It’s not every day that the Tour de France passes through Yorkshire, so when the news broke that it would be gracing the streets of our home town, Progress jumped at the chance to get involved in this once in a lifetime event.
Text by Vicki Walmsley
Photography by Guy Farrow and Lindsay Broadley
It was set to be a historic day for Yorkshire, where over two million people would line the streets of our local towns and villages to become the hosts of Le Grand Départ for the 2014 Tour de France – a privilege never bestowed on a county as far north in England before.
In preparation for this once in a lifetime event, Yorkshire went to incredible lengths to ensure they would be the welcoming hosts for the international sportsmen about to descend on us from every corner of the globe. Streets were lined with yellow bicycles, houses were dressed in patriotic flags, and even the sheep were spray painted the colours of red, white, and blue to represent the union of the two countries for this highly anticipated event. Imaginative use of the iconic Tour de France yellow branding was suddenly everywhere; a trend that definitely excited us as our three favourite things – cycling, our hometown, and design – came together on our doorstep. With the world looking directly at Yorkshire, Progress had to be involved somehow.
In recent years the creative community has embraced the cycling industry more than ever before. Many factors have contributed to this sudden resurgence in the profile of the sport with companies now taking great pride in their cutting-edge branding, as well as their road wear fashion and design-led equipment. The timing of Le Grand Départ mixed with the local location to us meant that it was a natural fit for Progress to become a part of the pre-Tour promotions. The perfect platform had been provided for us to mix our love of cycling and design together, and we decided to create a unique collection of musette bags – the accessory choice of every discerning cyclist – that would be themed on the fusion of Yorkshire-inspired creativity and the historic Tour de France.
The Tour de France peloton arrives in the Holme Valley on race day, nearing the foothills of the Pennines.
To promote the musette collection, we worked with Design Project who devised the campaign name ‘Feed My Ride’ and created a short film, shot in the picturesque foothills of Holme Moss—the very location which would form one of the most challenging stages of the race itself. Fans of road cycling are well known for taking to the streets of the course pre-race to chalk the names of their favourite riders on the road as an act of support and encouragement. To follow that same tradition, our MD Simon Farrow – along with a few of his fellow cycling enthusiasts – chalked the names of the designers and illustrators taking part in our musette collection, as part of our promotional film.
Fans of road cycling are well known for taking to the streets of the course pre-race to chalk the names of their favourite riders on the road as an act of support and encouragement.
The names of the designers and illustrators taking part in Feed My Ride, written in chalk on the roads leading to Holme Moss.
Fourteen creatives collaborated with us to form an official collection, most of which, surprisingly, had connections to the north of England. Each bag was made using a 12oz yellow cotton twill, then screen-printed a single colour in black. The designers were given carte blanche to provide artwork that would represent their interpretation of the synergy between cycling and design, with the following taking part: M/M (Paris), Design Project, Rapha, Commission, Assembly, Build, Supermundane, Manual, I Love Dust, Intercity, StudioMakgill, Milltag, Neil Stevens, and Irving & Co with John Broadley.
The Feed My Ride musette collection was exhibited in the heart of Leeds – the official home of Le Grand Départ in 2014.
Each musette incorporated a woven label stitched into the seam of the bag featuring the Feed My Ride identity.
The exhibition catalogue featured a photographic essay taken from the Feed My Ride promotional film alongside details of the designers and illustrators taking part.
Musette design by Manual. Manufactured from 12 oz custom-dyed cotton twill, screen printed in one colour and machine stitched.
Musette design by M/M (Paris). Manufactured from 12 oz custom-dyed cotton twill, screen printed in one colour and machine stitched.
Musette design by Irving & Co with John Boardley. Manufactured from 12 oz custom-dyed cotton twill, screen printed in one colour and machine stitched.
Musette design by Rapha. Manufactured from 12 oz custom-dyed cotton twill, screen printed in one colour and machine stitched.
To showcase the final collection, we exhibited the musettes in the heart of Leeds—the official home of Le Grand Départ 2014, which went on to be the most successful in the entire history of the event. Our usually sleepy villages came alive, and in the words of Tour de France’s race director: ‘I can see the tour in their hearts, and in their eyes. For that, I say thank you to everyone in Yorkshire who has made this Grand Départ so very, very special.’
See more on Feed My Ride by viewing the packaging project here.