Bristol’s biking commuters cheered on as crowds turn out to see Olympic flame

May 23, 2012

Commuters who cycled to work this morning were greeted with cheers and waves as they dodged the rush hour traffic problems along the Olympic Torch route in Bristol.

With traffic diversions in place around Clifton, The Downs and the busy roundabout at the top of Whiteladies Road, some drivers struggled on their journey into the city first thing this morning.

The picture was similar in the city centre last night when thousands of wellwishers lined the Torch's route into the city via Lawrence Hill and Old Market to Harbourside where entertainment was laid on at the Amphitheatre and Millennium Square.

Well-wishers lining the route along the edge of The Downs at 8am were in a holiday mood as they waited for the torch to arrive, applauding cyclists clever enough to beat potential traffic problems and cheering them on their way.

As the Olympic Torch made its way through Henleaze village and on through to Filton, cars were brought to a standstill in nearby roads as they waited for the motorcade to pass.

When news of the Olympic Torch route was revealed in March, Bristol City Cllr Simon Cook, then deputy leader, said: “For many people the sight of the Olympic flame passing through their neighbourhoods will be something to celebrate. I know thousands of local people will want to line the route and cheer the torchbearers on.”

It seemed his prediction was right when, no doubt helped by the sunny weather, the pavements were packed. The Lloyds TSB bus on its way passed The Downs, Clifton, just after 8am this morning.

Today, Day Five of the Olympic flame’s journey, covers a total of 140.5 miles. It started early at College Green, heading off into North Somerset before returning to Bristol via Leigh Woods and across the Clifton Suspension Bridge around 8am.

After reaching Filton, the route continued to Chippenham, Calne, Marlborough, Chiseldon, Wroughton, Royal Wootton Bassett and Swindon where Chelsea footballer Didier Drogba was among the torchbearers through a deal with Games and Chelsea sponsors Samsung.

Finally, after travelling through Cirencester, Stroud, Painswick, Brockworth and Shurdington, the flame ends the day at Cheltenham Racecourse where it will be in Zara Phillips’ royal hands for the final leg.

An average of 115 torchbearers a day will carry the Olympic flame during its 8,000-mile journey around the UK before it arrives at the Olympic Stadium on July 27 for the lighting of the cauldron at the opening ceremony.

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