JASON White, owner of JD Cycles, in Benfleet, is a bike fanatic and recently cycled the Essex stage of the Tour de France for the Echo and Gazette newspapers.

This weekend he drove up to Yorkshire for the Tour's Grand Depart and here is how he viewed the experience.


"I drove up Friday afternoon and took a long time to get into Harrogate due the the large amount of traffic. Once there I couldn't believe how many people were already there a day before the start!!

"On the day I was lucky to have VIP treatment from my bike supplier Bianchi and enjoyed the fantastic atmosphere - over a million people waiting for the arrival of the Tour de France!

"I have seen the event on several occasions but this was unbelievable and a real pleasure that this time, it was in the UK and not France.

"I was watching at the 450metres to go mark which was a very fast downhill section going into a hill up the the finish line. After all the carnival had passed through the crowd awaited the riders. The atmosphere was electric and when the race finally approached the bunch was all together racing for the first stage win and the first yellow jersey of this tour.

"There was a clash of Mark Cavendish and Simon Gerrans and they both crashed heavily leaving Marcel Kittel to take the win.

"I have just got home and am watching today's stage on TV and still can't believe how cycling has become so popular. I started racing 25 years ago and if I spoke to someone about bike racing then they would think I was a bit strange, but now the public have really started to appreciate just how fit and dedicated these top professionals are and long may this trend continue.

"It's even quite emotional looking at all the support lining the route. I only have one regret that I didn't pursue my own professional career and still be a rider in this great race."