Strava partners with Mapbox to enhance static maps; one-off SwiftCarbon bike auctioned for suicide awareness in memory of Jonathan Cantwell; MvdP back racing CX; Lords debate e-scooters; TdF owners launch Saudi race + more on the live blog

All today's news from the site and beyond.....
30 October 2019, 20:44
One-off bike auctioned for suicide awareness and mental health charities in memory of Jonathan Cantwell

A one-off SwiftCarbon Ultravox bike, designed in memory of late pro rider Jonathan Cantwell, will be auctioned to raise money for mental health and suicide awareness charities.

The Australian sprinter died at the age of 36 on 6 November last year.

The bike, which has the phrase “It’s okay not to be okay” on the top tube and has been produced to mark the first anniversary of his passing, will be on show at the Rouleur Classic in London from Thursday until Saturday.

Complete with Shimano Ultegra groupset and Mavic Cosmic Carbone wheels, the auction for the bike will take place from 8:01pm GMT on 31st October and end at 8:01pm GMT on 21st November.

Proceeds will be donated to Lifeline in Australia, Samaritans in the UK, Australian social enterprise PUKA Up, and finally a charity of choice for the eventual highest bidder.

Find out more, including details of the auction, here.

30 October 2019, 20:09
Mathieu van der Poel back racing cyclo-cross this weekend

Two-time UCI Cyclo-cross world champion and triple World Cup winner Mathieu van der Poel will be back in action this weekend at the Superprestige Ruddervoorde in Belgium.

The 24-year-old, who looked set to win the rainbow jersey at the road race in Harrogate last month until running out of fuel on the final lap, has had a three and a half week break from racing since his road season ended.

The Corenden Circus rider has won four of the past five season-long Superprestige titles, and this year on the road his successes included a spectacular win at the Amstel Gold Race, and the overall victory at last month’s Ovo Energy Tour of Britain.

30 October 2019, 20:08
30 October 2019, 16:15
E-scooters with a side of "bicyclists who whizz along the pavement" debated in House of Lords

Yesterday the House of Lords debated whether e-scooters, technically still banned in the UK, had a future in Britain. Rather predictably, the issue of regulation and the potential for compulsory safety equipment dominated most of the proceedings. Responding to Lord Naseby's concerns about e-scooter incidents and regulations, Baroness Vere of Norbiton said: "My noble friend raises a number of important issues. The strand of the regulatory review that will be looking at micromobility, which covers e-scooters, will look at vehicle requirements, user requirements—for example, age, helmets and insurance—whether they should be used on the roads or elsewhere, and the service provider requirements. On his second point about future legislation, we intend to build an agile legislation and regulatory system, because who knows where we will go beyond these scooters? It is important that legislation can keep up."

The debate also took an impromptu turn when Conservative member Lord Elton brought up the subject of 'bicyclists': "Does my noble friend agree that it would be a wasted opportunity if, in the review, something is not done to deal with bicyclists who whizz along the pavement, zigzagging all over the place?"

Baroness Norbiton replied: "I cannot guarantee for my noble friend that that issue will form part of this specific review because, as I said, it is about the future of mobility and urban strategy, and the micromobility types of transport that will come forward in future."

It seemed like a bit of a pointless swipe by Lord Elton. But then again he is 89 years of age, so it's pretty impressive he's still standing after all this time... 

30 October 2019, 15:49
Chris Froome, Michael Johnson, Lewis Hamilton and Dave Brailsford went to a bar...

The fantastic four appeared to have been hanging out in New York for the Mercedes-Benz Motorsport CEO Forum, where Froome, Johnson and Hamilton provided some athletic inspiration by speaking at the event. 

30 October 2019, 15:40
Re new Strava static maps...

As far as we know there are no plans to roll it out on Strava's interactive maps, which still look to be using the OS-specific map provider. We've asked Strava if there are any plans in the pipeline to update the interactive maps too. 

