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Motorist deliberately rams cyclist before driving off – as passenger films; British Cycling and Shell fallout; More oil and gas in the peloton as Movistar linked to Repsol deal; Active travel “not the answer” to cutting pollution + more on the live blog

It’s Tuesday and Ryan Mallon’s back in the hot seat for the second live blog of the week, brought to you by our new sponsors, Cyberdyne Systems
11 October 2022, 15:58
shell british cycling - via British Cycling
Reader reaction: “Attempted murder with a blunt weapon”, interesting British Cycling and Shell takes, and how to solve congestion in Bath…

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the tumultuous last 24 hours for British Cycling, there was plenty to discuss in the comments section today.

Regarding that oil spill-shaped elephant in the room, many of our readers were critical of cycling journo Sophie Smith’s tweets, which appeared to equate (to some degree) British Cycling’s decision to partner with Shell with cyclists purchasing carbon bike frames made using oil.

“Don’t hate the player because some bike components are made using oil? Interesting take, and I totally don’t go along with that kind of whataboutery,” wrote Awavey.

“We don’t know this was a big bucks deal for BC, the accounts from both organisations may hint at the size of these things, though likely hard to spot in a company that makes £10 billion profit in three months, and we don’t know who the alternatives were, so how can anyone state Shell were the best or only choice available?”

Rendel Harris also pointedly argued that “making an equivalence a few pints (gallons?) of oil needed to make an object that, with care, may last 20 or 30 years (and that actively cuts carbon emissions when in use) with the many billions of gallons burned every day for transport is like saying that because you mow your lawn you've got no right to raise concerns about the deforestation of the Amazon.”

“The Carbon Fibre argument doesn't work for me,” says IanMK. “Yes, composite materials will be made from by-products of the oil and gas industry but using those products to make long lasting items is effectively carbon capture and I would imagine relatively low energy, i.e. it's not directly contributing to global warming. 

“Okay, there may be an issue with recyclability but compare that to a titanium or aluminium frame where we would not only have to consider the mining processes involved in virgin metals but also whether the energy used to recycle that metal is sustainable, which I suspect it won't be.”

If you haven’t had enough of the British Cycling-Shell story already (it really is everywhere), don’t worry – there’s a special podcast episode coming your way soon…

Dublin motorist deliberately rams cyclist before driving off (screenshot, TikTok)

On this morning’s story, which featured a motorist ploughing into an unsuspecting cyclist from behind – seemingly to simply post on TikTok as a very questionable jokes – OldRidgeBack wrote: “That's horrendous. The driver needs to be taken off the road and the passenger as well. I hope the victim heals up okay.”

Leipreachan was even more blunt in their assessment, and argued that “the driver and the passenger should be taken to prison for an attempted murder with a blunt weapon.”

“I'm sure someone will be along shortly to point out that attempted murder requires 'intent' to seriously injure or kill, but seriously - they intentionally rammed him with two tonnes of high-speed metal, how far can you reasonably take the ignorance defence?” asked BalladOfStruth.

“You couldn't shoot someone in the face, or set them on fire and claim ‘it was just a prank for Tiktok, I didn't intend to hurt him’.”

Rendel Harris also pointed out the dubious use of language from the local Gardaí in relation to the incident: “Again with the language from official bodies, for heaven's sake; if the account of the video above is accurate (as I have every confidence it is) then why on earth is it ‘Gardai are investigating a road traffic collision involving a cyclist and car’ and not ‘Gardai are investigating a serious assault on a cyclist by a car driver using their vehicle as a weapon’?”

Bike Bath - City Centre

Finally, we turn to Bath, where a few of our readers picked apart the featured letter writer’s arguments concerning the impact (or otherwise) of LTNs in reducing car ownership and promoting greater use of other modes of transport.

However, it was reader pockstone who had the perfect solution, which will surely be appearing on an election leaflet dropping through your letterbox soon:

Congestion in Bath could be much reduced in one fell swoop. A six lane highway in place of Pulteney Bridge and the weir, demolish the Abbey, the Roman Baths, the Pump rooms,the Guildhall and the Art Gallery to connect seamlessly to Broad Quay bridge and the A36 south of the river. Result: no tourists, no shops, no gridlock around Sydney Gardens... the much-reduced traffic will fly through the city centre...come on Bath Conservatives, THINK BIG!!

