Cancel all group rides; Poll: How is social distancing affecting your riding?; French Open tennis shows cycling how to cancel events; TdF T-Rex; Wiggo asks why Paris-Nice went ahead; Arnie on his bike; Hazmat cycling; Audax events suspended + more

Today's live blog with Alex Bowden (daytime) and Simon MacMichael (evening)...
17 March 2020, 19:01
Tour de France T-Rex spotted stockpiling at Tesco

Everyone's favourite T-Rex has been spotted stockpiling at a supermarket in Ireland's County Wexford.

If you're struggling with the Tour de France reference, let us refresh your memory on one of THE highlights of last year's race, together with some advice from our favourite Beefeaters.

17 March 2020, 18:36
Tennis French Open shows decisiveness bike race owners lack

Grand Slam tennis tournament Roland Garros - better known outside its home country as the French Open - has been postponed until the autumn, its owners displaying a decisiveness in rescheduling the event, due to have been held in Paris from 24 May to 7 June, that has been lacking among the organisers of some of cycling's biggest races who seemed determined to press ahead until government lockdowns made it impossible to continue racing.

The French Tennis Federation has said that the two-week tennis tournament will now start on 20 September, and admittedly there are other reasons behind the decision to announce the postponement early, with construction works now halted at the Roland Garros stadium complex in the French capital's swishy 16th arrondisement.

But from a cycling point of view, one of the striking features of the evolving coronavirus crisis in Europe is that bike race organisers - and above all, the two biggest in the business, Tour de France owners ASO and Giro d'Italia organisers RCS Sport - have not been proactive in seeking to reschedule events.

It took a walkout from a number of leading teams, and emergency measures implemented by the Italian government, for the latter to decide, reluctantly, that this month's three big races, Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, and Milan-San Remo, could not go ahead.

Similarly, with President Macron announcing yet more restrictions on movement of people and holding large events just last night, it seems astonishing that it was only this afternoon that ASO decided that next month's major French races - Paris-Roubaix, the Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege - should not be held.

Commercial considerations play a part in that, doubtless - while not the money spinners in terms of media ownership rights that their respective three-week Grand Tours are, with the UCI unable to guarantee that the races can be held later in the season, both ASO and RCS Sport stand to take a hit to their bottom line this year.

17 March 2020, 18:36
17 March 2020, 17:51
Paris-Roubaix's off

ASO have said La Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege are off too.

Technically, they're postponed rather than cancelled at this stage.

17 March 2020, 17:43
Video: Trying to find a bit of balance in our cycling news output

Here's some.

17 March 2020, 17:38
The Milano-Sanremo virtual experience

In the absence of Milan-Sanremo, Garmin Edge and Tacx have got together to off a virtual version of the last 57km on the day the race would have taken place (Saturday March 21).

You’ll need Garmin Edge bike computer (such as the Edge 520, Edge 530, Edge 820, Edge 830, Edge 1000 or Edge 1030) and a smart trainer.

Tacx Desktop App users can import the track onto their platform and ride in front of their screen (on computer, tablet or smartphone).

The stretch in question, from Alassio to Sanremo, includes the route’s most famous climbs – the ‘Tre Capi’, the Cipressa and the Poggio – before arriving at Via Roma in Sanremo.

You can find registration and a tutorial here.

Sorry, we haven’t found an English version of the page.

17 March 2020, 16:31
Updates on Indian Pacific Wheel Race and other bikepacking events

The Indian Pacific Wheel Race is still on.

For more info on the status of bikepacking events, see this Dotwatcher page.

17 March 2020, 15:42
From the comments: racing while keeping your distance


Time trialling first came about because racing was banned on British roads.

With group riding off the menu and time trials cancelled, technology means people still have an option.

You can race Strava segments while maintaining considerable (temporal) distance from other people.

17 March 2020, 15:31
Tandem round-the-world record attempt set to scrape home

Think you can probably give this pair a pass for one more day of group riding.

17 March 2020, 15:24
Port Sunlight Wheelers at the Eureka cycling cafe (©Port Sunlight Wheelers)
Cycling UK says cancel all group rides – but carry on riding

In a statement, Cycling UK said: “As the national cycling charity, Cycling UK’s aim is to support the UK’s population to cycle. This stays true during this period of Covid-19 affecting the UK. Above all, the safety and welfare of Cycling UK’s staff, volunteers, participants at our rides and events, beneficiaries of our cycling programmes and the general public is always our main priority.

