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road.cc is 15! Here are our top 15 articles of all time (plus plenty of honourable mentions)

To celebrate 15 years of road.cc, we've gone very deep into the archives and pulled out some of the most memorable moments in our short(ish) but colourful history

To mark 15 years of road.cc, we thought it would be fun to look through the archives and pick out some of our biggest, best and most memorable articles of all time. As that archive is so large and we can only recall so much, coming up with an ultimate shortlist of 15 was pretty much impossible, so there are plenty of bonus inclusions too.

From tech deep dives, to thoughtful opinion pieces, to reviewing everyday items for cycling purposes and highlighting safety issues for cyclists, road.cc covers a lot of ground and has done since the early days. Hopefully this round-up reflects that. 

I've gone round the current road.cc team and contributors (some have been here since day one) to come up with our highlights, and we've used a few different metrics to decide: quality, great headlines, comedic value, articles that led to positive change or stories that just blew up and went viral. 

Obviously the site has evolved and got much bigger over the years so the selections are slightly weighted towards more recent road.cc history, but we've dug out a few golden oldies too. A lot has changed in the bike industry and in the world since 2008, so even if you're not a regular road.cc reader and have stumbled across this article, hopefully it will be interesting to read about some pressing cycling issues from years gone by and comparing them to the present. Some of the comments under our features on disc brakes from over a decade ago haven't aged particularly well, for example! 

Without further ado, and in no particular order... 

Not again! 

> L-shaped cranks — explore the crazy idea that just won't die

PMP cranks 2.jpg

This article exploring "one of the more bizarre technical aberrations of recent history" became a bit of a running joke on social media due to the number of times we'd allegedly share it. The reality is that it wasn't shared any more than our other archive features - maybe once or twice a year -  and the reason it seemed that way is probably because the image is so memorable and the article genuinely pretty fascinating (the first time, and maybe the second and third). 

The article even spawned its own April Fool's article in 2022, and is now very much part of road.cc history. 

Honourable mentions, bike tech and bike tech fails:

Where are they now? The best, worst and wackiest cycling crowdfunders
8 bygone bike technologies we're now well rid of
10 of Shimano and Campagnolo's worst ideas
Is cross-chaining disastrous?

Jo's annual festive assault on sales of Park Tool's Pizza Cutter

> Don't buy me this! Gifts not to buy for cyclists for Christmas

...and the Rapha Festive 500

> No one cares how far you rode your bike: "Keep your distance"

uk cycling proficiency pin badge - via wikimedia commons.PNG

Jo Burt, aka VecchioJo, has been part of the furniture at road.cc almost since the start, and we've picked two classics of his as part of our 15. The 'Don't Buy Me This!' Christmas round-up is actually updated each year, but we reckon the most recent edition was one of the finest yet. As for Jo's thoughts on the Rapha Festive 500/not particularly caring for humble-bragging about how far your last ride was... well to say that was triggering on social media would be an understatement. 

VecchioJo honourable mentions: 

Just A Ride
If You Can’t See My Handlebars…
Verging On The Odd

When alliteration and bad takes on cycle lanes collide

> Bitter Bath burger bar boss bashes bike lane

bitter burger bar bath

I'll admit, not a great deal of research or rigour went into the article but this very burger bar is round the corner from road.cc HQ, and that headline was inspired. We can't remember exactly who came up with it, it may have been a team effort! Numerous road.cc headlines have ended up all over social media and shared regularly on those clickbaity banter pages over the years - glad to have been of service. 

Comedy headlines and funnies, honourable mentions: 

Pissei turns yellow for the Tour de France
Round-the-world cyclist arrives in UK... and has bike stolen outside a Reading Wetherspoons two days later
Cocky Devon pranksters erect giant penis to replace Tour of Britain bike
Let's see your helmets next time, Kiwi policewoman tells naked cyclists
Autoglass repair, Autoglass disgrace: why cyclists don't use cycle lanes

Near Miss of the Day

> Near Miss of the Day 794: Police say driver should have been prosecuted

Close pass 1.5 metres mat (Cycling UK)

Our Near Miss of the Day series has proved divisive over the years, but we'd argue that it's contributed to a more open discussion about reasonable passing distances, and even led some police forces to change their decisions or policies after the reaction to some of our stories. One that springs to mind is number 794, when Gloucestershire Constabulary set up a whole new dashcam unit to bring some consistency to its decision-making after its Traffic Unit manager admitted the footage we published should have resulted in a prosecution for the driver. 

