Sean Kelly's 'appendage' and other strange cycling tales
Bill Strickland, editorial director at Bicycling magazine in the US, kicked off an amazing Twitter thread at the weekend that will have you in stitches (and includes contributions from some familiar names) – plus a cameo from Sean Kelly’s “appendage.”
What is something true about you as a cyclist, or that really happened to you on a ride, but sounds like an exaggeration or fabrication?
— Bill Strickland (@TrueBS) January 10, 2020
Packing bikes into trailer at end of Tour stage in ‘92. A group of young ladies mistook our ramshackle bunch of badly dressed cycle tourists as pro riders and thrust autograph books at us. I signed G Lemond. I still feel guilty.
— Simon Warren (@100Climbs) January 11, 2020
I once got kidnapped by a mad farmer in the early 90s.He chained my MTB to his tractor and dragged it off so I jumped on board. One of my mates gave chase like in a film. Evetually he Kung fu kicked the farmer into a Rose bush whilst I got my bike back. We then rode off at speed.
— Matt Stephens (@RealStephens) January 11, 2020
Back in the day,while training, I ran some stop lights in Monaco and got arrested. Had no ID and they wouldn’t let me go. Desperate to get out I told them I was Lance. After some ohhs and ahhhs they sent me on my way.
— Frankie ANDREU (@FakieFrankie) January 10, 2020
The whole thread is worth a few minutes of your time, but we reckon the winner is …
Sean Kelly pissed on my bike in 2014 and I saw his appendage. I was sitting on his wheel during a sportive, my mate pushed him so he could have a pee. LONG LIVE THE KING https://t.co/KC1FLLZwDG pic.twitter.com/DRFSxMzMGj
— Angela Rose (@GoAngeNI) January 11, 2020
It's another Tour de France winner's birthday today ... Egan Bernal is 23
The current Tour de France champion would have been in nappies when Pantani, whom he describes as one of his inspirations, won the yellow jersey. And he's riding something a bit more high-tech (and expensive) than that toy horse these days ...
23 años y contando... Que nostalgia!!! pic.twitter.com/vCzUNfyoUb
— Egan Arley Bernal (@Eganbernal) January 13, 2020
Marco Pantani would have turned 50 today - here's one of his greatest victories
Marco Pantani, who in 1998 became the last rider to win the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in the same year, would have turned 50 today, with Bianchi, the brand he rode to those victories, among those paying tribute to il Pirata today.
— Bianchi (@BianchiOfficial) January 13, 2020
Many fans of Pantani, who died on St Valentine’s Day 2004, consider his greatest stage victory to have come in the following year’s Giro d’Italia on Stage 15 to Santuario di Oropa, near Biella in Piedmont.
Wearing the race leader’s maglia rosa, Pantani suffered a mechanical with around 10 kilometres to go, costing him half a minute to his rivals for the overall, including Team Polti’s Ivan Gotti.
What happened next was one of Pantani’s greatest exploits, as Bianchi recounted last year when it released a special edition of its Specialissima frameset to mark the 20th anniversary.
“Assisted by his teammates of the Mercatone Uno-Bianchi squad, Pantani regained contact with the leaders, before flying past them and forging onto the finish line alone – winning the stage and setting the fastest ever time on the climb to Santuario di Oropa," Bianchi said.
“It was perhaps his greatest performance, but he crossed the line without celebrating – believing there must still be some riders ahead.”
There weren’t, and Pantani also triumphed on the Alpe di Pompeago and at the Madonna del Ghisallo on Stages 19 and 20 and seemed destined to retain his title.
Ahead of the start of the following day’s penultimate stage, however, he was thrown off the race due to a haematocrit count beyond the permitted threshold (this being before a test for EPO had been formulated). Gotti went on to take the overall title.
In 2015, prosecutors suggested that the Camorra had been responsible for switching Pantani’s blood samples before the start of the stage, claiming the Naples-based criminal organisation allegedly set to face huge losses on illegal gambling should he have won the overall, although the case was subsequently closed by a judge.
Here's video of the Oropa climb from that 1999 Giro d’Italia stage – the commentary is in Italian, and even if you don’t speak the language, it adds to the excitement.
