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Do lower speed limits make you feel safer?; Cycling Mikey claims texting motorist assaulted him; Plant with the Pidcocks; Dowsett's new deal; Wacky bike sculptures; Westminster weirdness; Memorial for Devon’s ‘Mr Cycling’ + more on the live blog

It’s Thursday on the live blog! And after Dan’s storming lead-out yesterday, Ryan Mallon will be hoping he doesn’t get boxed in during the final sprints of the week…
13 January 2022, 18:15
Throwback Thursday (is that still a thing?) - I need a Mars bar...

That’s it for today folks – I’ll see you all tomorrow for the last blog of the week (hurrah!).

While we’ve had our fill today of useless speed limits, angry texting drivers, and pointless parliamentarians, here’s something light to kick off your Thursday evening.

Following yesterday’s news that Prendas Ciclismo will restock its retro jersey collection, I decided to take a look back at our ‘Full Kit Ranker’, a poll held by in 2020 to decide the greatest pro cycling kit of all time.

I was shocked – shocked I tell you – to discover that this little beauty (worn with distinction and style by Roger de Vlaeminck and in replica form by yours truly, with ever so slightly less distinction and style) wasn’t even included on the final shortlist of 16 kits, robbing us of an Undertones reference or two in the process.

Roger de Vlaeminck

The 2004 US Postal kit did, however, make the cut. Postal, really? A travesty. Now who can I have a word with?

13 January 2022, 16:53
More nonsense at Westminster

There have been plenty of serious, potent questions asked this week in the House of Commons. This query from the Conservative MP for Bosworth Luke Evans, however, is not one of them:

Needless to say, Evans’ question has went down on Twitter about as well as a Downing Street “work meeting” at the height of lockdown:

And finally, this cracker from's own Simon MacMichael: 

Replying to Dr Evans’ question, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Transport Wendy Norton said:

“Rule 59 of The Highway Code already says that cyclists should wear a cycle helmet which conforms to current regulations, is the correct size and securely fastened. It also recommends they should wear light-coloured or fluorescent clothing to help other road users see them in daylight and poor light, as well as reflective clothing and/or accessories in the dark. Rule 66 says that cyclists should use their bell when necessary to signal to other road users that they are nearby.

“Changes to The Highway Code are due to come into effect later this month which will clarify and strengthen this advice. 

“The Department has established a working group of key organisations to ensure that these changes are disseminated as widely as possible and understood by all road users. Our well-established THINK! campaign will ensure that as many road users as possible are aware when the changes come into effect, and will also highlight the importance of cyclists following the strengthened advice.”

Maybe they should just stick to organising more work meetings…

13 January 2022, 15:51
Ken Robertson funeral (via Devon Live)
Over 200 cyclists gather to honour the memory of Devon’s ‘Mr Cycling’

Over 200 cyclists from all over the south of England descended on the Torbay Velopark in Paignton yesterday to pay their respects to one of Devon’s most-beloved cycling figures, Ken Robertson.

Members of Mid-Devon CC rode behind his hearse as it completed two laps of the velopark, the creation of which owed much to Ken’s life-long passion for the sport.

Ken suffered a heart attack while on a ride with clubmates just before Christmas. He was 85.

Involved in the sport for over 70 years, Ken organised Mid-Devon’s Dartmoor Classic sportive since its foundation in 2007. He was also the tenth longest-serving member of the national committee of the Road Time Trials Council, a position he held between 1981 and 2001. Fittingly, a time trial in Ken’s memory was held on 27 December.

Ken continued to clock big miles on his bike well into his eighties, riding over 200 miles a week, and to celebrate his 84th birthday last year he rode 84 miles for charity.  

His funeral service was reserved for family and close friends only, but was broadcast live for those gathered at the Queens Hotel in Paignton.

