showcase its countryside and character to a global audience of millions.
If you're one of the thousands watching it today here's a few tips to get you through the day.
1. Park and stride
Roads will be closed hours in advance so if you are driving you won't be able to get close to the action. Park somewhere safe and legal and walk to your chosen viewing area. I walked two miles from Rotherham into Sheffield and enjoyed all the tour had to offer on the way. Better still take a bike and ride in, the tour is very cycle friendly.
2. Be early
Make sure you get there on time to secure the best view. There will be plenty to keep you entertained while you wait for the riders, including the publicity caravane which comes along about two hours before the riders arrive.
3. Take a packed lunch
Make a day of it and take along a packed lunch and plenty of water to keep hunger and thirst away. Places to eat and drink can be few and far between on rural roads so don't expect mass catering by the roadside.
4. Learn to catch
The publicity caravane which arrives before the riders hand out all sorts of freebies from Haribo Sweets to Tour de France caps. These are thrown into the air and it becomes a bit of a free for all to try and grab them. Learn to jump and catch to get your hands on them, but if you're in a group a good idea is to get someone to stand a few yards behind you. They tend to throw the merchandise above your head so having a friend behind you will help.
5. Speak French
We may be in England but this is the Tour de France so get in the spirit and learn the language. The riders will really appreciate a few Allez Allez as they go past while it doesn't hurt to be polite with a bonjour here and there to the Gendames.
- Are you going to watch the Tour de France today? Follow our live blog here & send us your pictures via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @Essex_Echo