If you are reading this on April 1, Saddles assures you this is no April's Fool: Yorkshire, England's largest county, has submitted its formal bid to host the start of the 2016 Tour de France.
Yorkshire may not be as glamorous as London, the last English city to host the Grand Depart back in 2007, but officials from the county in the north of England hope that the cities of Scarborough, Sheffield, York and, ahem, Hull, will have as much pulling power as Barcelona, Venice and Berlin — Yorkshire's chic continental rivals for the crown.
Plans are sketchy, but it is thought that a prologue in Leeds may be followed by two stages that take in the spectacular scenery of the Yorkshire Dales, the North York Moors and the winding coastal paths around Whitby.
Although yet to be confirmed, rumour has it that the intermediate sprints on each stage will take place in some of the area's more quirkily named towns and villages, such as Ingleby Barwick, Thirsk, Kirbymoorside, Flamborough, Hutton Cranswick, Pocklington and Nether Poppleton. The feeding zone on stage two could well be the small hamlet of Fryup, located in the depths of the North York Moors.
With the county's representatives eager to promote local produce and strong environmental ties, lunch musettes will contain no plastic packaging and will be filled to the brim with local delicacies, such as butties of Wensleydale cheese, liquorice from Pontefract and, of course, Yorkshire pudding soaked in beef dripping.
Owing to the recent VAT "pasty tax" crisis that has engulfed the nation, it will be decided at a later date whether or not curried puffs from Yorkshire's Indian community will be included on the menu.
Bjarne Riis, manager of the Danish Saxo Bank squad, is said to have already enquired about making the Jorvik Viking Centre in York his team's base for the three-day jolly.
Team Sky are also in advanced talks with the local artist David Hockney about designing a colourful limited edition team jersey.
Former Playboy model from Leeds Nell McAndrew will be a podium girl alongside the TV sports presenter Gabby Logan (plus the actress Anne Hathaway — she's from Yorkshire, right?), while local bands Pulp and the Arctic Monkeys will perform every night in the winning enclosure.
Yorkshire hard rockers Def Leppard will lend a hand too — quite literally in the case of the drummer.
The actor Brian Blessed and jack-of-all-trades Michael Palin will be drafted in to provide worldwide commentary for the three stages at the expense of Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin, who will only be allowed to resume their platitudes once the race returns to mainland France.
Finally, the famous oddball magician Paul Daniels from nearby North Yorkshire will be on hand to make any positive doping tests disappear.
But seriously folks, the Yorkshire Grand Depart bid for 2016 is really going ahead — with representatives from the Amaury Sport Organisation earmarked to visit Yorkshire in May (just when the rain will no doubt return) to study the proposed route.
Of course, no decision will be made for quite some time — Corsica's 2013 Grand Depart, after all, was not confirmed until fairly recently.
And a lot can happen in four years. Indeed, if Saddles is still writing these cycling blogs and not dining out on the proceeds of his best-selling trilogy of zany cycling reportage novels, then things will have gone horribly wrong.
[Don't get him wrong, Saddles gets a rush from the three or four readers' comments he gets a week for his efforts — but being abused and mercilessly teased online was not his idea of a successful career. Besides, churning out puns and wisecracks about the state of Tom Boonen's scrotum is hardly a legacy — and won't pay for any wedding or family Saddles is yet to have (and at this rate will never have).]
Anyway, back to the real story in hand: there's even a page on Yorkshire.com entitled "Back Le Bid" in which people can show their support for the Tour application. Which is just what Mark Cavendish has done.
"My mum is from Yorkshire so I'm proud to be backing the Yorkshire 2016 bid," said Cav. "I have fond memories of holidaying in Yorkshire," he really did continue. "A lot of my family still live there and it would be fantastic is the world's greatest cycling race could come to Yorkshire."
It would indeed be fantastic — but Saddles has the feeling that a prologue in Berlin, Barcelona, Venice or Scotland (another rival bidder) may well offer even more appealing potentials.
A time trial around the streets of Edinburgh would be quite a spectacle, what with the undulating terrain and notorious wind-tunnelled streets. Think how great it would be if the prologue started in the coastal town of Leith, gradually rose to Edinburgh, took in the castle and cobbled streets and then rose again to a finish atop Arthur's Seat.
For Venice, the possibilities are endless — and perhaps by 2016 ASO will be open to swapping bikes for pedal boats around the famous waterways of the north Italian city?
As for Barcelona, a sweltering prologue there could be Gaudi-themed and finish in the Nou Camp. What's more, the opening road stage could take the riders right up to the foothills of the Pyrenees, meaning it could be a GC race pretty much from the outset. Woof.
But given the Grand Tours' combined recent track record with incorporating air-strips in their itinerary, Saddles has a suspicion that ASO will lean towards Berlin, with a prologue in and around the labyrinthine hangers of the disused Templehof airport, which is right in the centre of town — plus will provide the helicopter cameramen with some juicy aerial shots.
They could even get kraut-electro-rockers Kraftwerk in to perform alongside the start ramp as well — perhaps a live rendition of their 2003 magnum opus, the Tour de France Soundtracks.
Remember, you heard it here first... Berlin for the 2016 Grand Depart.