Grant Shapps panned for Bikeability tweet; Want to buy a bike shop?; 90-year-old aiming for 5 hour 100 mile TT; Govt underspending on cycling; Impatient cyclist climbs level crossing barrier + more on the live blog

It's Friday! Jack Sexty is here to provide your lead live blog coverage today with Alex Bowden chipping in with the rhythm section intermittently.....
07 February 2020, 17:04
Pssst - wanna buy a bike shop?

If you do, we know of one for sale! Green Park Bike Station, in, erm, Green Park Station in Bath. Where we live.

Pros: It's a good little shop with a nice line in servicing and bike rentals
Cons: It's two doors down from us so we'll always be popping in to borrow the torque wrench.

07 February 2020, 15:47
"Sadly it doesn't give any guarantee of safety": Transport Secretary Grant Shapps panned for Bikeability tweet

We reported this morning that the government has announced Bikeability training is to be significantly expanded so that every child in England will be offered access to it. Campaigners welcomed the news, but said that without safe places ride, the investment could not be maximised. Twitter appeared to agree in response to the Transport Secretary's post on the matter... 

Do you think Bikeability is essential to keep children safer on the streets, or is it just papering over the cracks? Let us know your thoughts and any alternative suggestions in the comments...  

07 February 2020, 15:32
90-year-old Peter Hornell is aiming to ride a 100 mile time trial in a shade over 5 hours

The East Anglian Daily Times reports that this year at the age of 90, Mr Hornell is looking to beat the incredible mark of 5:19:45 he set in 2019.

He's been a competitive cyclist since 1946, starting out for Chelmsford CTC at the age of 14 before moving to the Chelmer CC club in 1947, who has has competed for ever since - in total, Mr Hornell has ridden competitively for 74 years. 

In more recent times, he counts 2015 as his best year when he won the Veteran Time Trial Association's best all-rounder award aged 85. 

07 February 2020, 14:34
The Government update Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy... and reveal they only spent half what they said they would on cycling last year

With credit to Alex Ingram for delving into the report before we've had the chance (a full story will follow), the updated document reveals that of the £2.4 billion allocated to cycling and walking between 2016/17 and 2020/21, only half has actually been spent with less than two years of the plan to go. The government says they realise they aren't investing enough to meet their target of doubling cycling by 2025, and that "substantial further investment is therefore required over the next five-year period."

07 February 2020, 12:43
The courageous Josh Quigley picks up a bike from Shand Cycles to complete his round-the-world quest

27-year-old Quigley's dogged determination to complete his mission despite having a bike stolen, having to return home from Australia to replace a sweat-damaged passport and getting hit by a car at 70mph amongst other stumbling blocks has been rewarded by Scottish bike brand Shand Cycles, who have sponsored him and supplied a custom-built Shand Stoater for the rest of his trip. 

Quigley's most recent setback was a horrific crash in Texas just before Christmas, when a driver hit him at 70mph. He says: “I’m very excited to be working with Shand Cycles and very grateful to them for building me a new custom-built bike.

“If all goes to plan this will be the bike that I finish cycling around the world on and I look forward to getting back out there when my rehabilitation is complete. I never once doubted I would finish this challenge after the crash and when I’m fit and well, we’ll go out there and finish what we started.”

The mental health campaigner's story has been one of remarkable bad luck, and equally remarkable resoluteness to one day achieve his goal: Quigley first set off to cycle the world five years ago, and once got 10,000 miles in before abandoning one of numerous attempts in 2016. After setting off in April 2019 for attempt number six, he was fined for cycling in a pedestrian zone in Bedford and had his bike stolen before he even crossed the channel. After cycling through Australia, he was then unable to fly to the US to continue because his passport was too damaged by sweat. After returning home to get a new one and flying to America, Quigley was then nearly killed in the December crash. 

A true British hero if there ever was one, who has more than earned that handsome new steed... 

