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From Kanye to Cumberbatch: 10 of the most bizarre cycling stories of 2018

Here's some of our pick of some of the strangest stories we've published this year...

It’s that time of the year when we look back on what’s been happening over the past 12 months – and today, here’s a selection of 10 of the most bizarre stories we’ve seen during 2018. If we missed any of your favourites, feel free to link them in the comments below.

Stray dog in Romania keeps injured cyclist warm until help arrives

Dog keeping cyclist warm in Romaania (picture via  Jandarmeria Caras Severin on Facebook).JPG

First, remember this lovely story from Romania about an injured cyclist in Romania whose life may have been saved by a stray dog that kept him warm until help arrived, by which time the 40-year-old rider, who had broken his clavicle, was suffering from hypothermia?

Gendarmes said that after the cyclist crashed, "A dog came from the woods and laid besides the victim as to warm him with its body. When we arrived, the dog didn’t leave his side and remained there until the ambulance arrived."

The dog found a new home afterwards, too – it was adopted by an official from the local council.

Photo of World Naked Bike Ride passing Free Tommy Robinson protester in London goes viral

There have been some bizarre stories in Westminster politics over the past year – but from a cycling point of view, this one takes the biscuit – the moment the World Naked Bike Ride encountered a protest in support of English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson.

A picture (since deleted) of the unlikely encounter taken by former Conservative Party aide Christian Calgie went viral on Twitter, prompting one wag to observe – “When Free Tommy meets Free Willy.”

Cocky Devon pranksters erect giant penis to replace Tour of Britain bike

Credit - Callum Stephenson.JPG

On a similar theme, September’s Tour of Britain provided a phallic photo opportunity when a giant bike made of cardboard installed on a hillside near Ilfracombe was turned into a giant penis on the eve of the race passing by.

Seth Conwway, project co-ordinator for the original artwork, said: “The bike was designed to highlight the great work of the Plastic Free North Devon organisation in helping to clean our beaches and encourage people to cut out single use plastic as much as possible. It was going to have to be taken down anyway but someone got there first.”

He added that the publicity created by the rebooted design had in fact been helpful for the group – by giving them more exposure.

Riot police called as violence erupts at cycling festival in Greater Manchester

A cycling festival is the last place where you’d expect police to have to turn up in riot gear after an outbreak of violence – but that’s what happened at the Eritrean Cycling Festival in Tameside, with nine people injured, some of them children, and eight arrests were made.

The event was thought to have been targeted by opponents of the country’s president, who accused organisers of supporting the country’s regime.

Festival organiser Goitom Seyoum said: “This had nothing to do with politics - this was purely a celebration of Eritrean cycling. It was a peaceful protest at first and then they barged in throwing bottles, food and beer kegs.

"It was outrageous – there were children in buggies and people cut and bleeding. This was supposed to be a festival but now we leave with a sad feeling.

Brewdog criticised for calling its new cycling club a "chain gang”


Beer brand Brewdog came under fire in May after it launched a cycling club, with Twitter users taking exception to its name, The Brewdog Chain Gang. While no cyclist would have an issue with those final two words, beyond the world of two wheels it was a different matter.

One tweeted her view that Chain Gang was “a pretty gross name for the club,” adding, “It’s a slavery humiliation and forced labour slang word right?”

A spokesman for the brand said the name had been chosen “as a nod to the well-known and often used term in the cycling community,” noting that "thousands of cycling clubs, races and organisations around the world use it within their names.”

"Superhero" Benedict Cumberbatch foils attack on Deliveroo cyclist

Benedict Cumberbatch at 2016 San Diego Comic Con International (licensed CC BY-SA 2.0 on Wikimedia Commons by Gage Skidmore)

Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch was revealed in June to have foiled a group of muggers attempting to rob a Deliveroo cyclist in London’s swish Marylebone district last year.

The driver of the Uber that the actor was travelling in with his wife revealed that Cumberbatch jumped out of the vehicle to confront the four attackers, one of whom was hitting the victim with a bottle.

