Tour de Francis

Once I tried to sell on the idea of the Stevenage Grand Prix using the Vodafone / Lewis Hamilton connection.

It got costed up and everything (£500,000 including policing) but in the end it didn’t happen.

So here’s something I DID manage to get off the ground – this time for Halfords.

They’re sponsoring ITV’s coverage of the 2012 Tour de France and wanted to hero their £1000 carbon fibre bike, the Carrera Virago.

We proposed the Tour de Francis. Get a bloke with Francis in his name and get him to ride some of the key stages of Le Tour on the Virago.

So that’s what we did. Across 6 days, Dan Francis rode through Liege in Belgium, the Champagne region, the French Alps and crossed the finish line in Paris.

We cut a 15-minute film documenting his journey and took short clips from it to create the idents that accompany the TV coverage going in and out of the ad breaks – 24 in total to cover 3 weeks of racing.

Take a look. It’s quite unlike anything Halfords has ever done before. Hopefully it shows the Tour through the lens of an amateur overcoming his own challenges and getting an insight into what it must be like for the pros.

If you don’t have 15 minutes, here’s the trailer:

And how did the bike cope? Total repairs: one puncture. We had 2 spare bikes with us on tour, both redundant in the end.

If you’re curious enough about the behind the scenes stuff, you can take a look here: http://tourdefrancis.tumblr.com/

And I can heartily recommend the Halfords Cycling Facebook page for coverage of Le Tour and all things cycling.

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King’s Cross 2.0

After a very long wait, the day has arrived and I couldn’t let it pass without comment.

The covers are off the new ‘Western Departures Concourse’ and it looks great – a massive leap forward for King’s Cross.

The weird thing was seeing people wandering about the place as though it had been like this all the time – made me feel a bit like I was late to the party.

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Courtesy of @floheiss (BIG shout out!)

I don’t know what I was expecting really. It’s like Christmas. The wait is the thing. The day arrives and you go, “Oh yeah, no biggie.”

I did treat myself to a ride down the new escalator – and to be fair, it shaves a good 30 seconds of my commute to the Tube. Progress!

They were handing out maps so people could find their way around the new layout – saves them gathering up the 40 or so strays at the end of the day and shipping them home with a note.

You are here.

A Paperchase and a Boots – could prove priceless. And I haven’t even checked out the Parcel Yard yet. So much to explore! But I’ve got to get home/to work…

Here it is at night: concourse of the future!

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