Roamer Starts a Reet Grand Tour

  • Published July 4, 2014
  • By Dave Catlin

In 1987 Bradford teacher Doreen Gregory inspired me to design an educational version of Big Trak. That was Classic Roamer.  Tomorrow the world’s greatest cycle race, the Tour de France starts in my home town of Leeds. The first stage takes the riders through Yorkshire Dales where I spent a lot of my youth walking and potholing. This is a  heady mixture of nostalgia and homesickness mixed with some Yorkshire pudding and French joie de vivre (I never expected to see a map with à côté de Buttertubs marked on it).  I had to create a somewhat personal Roamer Topical Topic.

Tour de France, Roamer Activty, Yorkshire



RUG members can access the complete activity free of charge in the Roamer Activity Library.
Roamer is very excited about the Tour de France visiting Yorkshire.  So I decided to recreate Stage 1 – Le Grand Depart and see which Roamer can win the coveted yellow jersey of the race leader for Stage 2 of the race.  The activity is excellent for experimenting with speed and Roamer’s speed control feature.

In a large space (hall) create a topological map of the tour.  Place a target disc in each location.  The tour is an elongated circle starting at Leeds and ending at Harrogate.  They travel total of 118.3 miles (190.5 km) in a clockwise direction passing though:

  1. Leeds (start)
  2. Harewood
  3. Otley
  4. Ilkley
  5. Skipton

  1. Kilnsey
  2. Buckden
  3. Newbiggin
  4. Aysgarth

  1. Hawes
  2. Gunnerside
  3. Reeth
  4. Middleham

  1. Masham
  2. Ripon
  3. Ripley
  4. Harrogate (Finish)
Choose from the list of locations or add more if you wish and make a course for Roamer to race on.  However, you must include the three hill climbs and the sprint sections:
  1. Côte de Cray a Category 4 Hill (between Buckden and Bishopdale aka Kidstone Pass)
  2. Côte de Buttertubs a Category 3 Hill (between Hawes and Gunnderside)
  3. Côte de Grinton Moor a Category 3 Hill (between Reeth and Middleham)
  4. Sprint 1 Newbiggin to Aysgarth
  5. Sprint 2 Ripley to Harrogate

It is said the category of the hill climb comes from the gear the support cars need to be in to climb to the top.
  The race begins with the Grand Depart between Leeds and Harewood House, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will cut the ribbon to begin the 2014 Tour de France.  Riders will then speed up, but there’s a long way to go, so most of them will be travelling in at moderate speed in the mass of cyclists called the peloton.   There are two sections where the riders will sprint as fast as they can.  The first of these occurs just after Côte de Cray between Newbiggin and Aysgarth.  The second sprint section is the race to the finish between Ripley and Harrogate.

Roamer Speed Command

The Infant K-1 Roamer introduces the speed command.  You have 3 options:

The Primary and Junior Roamer has a more general.

Roamer Speed Instruction

Roamer Speed Instrcution


Activity 1

The tour sets of down the Headrow from Leeds Town Hall on the 5th July.  It finishes 21 stages and 2,277 miles later on the 27th July on the Champs-Élysées in Paris
Devise and run an experiment to test the different speeds of the Roamer.

Activity 2

Write an algorithm, then a program to take the Roamer round around Stage 1 of the Tour de France, changing the speed for the Grand Depart, the normal cycling, the hill climbs and the sprints.

Activity 3

Learn and use some French words as you send “le Voyageur se rend sur le parcours!”

  1. A list of French cycling terms
  2. For a bit of fun – Yorkshire/English and French dictionary


How to Set Up a Roamer Course

Yorkshire Cycling Heroes

Beryl Burton, Aurthur Metcalf, Barry Hoban, Brian Robertson, Lizzie Armistead, Roamer Activity, Tour de France

  1.  Gordon (Tiny) Thomas: (1921 – 2013) born in Shipley won a silver medal in the team road and the 1953 Tour of Britain.
  2. Barry Hoban: born 1940 in Wakefield, was the first British cyclist to win a stage of the Tour de France.  He went on to win a British record of a further seven and still holds the record for the  most tours  held the record for the most stage wins in the Tour de France by a British rider, winning eight between 1967 and 1975. He holds the record of 11 completed Tours – the most by a British rider – He was also the only Briton to have won two consecutive stages of the Tour until Mark Cavendish matched it in 2008.
  3. Aurthur Metcalf Leeds, (1938 – 2002) born in Leeds is the only rider to win the British road race championship and the British Best All-Rounder time trial competition in the same year
  4. Beryl Burton OBE (1937 – 1996) won more than 90 domestic championships and seven world titles.  She set  numerous national records including a women’s record for the 12-hour time-trial which exceeded the men’s record for two years
  5. Lizzie Armistead: born in 1998 in Otley: won a total of five medals at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in 2009 and 2010.  She won Britain’s first medal in the 2012 London Olympics getting the silver medal in the road race.

Yorkshire Cycling Traditions

This picture from the Catlin family archives shows members of a Leeds Cycle Club in the 1930s.   Cycling enable working class teenagers to get out of the industrial cities of Leeds and  Bradford into the Yorkshire Dales.  This picture is taken in the village of Grassington.

1930s, Yorkshire Dales

The Peloton

Scooting through Ilkley – everyone with a hat on!

Roamer Activity, Topical Topic, Peleton, Ilkley, Tour de France

You have to log in to Comment.