11 October 2022, 15:21
Quick, someone tell the Bath Conservative Association…
11 October 2022, 14:57
Groan… More fake transfer ‘news’: This time it’s “Manx Cavendish”

First Remco, and now Cav – I fear that we’re going to have to get used to this sort of nonsense over the next few years. The ‘soccerisation’ of cycling and all that…

Though fair play to the jokester for trying to mimic the Manx Missile’s Twitter vernacular and use of emojis. A few swears and it might have been convincing…

11 October 2022, 14:28
DS exodus at Ineos as Knaven, Lancaster and Rasch leave

The revolving door at the Ineos Grenadiers’ HQ will be remarkably busy this autumn (if it isn’t already jammed up by a wayward 4x4), as three of the squad’s longest serving directeurs sportifs will be moving on to pastures new.

Servais Knaven, who joined the then-Team Sky as a DS following his retirement in 2011, Brett Lancaster (a DS at the squad since 2016) and Gabriel Rasch (2014) are all set to leave as fracker-in-chief Jim Ratcliffe overhauls the stuttering, high-budget outfit after only their second grand tour-less season since their Tour de France breakthrough in 2012.

Retired classics star Ian Stannard, who won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad twice for Sky, will be one of the new faces in the team car as Ineos attempt to play catch-up to UAE Team Emirates and Jumbo-Visma in the big three-week tours.

The rather vain pursuit of Remco Evenepoel a few weeks ago perhaps underlines the realisation that something needs to change within the hitherto dominant British squad – and fast.

In fact, this mini-revolution in the team’s management structure represents perhaps the biggest overhaul since exactly ten years ago, in the autumn of 2012, when sports directors Sean Yates, Bobby Julich and Steven de Jongh (as well as retiring pro Michael Barry) left Team Sky after an internal investigation into past doping misdemeanours, brought about by the publication of USADA’s Reasoned Decision concerning Lance Armstrong and US Postal.

Knaven, a teammate of De Jongh’s at TVM during the infamous 1998 Tour de France, avoided that particular cull and the squad’s apparent ‘zero tolerance’ policy for historic drugs offences, but would continue to be plagued by doping allegations for much of the following decade.

11 October 2022, 13:47
Measures to reduce through-traffic in Richmond, Bushy and Greenwich Parks made permanent

The Royal Parks announced this morning that measures brought in at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic to reduce the impact of cut-through traffic in a number of the body’s parks have been made permanent.

Restrictions on through-traffic in Richmond, Bushy and Greenwich – the parks included in today’s announcements – were introduced in July 2020 to allow Londoners to “continue to enjoy new car-free areas”.

The two-year trial allowed Royal Parks to collate extensive feedback from visitors and evaluate the measures’ impact on traffic.

In Bushy Park, the closure of Chestnut Avenue between Teddington Gate and Hampton Court Gate will now be made permanent, with commuting vehicles no longer allowed in the park, while the Avenue in Greenwich will also now remain completely closed to vehicles.

In Richmond Park, the following measures have been made permanent: no through traffic will be permitted between Broomfield Hill Car Park and Robin Hood Car Park, the vehicle link between Sheet Gate and Sheen Cross will be permanently closed, and on weekends and public holidays a restriction on all cut-through traffic will be in place between Roehampton and Richmond Gates.

A decision on the trials taking place in St James’s Park and the Green Park will be made early next year, while the trial in Hyde Park will continue as Royal Parks await a decision from Transport for London regarding the cycle lane on Park Lane, which has currently forced the full-time closure of South Carriage Drive.

11 October 2022, 13:19
“The bicycle is the transport choice of the future, but fossil fuels are the energy of the past”: Open letter sent to British Cycling over Shell partnership

According to cycling journalist Andy McGrath, the Shell deal apparently went ahead against the wishes of many senior staff, as well as – it seems clear by now – the vast, vast majority of the body’s members: 

11 October 2022, 12:47
“Legends say the bike lanes are red because of the blood of their fallen prey…”

One of life’s great mysteries, finally solved…

11 October 2022, 12:16
“Is this about the Shell sponsorship?” British Cycling asks if deal with oil and gas giant was behind cyclist’s decision to cancel membership

Spare a thought for the poor souls who work for British Cycling’s membership department.