30 October 2019, 11:02
Strava partners with Mapbox for a unique new mapping system to provide "enhanced detail with athletes’ needs in mind"

If you use Strava regularly, you may have noticed the static maps of your activities have looked a bit different since yesterday evening - that's because they've partnered with Mapbox for a bespoke new mapping system that is optimised for cycling and running rather than cars. Strava say: "It purposefully de-emphasises car-oriented features like highway numbers in favour of trail names, elevation contours and other visual enhancements including enhanced drawing of GPS tracks using smoothing algorithms." 

In other words, the maps should look a bit cleaner and more detailed and show off your routes in a bit more glory if you've been riding somewhere particularly impressive lately. Strava's CEO James Quarles said: “We are thrilled to share this significant upgrade with our members, with more terrain detail and improved accuracy and aesthetics of how GPS tracks appear. Mapbox is a mapping leader, and we’re excited about the athlete-optimised map that our two teams created for the global Strava community.”

30 October 2019, 14:11
Cannondale vs Mason Cycles

Brighton-based Mason Cycles took part in some light Twitter sparring with the corporate might of Cannondale. It ended well with beers arranged... 

30 October 2019, 12:44
Tour de France organisers announce five-stage race in Saudi Arabia

ASO say the new five-stage, 2.1 category race will take place from 4-8 February in 2020, taking in the Saudi capital of Riyadh and the surrounding desert hills.

Yann Le Moenner, chief executive of ASO, said: “The creation of the Saudi Tour and its sustainable installation in the calendar is part of this movement.

“This new race both represents an exciting organisational challenge, a coherent sporting event for an entire category of riders and a nice opportunity for the television viewers who follow the race to discover new landscapes. This is also for us an occasion to contribute to the development of cycling across the Kingdom.”

ASO say the event will feature world-class riders, and "fits perfectly with the ambition of Saudi Arabia to promote the Kingdom beyond its borders while promoting sport and especially cycling.”

It's part of a growing list of sporting events in Saudi Arabia - including its upcoming first ever tennis tournament and the world heavyweight title rematch between British boxer Anthony Joshua and American-born Mexican Andy Ruiz - despite the country's poor record on human rights. The announcement has attracted a few cynical comments on social media... 

30 October 2019, 12:15
Have your say on the new Lotus/Hope track bike

The full article is here for you to have a nosey at the finer details, and when you have feel free to answer our fun but ultimately pointless poll. Anyone associated with the French Cycling Federation is banned from taking part... 

30 October 2019, 12:07
Colchester Northern Gateway Sports Park awarded £590,000 grant as part of UCI World Champs legacy funding

The Places to Ride grant, delivered by British Cycling and Sport England, was "designed to create a lasting legacy from the 2019 UCI Road World Championships", and the £590,000 awarded to Colchester's Northern Gateway Sports Park will be spent on building a cycle track. It will be the first of its kind in Essex, with a one mile track consisting of six loops. The track will provide "leisurely cyclists a safe space to ride their bikes, whilst providing serious cyclists with a facility to challenge themselves and to improve."

30 October 2019, 11:40
Tour of California: suggestions that race 'hiatus' could be because of equal pay law recently brought in

Kathryn Bertine was instrumental in ensuring a law passed in California recently that forces sporting events to give equal payouts to men and women. The AB 467 law, also called the “Equal Pay for Equal Play” measure, initially stemmed from the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing, and takes things one step further by ensuring that any sporting event held on state-controlled land has to pay male and female athletes equally. 

However, it hasn't stopped some on Twitter from claiming her action has actually caused TOC to cancel in defiance at having to stage the same event and offer the same pay for men and women. AEG have simply said "the business fundamentals of the Amgen Tour of California have changed since we launched the race 14 years ago" as their reason for not staging the event. 

The Equal Pay for Equal Play law comes into effect on January 1st 2020, with Bertine commenting last month: “The passing of AB 467 is not just a monumental moment in sports, but a societal shift toward equity and progress.

"We have moved the dial forward, proving that inclusion matters. I look forward to seeing the impact of this bill, not just in California, but nationwide. This is just the beginning of equal pay for equal play.”

