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Weird Mamnick gun ad breaches code; gravel riding still on the up; more accidental Partridge; sock review causes mayhem; distracted drivers; tenuous political references + more on the live blog

It's Tuesday so Ryan Mallon is here, coffee in hand, to provide the updates on today's live blog...
11 January 2022, 17:23
Cycling at teatime

Right folks, that’s all for today’s blog – I’m off to watch some teatime telly.

Speaking of which, last night’s programmes were full of cycling references.

First, Tadej Pogačar won on Pointless (he's just getting greedy now):

 Then Harry Hill was spotted rocking a retro look on Junior Bake Off. Not sure how aero that collar is, mind.

Harry Hill Junior Bake Off

You never know, Bradley Walsh might ask a bike-related question on tonight’s episode of The Chase.

As long as it’s not about merino wool…

11 January 2022, 17:09
Rohan Dennis retains world TT title in Harrogate (picture Simon Wilksinson,
Dennis disses Ineos

Never one to leave a team on good terms, new Jumbo-Visma rider Rohan Dennis has aimed a not-so-subtle dig at his former employers Ineos.

"I noticed when I was with Ineos that they were copying Jumbo with a lot of stuff,” the two-time world TT champion said during Jumbo-Visma’s team presentation earlier today.

“And I thought, well why would I want to be in a team that is copying a team on the other side of the fence? Why not go join that team and be on the front foot, not the back foot. So basically I want to move here because technically it is a better team.”

Ouch. Let’s hope Dave B and Rod Ellingworth weren’t listening too closely. It seems like the super team phony war of 2022 has already kicked off…

11 January 2022, 16:52
Thibaut rides the Tour

Groupama-FDJ today confirmed that Thibaut Pinot will lead the team at this year’s Tour de France.

Since abandoning the 2020 Tour with back pain, the Frenchman has cut a disconsolate figure in the peloton, amassing only 38 race days last year and appearing increasingly downbeat about his place in the sport and his ability to return to the top.

Only five days ago, it was reported that Pinot would instead target the Giro d’Italia in 2022, a race he has traditionally shone in, away from the harsh glare of French media attention at his home tour.

However, that all appears to have changed with the news that he is one of Groupama’s five confirmed riders for this summer’s grande boucle.

He will be joined on the start line in Copenhagen (provisionally at least) by Michael Storer, David Gaudu, Valentin Madouas and Stefan Küng. Groupama also confirmed that sprinter Arnaud Démare and Attila Valter would head to the Giro.

Pinot has been cast as the tragic nearly-man of cycling over the past few years, withdrawing from the 2018 Giro and 2019 Tour through injury as podium places in both races looked almost guaranteed. Perhaps the fan favourite can muster up one more crack at the Tour this summer.

11 January 2022, 15:59
“If I ever find myself needing to conduct a ride by shooting…” Reaction to Mamnick gun ad

This morning we reported that the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority has decided to censure the Sheffield clothing firm Mamnick for their deliberately provocative gun-toting cycling jersey ad.

Unsurprisingly, the response was almost entirely critical of Mamnick’s conduct, the company’s laddish persona, and its response to the ASA’s decision.

One reader also went to the trouble of digging up a NSFW photo featured on the company’s website. Let’s just say I’m glad I didn’t undertake that particular bit of research myself.

Here’s a selection of some of your comments:

I have two takeaways from this story. The initial kerfuffle passed me by, so not mega effective. Reading the responses from the firm has put me off ever using them as they sound like pricks and if that's how they engage with criticism how will they deal with product issues?

I guess what Thom Barnett and Mamnick are really trying to let us know is that their clothing can't justify itself on its own merits so they need this ludicrous advertising to attract any kind of customer for the kit. Just a thought.

My suspicion is that the intersection between those who think Rapha is cool and those who think guns are cool is a small one.  Especially in the UK.

That grey top is awful. Dull and tarmac coloured. And what team in the World Tour has used their kit?