Because it seems like they’ll be dealing with the same enquiry over and over again, for the next few days at least.

For instance, one cyclist, who rang up this morning to cancel his BC membership in protest at what he regarded as the governing body’s complicity in ‘greenwashing’, was greeted instantly with what I presume was a weary, resigned sigh: “Is this about the Shell sponsorship?”

The cyclist told “Spoke to a nice chap in the membership department and said I wanted to cancel. His first question to me was ‘Is this because of the Shell sponsorship?’

“Went through the brief process of cancelling (end of term versus right now and send card back) and he advised that I email the membership address and explain my reasons so it gets logged and (hopefully) makes it further up the food chain.

“Sounds like they’ve had quite a few emails so far today, but not as many calls.”

11 October 2022, 11:39
2019 Vuelta - Alejandro Valverde wins Stage 7 (© ASO, PHOTOGOMEZSPORT2019)
You can’t win the Tour on oil and gas… but it helps: Petrochemical giant Repsol reportedly set to double Movistar’s budget

You know the old saying, multinational oil and gas companies are a lot like buses. You wait ages for them to invest in cycling, then two come along at once…

While British Cycling was busy setting the internet – and its own reputation – alight after announcing yesterday that the national governing body had agreed an eight-year sponsorship deal with the UK subsidiary of Shell, reports emerged in Spain that Team Movistar could also be on the receiving end of that lucrative oil and gas money.

> "Greenwashing, pure and simple" - fury as Shell UK sponsors British Cycling

Spanish radio show Onda Cero reported yesterday that Madrid-based multinational energy and petrochemical firm Repsol, which boasts over 3,000 filling stations in Spain and has an annual turnover of €50 billion, is being lined up as the longstanding squad’s co-sponsor for 2023, in a deal that would double the team’s budget.

In another move eerily similar to Shell’s partnership with British Cycling, which – it is claimed – will accelerate the governing body’s “path to net zero” by prioritising electric vehicles, Onda Cero also reported that the Spanish team will be renamed Solar 360, promoting a joint venture between the oil and gas giant and the squad’s current sponsor Movistar, selling solar panels for domestic use.

The reported deal, said to be worth €35 million a year (allowing the squad to compete financially with the likes of Ineos and UAE Team Emirates) is yet to be confirmed by Movistar’s management and it is not yet clear if it will include the women’s pro team.

Of course, Repsol would not be the only petrochemicals giant in the pro peloton if it decides to invest in the venerable old Spanish squad run by Eusebio Unzué.

Even if you ignore (though you really shouldn’t) the presence of Bahrain and the UAE, two oil-rich states associated with more than just greenwashing, a quick glance down the 2022 Tour de France start list will swiftly find TotalEnergies, home of three-time world champion Peter Sagan and one the seven so-called ‘supermajor’ oil companies.

Meanwhile, chemicals giant Ineos decided to celebrate Filippo Ganna’s spectacular Hour Record on Saturday – one of the greatest and purest athletic feats ever achieved on a bike – by… making the Italian pose with the company’s fuel-guzzling 4X4 Grenadier:

Filippo Ganna breaks UCI Hour record (credit - Ineos Grenadiers)

Credit - Ineos Grenadiers 

11 October 2022, 10:44
“No better way to start the day”

Since everyone’s favourite angry, cyclist-chasing, comically-falling motorist is doing the rounds again online (thanks to the No Context Brits Twitter account), it would be remiss of us not to feature it on the live blog:

> "Clown takes a pratfall" viral video cyclist talks to press 

11 October 2022, 10:14
Shell and British Cycling: a counterpoint

While British Cycling’s partnership with Shell may have produced the kind of mitigated PR disaster once confined to an episode of The Thick of It, cycling journalist and author Sophie Smith this morning lifted her head above the parapet to offer the first (at least the first that I’ve seen) attempt to provide a balanced, or at least not wholly negative or angry, take on the controversial deal: 

Unsurprisingly, it hasn't gone down too well: 

11 October 2022, 09:25
“Is this a parody account?”: Bath Conservatives weigh in on LTN debate after local claims active travel measures “are not the answer” to reducing pollution

Turns out British Cycling wasn’t the only organisation getting grief for its environmental position yesterday…

The Bath Conservative Association – a longstanding advocate of active travel, judging from its Twitter timeline (or maybe not) – was roundly condemned by cycling campaigners after it weighed in on the issue of congestion and pollution in the city… by claiming that the only answer is to get motor traffic “moving”.

