I am trying not to be a party pooper about the Tour de France, which is about to whizz through the centre of my town (I mean, Cambridge). I was, I confess, a bit of an old curmudgeon about the 2012 Olympics and was proved wrong overall -- except in the case of the "legacy" (like where's that?).
But I have to admit that, while I can see the immense popular enthusiasm for the sport of cycling,I just dont get it. And the more I hear on the radio about how the "number one" is protected by his "domestiques", with his "soigneurs", so that he can finally make a break and get the "maillot jaune", the more I get switched off (useful glossary here). I may have got it terribly wrong, but it seems to me like some sort of exploitation in which most of the riders set out with no chance of winning, just to keep the cross wind off their king bee and get him the prize.
And it is the KING bee, and it is HIM.. There hasn't been a women's Tour for years.
Cambridge meanwhile is in shutdown. The university and its libraries are basically closed, because with half the streets closed no staff can get to work. Schools are shut too (in a regime that threatens to fine parents for taking kids on holiday during term, apparently it's OK to close schools down for a bike race). And a friend of mine, who is 9 months pregnant and lives in the centre of town, has elaborate plans for getting to the maternity hospital, if she goes into labour in the middle of it all.