13 January 2022, 15:31
Omicron: more positive cases than an Italian Pro Conti team...
13 January 2022, 14:57
Do lower speed limits mean safer roads? Reader’s reaction

I asked earlier if lowering the speed limit on certain roads would make you feel safer on your bike. Here is a selection of your comments:

Lower speed limits won't help at all.  Drivers ignore existing ones.  Just the other day my daughter said that she had a man raise a middle finger to her to express his dissatisfaction that she had crossed the road too close in front of him.  He was doing 45-50mph according to her, and she misjudged his speed as it is a 30 limit.

She is 15 years old, crossing the road outside her village school.

People like him don't just need a ban, they need a punch in the face.

Do (most) motorists take any notice of lowered speed limits? Fairly recently the road through my (urban) village had the speed limit cut from 30 to 20. When I drive along it at 20 I am always tailgated; when I ride through at 20 or a little over, I am invariably (and, given the traffic lights, pointlessly) overtaken.  

The only situation I see people sticking to a reduced speed limit is on the motorway, in an average speed check roadworks section.

Possibly one of the biggest impacts of smart motorways could be the collisions prevented by the years of heavily enforced speed limits whilst they're being constructed!

We're confusing "ignore" with "obey". The majority of motorists won't obey a speed limit but they do take notice of it as one of the factors that decides their speed. Just as they might cruise at 80 on the motorway (when they think there are no cameras etc), so they'll drive at around 40 in an urban 30 limit – and around 30 in a 20 limit. They also take cues from other things, of course, one of the biggest of which is other drivers.

Speed limits by themselves aren’t really the determining factor that make you feel safer. I often feel safer on some (note not all) 60mph roads more than I would on a 30mph road, because it's about volume of traffic, traffic mix and how that traffic interacts with you.

Yep, what makes me feel safer are careful drivers. You can still have a scary pass at 40mph.

Reducing the speed limit moves the odds more towards serious injury rather than death. Beneficial, but hardly encouraging.

13 January 2022, 14:43
“Wait to be escorted”… eh?

The only time I’ve ever seen anyone escorted with their bikes was outside the pub after the annual Christmas club run…

13 January 2022, 14:23
Julian Alaphilippe wins Fleche Wallonne (Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
Alaphilippe to start season at Tour de la Provence

Australian national championships, new kits, riders announcing their schedules… the 2022 road season is nearly here folks! All we need is a quick blast of ‘Wheels in Motion’ and we’re good to go (controversial opinion klaxon – that theme tune is probably the thing I’ve missed most about the Tour Down Under’s Covid-forced hiatus… ducks for cover).

It seems that Julian Alaphilippe is nearly ready for the new season as well. The world champion announced today that he would begin his second year in the rainbow stripes at the Tour de la Provence, which kicks off on 10 February.

The Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider also debuted at the four-day stage race last year, and was his usual frisky, flamboyant self on the way to second place behind Colombian Iván Sosa, then riding for Ineos.

Alaphilippe will then head to Italy to race Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-Sanremo, before tackling April’s Ardennes classics, where he will be hoping to finally break his duck at Liège–Bastogne–Liège. The world champion has finished in the top five of La Doyenne four times in his career so far, and will be hoping to improve on last year’s runners up spot behind Tadej Pogačar.

“Liège–Bastogne–Liège will be the biggest goal in the first part of the year”, said the French fan favourite. “It is a race I love and hopefully I will be up there again, fighting for victory.”

13 January 2022, 12:55
Chichester to Emsworth proposed cycling and walking lane (Image - National Highways)
More active travel routes on the way

Good news! Councillors in Caerphilly and Chichester have backed plans for new active travel routes in their respective areas.

In Caerphilly, there are plans to install 135 miles of walking and cycling routes throughout the county borough. The proposals will be funded by the Welsh government and followed in-depth consultations with local schools, charities and community groups.

A six-mile walking and cycling path along the A259 between Chichester and Emsworth has also been approved by Chichester District Council.

While a majority of those consulted supported the proposals, local cycling groups worried that the new shared-use paths – which will be segregated from traffic on part of the route only – will not help reduce speeds on the road or encourage people to ride their bikes.