Chris Hamilton won't be going to the Tour Down Under... due to a pretty painful problem down under
Almost 2 weeks ago, I had a small crash in training. I wish I could say I was doing something gnarly, but no, just on a bike path. Nothing broken but since someone is going to ask what I did anyway, I ruptured a testicle. Yep. Fellas it's just as painful as you think it is. At the moment it's a bit unknown how long my recovery will take but at this stage all I can say is the surgery to do some repairs went well and I'll find out more in a follow up next week. I am pretty devastated to be sidelined for the Aussie summer, but who knows, maybe a change will be for the best! See you all out on the road soon
The 24-year-old Sunweb rider announced via his Instagram account that he's currently going through some testing times, after rupturing a testicle following a 'small crash' on a bike path while out training:
"Yep. Fellas it's just as painful as you think it is", said Hamilton. "At the moment it's a bit unknown how long my recovery will take but at this stage all I can say is the surgery to do some repairs went well and I'll find out more in a follow up next week.
"I am pretty devastated to be sidelined for the Aussie summer, but who knows, maybe a change will be for the best! See you all out on the road soon."
Two men inspired to ride 750 miles by 'grieving cat'
If you thought you had a heart of gold, you've got nothing on David McKevitt and Connor Dawson - who will cycle 750 miles from Sussex to Scotland to raise money for the Cats Protection charity, being inspired to act after feeding and looking after a cat whose owner they discovered was deceased.
54-year-old David from Lindfield, said: “Buddy started coming to our garden and using the cat flap, which made our cats quite stressed. We tried to discourage Buddy but then we were woken by the sound of him wolfing down our cats’ food as if it were his last meal.
“That’s when a neighbour told us about Buddy’s owner, who had passed away at his home and lay undiscovered for over a week. The reason for Buddy's unusual behaviour became clear and our hearts went out to him, so we started putting out extra food and leaving our cat flap open.
“We were thinking that we might adopt him but our cats were not happy with Buddy being around. That's when we made contact with Cats Protection to explain his situation. I managed to catch Buddy and, one morning after feeding him well, I took him in.
“It broke my heart listening to his cries during the journey, but the team at the National Cat Adoption Centre was amazing and assured me that Buddy would be well looked after. Soon after, we were overwhelmed to hear that they were able to find him a loving new forever home. Buddy was one of the lucky ones and his story prompted us to plan this bike ride to raise money for Cats Protection.”
The pair will start their ride on Saturday the 25th April, leaving from the National Cat Adoption Centre in Chelwood Gate and arriving in John O'Groats nine days later if all goes to plan - check out their JustGiving page here.
This might be the first time we've seen a pro level aero road monster worth five figures decked out with mudguards; we imagine some serious bodging may have been required for Empire Cycling to get them fitted successfully.
E-bikes worth £7,000 stolen in Weymouth
Police are appealing for witnesses after the break-in at Mud Sweat and Gears on New Year's Eve, with three high value e-bikes stolen - full story on eBikeTips.
Definitely not getting sent home...
— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) January 13, 2020
Apart from during this coffee stop, the four-time Tour de France champ has well and truly put the rumours his recovery has stalled to bed by posting consistent big rides for the last three days; this 158km jaunt with a huge 3,661m of elevation was ridden at around the same average speed as the activity posted by teammate Michal Kwiatkowski, which suggests Froome was riding with the group without issue. His ride distances on Friday and Saturday were 126km and 127km respectively, again taking in plenty of elevation around the mountainous volcanic island of Gran Canaria.
Merida to launch updated Reacto road bike
Merida has had a new version of its Reacto aero road bike approved by the UCI. The Reacto 4 approval is dated 28 November 2019; it can sometimes take a few weeks following approval for a bike to be added to the list. We guess that this updated Reacto will be officially launched some time in the spring.
Interestingly, just one version of the Reacto 4 is listed; there aren't separate disc brake and rim brake models. It could be that other versions have yet to be approved or it could be that, like some other brands, Merida will introduce a disc brake model only. We already know that the Bahrain McLaren team will only ride disc brake road bikes in 2020, so this is a strong possibility.
The top-level Merida Reacto is already an exceptionally good road bike, so it'll be interesting to see where Merida takes it next. The brand has made a KOM (King of the Mountains) superlight version of the rim brake Reacto in the past, but we don't imagine that the Reacto 4 is simply a lightened version of what's already out there... Merida will almost certainly be bringing new aero tech to the table.
New bike repair company Handlebars launches in London, converting empty buildings and spaces into workshops
Handlebars is a new start-up that converts empty and disused spaces around the capital into bike repair workshops to help commuters. They say: "The introduction of the Handlebars service is well timed as commuting via bicycle is becoming more popular and electric bikes are proving to be one of the fastest growing forms of travel. This shift is partly due to a growing concern for the environment, carbon footprint and pollution in city centres."
