“A f*cking disaster” – top London cycling café on PM’s coronavirus speech; Cyclists banned from riding outside in Spain + Italy: Retailer reports home trainer panic buying; Bike shops open, sex shops close in NL; 3T x BMW Exploro launch +more on live blog

Jack Sexty is in charge of your live blog to start the week, with Simon MacMichael adding some titbits later this evening
16 March 2020, 21:16
"A f*cking disaster" - popular London cycling venue responds to PM's coronavirus statement

It's fair to say that Boris Johnson's statement on coronavirus earlier this evening has not gone down well with the hospitality sector in general and smaller operators in particular.

By advising the public to maintain social distance by not visiting pubs, bars or restaurants, while at the same time not announcing measures to protect such businesses, the sector is left in limbo.

On the one hand, it faces a downturn in trade that inevitably will push some to the wall; on the other, unlike some other countries, no outright closure means they cannot claim on insurance.

London bike cafe and workshop Look Mum No Hands, which also hosts cycling-related events throughout the year, was particularly damning in its response.

It's difficult to blame them.

16 March 2020, 20:17
The best Frank Zappa playing a tune on a bike video you will see today

Three years before his 1966 debut album Freak Out! with the Mothers of Invention, Frank Zappa - often termed the "Godfather of comedy rock" through his singular lyrics and let's say experimental approach to composition - was on American TV playing a tune on, of all things, a bicycle. Enjoy, and read the full story here.

16 March 2020, 18:53
Contador's coronavirus training plan

The former Tour de France champ is live streaming his indoor sessions for some inspiration to those training in quarantine - follow him on Insta here for wise training tips and bike porn. 

16 March 2020, 18:41
3T partner with BMW for a "trendy urban" version of the Exploro
3T exploro bmw version

Like gravel bikes and tailgating? This collaboration between 3T and BMW could be just the bike for you - bringing "sheer cycling pleasure to BMW customers" according to 3T, it's modelled on their popular Exploro and has been given two colourways in its BMW-branded guise - grey/grey and grey/blue. They're priced at 5,499 euros each, and are available from 3T's website now

Check out our review of the 3T Exploro Pro GRX 2020 (not BMW-afied) here and check out the launch vid below. 

16 March 2020, 18:38
Life in quarantine: taking cars off the road

Maybe there are some positives to take out of all this after all... now just to get the drivers of those cars on bikes! 

16 March 2020, 18:21
Wanna go from 'basic' to 'edgy' in a flash? You need sexy leg harnesses made from 'upcycled' inner tubes
Sexy leg harnesses upcycled inner tube - via Laura Zabo.PNG

In our second instalment of ' after hours', we bring you news of a steamy new way to upcycle your inner tubes... turn them into 'sexy leg harnesses' with adjustable buckles, of course. 

Laura Zabo boldly say of their creation: "Laura Zabo is for the metropolitan warrior who wants to stand out and care for the environment.

"Wear them with a short, minidress or skirt and take your outfit from basic to edgy in a flash."

Fancy a pair, you can buy them here for £39. 

16 March 2020, 17:28
Sex shops closed, but bike shops still open in the Netherlands
amsterdam sex shop

It's pre-watershed yes, but we're bringing you the first of two risque stories a little early this evening... and it's a win for bike shops in the Netherlands amid the coronavirus outbreaks, but not such good news for the many sex shops that frequent the capital city of Amsterdam. 

Forbes report that sex clubs, cannabis cafes, saunas, and some shops were closed as of 6pm yesterday, but as bike shops are an essential service in the "bicycle kingdom" of the Netherlands, they are not affected as is the case in Italy and Spain. 

20 people have died from COVID-19 in the Netherlands so far according to the Dutch public health institute RIVM, with well over 1,000 cases reported. 


16 March 2020, 17:26
What life is like for those who don't like sport, according to the UK's foremost crisp salesman

Even if Mr Lineker isn't talking about Strade Bianche or Paris-Roubaix, we'd have to concur!

16 March 2020, 15:43
More of your comments on the situation for cyclists in Spain and Italy
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coronavirus fb comments - 16th march 1.PNG

People seem to be split on whether it's right that bans on cycling have been enforced on cycling in Spain and Italy: "You cannot bike nor run, but you can go to the shopping mall, where's the logic?", asks Adam Ossowski who is stuck in Mallorca. 

coronavirus fb comments - 16th march 3.PNG

Or perhaps as Alistair How suggests, it's all a Zwift-spiracy... 

16 March 2020, 15:40
Potholes: Nine out of ten councils failing to meet own targets to fix on time
huge pothole - credit shaun wyllie on facebook.PNG

Pothole Watch is calling for a ‘fix it first’ policy that would bring roads up to "acceptable standards" according to Cycling UK, who note that only one in ten councils are meeting their own target times to fix potholes. ​

Their Campaigns Manager Keir Gallagher said: “While the Government talks about “levelling up” the country’s infrastructure, the reality is that millions of miles of roads in the UK aren’t fit for purpose in the first place, and cyclists are being put at risk. The small increase in pothole funding in the budget, from £1.3 bn to £1.5 bn in the next year, will do little to tackle the huge backlog of cases which have built up on local roads across the country.”

The simple truth is that local authorities cannot deal with this issue without a long-term funding commitment from Government, enabling them to plan ahead as opposed to constantly trying to play catch-up with the ever-expanding pothole crisis.”

