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Pro team body orders members’ riders to stop training outdoors; Mason Cycles says wait 72 hours before unboxing; Boardman: Cycling "safest local transport option"; UK first zero emission street; Govt urged to back cycling during crisis + more on live blog

Wednesday's live blog is served to you by Jack Sexty this morning and through the afternoon, with Simon MacMichael rustling up your evening course later on...
18 March 2020, 19:35
MPCC tells member teams: Stop your riders cycling outdoors!

The Movemen for Credible Cycling (MPCC) has told member teams to stop their riders from cycling outdoors in countries where governments have introduced restrictions on movement as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The appeal comes as the union representing pro cyclists in Spain has appealed to the country's interior ministry to let its members carry on training.

But the MPCC, whose members include Bora-Hansgrohe, EF Pro Cycling, Lotto Soudal and Team Sunweb, has said that riders in countries on lockdown should stay at home.

In a statement, the MPCC said:

Because it is a matter of protection for everyone, because the health of the riders has always been our main focus and because we have been committed to fostering credibility for 12 years, MPCC asks everyone, and especially its members, to comply at once with all of the health measures with the same determination that they have shown towards sports and ethical rules. 

The efforts of the governements focus on slowing down the propagation of the COVID-19 virus in order to create a sufficient level of immunity among the population. The main goal here is to avoid a huge number of persons getting sick at the same time, thus overcrowding the hospitals and preventing those really in need from getting a sufficient level of care. As a consequence, during the spread of the virus, the governements already have to - or will very soon - restrict the free movement of persons. These restrictions will only get more permissive during an ulterior phase. 

In numerous countries, the population is already required to stay home to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus. In these areas, MPCC believes that the same rule should apply to everyone, whether you are a mere amateur cyclist or a cycling champion, for as long as imposed and following the differents rules enforced by the governments.


18 March 2020, 17:35
"I need my car to carry stuff"

Not if you have an electric cargo bike with ample storage solutions, as shown by Coventry's new Bicycle Mayor Adam Tranter. 

18 March 2020, 17:26
SiS partner with Team Ineos for new 'Performance Solutions' bespoke nutrition packages

Sis say their 'world first' service will see Ineos get their nutrition experts on board as part of the backroom staff to undertake research to offer all riders bespoke nutrition solutions. They say this will "combine world-leading research on sports nutrition with the application of bespoke delivery strategies to meet the complex and varying needs of different athletes." 

The team will also have access to Liverpool John Moores University labs to test riders and drive product innovation.  

18 March 2020, 17:20
Wiggle cancels all events for 2020
wiggle logo.PNG

The online retail giant Wiggle will be staying online this year, telling that all their events are off for 2020. This includes three sportives that their in-house clothing brand dhb was partnering, plus August's Festival of Sport in the New Forest. 

A statement says: "We’re passionate about sport and it saddens us to have to do so, but due to the quickly changing situation we have to put the safety of our customers, staff and the wider community first.

"All current ticket holders have been contacted and will receive a full refund. We hope we will be able to bring these events back to our customers in 2021, but for now we need to watch the unfolding situation and follow what is safe and best for all."


18 March 2020, 17:13
UK anti-doping announce "a significant reduction in testing programme"

UKAD's chief executive Nicole Sapstead said: “We are acutely aware of the effect that the COVID-19 virus is having on society, sport and the wider sporting community, both here in the UK and globally.

“With the cancellation of sporting events and recent UK Government advice concerning the control of the virus, we have reviewed our operational activity and are announcing a significant reduction in our testing programme. 

“This is a difficult decision and one that has not been taken lightly. Our priority is the health and welfare of athletes, and our own staff and doping control officers (DCO).

"As an organisation our ongoing responsibility remains to protect clean sport, but we must give precedence to health and welfare and act responsibly in line with government advice during this unprecedented time.

“We will continue to process intelligence and will act on that information. If anyone has information that could be of interest to UKAD and its investigations on any matter, please do contact us as usual.”

18 March 2020, 17:05
Berly's bikeshare scheme launches in Norwich
beryl bikeshare launch Norwich 2020

Whether it's a good idea to be using bikeshare schemes right now we don't know, but even so Beryl have just launched their latest one in Norwich. 

A fleet of 225 bikes are available initially, with another 465 rolling out later in the year along with the launch of e-bikes. Bikes will be available to pick up and drop off at an initial 47 Beryl Bays increasing to over 70 being installed across the city. Some car parking spaces will be repurposed and the council are planning to build more cycling infrastructure in a general push to make the city greener.  

