On the day before the start of this year’s Tour Down Under in South Australia I took a hour or so to travel through the small towns near Clare to photograph some of the interesting decorations in the district.
This was the first time in the 12 years of the tour that a stage had come to Clare, a well known wine growing district. It also happens to be where I used to live some 26 years ago and where my daughter now lives. She is a teacher in the local high school.
The people of the district had taken the trouble to decorate old bikes and put them on display along the route the cyclists were taking. On the outskirts of town one of the local businesses had put and old car on display, complete with an ancient bicycle on the top (see photo above – click to enlarge).
Walls of hay bales like those in the photo above dotted the course taken by the cyclists, each one announced a new town for the racers to swoosh through on the journey towards the finishing line. Note the “family” of bicycles perched on top, from father bike, to mother bike to junior bike and finally baby bike. Cute.
Today is Australia Day, celebrating the day on which the first European settlers arrived in Sydney Cove in 1788.
Australians love a public holiday, and especially this one being in the middle of summer. Many people gather with family and friends and have barbecues, picnics, visits to the beach or attend major sporting events.
With the vast majority of Australians living near the coast, water activities are on the agenda for people. Swimming, sailing, surfing, fishing, canoeing and other water sports are all very popular.
The 2010 Tour Down Under Stage 1 started today in Clare in the mid north of South Australia. We took a short drive from my daughter’s home and found a good viewing position in front of the Clare Primary School.
We arrived about an hour early and found a shady spot to set up our folding chairs. A group of children from the school had already organised their spot. Several of the children were encouraging every car, truck and police car to toot as they went past. Several of the police cars obliged with their sirens blaring and their lights flashing.
The police presence was very obvious. In the half hour before the start of the race, I estimate that at least of a third of the vehicles were police cars, motor bikes or bicycles like those in the photo above. They were needed as the road become increasingly busy as the start of the race approached.
An amusing highlight about ten minutes before the riders came through was the procession of sponsors’ cars, each featuring a “rider” on top and each featuring a different jersey. The leading car featured the ochre jersey worn by the race leader.
As the riders passed by I was too busy with my camera capturing the moment to look out for cycling legend Lance Armstrong.
I am currently visiting my daughter in Clare in the mid north of South Australia. This rural town has been abuzz for a few days in preparation for the start of this year’s Tour Down Under cycling race. The first stage started less than an hour ago in the main street of the town.
We positioned ourselves in front of the primary school about two minutes into the race. I figured that this would be a good place to get an uninterrupted view of the riders.
Somewhere in the peleton shown in the photos on this post is the legendary Lance Armstrong, seven times winner of the Tour de France.
Click on the images to enlarge the photos.
More photos will follow in the coming days.
The city of Bendigo in central Victoria is a very historic city. It boasts many beautiful old buildings of the Victorian era of the nineteenth century. Some of the more modern buildings make an interesting contrast with the old. One such building is the very modern Bendigo Bank building shown in the photo above.
While we were passing by alarm bells were coming from the building. No-one seemed terribly perturbed and the building didn’t seem to be in the process of being evacuated. I’m not sure exactly what was happening.