Pedal power

The cycling world championships came to town last week. There was a mixed welcome for the experience. Opinions were divided. Some embraced the excitement; others saw it as, at best, a nuisance. Over the week, an international party atmosphere grew in our small town.

The weather was perfect the week before the event. The sun shone with anticipation on the empty fan zone as the Ferris wheel and beer tents arrived. The races started, and the rain began to fall. The fan zone became a muddy festival. Some days the cyclists may have wished for canoes to carry them along the roads. There was an irony to the wet conditions; the Victorian prosperity of this spa town was built on its water.

This granny is not much of a cyclist, no wet or busy roads and not too many hills for me. But I do like the sense of occasion of a big event; I was out watching the cycling and meeting new people every day. Along with other churches, we served hot drinks and cakes to passers-by. Security staff and visitors sheltered in our building, made use of our facilities. It was great to open the doors and welcome the world.

I know that some local businesses will have suffered a shortfall in trade over the last week; I’ll be out supporting my favourites as the rain continues this week. Others will have benefitted as visitors sheltered from the weather. On balance though, the local hotels and breweries have probably done ok.

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