The Disposables: A love letter to Yorkshire

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Disposables from the World Champs 2019, Yorkshire

All photography: Kitty Pemberton-Platt


Something special happened at the World Champs this weekend that has made the cycling community completely smitten. 24 hours after the final road race and so many of us are still buzzing our rainbow knits off and it was all thanks to Yorkshire. 

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Ey up Yorkshire,

You’re a top lass you. Thanks for everything the past few weeks.

The Spice Girls tour buses that took over Bradford and Leeds.

You made the athletes into rockstars, exactly what they should be.

For the journeys travelling from the start to the finish trying to stream coverage.

And giving us the permission to connect to strangers, because they were doing the same.

(Strangers that were 90% likely to be wearing a cycling cap)

You’re a giver, Yorkshire.

A giver of heightened emotions.

Of dippy eggs for £2.50.

Of a 24 hour spa perfectly located for 07:00 coffee.

Of a fan zone. Everyone appreciated the effort, even if it had to be closed for the final day.

Soggy snacks. Which sound awful. But those moments of sharing an Ovaltine bar whilst huddling under an umbrella are divine.

Those moments are everything.

Just like the moments we waited in the warm pub only to rush out and see 10 seconds of excitement.

Those 10 seconds are everything.

Briefly you’re so caught up in cheering, cow bells and encouragement, that all else is muted.

We had terrible signal across you Yorkshire. But we didn’t mind. It added to the feeling of being in this sodden beautiful disaster of a bubble.

I tried a new type of scone (scoooohhhne if you’re from the south).

There was so much visual excitement it forced everyone to focus on spotting greatness. Not pointing out problems.

Followed by overwhelming levels of patriotism.

I teared up when crowds of people cheered the women’s Team GB to the start line.

I’ve got goosebumps again writing that sentence.

Your biblical weather (can’t believe I’ve made it this far without mentioning it) may have nearly broke my camera but it gave us an overwhelming sense we were in this together.

It made heroes of the athletes. And made athletes human.

Because of you, we got to experience a few days when pubs had cycling on. Not football.

It was all an experience.

Like the time Dutch fans got on the train and the whole carriage started clapping.

Or meeting Kasia Niewiadoma’s family who had travelled from Poland.

Or seeing the post-race pure joy of Lizzie Diegnan being comforted by her husband and daughter.

Or that little tupperware the hotel used to put tea bags in.

Endearing. Endearing. Endearing.

Experience and emotions. Emotions and experiences.

I’ve not even mentioned the racing. Stories that will go down in history.

We’ll be forever grateful to have witnessed them.

The useful signage. The maps. The brass band. The music. The excessive use of ‘t’ in your language.

T’ athletes.

T’ volunteers.

T’ workers.

T’ spectators.

You brought it all with abundance and imperfect beauty.

Yorkshire, you’re a worldie.

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Kitty Pemberton-Platt