A Tour de France fan was disappointed that this year’s race has been canceled due to the pandemic and has organized his own ‘mini’ recreation of the event – in his BACK YARD.
Peter Martin, 52, has traveled to France every summer for the past 21 years and spends days touring the country with his family, following cyclists on some of their one-day ‘stages’.
Father of three Peter has traveled to ‘eight or nine’ different countries in his pursuit of watching the famous French cycling race.
And this summer would have been a milestone for Peter as he would have visited his 100th ‘stage’ of the race – in other words, his 100th day to watch the cyclists.
Peter, from Marsham, Norfolk, said, “I was devastated when the race was postponed because of the corona virus. My whole year is usually planned around the Tour de France.”
But Peter was determined not to let his favorite sporting event of the year pass unmarked – and used his two decades of memorabilia to host his own Tour de France.
Peter has not come away empty-handed from his many years of attending the Tour de France – and has no fewer than 190 bicycle figurines ridden by small cyclists.
Plus, he’s also collected between 80 and 100 miniature vehicles and helicopters – replicas of those hosting the real event.
And with the track that has been online since October, Peter was able to create a perfect daily recreation of what cyclists would have done between June 27 and July 19.
Peter said, “I watched the Tour de France course online, as usually posted in October for the next summer event, to give cyclists the opportunity to practice.
“And from there I could recreate the kind of terrain they would have tackled that day – but in my yard.”
He added, “There was a lot involved.
“I made wooden structures and balanced them on my garden wall to represent the mountains, when they were in the Alps.
“Sometimes it took a whole day to get the photos right, because it was very weather dependent – if it was too windy, my landscape just blew over.”
Peter even created a ‘bridge’ over his paddling pool using a wooden board, dangerously putting his figures out there – to picture the cyclists along the Atlantic coast.
And his love for the annual cycling race has become a family affair – with his wife Lisa, 40, and one of his daughters helping him create the “set” for his “Tour de Garden.”
Peter’s eight-year-old son is even called Henri Desgrange Martin – after the founder of the Tour de France.
Peter said: “Fortunately, my family all love it. We make a good holiday every summer and drive a few thousand kilometers through France after the race.
“We’ve been taking the kids since our youngest, our son, was only five months old.
“We especially like the mountain stages when they cycle through the Alps. The scenery there is simply fantastic.”
Some highlights of Peter after following the Tour de France are the meeting with British cyclist Mark Cavendish and Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador.
And he hopes to be able to attend the rescheduled race next month, saying, “If everything is safe and we can enter, we would love to go.”