13 January 2022, 12:04
Camden bike sculpture (via Direct Line)
Old bike parts = art?

A new sculpture, crafted with reclaimed bike parts, has been installed outside Camden Town Station.

The massive artwork, named ‘Bi-High-Cycle’ for some reason, was designed by Bristol-based mechanical sculpture expert Jason Lane and launched by insurance firm Direct Line to highlight the 1,100 bike thefts which take place across the UK every day.

The installation includes broken parts from 45 different bikes, which incidentally is the same number of bikes stolen on average every hour across the country.

I quite like it. Not sure I would have it in my living room, but it’s better than most of the stuff you see on Etsy…

13 January 2022, 11:36
Alex Dowsett agrees new long-term deal...

Congrats Alex and Chanel! 

13 January 2022, 11:21
30mph sign (licensed CC BY 2.0 on Flickr by Michael Coghlan)
Do lower speed limits make you feel safer on the roads?

Last month Shetland Islands Council initiated a trial lowering the speed limits of roads south of the island’s only town Lerwick by 10mph.

The aim of the trial, which is to last 18 months and will see a number of roads reduced from a 60mph limit to 50mph, is to assess the impact lower speed limits have on the use of active travel.

The council’s environment and transport committee chairman Ryan Thompson said that “only then will be see if these reductions have made any significant difference.

“Shetland has seen a substantial increase in active travel during the Covid pandemic, so it would be wrong not to do everything we can to encourage this.”

However, Lerwick Community Council chairman Jim Anderson told a meeting this week that he was not convinced that lowering the speed limit would encourage people to walk or cycle more.

Anderson also said that new cycling infrastructure was impractical unless “a lot of money was stumped up”, a stance which was criticised by a fellow councillor as “depressingly unambitious.”

What do you think? Do lower speed limits actually make you feel safer when cycling on the roads?

13 January 2022, 10:43
Plant with the Pidcocks

 He may be used to pulling up trees when he’s racing, but off the bike Tom Pidcock has pledged to plant them.

Way back in October 2019 (remember then? That’s about four lifetimes ago…), Pidcock raised £4,000 by selling off his old kit.

He planned to use the money to plant as many trees as possible in a bid to offset his carbon emissions accrued during the racing season.

In December 2019 his mum and girlfriend planted 250 trees at the cyclo-park in Gravesend. Tom was told by his coach, however, that he couldn’t help out with the planting due to the threat of injury. Typical cyclists, eh? Maybe some of you could use that excuse when you’re asked to bring the tree down from the attic next Christmas…

Anyway, Pidcock announced yesterday that his family would be planting 500 more trees at the cyclo-park this Sunday, and called for volunteers to help out. So if you’re near Gravesend and free at the weekend, you can do your bit to nudge pro cycling’s environmental impact in the right direction.

Unfortunately Tom won’t be there – he has the small matter of an Ineos training camp on this week. Anything to get out of some work…

13 January 2022, 09:31
Cycling Mikey claims he was assaulted by texting motorist

Mike van Erp, better known by his online alter ego Cycling Mikey, has established himself over the past few years as the king of London’s helmet camera users.

Motivated by his experience as a teenager when his father was killed by a drunk driver, he has reported close to 1,000 law-breaking motorists to the police since 2006 and has proven a particular thorn in the side of those intent on using their phone while driving.

Mikey’s camera has even picked up a few famous scalps along the way, including ex-boxer Chris Eubank, film maker Guy Ritchie and footballer Frank Lampard (coming to a court near you soon).

However, last night it seems one driver – filmed while sending a WhatsApp behind the wheel – took exception to the two-wheeled videographer’s methods:

Luckily no damage was done to Mike’s camera, so hopefully the enraged driver will have his day in court. 

13 January 2022, 09:35
Is it Friday yet?

Anyone else’s Thursday morning feel like this? Just me?

Irish cyclo-cross championships (image credit - INPHO)

This particular photo, taken at last week’s Irish cyclo-cross championships, in many ways encapsulates the beautiful brutality of existence – that harsh, relentless but ultimately evocative give-and-take between man, machine and nature.

