Tour de France – Holme Moss

The Tour de France got me thinking about the idea of professional cyclists trying to get from a to b as quickly as possibly in order to be the fastest cyclist. It’s not really a ‘psychogeographical’ endeavour but there are numerous ways that it could be…both for the cyclists and the spectators…

In line with other psychogeographers in West Yorkshire such as Robert Norbury is the idea of using a bike as mode of ‘drifting’…to do dérives on bikes. We could call that something like cyclegeography, cyclepsychogeography or cyclography. There are numerous dérive methods that could be used such as: cycling only to destinations with the letter ‘d’ in place names ie Digley), using a map of Paris to disorientate oneself around places like Holmfirth or taking a route where you are only allowed to go straight on and/or turn right with no left turns allowed. Such methods would be used to open up the senses to the surrounding landscape and to consider what changes to urban and rural spaces need to be undertaken.

My partner and I walked from our home to Holme Moss to watch the Tour de France today. On the route to get there we walked with many other walkers and cyclists. There were so many people trying to get to the site of the Tour that it felt a bit like some sort of spiritual pilgrimage! That or we were simply following a herd and being spectators to a giant media event. I guess this raises the question of participation and whether one can properly critique the spectacle whilst being part of the spectacle. In my view I don’t think it’s really possible to critique the spectacle by standing outside of it. You have to be in it in order to understand and critique it. Otherwise if you don’t know what it is how would you know how to critique it? During our long walk, we considered themes and questions such as participation, spectacle and competition. In the context of the Tour, competition, being the ‘best’ and winning is clearly bound up with dominant discourses of neoliberalism in terms of success, wealth and personal achievement. These are ideas that will be further explored in future accounts on this blog and elsewhere.


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