We may all be missing their trick here - actually cycle industry supply issues mean they are trying to hugely supress demand in order to meet delivery timelines.

Alas, I think Thom is maybe just an edgelord and has previous for being 'anti-SJW' and a bit of a bully. Best ignored and not given the oxygen of publicity. 

And finally:

11 January 2022, 15:19
Bike lanes, again: to park or not to park?

On the subject of cars parking in bike lanes, here’s an interesting one from Gower Street in Bloomsbury, central London:

As some pointed out in the thread, the van driver is actually permitted to park there as it is a clearly marked loading bay.

Both the van driver’s decision, and whether or not a loading bay should be located in the middle of a cycle lane, sparked a bit of a debate. What do you think?

While not technically the case in this instance, one reader helpfully pointed out that our earlier examples, which highlighted a combination of poor planning and inconsiderate decision making by motorists, are not just a hindrance to cyclists but “show why walking can be difficult in the UK. And as for using a wheelchair...” 

11 January 2022, 14:44
Cardiff Bike Lock (credit - Cardiff Council)
New secure indoor bike-parking facility to open in Cardiff

A secure indoor bike-parking facility is set to open in Cardiff city centre early this year.

The Bike Lock will include secure storage for at least fifty bikes, showers, lockers, changing facilities, and also a remote workspace and coffee bar.

The facility, which will be the first of its kind in Cardiff, is a joint venture between Cardiff Council and social enterprise The Bike Lock. It secured funding through the Welsh government’s Burns Commission active travel scheme.

“We can’t wait to get going,” said Bike Lock founder Tom Overton. “Our research shows there is a real desire for this sort of facility. The Bike Lock will offer ‘pay as you go’ options alongside monthly memberships, and we’ll also be working with city centre employers so they can offer the service to their employees to encourage active travel into the city.

It’s a really exciting project which has real potential for growth across the city.”

11 January 2022, 13:22
Why don’t cyclists use cycle lanes, part 246

Following on from our discussion about ‘murder strips’ yesterday, some of you have been pointing out instances where cycle lanes – while technically segregated from cars – may as well not be there.

Tim Holman sent us this particularly galling example, with the caption “one for the hall of shame”. It’s not like the cycle lane was clearly marked near where the car was parked or anything…

Car parked in cycle lane (credit - Tim Holman)

Here’s another one, this time from Twitter, which led one user to sigh (I’m employing poetic license here, obviously they were typing and I have no way to tell what else they were doing): “Ah, the old extra parking space cycle lane. I know them well.”

Have you got any other examples of might-as-well-be-invisible bike lanes?

11 January 2022, 12:48
“Cycling, the secret to a long and happy life”: actor shares photo of idol Gene Hackman’s e-bike

While he may be famous for starring in one of the most iconic and dangerous car chases in cinema history, it turns out Gene Hackman is a big fan of two wheels.

Yesterday Northern Irish comedian and actor Michael Smiley shared a photo of the French Connection and Unforgiven star, who turns 92 at the end of the month, when he bought his new Trek e-bike a few years ago.

Hackman has been a keen cyclist for many years. In 2012 he was struck by a driver in a pickup truck when cycling in the Florida Keys, an incident which fortunately has not dented his enthusiasm for riding his bike.

For anyone who has doubts about the place of e-bikes in the cycling world, Smiley had a simple response:

11 January 2022, 11:46
Distracted driver barely misses cyclist (and other tales of inattentive motorists)

Meanwhile, in the good ol’ US of A…

In this next clip, it was the texting motorist who was given quite the scare in Auld Reekie:

11 January 2022, 11:33

Take me to the Rue de Rivoli now, please...

11 January 2022, 11:08
Covid strikes again as British Track Championships postponed

British Cycling announced yesterday that the national track championships, due to be held in Newport at the end of January, have been postponed.

Covid restrictions, especially concerning sporting events, are currently much tighter in Wales than they are in England (Scotland and Northern Ireland also have put similar rules in place since Christmas). According to the Welsh government’s current guidelines, a maximum of 50 people can attend a sporting event outdoors, and only 30 can gather inside.

