Cycling / News

The man who brought the Tour to Bristol

By laura collacott, Thursday Aug 25, 2016

Bristol will be hosting two stages of the Tour of Britain race on September 10 thanks to long-time cycling enthusiast and branding expert Peter Thompson.

His branding and graphic design company, Peloton Design (a name that makes no secret of his passion for cycling) produces all the race’s graphics; from road signage to race manual, leaders’ jerseys and promotional posters, “there isn’t a piece of signage or poster or graphic element that we haven’t designed,” he says. Having quietly produced all those materials since it relaunched in 2004, he campaigned to add Bristol to the map.

Some of the promotional material produced by Peloton

 

Now based in the backwaters of the Paintworks, the firm started life in a Tobacco Factory studio, where Peter met George Ferguson.

“I had tried many times to bring the Tour to Bristol and people in the council were just not interested,” he remembers.

“When George got in, I asked him if he would give [race organisers] SweetSpot a bit of time.

“I knew him well having worked with him developing the café/bar and the theatre. Before he became mayor he was doing bike rides for charity and he always used to come to me for advice about what to buy, what to wear,” he says, knowing that Peter had raced in his youth “when it was seen as something weird, people who were prepared to wear lycra for their sport”.

“I arranged a meeting, got them all round the table and they agreed to bring the tour to Bristol.”

It’s proved successful with supporters and organisers alike. But if Peter brought the race to town, it’s the crowds that keep it coming back.

Swollen crowds greeted riders at the Tour’s finish line on the Downs

“The team behind the race were blown away by the Bristol welcome,” says Peter. “When the race arrived in Bristol the technical director, Mick Bennett, had never seen crowds like it. The enthusiasm. They realised there was a real appetite for cycling.”

It’s heartening to see British and Bristolian cycling in a position of strength from grassroots to Olympic level, especially given events like the tour hung in the balance as recently as 1998. “The tour fell off a cliff,” says Peter; “no sponsorship, nobody was interested in cycling. It completely disappeared.”

“Now you’ve got the likes of Mark Cavendish, Bradley Wiggins and others coming to us.”

Main image – Peter Thompson (right)

 

Read more: Rees joins peloton up Bridge Valley Road

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