The Uber driver joined his passenger in trying to fend off the men and said: “It was only then I recognised Benedict. Then it all got a bit surreal. Here was Sherlock Holmes fighting off four attackers just round the corner from Baker Street.”

Kanye West - Singer-songwriter, philosopher, and collector of retro cycling gear


Another unlikely cycling-related story from the world of entertainment came courtesy of rapper Kanye West, who tweeted a picture of some of his clothes including a 2008 Team Colummbia-High Road training top.

The tweet attracted the attention of Mark Cavendish, who claimed his first Tour de France stage wins with the team that year, and who wrote: “That moment you see your 10 year old kit is now a fashion statement, then realise you gave ALL of it away.”

Cyclist in Russia who hit pothole gets fined for damaging it

Over to Russia now and the story of the cyclist who was left bruised and with a broken bike after hitting a pothole – and then, to add insult to injury was fined 800 roubles (£9) for damaging the road surface.

The cyclist, Andrei Chikin, successfully appealed the fine, pointing out he hadn’t caused  any danger or impeded traffic, with the court confirming that “the proceedings of the case were terminated due to the insignificance of the offence.”

Expertly-deployed Ainsley Harriott stickers raise profile of Bournemouth cycle safety campaign


A cycle safety campaign from Bournemouth hadn’t attracted much publicity – until a member of the public came up with the genius idea of putting stickers of chef Ainsley Harriott’s face onto signs urging drivers to “look out for cyclists.”

The amended signs may have grabbed attention, but the council wasn’t impressed. Claire Heaton, its senior road safety officer, said: “We are aware that the cycle safety signs near the university have been defaced with stickers and they will be removed as soon as possible.”

Cyclists ride into railway tunnel - and meet train coming the other way

Finally, in May two cyclists in Brazil got the “freight” of their lives when they decided to take a shortcut through a tunnel – only to meet a goods train coming the other way.

Luckily, both were unhurt. One of the riders, Jedson Gil Miranda, who posted footage to Facebook, said: “I know we were in the wrong, we were very reckless, railway tunnels were never made for cycling or walking. Thank God everything went okay."

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

Latest Comments

  • Dr Winston 1 hour 9 min ago

    I had this discussion elsewhere (BTW you missed Caruso off your list). The only thing I can think of is that they want to have a decent team in...

  • Sam3 1 hour 15 min ago

    If you are around people and needing to ring bell, you're probably on the hoods, manoeuvring ...and without enough time to take one hand off and...

  • Philh68 1 hour 25 min ago

    March in the bike lane, obviously. I can hear them already: "what do we want, more traffic. When do we want it, now!"...

  • wycombewheeler 1 hour 52 min ago

    Hunt wheels are suitable for centrelock rotors which I prefer to 6 bolt, I don't see how a centre lock rotor could not be compatible. Perhaps you...

  • Nigel Garrage 2 hours 16 min ago

    I'm delighted to set the record straight for you - safety reasons were given as the underlying factor for being on the pavement, but the cargo bike...

  • TheBillder 3 hours 9 min ago

    Underrated, Dave. He also invented working with a shyster financier to repackage invoice factoring into "possible invoice if we actually had this...

  • biker phil 3 hours 18 min ago

    The 911 clip isn't a near miss, the driver did attempt to pull out, yes. But as soon as the driver clocked the cyclist, they stopped.

  • TheBillder 3 hours 31 min ago

    Nigel, as you know, luck does not come into it. If you can't afford to subscribe to the Telegraph (Belfast?) then obviously you don't work hard...

  • hennie 3 hours 38 min ago

    I'm waiting for a June delivery but only paid early May. Having now read the reviews (why didn't I do that before?) I think it's more likely to be...

  • Dave Dave 4 hours 37 min ago

    I haven't been to Bath in years. I'm amazed to find out it hasn't been closed to traffic by now (at least to the standard of central Cambridge and...