Or maybe it just tells us that cyclo-cross is really hard…

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.

Add new comment


muhasib | 1 year ago

Looking at the Mars Flandria jersey it appears that you had to be an ex Belgian national champion to be on the team.

BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 1 year ago

Ignore that Nigel Fromage bot. It's everywhere, all over the comments. Don't reply to it. Or just one person reply to it - pointing out how thick it is - and then we all uptick that person. 

eburtthebike | 1 year ago

Luke Evans MP, or Dr Luke Evans, a GP, who thinks that hi-viz, helmets, bells and other safety precautions work, instead of addressing the actual problem; but then he's a tory, so facts aren't his strong point.

I wonder if he's asked his Dr's organisation, the BMA, to review the decision they took at the Stalin show trial of a debate, to demand compulsory helmets?  Probably not, tories aren't exactly in favour of democracy.

Just off to the booze shop for the next work meeting.

chrisonatrike replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago

eburtthebike wrote:

Just off to the booze shop for the next work meeting.

Enjoying the news, eburtthebike?

eburtthebike replied to chrisonatrike | 1 year ago

chrisonatrike wrote:

eburtthebike wrote:

Just off to the booze shop for the next work meeting.

Enjoying the news, eburtthebike?

Somewhat; has he gone yet?

RoubaixCube | 1 year ago

If people drive like twats. Dropping the speed limit wont make them drive any less like a twat. They'll still be driving like a twat, but slower.

Its not really addressing the issue of road safety head on. All it will do is add more fuel to the fire, stir up even more animosity and piss everyone off even more -- even the people who do cycle and own a car.

chrisonatrike replied to RoubaixCube | 1 year ago

RoubaixCube wrote:

If people drive like twats. Dropping the speed limit wont make them drive any less like a twat. They'll still be driving like a twat, but slower.

Its not really addressing the issue of road safety head on. All it will do is add more fuel to the fire, stir up even more animosity and piss everyone off even more -- even the people who do cycle and own a car.

Agreeing with the general point but au contraire -  I think you'll find that dropping the speed limit won't make twats drive slower either.  And mix even a small percentage of twats into a population of normal human drivers and I suspect they'll bring up the speed of some of those others too.

As alluded to in the Ranty Highwayman blog links I smeared over another post here today, the whole concept of setting signed speed limits is something from the parallel universe we entered when we switched to mass motoring generations back. Here's another pinch o' the same snuff as a tonic:

marmotte27 | 1 year ago

What is it about this new year that makes parliamentarians everywhere go off the rocker? Have they fallen on their heads somehow and should be made to wear helmets?

chrisonatrike replied to marmotte27 | 1 year ago
1 like

marmotte27 wrote:

What is it about this new year that makes parliamentarians everywhere go off the rocker? Have they fallen on their heads somehow and should be made to wear helmets?

With politics I feel it should be voters who're wearing the tinfoil hats for protection. Better - something wipe-clean to deflect the bullshit from their craniums.

You can just never tell when or where the good idea fairy * will strike - while there are some regular leftfield thinkers (hello Dr. Winston) it seems no particular collective is immune - including cyclists.

* We're talking mandating adult cycling helmets here.

mdavidford | 1 year ago
1 like

Wendy Norton wrote:

Changes to The Highway Code are due to come into effect later this month which will clarify and strengthen this advice.

Carefully avoiding causing Mr Evans' head to explode by letting him know that the empahsis is more on the 'clarify' (removing the 'should' from the bit about light/reflective clothing, and making it clearer that the bit about helmets is around your choice to mitigate your own risk) and less on the 'strengthen' (changing the bell from 'recommended' to a 'should').

Biker Phil replied to mdavidford | 1 year ago

I always get angry when people tell me that I 'should' be wearing hi viz. I thought a most important thing for drivers was the quality of their sight. Do they want us to wear hi viz so they dont need to concentrate as much behind the wheel? Surely it is paramount that when behind the wheel, they are concentrating and actually 'looking' where they are going? 

brooksby replied to Biker Phil | 1 year ago

biker phil wrote:

Do they want us to wear hi viz so they dont need to concentrate as much behind the wheel? 

