Earlier this year our good friend and fellow rider, Debbie M. revealed that an extraordinary documentary is being considered for production. Dubbed ‘Britain’s Secret Race’, it aims to chart the history of what was once popularly known as the ‘Milk Race’, and what we fondly recognise today as the ‘Tour of Britain’ (ToB).
What makes this stand out from the rest?
Well, if you can remember as far back as mini-milk bottles during school lunch, then you’ll recall cotton caped skinny frames in standard black bibs, on steel steeds racing across this country. Clearly, it was a very different era. The marvel of this project is that it reveals a time far removed from the spectacle and almost carnival-like atmosphere we have become accustomed to today. You get the sense that cycling really was a ‘minority sport’, with only devoted fans making the effort to wait for their heroes to climb. It certainly doesn’t take away the fact that up to this day, it continues to be the colourful world of pro-peloton characters, and the terrific support of everyday people that brings the race to life. A nice round up of Rider’s Reflections from this year’s ToB pays tribute to just how much interaction and encouragement people have brought to the sport.
Britain’s Secret Race is arguably no longer a secret. With the most memorable of sporting summers: Le Tour, Olympics and Paralympics; add to this list, the Giro and the Vuelta, it was only natural that this year’s ToB would pull huge crowds. Nevertheless, Britain’s Secret Race draws almost exclusively on archive footage. Which we hope will be both a revealing account of our heritage as a great cycling nation, as well as testament as to what it takes to make a good day on the saddle: like pushing your own support vehicle up a mountain.
The London Baroudeurs hopes to feature more news on this documentary as the story unfolds. Until then, we wish ‘Britain’s Secret Race’ every success!