Lego may come from the cycling heartland of Denmark, but a campaign to have bike lanes included in the play world has come from the other country that vies for the crown of the world’s best place for cyclists, the Netherlands.
Backed by University of Amsterdam urban planning associate professor Marco te Brömmelstroet regional councillor Marcel Steeman has launched a campaign to have cycling recognised as part of the brick brand’s road infrastructure.
“I was playing with Lego with my kids and there were Lego cyclists, but I wondered where they had to cycle,” he told DutchNews.nl.
“If you are Dutch you are used to having cycling lanes.”
Not one to hold back, Steeman challenged Matthew Ashton, producer of the Lego movies, on the issue a couple of years back.
“Things started happening quickly,” he said. “I had 2,000 Likes on Twitter in two and a half weeks, and lots of positive reactions. I thought that I could get 10,000 supporters for Lego ideas, so I set to work.”
Without success to date, sadly, as he explains. “The problem is that Lego is a worldwide company and traffic rules are not the same.
“You can draw a red Dutch path, but it doesn’t work in the US or Australia, or even Denmark, which has blue cycling lanes.”
He hasn’t given up hope, however. “It touches a nerve with many people,” he added.
Given that West London was bathed in sunshine this lunchtime, and the strong winds of the past two days had settled down, a certain member of the road.cc team decided to have a pleasant ride down to the river and crack on with the afternoon’s work there.
What follows is a salutary tale on why, besides being familiar with the Highway Code, you should also sometimes take a look at the tide tables, whether on two wheels or four.
The first two pictures below were taken by the river at Richmond-upon-Thames at around 4.15pm – with another two and a quarter hours to go until high tide, which is 6.30pm this evening.
Within 10 minutes, the Thames was up to here on the vehicle.
At this point, dear readers, your correspondent’s gaze turned to his bike and … BLOODY HELL!
Feet got wet in the retrieval of it, and it got parked somewhere more sensible and out of harm’s way (well, that was the idea, but read on).
By now, the car was turning into something of a local tourist attraction.
Shortly afterwards, the owner of the vehicle turned up, shouted “That’s my car!” and waded into the Thames.
For a moment, at looked as though he were about to open the door, but shouts of “DON’T!” from bystanders discouraged him, and he made his sorry way up the aptly-named Water Lane to … well, who knows? Call his insurers, or a vehicle recovery service?
So, back to the bike. It was swiftly becoming apparent that without a quick change of venue, your road.cc journo and his bike – and dog – would not be going anywhere in the next there hours.
Another 15 seconds, and that’s what would have happened. Feet (but not paws, she is small enough to pick up) got wet again, and the bike was safely taken up the hill to drier land.
In the meantime, once the engine had flooded, the brake and hazard lights of the car started flashing in some eerie appeal for help.
At the time of publication, there are still five minutes to go until high tide.
The Tour De France -winning Welshman all but confirmed at the end of this fascinating interview with Bob Babbitt (skip to around 34:30 mins) that he will be moving to Ironman triathlon when his glittering professional cycling career ends.
"I used to swim as a kid and did a few triathlons. When I retire from professional cycling I definitely want to do an Ironman, or maybe even a few. I'll do the Wales one (Ironman Wales) first, I've heard the bike course is quite hard so that could play in my favour.
"I think I'll need something when I stop (cycling), if I stop in three or four years, this is my fourteenth year now and I could end up doing 18 years as a pro. Add a couple of years as an amateur and a junior and that's 20-odd years where that's all you do and all you think about. You've always got a goal within two or three months.
"To then just stop and not have anything would be tough, so why not an Ironman I guess?"
Thomas' former Team Sky teammate Cam Wurf is now one of the world's best Ironman triathletes, and the pair still train together in all disciplines during their off-seasons.
Swedish electric motorbike manufacturers CAKE are now allowing mtb'ers who have a particularly steep journey to their favourite trail to have their cake and eat it, with the launch of the Ösa. This crazy contraption is described as a "clean and efficient commuter vessel with integrated power", and is capable of going on or off-road. It's also highly modular and can serve many different purposes as well as the trail bike transportation, with loads of space for cargo, skis and you can even turn it into a work bench.
You can check out CAKE's website here, and the Ösa is available to pre-order now.
Boswell will race for Wahoo Fitness on a circuit that will include gravel and endurance mtb events; he will also chronicle his journey from the road to the dirt in Wahoo's new Frontiers campaign, that will include videos and podcasts.
Boswell joins defending Dirty Kanza winners Amity Rockwell and Colin Strickland, triathlete Heather Jackson and defending Belgian Waffle Ride champ Peter Stetina on the Wahoo Fitness roster, with all sponsored athletes getting Wahoo Elemnt Roam GPS computers to help them navigate and Kickr smart trainers for training at home.
Boswell said: "When Wahoo came to me with this idea for a gravel project in 2020, it immediately seemed like the perfect next step. I think gravel cycling and these events are still being discovered and what's possible is still unknown, to me it is a sense of community and a new way to test and push myself."
To follow the Frontiers campaign, visit wahoofitness.com/frontiers.
- he wants to double cyclist numbers by 2024
- this will be done by making streets safer + more appealing
- in London last year, we had the highest increase in cycling on record pic.twitter.com/uXMuvAKT5z
— Cyclehoop (@cyclehoop) January 15, 2020
The Mayor's Walking and Cycling Commissioner was speaking at the Cycle Rail awards today, described as "an annual event that recognises how Cycle Rail integration has become a great rail industry success story". Anyone who's ever tried to hook a bike on one of the new vertical racks on a Great Western Railway train might beg to differ, but even so Cycle Rail say an additional 80,000 cycle parking spaces have been introduced at UK rail stations since 2012... so if you cycle to the station and leave it there, you're all good.
