Today the second stage of the 'Women's Tour' set of from our wee town. Racing against the wind but in warm sunshine the girls would run about Essex, up the hill at Halstead I can hardly walk up and make their way to Clacton on Sea, and good luck to them there. I managed to get out in time to watch them hurtle down the hill preceded by a vast number of Police Motor Cycles and support vehicles, all 'Skoda' by the way.
The difficulty with such events as this is that you stand in one place and the bikes rush past. This is great when they do a roundabout route but in these races they flash past and are gone. This happened here. I took this pic when attempting to focus and then just pressed the button. Quite tolerable I think, but who wishes to cycle around a hundred miles in a race?
When the race began these kids from some organisation or other precede the riders. Supported by police escort they wended their way ahead down the main road and once they got half way down the hill they parked up.
Being female becoming screaming banshees was something they managed with little difficulty. They were joined by a school filling the area opposite in making much noise as the girls cycled past.
What a great incentive this is for the kids. A day out of school, learning cycling, one of the great free enjoyments (once you by a bike), a super way to get around, safer for girls of all ages making their way home at night rather than walking on pavements, and sheer fun as well as useful. I should point out at this point one of the young lassies working on a project at the museum came off her bike and fractured her elbow! We still make her work, occupational therapy!
Last year the 'Tour de France' on it's foreign week came within two miles of here. Too far for me to cycle especially when you see more on TV. Naturally when they riders passed up the road the TV went to an advert break! I am not sure what channel this lot were on as I was too busy wandering around to look for them. Then I had to visit the museum for orders.
Motorbikes are made for covering the 'Tour,' these powerful beasts wend their way between the array of support cars in front and behind, each with a specific purpose. It was difficult to count them as about twenty raced past at one go, mostly police blocking roads as the race passed by.
Not all had to race around, some just blocked roads and 'controlled' quietly. For motorcycle police such events must be a great part of their duties, often bringing close contact with the public and this could be enjoyable, usually.
Back at the aftermath of the start the crowds thinned and the police there were dealing face to face with the public also. As I passed several were in discussion re the serious crimes in the town, serious enough to them 'anti-social behaviour from neds' being heard as I passed as well as late night weekend drunkenness. Now as this area has a very low crime rate it is clear the fear of crime is worse than the crime. Wary of late night town centre when pubs close is important but not if you are indoors watching telly Missus. Young neds are indeed a pest but few complaining actually get bothered by them. It happens and it is not nice, but the fear makes it worse than it is.
I have never seen so many police in the town. Events bring thieves with them so it makes sense, crowd control also is required, however I suspect there was little to bother the representatives of the law. This chap may have filled in the time but does not appear to have caused them much worry. This in many peoples mind is what policing ought to be about, meeting the public, showing a presence, and deterring as well as catching thieves. However 'austerity,' the Conservative Parties watchword of the day meant that cuts had to be made therefore more police are in cars and less than ever wandering town centres. Something wrong somewhere.
This was a good day for the town and I suspect more such events will now be seen passing through here. It would be beneficial if the next one went straight past my window instead of making me get up out of the house!