“Therefore, Cycling UK is now advising the cancellation of all group rides and activities following the latest Government advice and is urging everyone to follow best practice to minimise risk.

“Cycling UK are constantly monitoring the situation and taking advice from the Government, health sector and partners.”

They say this means that people should not take part in club runs or any group activity until further notice.

However, a spokesperson added that, “people should not avoid cycling altogether as it remains a great way to keep fit and active and is a good way to boost immunity.”

17 March 2020, 15:14
Video: biking to work

No prizes for guessing how this one pans out.

17 March 2020, 13:00
Bradley Wiggins (via Eurosport)
Wiggo asks why Paris-Nice went ahead

Speaking on his Eurosport podcast, Sir Bradley Wiggins said: "[Coronavirus crisis] has escalated every day, and it has got to a point where they cancelled the last stage [of Paris-Nice].

“It did seem odd that, with everything going, and the crisis in Italy, and the outpouring of love for Italy, we were going very close to there in Nice with a massive bike race almost celebrating that, when it was getting quite serious all around us.

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

Speaking about what the suspension of the racing season means for riders, he said: "If something like the Tour de France – God forbid – was to go at the expense of this virus, then for someone like Mark Cavendish – who’s the only one I’ve spoken to – it would be a great shame considering the amount of work he’s put in.

"This is their livelihoods. We keep saying it's only sport, but, for these guys: the financial implications for the sponsors and the teams, this could be devastating for them."

17 March 2020, 12:44
Crap bike lanes: a very sharp left to turn right
17 March 2020, 12:11
Poll: How is social distancing affecting your riding?

Please fill us in on the finer detail in the comments below.

17 March 2020, 11:18
"Social distancing rig"

How are you coping, readers? How are current circumstances going to affect your cycling?

Going to build yourself a "social distancing rig"?

Built a new social distancing rig and hit some local trails. from r/bicycling

This is how he gets on and off.

tallbike on and off from u/Marz2604

17 March 2020, 09:45
BBB Audax - riding the lanes north of Bristol
All Audax UK events, competitions and awards suspended

The Audax UK board has suspended recognition of all calendar, permanent and DIY events, with immediate effect, until further notice.

This means that AUK will not validate any rides until the decision is taken to lift the suspension.

Anyone undertaking such rides will not be allocated AUK points or AAA points, their rides will not be counted towards Mileater or Randonneur Round the Year awards, and they will not be covered by AUK’s insurance policy while riding.

In a statement, Audax UK chair Chris Crossland said: “We appreciate that many members will be working towards our various points-based championships.

“Given the suspension of events, the points-based championships will be suspended for this season. The Mileater Awards will be frozen at their current state and, while annual totals will be recorded, the mileater championships will be suspended for this year.

“To ensure that the progress of riders towards The Randonneur Round the Year Award is recognised, validation of qualifying rides for it will be suspended immediately and will restart on the same date as calendar events, perms, and DIYs. 

“RRtY riders who have already ridden their March events will be given due credit; those who have not yet completed a March event will be allowed to, in effect, have their suspension backdated to the end of February so that they are not penalised.

“More information for members and specifically for event organisers will follow during the next few days.

“We will keep the position under review and inform members of any changes as appropriate.

“I would like to thank all the Board members who have contributed to these difficult decisions, and hope that Audax UK, all our members, all our event organisers, and all our supporters are able to return to our normal activities at some point in the future when the outlook for everybody is much better.”

17 March 2020, 09:33
Schwarzenegger getting out on his bike – “it’s the only way I’m leaving the house” – people ask why he isn’t wearing a helmet

Arnie’s getting out and about.

“I just had a fantastic workout at the house, in my home gym,” he says. “Now I’m out on a bike ride because it’s the only thing you can still do outside the house with no social contact.

“Doctors recommend it’s the only thing you should do. Don’t get out of the house if you’re past 65, other than going for a walk or a bike ride or something like that.”

He says he won’t be stopping.

Predictably enough, the majority of replies seem to be about him not wearing a helmet.

The criticism was led by Alyssa Milano, who looks to have been fielding rebuttals ever since.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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