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Live blog: Trying to take a very expensive bike on a GWR train is hard work; Torq's "extra messy" Brexit Bars; Cavendish signs for Bahrain Merida; Froome, Fuglsang and Bardet recce Japan Olympics course + more

All today's news from the site and beyond.....
25 October 2019, 16:02
Re our train rant from this morning...

It seems whoever owns this bike wasn't so lucky in persuading other passengers to avoid using the cycle storage for their bags. See below for our experience on the 10am service from Bristol Temple Meads to Bath Spa this morning. 

25 October 2019, 11:20
Taking a bike on a Great Western Railway train: a live blog experience

Afternoon, Jack here! You may have seen the news that Scotrail will be introducing new carriages with spaces for up to 20 bikes soon, much to the joy of cyclists who use the Scottish rail network - although some folk on social media claimed certain other train operators have got a lot to learn with their own bike storage facilities. 

To assess said bike storage with one of these train companies who have come in for some criticism,  I caught the 10am Great Western Railway train from Bristol Temple Meads to Bath Spa, to get a very lovely Argon 18 gravel bike with a snazzy Rotor 13 speed groupset to towers without getting it dirty. With stress levels now down a bit, I'm in the office and have documented events so you can see what you're in for if you decide to do the same. The cards are ordered top to bottom so scroll down for more... 

25 October 2019, 11:23
So far so good...
gwr app.JPG

I begin by booking my ticket with GWR's app, which conveniently tends to be a bit crashy when I'm in a hurry.

Wanna book a bike space? No problem! Except it is... the app tells us I'm unable to reserve a bicycle at this time, and after doing some digging I discover that on local journeys, bikes can be taken on the trains on a first come, first served basis. Not knowing if the spaces are all reserved or not, I head to the station with my ticket booked which I may or may not be able to use. 

25 October 2019, 11:25
Getting away with it
gwr main bike

I arrive at the station, the announcement tells us where first class will be situated on the 10am train to London Paddington, but not where the bike spaces will be. I spy another fella with a full-sized bike, who will become my nemesis for the next couple of minutes while we try to correctly guess which carriage we should stand in front of. 

I get lucky and spot the bike sign on the outside of the carriage early (only added to the trains a couple of months ago), and jump in a queue behind a family with a considerable amount of luggage. The train pulls in, and they attempt to stick their luggage in the bike compartments. I roll up behind, they retreat, it's awkward. Not to worry though, they can take advantage of the really really spacious luggage compartments in the seating area... 

gwr luggage

As you can see in the previous pic, my bike isn't hooked up vertically as GWR suggest I do... because my rims won't fit through the hooks, and in any case, that's about two grand's worth of Enve that I'm not about to damage by forcing it through a bit of metal.

25 October 2019, 11:28
Trying to use the bike storage
gwr bike storage other compartment

The poor bloke I beat to get on the train is now trying to correctly load his into the other storage section next to another bike, a Carrera mtb. I attempt to help, but it becomes quite obvious that there's no chance both are going to fit. 

We wait with our incorrectly stored steeds, hoping a conductor doesn't come past. Meanwhile, the Carrera has fallen off its hook. 

gwr trains carrera


25 October 2019, 11:31
What even is this??
Great western trains 9.JPG


25 October 2019, 11:31
Bike compartment? Bin
Screen Shot 2019-10-25 at 12.32.54

It’s become apparent the bike storage compartments on these trains simply aren’t very good at storing bikes. Although, they do seem to be pretty useful for harbouring used bottles and coffee cups.

25 October 2019, 11:36
And we've arrived.
Great western trains 5.JPG

I alight at Bath Spa, having smashed the system and got the bike to work without damaging the wheels as GWR seemingly would like me to. Bear in mind this was not a peak service, and I'd question whether I'd have managed to sneak on a train that left a couple of hours earlier without a reservation, that I'm not actually able to make anyway. reviews usually use a star-based system, but I've introduced another category especially for the purposes of reviewing GWR's bike storage (opinions my own, not necessarily representative of my employer). Until next time! 

Great western trains 11.JPG
25 October 2019, 15:33
Extra messy...
torq brexit bar 2

Why wait until April Fool's Day, when every day is a bit of a joke at the moment? That appears to be the mentality of energy food brand Torq, who have unveiled their special Brexit bar made out of 52% crispy leaves and 48% succulent remainsins. Torq told us: “The bars are formulated by TORQ’s Performance Nutrition team to give the UK population the energy they need to cope with the stresses and strains of the Brexit process. These bars can be purchased by our European friends too, as long as we are able to ship them before the 31st of October, or they might get held up in customs... 