07 February 2020, 13:24
NYPD launching 100-person unit 'solely focused on reducing cyclist and pedestrian deaths'

New York's Police Department say they are fully committed to 'Vision Zero', the aim to end cyclist and pedestrian deaths in the city, and are backing this up by deploying a 100-strong unit focusing on traffic enforcement at hot spots where cyclists and pedestrians have been killed, reports the New York Post

Deaths actually increased for the first time in 2019 since Vision Zero was launched by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2014, and he admitted that there was a lot more work to do to make the streets safer; the 'Vision Zero Unit' is set to be launched in Spring, with enforcement focusing on speeding drivers, failure to yield and catching drink drivers. Cycle campaigners have been sceptical, and in the past the NYPD have been accused of reacting to deaths by increasing enforcement on cyclists, rather than punishing poor driving. 

Transportation Alternatives spokesman Joe Cutrufo said: “We’re starting to see the city understand that trucks are disproportionately dangerous.

“I hope that this unit focuses its efforts on what’s truly causing dangerous conditions on our streets, and not on cyclists and jaywalkers.”


07 February 2020, 13:09
Thought cycling in the UK was a struggle? Try Botswana...

BBC Future Planet report that cyclists face particularly bad hostility in the landlocked Afircan nation, because bikes are seen as 'archaic' and cars are viewed as prestigious. With the number of cars registered in the past decade doubling partly as a result of these feelings, pollution is on the rise. Wiston Modise, a physicist at the University of Botswana, said: “The state of air pollution in Gaborone is worrisome. The city is growing, and urban migration means more cars.

“High traffic congestion can result in high levels of pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, lead and hydrocarbons that pose major threats to human health, especially in the morning and afternoons during peak hours. City dwellers could suffer from respiratory diseases.”  

Cycle campaigner Mpaphi Ndubo wants cycling to be encouraged in the Botswana's captial city Gaborone as an affordable and emissions-free method of transport, and for the country to "fall back in love with cycling." 

07 February 2020, 09:52
Video: Impatient cyclist climbs over level crossing safety barriers

It's been suggested that we describe this as 'not the most level-headed decision'.

The Liverpool Echo reports that the incident took place at Aughton Road level crossing at Birkdale station, near Southport. The footage was shot by a motorist waiting on the opposite side.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: "Ignoring the warning lights, sirens or barriers at a level crossing is not only incredibly dangerous, it is also illegal.

"You may be in a hurry. You may use a level crossing every day. You may even think you know when the train is coming. But if you take a chance you’re putting your life, and train passengers' lives, at risk."

A spokesperson for British Transport Police spokesperson said: "Misusing level crossings is very dangerous and can have disastrous consequences.

"We ask anyone who witnesses such incidents to report it to us by texting 61016."

07 February 2020, 11:45
Government "on a highway to failure" in getting more people active says Cycling UK

We've just updated our story about the expansion of the Bikeability training programme with the response from Cycling UK.

Chief Executive Paul Tuohy said: “Projects like Bikeability and the Big Bike Revival provide the skills for safer cycling to some of the people who need it the mos. It’s fantastic to see the Government continue to back programmes that deliver and are helping thousands of people every year on their cycling journeys.

“However we won’t get millions more cycling unless there’s further significant investment in infrastructure. Without it the Government is on a highway to failure in getting more people active. Funding for cycling and walking between 2020 and 2025 must increase to between £6 and £8bn to meet the Government’s own targets to double cycle use and increase walking.”

07 February 2020, 11:25
Scottish Government to face public inquiry because £3bn A9 upgrade doesn’t include cycle path

The 273-mile A9 runs from Falkirk in central Scotland to Thurso in the far north. The Scottish government has plans to dual the section between Aviemore and Carrbridge at a cost of £3bn, but The Scotsman reports that these plans do not currently accommodate cyclists.

