Join us to mull over this week's slice of cycling life as we come to the end of a week in which some fun with headlines proved contentious in the car v. bike debate, Shimano went 11-speed, and one man had an extremely lucky escape from a tram - plus catch up with all the other biggest cycling news from around the world in this week’s roundup.
Click on any headline to read the story in full and join in our reader debates in the comments section.
On Sunday most of you felt this Polish cyclist was lucky to be alive after he rushed through the space between two passing trams - and got caught in the tracks.
CCTV footage from the front of one of the trams shows the rider attempting a dangerous overtake which he almost pulls off, but then his wheel catches and he’s left sprawled across the road.
On Monday we broke the news that Shimano has launched a brand new version of its 105 groupset – the most popular road groupset worldwide – that features an 11-speed drivetrain and, says Shimano, improved braking power.
The new 5800 series 105 features technology that has trickled down from Shimano’s high-level Dura-Ace and Ultegra groups.
“The main thing about 105 is that it’s now 11-speed,” said Shimano’s UK brand manager Mark Greshon at the UK launch. “With it being 11-speed it brings many of the functions and features that you get with both Ultegra and Dura-Ace to a much wider range of riders.”
Will you upgrade?
Tuesday’s shock revelation came from the UCI Technical Committee who announced that from the beginning of 2015, velodromes in the Southern hemisphere will run races in a clockwise direction.
It’s all to do with Coriolis forces, and evening the playing field between southern and northern hemisphere velodromes, according to the UCI.
The Coriolis force is why cyclones rotate anti-clockwise on the northern hemisphere and clockwise on the southern hemisphere. An extremely careful statistical analysis of race times in the northern and southern hemisphere velodromes has revealed that the Coriolis effect is responsible for a small disadvantage in record attempts in the southern hemosphere.
“It’s surprising how very small things affect track racing times,” said Dr Allan Smithee of the University of Sydney, who analysed race times in a paper published in the Journal of Esoteric Sports Technology.
“We’ve known for a while that small changes in humidity affect track times,” he added, “so it’s not too startling that the Coriolis force slows down racers south of the equator. After all, it’s strong enough to affect which way water flows down the plug.”
On Wednesday a study of British adults’ attitudes to cycling found that a large number want to cycle more for everyday short journeys but feel unable to do so because they find sharing the roads with cars, buses and lorries too scary.
Researchers found that in 2010 33% of the GB sample agreed they were contemplating cycling for short journeys, and 18% agreed they’d actually made plans to take up cycling. However, as the 2013 data makes clear, these plans didn’t materialise, with cycling levels amongst the population remaining broadly flat.
One reason why people haven’t done so is lack of confidence. In the 2013 survey, 34% of GB adults agreed that, ‘I’m not confident enough to consider cycling’.
New cyclists want to be protected from motorised traffic, and this may be why as many as 65% of GB adults support an increase in funding to support more cycling for everyday journeys. Indeed, and contrary to the ‘road wars’ anti-cycling media hysteria of recent times, cycling is very warmly regarded by all but a few.
On Thursday it was reported that an as-yet still unnamed cyclist was killed in Central London after being struck by a left-turning tipper lorry at Ludgate Circus – one day after protest group Stop Killing Cyclists called on London’s boroughs to bring in measures to improve the safety of bike riders.
In February, the junction was highlighted by a Green politician as one of a dozen locations in London with a poor safety record for cyclists that is not included in the £300 million Better Junctions programme.
It’s the third cyclist to have lost his life in the capital this year.
The driver of the lorry has been arrested on a charge of suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.
One in three participants in some of the UK’s biggest sportives last year rode either a Specialized, Giant or Trek bicycle.
Riders of the Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Caledonia, Etape Mercia and Etape Pennines, all sponsored by Marie Curie Cancer Care, the Fred Whitton Challenge and the Wiggle Dragon Ride were all studied, and Giant, Specialized and Trek were used by 34 per cent of the sample – with the other two thirds using 119 separate brands between them.
According to Sports Marketing Surveys, the research provides “insight into the equipment, expenditure, considerations, lifestyle and media consumption” of cyclists taking part in those sportives.
And a bit of fun for Saturday: a bicycle advocate in California has taken news reports of road traffic incidents involving motor vehicles and substituted the word “car” for “bike” and “driver” for “cyclist.”
Robert Prinz is education director at Bike East Bay, which represents 4,500 members living in Contra Costa County and Alameda County, situated on the east side of San Francisco Bay.
Here are a couple of examples of his work:
Two Women Seen Running from Tandem Bike that Crashed into Mission District Bakery
San Francisco police have an alert out to area hospitals in their search for two women seen running from a tandem bicycle that smashed into a Mission District cafe.
Witnesses say the two women bolted from the bicycle shortly after it slammed into Joey and Pat’s bakery and cafe at the corner of Folsom and 21st Street at about 2:30 a.m.
Suspected drunk cyclist leaves path of destruction on El Cerrito street
A suspected drunken bicyclist sped onto an El Cerrito sidewalk early Tuesday, slamming into a tree, a bench, a parking sign and several buildings before his heavily damaged bicycle came to a stop, authorities said.
El Cerrito Police Sgt. Scott Cliatt said the debris field from the crash stretched for a full block of Van Fleet Ave.
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.