Yorkshire, United Kingdom

By Phil Noble

This is a World Cup year, so fans across the globe are getting tossed around on the roller coaster of emotions that goes along with supporting your national soccer team.

In England, this usually means seeing the streets and cars covered with plastic national flags, while grown men wearing skin-tight soccer jerseys hurl abuse at television screens before drowning their sorrows in the pub.

But this year is different, or at least in part of England it is. This year sees the great cycling race, the Tour de France, starting in the northern English region of Yorkshire.

A plastic yellow bicycle-shaped decoration is attached to a tree outside a house on the route of the Tour de France near Ripponden, northern England June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Phil Noble

I’d always planned to have a drive along the two stages of the Tour that will be held “oop north”. It’s only a couple hours by car from my base in Manchester, and it would give me the change to scout out possible locations for the Reuters team covering the event.

The area takes in some beautiful scenery but, let’s face it, I didn’t imagine for a minute it would make an interesting feature. But I was proved wrong.