Road safety and campaigning, honourable mentions: 

Kaya Burgess of the Times talks to road.cc about Cities fit for Cycling campaign
‘Road rage’ on BBC Panorama: fuelling the fire or raising awareness?
road.cc on GCN: Why we do Near Miss of the Day

When Stu took a 400km trip across the country to swap review bikes 

Back from Brighton - leaving

We like to be thorough when we review stuff, so it's only right we include one of the most thorough examples of them all. Back in 2015, Stu obviously decided the best way to review Mason's new Definition and Resolution bikes would be to ride one 400km from home in Wiltshire to Mason's HQ in Brighton, and ride the other back again! 

Trips, visits and epic adventures, honourable mentions: 

L’Eroica: a good old-fashioned bike ride
Inside Time
Wind assisted: a day at the Boardman Performance Centre
Two days of DIY

Why don't cyclists use cycle lanes?

Cycle lanes - 10.jpg

It's the SEO-friendly title that probably leads to the bulk of angry emails we receive from people who most likely haven't read past the first paragraph of this article - if only they did, and they'd hopefully be much less misinformed... 

Debunking nonsense about cyclists, honourable mentions: 

'Cyclists are always breaking the law and are a menace on the roads' – cycling myths debunked
Why do cyclists ride two abreast?
Highway Code changes: ‘What about cyclists, or do the rules not apply to them?’
10 of the most hysterical anti-cycling Daily Mail headlines

The tragic passing of Mike Hall, and the continuing rise of unsupported ultra-distance racing since

> In memoriam: Mike Hall — BeingMoreMike with a 400km ride

mike hall kinesis5.jpg

road.cc stalwart Simon MacMichael notes the impact that the late ultra-distance legend Mike Hall had on the sport of cycling outside of professional road racing. Events such as the Transcontinental have steadily grown in popularity, as have less formal spins on competitive ultra-distance cycling such as bikepacking. 

Transcontinental and ultra-distance, honourable mentions: 

Who is Fiona Kolbinger? The medical student who has become the first woman to win the Transcontinental Race
Michael Broadwith smashes the Land's End to John O'Groats record
A Transcontinentall Tale
76,076 miles - Kurt Searvogel's record breaking year ends

A former petrolhead tells all

> Confessions of a former petrolhead: switching from car fanatic to cyclist

petrolhead main pic - via AJ

road.cc readers' ideas and comments are the source of loads of great material, but forum regular kil0ran, otherwise known as AJ, went one further and penned one of the best road.cc articles of the year in 2020. It's worth reading for the picture of a battered old B'Twin with Di2 shifting alone!

Opinion and blogs, honourable mentions: 

How cycling is helping me cope with the loss of a much-loved pet and bike-ride companion
This isn't about cycle lanes or the Highway Code – I just want to get home in one piece
Cycling and the Law: why a cyclist being successfully sued for colliding with a pedestrian is actually good for cyclists

THAT clip of THAT guy drafting a lorry

>  Brazilian cyclist drafts lorry... at 124 kilometres an hour

Brazilian lorry-drafting cyclists

This was the first road.cc story to be read by hundreds of thousands so I'm told (we've now had numerous stories seen by millions) and generated a whole lot of discussion at the time. We still get the occasional message from Mr Portela whenever he's planning a new crazy challenge.

Viral stories, honourable mentions:

Cyclists wearing helmets seen as "less human" than those without, researchers find
Sajid Javid blames father of five-year-old cyclist for letting child ride on road
Cyclist stopped by police three times and “told to put bike in van” after a “load of complaints” from motorists on foggy climb

Disc brakes! 

> Have disc brakes really led to injuries in peloton?

2023 Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL8 - SRAM Red eTap AXS - front disc brake.jpg

Remember when pro cyclists were convinced that disc brakes could lead to lots of slicing and dicing injuries? Our analysis of one alleged incident at Paris-Roubaix and the photos we took actually resulted in a number of emails from the UCI, keen to view the photos more closely to draw its own conclusions about whether disc rotors were truly the cause. The usually ban-happy UCI ultimately couldn't stop disc brakes from becoming almost ubiquitous, and the move to disc brakes on all types of bike has arguably been the biggest technical development in road bikes since road.cc began. 

