Cum­mings Go­ings

The BBC Ra­dio Glouces­ter­shire break­fast show pre­sen­ter on be­ing made Mayor of Bar­ton

Cotswold Life - - CONTENTS -

I’d like to start with a sage word of ad­vice for Bour­ton, Stow, More­ton, Winch­combe, Cleeve, and Chel­tenham. On Satur­day, Septem­ber 9, re­move the crin­kles from your bunting, pol­ish up your air horn but what­ever you do don’t blink…or you’ll miss it. The Tour of Bri­tain bike ride is back in our patch and if re­cent years are any­thing to go by, the an­tic­i­pa­tion and build up in the weeks be­fore the big day make those pre­cious few blur­ring sec­onds of Ly­cra magic worth all the ef­fort.

Two days be­fore the cir­cus comes to town on Thurs­day, Septem­ber 7, I’ll be host­ing my show from the main street in Bour­ton-on-the-wa­ter and then head­ing off to cy­cle the ex­act route to get the juices flow­ing. Along the way I’ll be meet­ing all those groups and in­di­vid­u­als who are buy­ing into the ex­cite­ment of the event. I’ll be stop­ping off at lo­cal schools, bike clubs, shops, busi­nesses, try­ing out vin­tage bikes, scream­ing out for an oxy­gen mask on my way up Cleeve Hill and end­ing in a heap in cen­tral Chel­tenham.

In re­cent years when the tour came through the For­est of Dean, Glouces­ter and Stroud, the streets, roads and coun­try lanes were jam-packed with peo­ple of all ages scream­ing their sup­port and mak­ing the route ap­pear like one long street party. I caught them at Cran­ham one year as Sir Bradley Wig­gins shot through at such a speed the lo­cal school chil­dren’s ‘Go Wiggo’ ban­ner nearly blew away in the airstream he cre­ated on his way to Pain­swick. It takes me 15 min­utes on a good day to slog up Hors­ley Hill out of Nailsworth - it took this lot un­der five!

Life was, how­ever, a lit­tle dif­fer­ent 50 years ago when the tour came through Stow. It was then known as the Milk Race and the town ex­pe­ri­enced a cy­cling event that would be in­con­ceiv­able to­day. All the rid­ers were am­a­teur, only one wore a hel­met, and the roads were still open to traf­fic when they came through! Stow was the stop-off point be­tween Swin­don and Malvern which had been split into two dif­fer­ent sec­tions. This meant Stow hosted the fin­ish­ing line and the sub­se­quent re-start as the town saw ac­tion for two hours of the day. So roll on the 9th, go and grab a slice of the ac­tion, and tune in to revel in the build-up as the Cotswolds swaps tweed for Ly­cra.

The Milk Race at Stow-on-the-wold, 1967. Photo by Rob Brown

...and at Chel­tenham Race­course

Cum­mings and crew at Bour­ton...

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