I'd never considered it in that way before, but that actually makes so much more sense.

IanMSpencer | 1 year ago

What is really depressing about speed limits is when you talk to your Highways department and their measure of successful compliance is 80% of the drivers not exceeding the speed limit by more than 10%.

Yes, a speed limit where 1 in 5 drivers could get points on their licence is fine by highways standards.

Being a reformed 10%er myself, it really is so much easier driving at or below the speed limit, and contrary to popular opinion, cars behind are normally quite happy to fall in line. I can't think of a time recently where a driver has tried to intimidate me when I've been driving at the limit, even in the outside lane of a motorway (though I would always be obviously "making progress").

chrisonatrike replied to IanMSpencer | 1 year ago

As every the Ranty Highwayman has thoughtful, UK-specific (because we just have to be special) and positive practical goodness here:

AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago

So do all pedestrians have to be escorted through the Road Works, or only ones pushing something with wheels?

brooksby | 1 year ago

Does "wait to be escorted" mean that you'll be escorted through the pedestrians' chicane or does it mean that a man with a red flag willl walk in front of you along the road? 

Captain Badger replied to brooksby | 1 year ago

brooksby wrote:

Does "wait to be escorted" mean that you'll be escorted through the pedestrians' chicane or does it mean that a man with a red flag willl walk in front of you along the road? 

You wait until some spotty toerag  driving a pimped XR3 whilst checking SnapsApp crashes into you

mdavidford replied to brooksby | 1 year ago

I'd be expecting the mariachi band from Extra Slice.

FixTheBloodySite replied to brooksby | 1 year ago
1 like

I see crippledbiker posted in that twitter piece

£1300 please - ker-ching !!

chrisonatrike replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 1 year ago

Garage at Large wrote:

[...] As far as I'm aware, Mikey has never had targetted "huge blokes" in the past, preferring celebrities and lone women. Why the sudden change of target (with pretty obvious consequences) for his vigilantism? [...]

My turn to make a fool of myself so others don't bother today. Were you hoping for legal evidence of him dobbing in Tyson Fury, Eric Pickles, Giant Haystacks or Jeff Capes? In the article they mention a middleweight boxer (and a tough one at that), a martial artist (arrested for assualt) and a footballer - ah - he must be the wuss!

chrisonatrike replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 1 year ago

Garage at Large wrote:

There is a lot of casual conversation here ...

My apologies - I missed the point you were making. Yes. That's what I like about, a place where bards, brainboxes and blaggards can all ramble as they feel, freed from the rigid strictures of social media (?) and emboldened to creatively address the pressing topics of this age.

brooksby replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 1 year ago

Have you had a busy morning, Nige?  Took you long enough to appear on here...  3

TriTaxMan replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 1 year ago


AidanR replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 1 year ago
Garage at Large wrote:

As far as I'm aware, Mikey has never targetted "huge blokes" in the past

Chris Eubank?

Personally I would not do what Mikey does precisely because of the risk of assault, and I'm pretty bolshy. The man is brave and should be commended.

AidanR replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 1 year ago

Nige, do you honestly believe your own drivel?

mdavidford replied to AidanR | 1 year ago

You wrote 'believe' - I think you probably meant 'read'?

TriTaxMan replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 1 year ago

Garage at Large wrote:

Mikey was drawn to Chris Eubank because he was driving a Rolls Royce convertible - "woo hoo YouTube hits!".

Additionally Mr Eubank's reputation preceeds him: as always with "Simply the Best", Chris was every ounce the well-spoken and attired gentleman who the British public know and love. It's a such a shame that Mikey took advantage of Chris's politeness and courtesy to harangue him, causing him to lose concentration at the traffic lights.