Handlebars say there are just 12 repair shops for every 20,000 people, leaving the growing number of cyclists with a lack of convenient options if they want to get a quick repair done without booking it in for days on end: "This means many cyclists neglecting maintenance, thereby posing a danger to both themselves and pedestrians", say Handlebars.
The workshop spaces are in areas of high cycling traffic, with small but fully functional workshops set up including all tools & parts with trained mechanics. The team includes Lee Askew, former head mechanic of DHB Canyon.
It's also supported by Brompton Bike Hire, who are loaning bikes to Handlebars customers while their bike is being repaired. The current sites are in Monument Station and St John’s Church Grounds in Shoreditch, with more set to open soon across more UK cities - check out the website here for more info and prices.
Riding home later?
You might want to check out our guide to riding in the wind! Some of those tips might not apply to commuters, so mix and match that advice with our top 10 cycle commuting mistakes and how to avoid them and you've got plenty of top tips for braving the gusts.
Breaking: Birmingham announces plans for private cars to be banned from driving through city centre
Good work Birmingham City Council. It would be great to see other councils, governments and city planners take inspiration from this worldwide so people of all abilities can be more confident with active transport #ThisCityMoves https://t.co/jN7MhhZPTP
— Brompton Bicycle (@BromptonBicycle) January 13, 2020
If it goes ahead, it could be the most expansive and significant move yet amongst the flurry of initiatives to cut emissions in UK cities, with cars set to be banned from 'crossing' Birmingham city centre. Drivers would still be able to get into the centre, but would need to go back out onto the ring road to access other areas.
York has already announced that private cars will be banned by 2023, and Bristol will ban diesel vehicles from the city centre by 2021 to improve air quality and bring them down to legal limits. Full story on today's announcement from Birmingham Council to follow.
National Pothole Day is coming...
The occasion that we wish didn't exist is on Wednesday 15th January, and we'll have interviews with a couple of renowned anti-pothole activists to 'celebrate'. In the meantime do send us your top pots and pothole stories, and we might just add them to our archives for future use...
Climate crisis is encouraging more people to take up cycling, say Cycling Scotland following new research
The survey - conduced biannually by Cycling Scotland - had some good and some not so good findings, with one of the biggest changes being the rise in people who say they cycle because of the climate crisis and concern for the environment - up from 12% to 22% since 2017. From the 13 minute interviews with 1,049 people, 79% also agreed that for the sake of the environment it would be better if more people cycled, 65% said Scotland would be 'a better place' if more people used bikes and 92% agreed it improved health and wellbeing.
Not so good was the stat that 72% of drivers said they would still rather use their cars than other modes of transport, and 32% had 'no interest' in taking up cycling or considering alternative transport options. 63% also said local roads were too busy to be safe for cycling, while 64% said cycling isn't a 'viable' way for them to travel.
Keith Irving, Chief Executive of Cycling Scotland, said: “This research is important as it provides a snapshot of how attitudes towards cycling are changing and helps inform where to direct our efforts. It’s encouraging to see the environmental agenda influencing transport choices and people saying how cycling could help to shape a greener, cleaner Scotland. But, that said, there is a lot of work still to be done.
“We want anyone, anywhere to be able to cycle easily and safely. As we enter a new decade, dedicated, inclusive cycling infrastructure – that reflects the various everyday journeys that people make – continues to be the biggest priority."
100% x MAAP S3 sunglasses launched
The shades specialists that supply Peter Sagan and the Aussie apparel brand have collaborated for the new limited edition S3, that come in Soft Tack Navy and Soft Tack Pink colourways. MAAP's 'M-Flag' logos are laser-etched into the lens, block logos are printed along the brow, and the fluoro nose pads add some extra bright colour so you stand out from the crowd/peloton.
They're available now for 180 euros, head over to the MAAP website to find out more and see your buying options.
Wind = worse than hills
Those who claim cycling is so prevalent in the Netherlands “because it’s flat” conveniently ignore the reality of riding in a coastal region where 75 km/h headwinds are the norm; turning the entire country into a giant hill.
Stop making excuses. Start building space for cycling. pic.twitter.com/V3vEYhyxHT
— Modacity (@modacitylife) January 12, 2020
At least I think so anyway, and according to the founders of Modacity it's no excuse to not cycle if you live in hillier climes than the Netherlands. Speaking of which, who's looking forward to the forecast 50mph gusts on the commute home this evening?
What could be more important than reading road.cc we don't know, but if you have been otherwise engaged over the weekend here's what you've missed...