The party association was responding to a letter in the Bath Chronicle by Evan Rudowski, a local who has lived car-free for over two decades but believes that the conversation surrounding how best to reduce car use in the city has been “poisoned” by “a small but vocal minority of ideologues who are convinced that cycling is the solution”.

In the letter, which can be read in full here, Rudowski writes:

Bath is choked with cars. Reducing car use would benefit the city greatly in terms of overall quality of life – reducing traffic, congestion, pollution and, in the long term, our collective carbon footprint.

Of course, getting rid of cars is a massive challenge and needs to be solved primarily on a societal level. But all of us are still obligated to do what we can locally, and personally. In my family’s case, we’ve chosen to live a car-free life for the past 24 years. We’ve made deliberate choices to achieve this, in terms of where we live, work and go to school…

Unfortunately, the conversation regarding how best to reduce car use has been poisoned in Bath, and more broadly, by a small but vocal minority of ideologues who are convinced that cycling is the solution.

They argue that closing certain roads to car traffic, thus making it less convenient to drive but more friendly for cyclists, will hasten the shift to different modes of transport. Such schemes are referred to as low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) or active travel or, sometimes, Liveable Neighbourhoods. They are not so much intended to improve things immediately, but rather to help us achieve net zero carbon in the future.

Living alongside the A36 as my family does, no one would like to see car traffic reduced more than we would. The frequently poor air quality we suffer here, and that all of Bath suffers from regularly, has had real health impacts. My oldest child uses an inhaler. I’ll never forget the night I had to rush him to the RUH with breathing difficulties. But low-traffic neighbourhoods are not the answer.

Yes, LTNs make some people’s streets very pleasant, reducing through traffic on those streets while still enabling those residents to keep their own cars and drive in and out or receive deliveries however they please. How nice for them.

But the traffic, congestion and resulting air pollution moved off those privileged streets has to go somewhere. Where? Onto main roads where many more residents live, work and go to school. Neighbourhoods such as Bathwick, where I live, already have enormous amounts of through traffic but relatively low car ownership. It’s unfair, impractical and self-defeating to push more traffic onto our main roads.

Praising Rudowski’s letter, which also called for the introduction of a Clean Air Charging Zone, a workplace parking levy and increased spending on public transport in place of the more “extreme” LTN measures, the Bath Conservatives wrote: “We all want less traffic in Bath itself during the rush hours, and for that traffic to be moving. [Rudowski] is right: blocking roads, hoping traffic will ‘evaporate’ isn’t the way to do it.”

Unsurprisingly, many on Twitter, for some reason, disagreed with the apparent sentiment that increasing car usage would reduce pollution:

11 October 2022, 08:49
Motorist deliberately rams cyclist before driving off – as passenger films collision

Gardaí have launched an investigation following a hit-and-run incident in Dublin over the weekend, in which a motorist deliberately struck a cyclist from behind as one of the car’s passengers filmed the collision on their phone.

Sticky Bottle reports that the victim was cycling just outside Dublin Airport on Saturday morning when he was hit by the motorist, leaving him with what the police have described as “non-life threatening” injuries.

Dublin motorist deliberately rams cyclist before driving off (screenshot, TikTok)

The footage, which was posted online and has been shared widely on social media, shows the driver gaining on the cyclist as a passenger is heard to say: “Here we go, watch, watch, watch”.

A bang follows as the driver ploughs into the unsuspecting cyclist, before someone says, “Gone, go, we’re gone”.

According to, the TikTok account responsible for posting the footage of the sickening collision online also features a video of a motorist driving erratically on a Dublin road, running red lights, using the bus lane and weaving between cars.

 “Gardaí are investigating a road traffic collision involving a cyclist and car that occurred on the Naul Road, Ballymun, at approximately 7:45am yesterday morning, Saturday, October 8th,” a police spokesperson said.

“The cyclist, a man in his 20s, was taken to Beaumount Hospital to be treated for his injuries which are non-life threatening. Investigations are ongoing.”

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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