It's such a shame that Mikey - who sports a Zimbabwe and Dutch flag on his Twitter profile - chose to behave in that way to one of our best-loved sportsmen.

Again making stuff up.... try actually watching the video.  Mikey said "nice car mate" and was about to cycle past Chris Eubank until he spotted the phone in his hand.... 

And did you forget about the time Chris Eubank was fined £250 and got six points on his licence when he lost control of his car and killed a worker in a building site?

Perhaps that will refresh your memory.

TriTaxMan replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 1 year ago

Garage at Large wrote:

I watched the Chris Eubank clip very carefully. Mikey, high on the prospect of getting a few hits for his minor YouTube channel, made a wild and untrue claim that Chris Eubank was doing something illegal by holding a phone in his hand (no such offence).

"Triple vaxxed and flu jabbed" Mikey then bragged about catching out Guy Ritchie, and made out he didn't know who Chris Eubank was (so why talk about catching celebrities?).

Eubank was distracted by these unbelievable and frankly ridiculous claims and ran a red light. Rather than hold his hands up and admit his behaviour has been distracting, Mikey instead claimed Chris had run the red light because he'd incidentally had a phone in his hand a few seconds earlier.

The end.

See the edit to your post to add in "Triple vaxxed and flu Jabbed" just reinforces the point that I shouldn't have engaged with you delusions.

And before you lie and say that you never edited your post..... some proof attached.



TriTaxMan replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 1 year ago

Garage at Large wrote:

I'm just giving background to allow readers to form an opinion - it's his profile, I'm not making it up:

The whole reference to your delusions was the fact that you asserted, without proof that 

Garage at Large wrote:

Mikey was drawn to Chris Eubank because he was driving a Rolls Royce convertible - "woo hoo YouTube hits!".

Which was speculation on your part.

Much like the fact that you knew the traffic lights the other day were broken and that the woman in the video had PTSD from the verbal altercation with a cyclist.

You seem to have a habit of mixing up your opinion with facts....

TriTaxMan replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 1 year ago

Garage at Large wrote:

He *was* drawn to the Rolls Royce though - the first thing he says in the clip is "nice car mate". It isn't speculation if it's recorded fact, is it? Coupled with his brag about Guy Ritchie a few seconds later, it's trivial to see what going on in his mind. You can also hear the palpable hurt in Mikey's voice when legend pugilist Eubank hasn't heard about Guy Ritchie, instead referring to an incident with another camera-laden cyclist and David Beckham.

Again your opinion is not fact.

Was he drawn to the Rolls Royce?  Yes to compliment the car

Was he drawn to the Rolls Royce because he was wanting you tube hits?  That is only your opinion, stated as if it was fact.

Let state the facts - 

  • Mikey's Youtube Channel is made up of either videos of law-breaking motorists or cyclist training videos (not videos of people in expensive cars)
  • Mikey was cycling past Eubank until he noticed the phone in his hand.
    • He had passed Eubank and was taking an approach to filter through the cones and only stopped and backtracked once he spotted the phone
  • Chris Eubank was not wearing a seatbelt
  • Chris Eubank was on the phone (as evidenced by fact he was talking to someone as he was driving away [female voice you can hear him responding to])
  • As a result of being distracted by being on the phone he ran a red light.

Whether you like it or not there is no proof that the reason Mikey was drawn to the Rolls Royce because he thought about Youtube hits.  You have made the assumption that Mikey interacted with Chris Eubank solely on the basis that Mikey thought "that's a nice car it must be a celebrity" AND "they are driving an expensive car so they must be on their mobile phone".

Without the assumption that the driver of a nice car is automatcially doing something wrong your entire argument falls down..... because without the wrongdoing Mikey wouldn't put the video on his youtube channel.

But please give me the PROOF to justify your full statement (not just the fact that he was drawn to the car) that "Mikey was drawn to Chris Eubank because he was driving a Rolls Royce convertible - "woo hoo YouTube hits!".... otherwise I stand by my claim that you are confusing your opinion with fact.



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