Le Tour de France 2010

I started following the Tour de France in around 2002 thanks to sharing an office with an avid tdf fan, Jeremy. A few years later we got to see a couple of stages when it was in the UK. I’ve maintained an interest over the years, and thought I’d share the various media I’m using this year to keep in touch.

  • ITV’s excellent Tour de France highlights programme – pretty much the same familiar format every year – ITV also have live coverage on their website, but I’d generally rather watch the highlights in an evening
  • ITV’s podcast – nothing different to the tv really, but still comforting.
  • Radio 5 lives sports extra’s broadcasts – 3 scheduled during this years tour.
  • Tour 2010 iPhone app – I couldn’t justify paying £5.99 for the official app, especially when the free taster app seemed so slow and unresponsive, so I went for this bargain 59p app instead. It is pretty responsive, seems to handle the live updates reasonably well, and seems pretty accurate and provides at a glance views of tables, stages etc. Screenshots (taken in relation to stage 4) are below for those looking for a review of this app.
  • Twitter list described as “Riders, management, photogs, journos likely to be at the Tour de France 2010” and quite a good way to see what the people in the know have to say

Review: The iPhone app – Tour 2010 by Simu Soft


Classification View
This is a splash screen showing a yellow, green and polka dot jersey. Clicking on one of them takes you to a detail page. It doesn’t give the White shirt details – which is shame as the UK’s Gerraint Thomas is currently wearing it, but it does show the GC, green jersey and king of the mountains, in each case offering a rider view and a team view:



Stage View
The stage view changes according to whether the stage has happened yet.

Before the stage: gives an expected start time, and highlights the interesting points (mountain points and sprint points)
During the stage: visual indicator of proportion of race completed, information about gaps between breakaway, peleton and any other groups along with a second page showing further details


After the stage (there is a delay between the stage finishing and the data updating): shows the top 3 placed riders in the stage plus the holders of the yellow, green and polka dot jerseys. A second page shows the order the riders finished in, and their time differences.



Calendar View
The calendar view shows a view of about 5 days at a time of distance, start and end points, expected start time and an idea of the profile of the stage. Great for getting an idea of who the stage will favour.

The application has a few words which haven’t been translated into English, for instance opdated, gruppe etc, but they don’t stop me from following what is going on. The application has also crashed a couple of times, whilst getting updates during the race (it updates at a different rate depending on how much of the race is left). At a price of 59p, these are issues I can live with, but it isn’t quite my ideal app, I would, and have, recommended it to others based on these issues though.

Instead, my ideal app would have:

  • All jerseys listed
  • Team view for classification
  • Ability to view where a sprinters points have come from
  • Ability to see where the king of the mountains points have come from
  • Details on each rider – when a rider is mentioned, you can select the rider in the app, but it doesn’t do anything – would be great to have a fact page including their standings in the various competitions

If anyone knows of an app that does all of what this one does, and my extra bits, then please let me know.

Dog friendly rest stops between Hull and Brighton Part 2

Last November I blogged about the dog friendliness of a couple of places we stopped on our drive from Brighton to Hull, and back again.

We did the same trip again this Easter, and stopped at 2 completely different places but using a similar strategy to last time – avoiding motorway services.


On Good Friday we stopped north of Peterborough in the village of Elton and did a 7.5km circular walk from Elton to Nassington and back. It was inspired by a walk named Elton to Yarwell and Nassington which I found when looking for walks around Peterborough.

Stepping Stones

It was a very pleasant walk, following along the Nene way for some of the walk. There were no amenities where we parked, but we drove past a pub on entry to the village though I don’t know if it was dog-friendly or not.

Saffron Walden

On Easter Monday we headed down around Cambridgeshire and stopped at the pretty market town of Saffron Walden. We parked at the free long-stay car park near the football ground, and managed a 5km circular walk following the walk entitled Park and Gardens Walk, again found on the internet.

Saffron Walden Council Offices

Another pleasant stroll, combining parkland and town streets. The Bridge End Gardens looked very nice but weren’t dog friendly so we didn’t investigate. The Audley End Park area was very pleasant and worth a stroll. We spotted a few pubs, cafes, tea rooms etc during our walk and would hope that at least one of them would be dog friendly, but we didn’t stop and find out.

So, as with last time, 2 very different places and 2 very different walks. The Elton walk was more like our normal hikes around fields and countryside, whilst the Saffron Walden walk was much more town and street based.

Dog friendly rest stops between Hull and Brighton

Last weekend we visited my parents in Hull.  Rather than breaking the journey up at Motorway Services we planned in stops at places which had dog-walking potential. So, armed with a road atlas, and an idea that we wanted to stop between Cambridge and Peterborough, we identified and tried a couple of spots which were only just off the route we travel.

Graftham Water

We stopped at Graftham Water on our way up to Hull on Friday afternoon.  From wikipedia:

Grafham Water (TL 150 680) is a reservoir with a circumference of about 10 miles (16 km). It is located between the villages of Grafham and Perry in the English county of Cambridgeshire (Huntingdonshire District).

We parked in the car park near Perry, paid our £2, made use of the amenities (toilets, cafe etc) and managed a reasonable walk

Monks Wood

On the return trip we stopped at Monks Wood. From Natural England:

Monks Wood NNR is one of the best examples of ancient ash-oak woodland in the East Midlands.

There is no car park as such, but there is parking in a layby off the B1090. There are also no amenities. But, there are a couple of marked walks – we followed Butterfly amongst all the trees, stopping for a spot of dog distraction training (lots of interesting smells that a certain young dog was fixated by).


So, 2 very different walks, both much better places to stop than at a Service station. The amenities at Graftham Water were really good but cost us £2 for parking whilst the walk was better at Monks Wood, we got free parking but had to stop at a Little Chef for toilets and cafe.