"The ‘Organic Hellfire & Brimstone’ flavour and ‘Extra Messy’ formulation is bittersweet and complex – and we’ve almost finalised the recipe, we just need to get it signed off by the TORQ Brexit Committee. We’re taking pre-orders now and we might deliver before 31st October, or we might not ever deliver at all, we’re not quite sure at the moment!”


Of course Torq are just having us on really, and this whole thing was really to draw attention to a special offer on their Explore Flapjacks (*cough cough* #DesperateMarketing *cough cough*)... buy before the October 31st Brexit deadline, and you get a 10% discount and a free bag of Torq Press Coffee. Take advantage of the deal here

25 October 2019, 15:52
This calls for a poll...
25 October 2019, 15:53
Hoyt Street traffic lights (via StreetView)
New York to welcome cyclists with a ‘green wave’ through traffic lights

Cyclists in New York are to benefit from ‘green wave’ traffic light phasing that will give them priority over motor vehicles. Cyclists who travel at 10-15mph on streets where the speed limit is 25mph will catch a wave of green lights, while drivers (and cyclists) who go faster than 15mph will hit red lights.

Full story here.

25 October 2019, 14:38
White cycle helmet
Australia’s mandatory helmet laws "have become a tool of disproportionate penalties and aggressive policing" say researchers

Australia’s mandatory helmet laws have become an exercise in revenue gouging and have also provided a flimsy pretext for police to stop and search people, according to researchers.

Full story here.

25 October 2019, 14:06
Cavendish officially signs for Bahrain-Merida

It's been in the rumour mill for a while now, but it's finally official that Ca is off to Bahrain Merida. he said in a statement: “Joining this team is the fulfilment of a long-held ambition for me… and is super exciting and motivating. You could even say a dream come true. Having worked closely with McLaren in the past, and seen the benefits of their technology and processes, this was an opportunity I jumped at. My relationship with Rod goes way back, and he’s been instrumental in helping me develop as a rider and a person. I can’t wait to join my new teammates and do everything I can to help us achieve the successes I know will come.”

25 October 2019, 12:12
Ar Drone (CC licensed by Lee via Flickr)
Drones warning drivers of hazards ahead would provide a "sixth sense" says Seat

Car manufacturer Seat is working on a system where drones would detect potential hazards in the road and transmit alerts to drivers. The technology could be used in areas with poor visibility, says the firm.

Full story here.

25 October 2019, 10:32
Asda Brighton Marina (via StreetView)
Teenager who rode through Brighton Asda fined for dangerous cycling

A teenager who was part of a group of youths that cycled through an Asda store in Brighton has been fined £440 for dangerous cycling and £440 for using threatening or abusive words.

Full story here.

25 October 2019, 10:06
Struggle with finding your balance on the rollers?

Wait for It . Omg #dafne #dafnefixed #rimini #bike #awesome #extreme

A post shared by DAFNE FIXED (@dafnefixed) on

The nutcases at Dafne Fixed and this tractor driver with a forklift have a very practical solution for you. 

25 October 2019, 09:34
Froome recces Olympic course with Jakob Fuglsang and Romain Bardet

It's good to see riders from rival teams coming together to have a nosey at next summer's Olympic road race course before they do battle for their countries - even more so when Chris Froome looks to be well and truly returning to business after that horror crash in summer. 

Froome's teammate Michał Kwiatkowski joined the soggy ride with Fuglsang and Bardet on tow, and all will be racing the Saitama Criterium on Sunday.

25 October 2019, 07:51
Guess who's back...

After so much time battling illness and struggling to return to his record-breaking form of yore, it looks like Cav is back in business. On day 3 of the Six Day London track cycling event yesterday evening, Cavendish went right down to the wire with Elia Viviani in the elimination event and came from behind to just edge the Italian. That means at the halfway stage, Cavendish and his partner Owain Doull are fourth in the overall standings, while Viviani and Simone Consonni are top. 

Cavendish and Doull have now won the 40-lap Derny and Team Elimination Races - is the Manx Missile starting to get back to his best? Viviani told Six Day after last night's race: “The team elimination is the most spectacular race and a big show – I anticipated Cav’s sprint but my legs were completely done and he just jumped me on the line.

“Losing to Cav is never good, but I spoke to him straight after the race and it’s just good to have him back at this level and in good shape. Next year is another big year, and maybe we can come back to sprinting against each other on the road – why not?”

25 October 2019, 07:47
"I'm not a cyclist. I like just pedalling along, watching the world goes by": Grayson Perry talks cycling

The artist was at a Sustrans event at Shoreditch Town Hall last night donning his best polka dots to talk all things cycling, and was keen to stress that for him, it's simply a quick and clean mode of transport: "Most people cycle because it's quicker, its convenient and better. It's a biological convenience."

Arriving at 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 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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