In a statement British Cycling said, “the current restrictions – which are now expected to remain in place for the foreseeable future – mean that delivering the event would have required strict controls on rider movements and significant changes to the event schedule, severely diminishing the event experience for all.”

The championships have been rescheduled for the first weekend in March. Everything will be better then, surely?

11 January 2022, 10:52
MerinNO! Sock review generates mammoth Merino melee in our comments section
2022 Albion Winter Socks 7.jpg

Whoever knew wool could be so divisive? We were just minding our business yesterday when we realised that quite a lengthy debate had started over on a review of the Albion Winter Socks published over the weekend. The thread is now at 71 comments and counting... 

albion socks comment 1
albion socks comment 2
albion socks comment 3

One of those comments was from our Community Editor Simon, noting that we're currently cooking up a feature on the use of Merino wool in the bike industry, whether it's sustainable and what brands are doing to mitigate their carbon footprint while producing Merino clothing. What do you think? Don't be sheepish... 

11 January 2022, 10:35
Police in Merton train Community Speed Watch volunteers... by getting them to stand in a bike lane

While the sentiment behind this scheme must be commended, surely one of them realised where they were standing?

11 January 2022, 10:16
Gravel Image
Gravel riding continues to rise in 2021

According to Garmin, and anyone who has been paying attention, we’re gravel riding more than ever before.

The tech company released its 2021 Fitness report which reveals that gravel riding massively grew in Western Europe last year, with 59.86% more gravel cycling rides logged in 2021. This trend was mirrored across the globe, but at a slightly lower rate, with all regions across the world reporting at least a 29% increase in logged gravel rides.

While adventure riding is on the rise, so is not leaving the house apparently. The number of indoor activities logged by Garmin users interestingly increased by twice as much as outdoor activities year over year.

Fitness sessions that took place indoors also rose considerably, by 20.54% in 2021 over 2020, with Pilates and yoga leading the way with a 108.30% and 45.55% year-over-year percentage increase respectively.

11 January 2022, 10:01
Accidental Partridge does cycling

Speaking of the 'Essex Express' (that's Cav's nickname isn't it?):

This of course has reminded me of the greatest ever actual Partridge moment, when he reviewed the 1994 Tour de France…

“You join me in the helicopter now as we look down on these cyclists who look somehow like cattle in a mad way. But cattle on bikes.”

Great stage win by Klaus Bin, by the way. It's such a pity injuries ruined his career.

11 January 2022, 09:35
Bit harsh on Cofidis, eh Ned?

In that case, Boris Johnson must be the Haimar Zubeldia of lockdown parties. Everyone knows he was there, but nobody can remember seeing him…

11 January 2022, 09:04
Bizarre Mamnick kit release breaches UK advertising code… but clothing firm remains committed to ‘edgy’ persona

Anyone remember this, shall we say, interesting advertisement from Sheffield-based cycling clothing firm Mamnick?

In case you missed it, in October Mamnick released a new range of jerseys which were accompanied by a controversy-courting, gun-featuring Twitter ad.

(Of course, drawing parallels between bike riding and military combat is hardly a novel idea – just listen to any cycling commentator.)

When the complaints inevitably started flooding in, the brand attempted to keep up the edgelord vibe with a series of un-PC, “damn the consequences” replies.

 Well, it turns out there are consequences. The Advertising Standards Authority got in touch, informing Mamnick’s owner Thom Barnett that the ad breached UK advertising code.

According to the letter, Barnett has until 17 January to withdraw the ad. Predictably enough, Mamnick posted the confidential letter on their Twitter account, along with the offending promotional photo (I bet American teen sitcom characters from the eighties think this guy’s the coolest).

While it appears that this is exactly what the clothing company wanted to happen when it published the original ad, I wonder if they will be maintain their ‘edgy’ persona when the sanctions start rolling in.

Or maybe they’ll change tack completely and claim that it was biathlon jersey all along…

Ryan joined as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.

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