An FOI request in November revealed that one cyclist a week was killed or seriously injured due to road defects in the last five years, while a new £500 million potholes fund was recently announced in the budget; although Cycling UK criticised the government's lack of investment in cycling and walking infrastructure.  

16 March 2020, 15:08
Dowsett sets up Insta page to help small cycling businesses

A post shared by Bike Businesses (@supportlocalbikebusiness) on

With the coronavirus outbreak set to disrupt small cycling businesses, pro rider Alex Dowsett and ThighsClub founder Chanel have set up an Instagram page to promote local cycling businesses, hopefully giving them the boost that they might need to see them through the period of uncertainty.

Got a local cycling business that you think might need a hand? DM the page with your suggestions.

16 March 2020, 11:23
First toilet rolls, now turbos: retailer reports 'panic buying' of indoor bike trainers
Kickr Snap TV (Wahoo Fitness).jpg

We've heard on the grapevine that a leading retailer in the cycling market is seeing a surge in sales for indoor bike trainers; most likely folk who anticipate not being able to ride outside for the foreseeable. We'll do some more digging and see if we can get any confirmation of the scale of the alleged 'panic buying'. 

16 March 2020, 09:40
Coronavirus lockdown in Spain: an update from a reader
mallorjca deserted due to coronavirus - terry hunt via facebook

After we initially posted photos of cyclists being stopped and fined for riding outside in Spain, Terry Hunt got in touch to give us an insight into how things are currently in Mallorca. Saying that he was stopped by police and sent back to his hotel yesterday wth talk of a €1000 fine, Mr Hunt told

"I suppose the atmosphere is best described as one of disappointment, but also people understand why.

"Yesterday, morning (Sunday), there seemed a lot of confusion as to whether we could go out riding, no one could give us a straight answer. Some people decided not to to risk it, others did, including myself and a few people I met here.

"Our ride for the day was to the lighthouse at the Cap de Formentor. We managed 2.5 miles before some other cyclists warned us about a road block ahead, so we decided to turn back and try a different route.

"Another two miles later and we were stopped by the police (they were stopping everyone on bikes including locals) and were asked to return to our hotel. A quick stop at the supermarket for some snacks and then we were at the poolside, luckily the sun was shining yesterday.

"One group from the UK who are staying at the same hotel did venture out and got a full day's riding in. In the end, the hotel advised we could only leave to go to a supermarket or pharmacy. All bars and restaurants are closed."

16 March 2020, 10:40
Breaking: Halfords Group considering closing Cycle Republic stores and Boardman Performance Centre
Cycle Republic Purley.jpg

An email just landed in our inbox states that the Group is proposing to close operations of Cycle Republic and the Boardman Performance Centre, and has entered into a consultation with colleagues affected - more on this in a full story soon. 

16 March 2020, 09:06
"They have to hit us in the pockets so we understand": cyclist fined by police for riding outside in quarantined Spain

It would have been unthinkable to be typing this out a couple of weeks ago - in fact a member of the team recently returned from a product launch in Spain - but this is now the reality in a country that is the second-worst hit country in Europe for coronavirus cases. 

With cyclists waking up on Sunday to a two-week state of alarm that ordered everyone to stay indoors, this also included a ban on riding bikes; which means being stopped by police, fines or even arrest for those caught breaking the rules. The cyclist in the photo above is reportedly one of those who was stopped shortly after the rules were introduced, and he wasn't the only one... 

The comments under the post reflect some confusion towards the government's message, with one noting that hairdressers and tobacconists are allowed to stay open while cycling is banned. Another says that people won't listen until they're hit in the pockets with fines, while it's also noted that some pro cyclists are still allowed to train outside. 

Is a similar ban coming to the UK soon? It's looking that way... 

16 March 2020, 08:53
"This could be devastating for a lot of them": Bradey Wiggins talks about potential impact of coronavirus on pro cycling

Although acknowledging that cycling isn't important "in the grand scheme of things", Wiggins fears for the livelihoods of pro team riders and staff with the 2020 calendar effectively cancelled for the forseeable.

He said: "Cycling is the least important thing compared to other things in life, but this is still their livelihoods. 

" We keep saying ‘it’s only sport’ but for these guys the financial implications for the sponsors and teams – this could be devastating for a lot of them."

"It did seem odd that, with everything else going [being cancelled] and the crisis in Italy at the moment and just the outpouring of love for Italy that we were going very close to their [Paris-Nice] towards Nice with a massive bike race, celebrating that, when this thing is getting very serious.

"There’s no toilet roll, no paracetamol, and this massive bike race is going on.

"You see the Premier League is going and those things, and you think, why did Paris-Nice ever go ahead really, when we’d already lost Tirreno-Adriatico and teams…?"

Co-host Matt Stephens commented: "This situation is fluid and it is totally unprecedented in our lifetimes. When you put into context that Flanders has never been cancelled in 100 years, including the war years, it just shows you.

"For the cycling calendar it’s more than disruptive. Organisations, race organisers, promoters are going to be losing money; teams have got no exposure for their investment.

"Within the grand scheme of things, cycling is relatively insignificant because it’s the welfare of people that is at the forefront of all of this."


16 March 2020, 08:54
The time has come for the Viz 'Clag-Gone'
viz clag-o-gone.JPG

With loo roll running out and all of us facing the very real threat of not being able to ride outdoors, the Clag-Gone from 'Britain's third or fourth funniest magazine could bw just the thing we need in these times of crisis. Check out the Viz website for more epic silliness.  

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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