Councillor Martin Wilby said: “Norwich is already one of the country’s leading cycling cities. This scheme will allow us to build on that by offering people more flexibility and choice around sustainable transport options, which ultimately helps us to reduce congestion and emissions while staying active and healthy in our day-to-day lives.

“We’ve already seen a 40% uplift in cycling through the infrastructure we have delivered to date and will look to grow this further should we be successful in the next round of transforming cities funding.”

For more info head over to Beryl's website and see Norwich County Council's Transforming Cities application

18 March 2020, 17:00
Beech Street low emission scheme launches in London

The City of London Corporation introduced traffic changes on Beech Street, Bridgewater Street and Golden Lane to reduce pollution (although it will be greatly reduced at the moment anyway) with the scheme running for up to 18 months.  

A statement says: "Beech Street has high levels of air pollution because it is busy and enclosed and urgent improvement is needed to bring nitrogen dioxide levels within World Health Organisation guidelines. This scheme is the UK’s first ‘zero emission street’ operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week." ​

Only zero emission vehicles are permitted to drive through Beech Street except for those accessing off-street premises, which includes car parks, forecourts and servicing areas located directly on Beech Street.

18 March 2020, 16:36
Re Mason's recommendations on keeping your new bike boxed up for three days...

It seems not everyone would be prepared to wait, global pandemic happening or not!

18 March 2020, 16:31
Non-coronavirus story 2: Endura update Pro SL bibshorts


18 March 2020, 16:23
Non-coronavirus story 1: filling potholes with melted plastics

This may have done the rounds before, but it's the first we've seen of it... Geveko Markings have come up with a solution for filling potholes that involves using 'chipfill' made out of thermoplastic, and then blowtorching it to make a seal. See more of their work here

18 March 2020, 15:52
Giant store in Sheffield vows to stay open "as long as possible" to serve the community

With bike shops getting exemptions to stay open in the Netherlands and Germany to name but two, UK bike shops such as Giant's franchise in Sheffield are trying to keep things going to serve increasing numbers who are turning to cycling to avoid public transport. Their Twitter post says: "We understand that your bike is often a vital mode of transport and as more people self-isolate or self-distance themselves the feeling of confinement increases.

"Outdoor activities, like cycling, walking and running will be pivotal to help reduce anxiety and to keep fitness levels up, so Giant Sheffield will keep the shop functioning for as long as we possibly can." 

18 March 2020, 14:50
Mason Cycles recommending that boxed bikes be left for 72 hours after delivery
Mason Resolution 2 - seat tube detail.jpg

A recent update from the Brighton-based brand Mason Cycles has given another intriguing insight into how the bike industry is coping with the coronavirus pandemic. 

With all of their frames made in small Italian factories, Mason claim their orders are still getting fulfilled with minimal disruption, saying: "We are committed to supporting our makers and friends in Italy for the future.

"We are remaining optimistic and are working on developing new tubesets and planning new Mason Cycles models for when we emerge on the other side of this challenging and worrying time."

Intriguingly, as an extra precaution Mason have recommended that bikes ordered from them that arrive boxed should be left unopened for 72 hours prior to unpacking; this is based on government advice that the virus can live on surfaces for up to 72 hours. 

With regards to their working environment, Mason have largely been able to continue as normal with extra attention paid to good hygiene, continuing: "We are very lucky in the fact that we are able to travel and ride to work independently and separately and we have the very good fortune to work from various traditional buildings on a farm. All Mason Cycles employees that can work from home are being instructed to do so and we are taking measures to house our bicycle building staff in separate buildings with their own toolsets and minimal sharing of tools."

Mason are still allowing test rides at their HQ for individual riders, but say they won't allow more than one test ride on the same bike within a 72 hour period. 

18 March 2020, 12:56
Twitter backs up Boardman that bikes > cars for social distancing

As you don't have to be in close proximity to others and aren't handling shared use petrol pumps to fill your tank, many agree that cycling is the best way to get around during a pandemic. 

18 March 2020, 12:38
Cycling safe, claims Chris Boardman

Chris Boardman also had plenty to say to a Twitter follower who questioned if he was able to cycle without risk of infection, claiming cycling could be the "safest local transport option."


18 March 2020, 12:28
This is not the apocalypse we were promised...

Thanks to peted76 for sharing this one in the comments below...

The apocalypse
18 March 2020, 10:43
Huge group of academics and health experts reiterate calls to enable safe walking and cycling during pandemic

Led by Doctor Rachel Aldred of Westminster University, 32 researchers and counting have put their name on an open letter to the government calling for physical activity such as walking an cycling to be allowed to continue. 