30 October 2019, 09:17
Government (sort of) says they're looking into fixing Britain's huge pothole problem

Cycling UK's Sam Jones (creator of Cycling UK's own pothole-reporting app Fill that Hole) reports that the government have finally responded to an enquiry into Britain's pothole problem, titled 'Local roads funding and maintenance: filling the gap'. The report found that it would take an estimated £9 billion just to fix the backlog of existing potholes, not including the ongoing cost of road maintenance. 

The enquiry recommended the Department for Transport "should propose a front-loaded, long-term funding settlement to the Treasury so that local authorities can address the historic road maintenance backlog."

The Department for Transport response says: "The priorities for funding for local highways maintenance are well understood, and this includes the benefits of a longer-term funding settlement for local highways maintenance.

"The Department for Transport is currently working on developing a good evidence base to ensure it submits a strong business case to HM Treasury as part of a future Spending Review.”

While welcoming a positive step forward, Cycling UK's Roger Geffen said: "It’s disappointing to see Government still failing to commit to addressing the estimated £9bn pothole backlog to fix Britain’s roads.

“We’ve a well-funded strategy for building new motorways, but what good is this if all the other roads are crumbling? Pedestrians and cyclists are disproportionately affected by poor maintenance, and fixing broken bones costs a lot more than fixing broken axles.”

30 October 2019, 13:38
Zwift partners with Movember

Zwift have promised to pledge $25,000 in support of Movember once 10,000 Zwifters, who have signed up to the in-game mission, complete 9.9 hours on Zwift during November - the significance of this is that there are currently 9.9 million people living with prostate cancer worldwide.

You can lock your own Movember jersey in-game (shown in the pic above) and earn a donation to the charity from Zwift for your riding efforts. To take part in the Movember mission, simply sign up in-game, then all exercise in Zwift will count towards the goal.

Enrolled participants will receive a Movember jersey that updates over time, with five different jerseys based on different levels of personal completion (0%, 25%, 50%, 75% and 100%). Each unlock jersey accumulates Mo’s as you progress. Successful completion of the mission will unlock the $25,000 donation to Movember by Zwift.

Find out more on Zwift's website here.  

30 October 2019, 10:52
Story to follow

The news that Hope will be working with Lotus has resulted in a very exciting finished product much sooner than we expected - full story on the site shortly. 

30 October 2019, 09:41
EF First GM comments on Tour of California decline

Jonathan Vaughters said he was sad to see the race go, and suggested a wider problem with the financial viability of pro racing in the US. 

30 October 2019, 09:27
Tour of California is cancelled for 2020, with future of the race uncertain

The organisers of the Tour of California have announced that the race will be 'on hiatus' in 2020 after a 14 year stint. AEG's Kristin Klein said in a statement: “This has been a very difficult decision to make, but the business fundamentals of the Amgen Tour of California have changed since we launched the race 14 years ago.

“We are actively assessing every aspect of our event to determine if there is a business model that will allow us to successfully relaunch the race in 2021.”

Some replies on Twitter suggested tongue-in-cheek that the news of Peter Sagan deciding to race the Giro d'Italia instead of the TOC - the latter of which he has appeared at every year since 2010 and won overall in 2015 - proved to be the final death knell for the 2020 edition; it's unclear if Sagan opted for the Giro because insiders knew the TOC wasn't happening for 2020, or if Sagan had made the decision to race the Giro regardless. Hopefully he'll bring some of the epic wheelie action we#ve seen over the years in California to Italy next year...


30 October 2019, 09:23
Meanwhile, Peter Sagan appears to have switched sports

While Sagan won't be appearing at the Tour of California in 2020 after a nine year stint at the event, we're not sure if he'll even be riding the Giro instead if this evidence is anything to go by. It seems he has a way to go before he's the three-time sack racing world champion though, as he gets comfortably beaten by his team's soigneur...

30 October 2019, 11:58
Brendan Fairclough: POV video from Red Bull Rampage

Slightly terrifying, but a good watch. 

After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since. He was Staff Writer at 220 Triathlon magazine for two years before joining in 2017, and reports on all things tech as well as editing the live blog. He is also the news editor of our electric-powered sister site eBikeTips. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake. 

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