Disc brake-related honourable mentions:

'Disc brakes will take over' - the man from TRP tells us why
The disc brake revolution is coming
What’s wrong with Chris Froome’s disc brakes?

Helmets!

> Chris Boardman: "Helmets not even in top 10 of things that keep cycling safe"

Helmet Row (picture copyright Simon MacMichael)

The use of cycle helmets has been a 'healthy' source of debate on road.cc since the early days, and we've chosen Chris Boardman's comments on them as our top helmet-related pick. There are plenty more, wade into the comments sections if you dare... 

Helmets, honourable mentions:

Wearing a cycle helmet may increase risk of injury, says new research
Pedal Me bans cargo bike riders from wearing helmets for safety reasons
Why is Dan Walker’s claim that a bike helmet saved his life so controversial?

When getting on the wrong bus inspired Ryan to write our top story of the 2023 World Championships

> Bus sandwiches, hitching lifts, and paying your own way: The not so glamorous life of a small nation at the world championships

The Mauritius rider and soigneur make their way to the start of the 2023 men’s elite world road race championships in Edinburgh (Ryan Mallon)

It was only published a few weeks ago, but this epic tale of being a minnow at a major championships has become an instant favourite amongst the staff and regular readers. 

Long reads and interviews, honourable mentions: 

An absolute clusterf**k: Bowman Cycles speak out on supply chain issues after unhappy customers complain
Riding 100 miles in under 3 hours: how Jonathan Shubert broke the Road Records Association 100 mile record
Inside the Giro d'Italia with Vittoria Servizio Corse - the peloton's Guardian Angel
Graeme Obree Interview: Flying Scotsman talks training, depression, and the Hour

Hole-y Moly!

> Brand new Trek Madone breaks cover

2023 Trek Madone 3 - credit Mat Brett road.cc

We all love a bike launch, but seeing the mysterious new bike and revealing it to the world before the big launch is even better... for us and for you folks, anyway.

After years spent keeping an eye out for prototypes and new things at bike shows and races around the world, it was a last-minute decision to head to the Dauphine in 2022 that probably landed us our biggest new bike scoop yet, when we couldn't help noticing that Trek-Segafredo riders seemed to be riding bikes with gaping holes in the seat tube. 

Big launches and leaks, honourable mentions: 

Canyon launches radical Grail gravel bike
Specialized unveils new S-Works Venge ViAS aero road bike
CeramicSpeed Driven chainless drivetrain is 99% efficient
New Cannondale “Slate” gravel bike will have 650b wheels and 30mm suspension fork

The lockdown effect

> 12 ways that lockdown has changed cycling

coronavirus - cyclists rides past social distance warning

The coronavirus pandemic has arguably been the most significant global event to occur since 2008, and it continues to affect cycling and the bike industry from multiple angles. From twiddling our thumbs in March 2020 wondering what on earth we were going to write about, all of a sudden bikes were flying off the shelves, temporary cycle lanes started springing up and there were numerous moral dilemmas to address when it came to cycling during a pandemic. Even just three years on, some of the articles we published were very much of their time and already seem nonsensical now the world is largely back to normal. 

Pandemic-themed honourable mentions:

Parish council in Cheshire takes down sign telling cyclists to stay away after reading road.cc readers' comments
Cyclists accused of "panting viruses" through Cambridgeshire village
Cycling dos and don'ts in a time of pandemic 

The time John reviewed a £5 note

> Review: Bank of England Five Pound Note

Bank of England Five Pound Note tyre boot.JPG

We've reviewed a lot of stuff over the years, but one we all remember is the glowing review of a fiver deployed as a tyre boot. Five stars, because it can also be used to buy cake... 

Reviews, honourable mentions: 

Cheap plastic sledge we found down the park
Fairlight Strael 3.0
Kitvision Venture 4K Action Camera
Goldhawk Rodax

What have we missed? Let us know in the comments!

Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.  

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3 comments

Avatar
peted76 | 10 months ago
2 likes

Stu's Mason Definition review set my decision to buy one.. 'e made me do it, honest guv'nor'

 

Avatar
chrisonabike | 10 months ago
2 likes

Some great work there - must be good to look back on having grown an organisation like children to maturity.  (Albeit it then probably disappears for days and then reemerges in the company of odd strangers and/or making demands for large sums of cash).

The comments in the fiver review didn't disappoint!

Avatar
captain_slog | 10 months ago
3 likes

Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Here's to the next 15.

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