It says: "As public health and transport researchers we fully support individuals, communities, and governments taking rapid and effective action against the growing pandemic of Covid-19. We recognise the importance of social distancing, with particular need to protect the most vulnerable.

"During this, however, all of our existing social and health risks do not simply go away. As the Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty has said we need to consider how decisions taken by the government to combat Covid-19 might harm health in other ways.

"At present, walking and cycling make a large contribution to population physical activity. A recent report for Public Health England says “Walking is one of the main contributors to total physical activity across all age groups, contributing between 26-42% of total physical activity, and has been demonstrated to be accessible to large proportions of society in terms of age and gender.” 

"In a rapidly escalating situation policy could be adopted that largely confines the general asymptomatic population to their homes, potentially for some time. Confinement, sometimes in overcrowded accommodation with little or no private green space, and particularly during times of anxiety has health risks.

"Physical activity reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, several cancers, dementia, and diabetes. These conditions affect millions of people; and some increase the risk of a serious outcome if one contracts Covid-19. Walking and cycling, particularly in greenspace, is good for mental as well as physical health. People should be encouraged to exercise at home, but for most of us it is unlikely that this will replace the walking and cycling we do outdoors.

"Social distancing will make many sports and gym based exercise impossible. However, walking and cycling can be compatible with social distancing, if people are responsible. Transmission risks will be very low if people stay 2-3 metres apart.

"For shopping, and for those who still need to commute, walking and cycling should be supported. We see wide variation across Europe in policies towards walking and cycling, with some countries explicitly encouraging cycling and others effectively banning it; and some closing green space to walkers.

"Thus we call on decision makers to protect the right to walk and cycle safely (from risk of infection and traffic injury) for those who are not symptomatic.

"This should involve ensuring parks and other greenspace are kept or made open (with management if needed to ensure safe behaviour), and emergency infrastructure to make cycling and walking safer for travel to work and shops. Government should publish evidence-based guidance for people walking and cycling on reducing risk, including ensuring social distancing."

18 March 2020, 09:37
German bike industry orgs say bicycle will be "most important form of transport" through pandemic; as UK government is urged not to ban cycling

The Bicycle Association told Forbes that "cycling is an important part of UK resilience against the Coronavirus", as it enables people to travel without using public transport and get some exercise in relative isolation. 

Leading transport and health experts called on the government not to go the way of Spain and Italy by banning most forms of cycling altogether, and have recommended that they should “enable safe walking and cycling during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

In Germany, bike industry organisations Zweirad-Industrie-Verband (ZIV) and ZEG welcomed advice from the health minister which recommended cycling over using public transport, saying in a joint statement: “Millions of people will follow the advice of the Health Minister and will use their bikes instead of buses and trains over the next few weeks.

"The bicycle will be the most important form of transport next to the car in the next few weeks, as it is infection-proof and can be used by everyone.”

18 March 2020, 09:17
Garmin and Tacx offering virtual Milan–San Remo
Milan San Remo 2019 (picture credit RCS Sport).JPG

The trainer and GPS brands have teamed up for a virtual ride of the final 57km of the famous spring classic, which will take place on Saturday 21st March. This will take in the route's most famous climbs (via a TV or computer screen with virtual gradients of course) the ‘Tre Capi’, the Cipressa and the Poggio – before 'arriving' at Via Roma in Sanremo. You can register here - all you'll need is a compatible Garmin Edge GPS computer and a smart trainer (any brand) to take part. 

Members of the Virtual Experience group will then receive automatic enrolment into a challenge where Garmin will give special recognition to those who ride the most between 22nd-29th March. 

18 March 2020, 08:59
Organisers of Transcontinental and Trans Pyrenees ultra races are continuing to plan for the events
Transcontinental logo

It's now got to the point where it's news if there are any cycling events out there that have not being postponed or cancelled; and with the brutal eighth edition of the brutal Transcontinental Race set for July 25th, organisers are staying optimistic and planning as if the event will go ahead; they are also planning for the second edition of the Trans Pyrenees Race, a 1,500km jaunt to the Balearic Sea and back. 

The statement says: "At present we are continuing to plan for TCRNo8 and TPRNo2 to take place as advertised in 2020, we shall continue to monitor the situation and will follow governmental advice on international travel and sporting events applicable to both races.

"Our commitment to all stakeholders, riders, volunteers, race partners, friends, family and supporters is to organise, manage and stage both races and notify all stakeholders as soon as practicable of any updates or amendments. We shall be writing to all riders regarding any specific plans in April (TCRNo8) and May (TPRNo2).

"Our thoughts are with everyone affected, we hope that through working together and following the best advice available we can help limit the worst social, economic and health implications."

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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