Cycle Rail continue: "Sustrans and the Cycle Rail Working Group are delighted to support these continued efforts to get the population more active (thereby reducing avoidable calls on the NHS), to reduce carbon emissions and to tackle local poor air quality whilst easing traffic congestion."
This means a gain of almost bn EUR per year for employers around the EU #Bike2work
— ECF (@EuCyclistsFed) January 15, 2020
If your boss is dithering on signing the company up for that Cycle to Work scheme, show them this!
You're not a real cyclist until you've been told that cyclists travel too fast and too slow in the same meeting. https://t.co/SeXUZHUx26
— HumanOnAHireBike (@WtrlvileCyclist) January 14, 2020
You own a pair of road.cc socks?
This thread continues to roll on, and it appears most cyclists on Twitter don't have a lot positive to say about riding on the road, particularly when it comes to sharing it with motorists.
This cyclist fancied his chances against the waves on Southend seafront yesterday pic.twitter.com/1kpv3pVale
— Your Southend (@YourSouthend) January 15, 2020
With the camera operator describing the hardy rider as "a crazy ba**ard and "a nutter", the cyclist has a bit of a wobble trying to navigate around a car half-submerged in water, before remarkably managing to get on his way without much incident.
What's crazier is that car parked illegally on the seafront really...
— 10 News First Adelaide (@10NewsFirstAdl) January 15, 2020
As the Tour Down Under is set to get going in Adelaide this week, locals who aren't so enthusiastic about cycling taking over their city are even less impressed with footage of this cyclist drafting a truck, that has been widely shared online. The male rider is yet to be identified, but according to 10 First News police have described his actions as 'irresponsible and dangerous and are even considering charging him with a traffic offence.
But one person's tailgating is another's slipstreaming, and many have come to the defence on various corners of the internet where the clip was shared saying the cyclist was simply sitting in behind the truck to save a bit of time and energy.
Is vehicle drafting ever ok? Let us know your thoughts of course...
I’m not sure if you ever going to win an argument with me, but you will win some more stages also without me! Thanks for the memories and the friendship mate. All the best in 2020! https://t.co/ALmowYmRUD
— Bernhard Eisel (@EiselBernhard) January 15, 2020
After Bernhard Eisel announced that he ha called time on his career yesterday, his pal and former colleague Mark Cavendish has come out to pay tribute. Will Bernie's premonition about Cav's future stage victories come true?
Celebrity chef Tom Kerridge visited the Gloucester Bike Project as part of his Lose Weight and Get Fit series to find himself a bike... and then got distracted by a pedal-powered smoothie maker. Kerridge cycled up a lovely pre-ride concoction for his brothers-in-law Dan and Alex consisting of banana, oats, coffee, cocoa powder and milk.
The latest aero bike to go super clean and integrated is the Transonic from Fuji, which they say has done the now-standard hours in the wind tunnel plus a shed load of CFD analysis to come up with something that will help you slice through the wind like butter.
The Americans have replaced the rounded tubes of old with truncated airfoils on this new version to maximise aerodynamics, and they've also kept the geometry reasonably comfortable so it's suitable for day-long rides too. A fully integrated handlebar and stem with an integrated computer mount compete the look, and the disc brake calipers fit within the stays and front fork to be shielded from the wind.
We've not seen one for sale online with the SRAM Red AXS groupset as shown above yet, but the 2.1 version with Shimano Dura-Ace and Oval Concept wheels can be ordered now on Chain Reaction Cycles for £4,799.
Nibali's 'morning tour' of Mallorca including the brutal Cap de Formentor, totalling over 237km and featuring 2,383m of elevation and ridden at a brisk 35.6km/h. The Italian has moved to Trek-Segafredo for the 2020 season, and is looking to recapture the form that won him the overall classification at the Giro in 2013 and the Tour de France in 2014.
It’s National Pothole Day, so here’s our favourite pothole related photo pic.twitter.com/bsxzmDCzCK
— Charles Trent Ltd (@CharlesTrentLtd) January 15, 2020
This gem originally came from the York Press a few months back, when a Mr Grant Parker realised a giant crater that opened up after he had driven past in his Volvo Estate car was big enough for him to climb in.
It's doing the rounds today of all days, as a new survey from Tarmac of 2,000 road users - including cyclists, drivers and motorcyclists - revealed potholes are the biggest bugbear of all on the roads. Eight out of ten said they regularly had to navigate around potholes whenever they took to the road, and a fifth said they had been involved in a pothole-related accident or collision.
Of the top 20 road annoyances, potholes were first, drivers who don't indicate were second and tailgaters were third. Even though cyclists were included amongst those surveyed, cyclists were cited as the fifth-biggest annoyance. I reckon we can guess what cyclists' biggest annoyance on the road is...
Paul Fleetham, managing director of contracting at Tarmac, said: “Potholes may seem like a minor problem - but they cause millions of people financial and physical damage each year.
“Our research shows that the vast majority of city-dwellers are fed up with the inconvenience they cause. It is therefore essential that road maintenance in England and Wales receives adequate government funding.
“We need to move to a longer-term proactive approach to funding that focuses on the social value of our roads, managing the network as a vital asset with proper preventative structural maintenance."
Tarmac also found that 700,000 potholes across England were reported in 2018/19, which would add up to an estimated 28km of pure pothole.
— Mr Pothole (@mrpotholeuk) January 15, 2020
Britain's foremost anti-pothole activist Mark Morrell, affectionately known as Mr Pothole, has brought out the tanks in the battle to save our roads from their current state of disrepair. We've spoken to the man himself, so check back for an interview later today on road.cc.
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 road.cc in 2017, and reports on all things tech as well as editing the road.cc 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.