Everyone knows that we love cars, vans, and all things motorised here at Zipcar, but sometimes, just sometimes, the old-fashioned bicycle is best. Join us in celebrating the world’s biggest bike race, and watch the Tour de France as it kicks off in Leeds on Saturday July 5th 2014.
No doubt there’ll be tears of pain and determination as these powerful entrants pedal their way across borders, through England, France, Belgium, and Spain, to their eventual hero’s welcome at the Champs-Élysées finish line in Paris. Getting involved is easier (and less painful) than you might think; roadside spectators can watch the Tour de France on the 155km third leg as it passes between Cambridge and London, and enjoy the local scenery while they’re at it. Just hop in your nearest Zipcar and head to one of these great viewing spots to catch the action.
Cambridge seems like a good place to start, with the commencement of stage three planned for 12:15pm on Monday 7th July. Take the day off and drive less than an hour and a half from central London to this historic university town, which houses one of the oldest academic institutions in the world; the route passes by the majestic King’s College Chapel, so have a look around this and some of the other colleges while you’re here. Lunch at The Eagle is never a bad idea, either – one of the oldest pubs in Cambridge and dating back to the 14th century.
Heading south from Cambridge, Saffron Walden is a pleasant market town en route, perfectly placed to watch the Tour de France. Architecture buffs will love the famous St Mary the Virgin Church, which was built during the 15th century under the instruction of John Wastell, who also designed King’s College Chapel. Another historic highlight presents itself in the ruins of a 12th century castle known as Walden Castle, which is now revered as a sacred monument and Grade I listed building. Just don’t forget to watch as the cyclists peddle through at about 12:45pm.
If you haven’t had the chance for lunch yet, a Michelin-starred dining experience is just five miles away at The Cricketers. Located in the charming village of Clavering, this gourmet gastropub is owned by the parents of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, and it was here that the young chef received his first culinary education. Get stuck in with rump of new season lamb roasted with garlic, or twice-baked aubergine and pesto soufflé.
Continuing south from Clavering and Saffron Walden is the great verdant expanse of Epping Forest, where you can watch the Tour de France as it passes through at about 2:45pm. This ancient woodland is popular with cyclists and mountain bikers year-round, and boasts an exciting myriad of tight-flowing, single-track trails.