The Cairngorms National Park Authority chief executive Grant Moir said: "The authority along with Highland Council and three community councils has objected to the A9 Dalraddy to Slochd section because the scheme proposed does not have a multi-use path linking Aviemore with Carrbridge.

“One of the objectives of the entire dualling project is to facilitate active travel and this section provides the opportunity to create a segregated multi-use path, either on or off route, similar to that already provided between Aviemore from Kingussie.

“Increasing active travel is an important part of tackling the climate emergency in Scotland and delivering public health outcomes.”

07 February 2020, 11:10
The Government has announced that its Bikeability training programme will be significantly expanded
07 February 2020, 09:26
Zwift Richmond update

With a raging storm set to batter many parts of the UK this weekend, many of you lot will be firing up Zwift for a spot of pedalling. And just in time, Zwift has issued an update to its Richmond course, the first 'world' that was based on actual roads used for the world champs a few years ago.

It's fair to say it's not been the most possible world since those early days, but Zwift has given it a refresh. You can now ride the routes in both directions, which means new timed KOM and sprint sections, as well as three new routes, according to Zwift Insider.

07 February 2020, 09:12
Dutch cyclocross star Manon Bakker fired for allegedly using DT Swiss wheels instead of team-sponsored Miche

Dutch and Belgian media are reporting that 20-year-old Bakker, who finished 5th in the U23 category at the world championships last weekend, has been sacked with immediate effect four by her team Experza CX Pro Team. 

Speaking to Omroep Flevoland, Bakker has responded by saying: "I didn't see it coming, everything seemed normal. I have never experienced anything like this before and I do not know what is wise to say and what is not. That's why I don't want to say too much about it. "

Her now ex-team manager also said "it's not about doping, it's not that bad", and from looking at the photo above and scouring social media, it would appear that the use of using non-sponsored equipment without permission is the most likely reason... 

Quite clearly in the photo Bakker is using DT Swiss wheels, when her team's wheel sponsor is Miche - Ben Atkins also notes that she's using Ducast tubular tyres instead of team-sponsored Challenge rubber. 

Harsh to jeopardise a promising young rider's career at the drop of a hat, or should Bakker have at least covered the decals? Let us know your thoughts as always... 

07 February 2020, 09:07
Mobile disc brake bleeding solution

Here's a top tip if you ever need to bleed your disc brakes at a race or event and you don't have a handy workstand. Just use the boot lid of you estate car.

07 February 2020, 08:44
Those confetti photos from the CX World Champs? It's all down to one man...

If you happen to have noticed confetti in any of the photos from this year's cyclocross world champs, you might be forgiven for thinking it was placed there as part of an official photo op of some sorts... however Sporza have unveiled that it's simply because of a bloke called Andy, who rocks up to races with a confetti cannon and waits for the perfect moment for when the photographers are prowling. 

"The timing is crucial," he explains in a video on Sporza's website. "If the riders come, then 10 meters is too early. 8 meters is too early. 3.5 meters? That's when you go. If the rider is at 3 meters that's perfect to let the cannon go off, then the confetti is nicely spread over the rider.

"If the photographers can get pictures at the finish line with the riders coming through the confetti, you have to admit that's unique." 

For your services to improving cyclocross photography, we salute you Andy...

07 February 2020, 08:32
Katusha mark entrance onto women's World Tour with made-to-measure kit for Bigla-Katusha women's team

After years of partnership with teams on the men's World Tour (most recently Katusha-Alpecin) Katusha are now providing bespoke, made-to-measure kit for the Bigla-Katusah women's pro team riders in 2020. 

Katusha's CEO Alexis Schoeb said: “Working with an open brief we were able to design a truly stand out kit, different and unique in the peloton. To be able to bring our technology driven methodology in, and balance it with a bespoke design has been a great experience.”

The aqua blue colourways fit in with the colour scheme already running through the team's Chapter2 bikes, Tacx bottles and Endura helmets for some top notch colour-matching style. 

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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