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"Try listening to those who take bikes on trains": Vertical cycle storage design concept criticised; How bikes on trains should be done; Virgin Galactic admits Branson's pre-flight bike ride didn't happen; Expensive fan; Sir Cav? + more on the live blog

It's Wednesday and Dan Alexander will be taking you through the middle of the week on the live blog...
14 July 2021, 16:00
Another stage ticked off...Mark Cavendish makes the time cut

One more big mountain stage tomorrow, a flat (ish) stage that could be a sprint or a breakaway day and a TT are all that stands between Mark Cavendish and Paris. The green jersey came home with his Deceuninck-Quick-Step teammates, Michal Kwiatkowski and Greg van Avermaet in the grupetto. 

Tomorrow the peloton takes on the legendary Pyrenean double: Tourmalet and Luz Ardiden...

14 July 2021, 15:27
Sneaky Richie Carapaz

I bet sneaky Richie Carapaz is a good poker player...and to think Jonas Vingegaard only got his place on Jumbo-Visma's Tour de France team when Tom Dumoulin stepped away from the sport...read all about stage 17 in our stage report.  

14 July 2021, 14:51
How bikes on trains should be done: Scot Rail's new Highland Explorer Carriages

These new carriages have space for 20 bikes and are available for riders to book. They also have seating areas adjacent plus Wi-Fi and power sockets.

Scot Rail Highland Explorer (via Scot Rail)

 

14 July 2021, 14:36
Time for the climb

Anthony Perez and Dorian Godon are waving the French flag on Bastille Day. They've got three minutes advantage as we start the final climb. Will it be enough? UAE Team Emirates are chasing hard to set up Tadej Pogačar for a famous stage win...13km to go.

14 July 2021, 13:46
Reader comments: The problem of taking your bike on a train

Some of your comments about today's big live blog story...

eburtthebike wrote: "Just like transport itself, designing for bicycles has a multitude of people with no knowledge, experience or qualifications coming up with genius ideas which fall at the first hurdle.  All the comments on that Proteus cycle parking are accurate, and the design has so many drawbacks that it would instantly be discarded in any country where cycling is mainstream."

OnYerBike added: "There's a lot of advice out there on what makes good bike parking. Bike spaces on a train should follow the exact same principals - just inside a carriage rather than inside (or outside) a building. I guess this goes without saying, but another major obstacle to taking a bike on a train is the booking process. Every different operator has their own system, and (as far as I can tell) none of those systems are at all good."

Over on Facebook, Peter Burgess commented: "Not much good if your bike has mudguards (as my commuter bike does). Really time that train companies put two and two together and encouraged journeys by bike and train. It's more or less possible to get anywhere in the UK quite easily if a combination of the two is used."

14 July 2021, 13:17
How does cycling affect core body temperature? Bora-Hansgrohe's stage 16 data
Patrick Konrad core body temperature data

This mysteriously unnamed Bora-Hansgrohe rider's core body temperature data has been sent to us and shows they spent almost three hours in the range 38-38.5ºC, the level normally associated with fever. We're assuming it's Patrick Konrad as he won the stage but are awaiting confirmation. According to Core Body Temp, high-intensity sports like cycling are healthier as the core body temperature increase triggers the body's defence mechanism where the heat wards of bacteria.

The graph shows how the rider's core body temperature plummeted at the top of each of the mountain passes as the exertion eased off, combined with cooling effect of descending and altitude. However, Core Body Temp notes that the decline was managed carefully through the rider being given extra layers for the descents and shows Bora-Hansgrohe nailed their support.

14 July 2021, 13:05
Michael Matthews beats Mark Cavendish to minor places at stage 17 intermediate sprint...Cav's lead still 36 points

Michael Matthews took back one point on green jersey Mark Cavendish at today's intermediate sprint. Led out by teammate Luka Mezgec, Matthews got the kick on Cav and held on to the line. With tomorrow's intermediate points coming after a Category 4 climb and Friday's at the top of an unclassified climb, Deceuninck-Quick-Step might start looking nervously over their shoulder at their Aussie rival. With 20 points available at both of those, the fight for the green jersey looks likely to be decided in Paris...

14 July 2021, 11:35
Pass of the Day
14 July 2021, 11:27
La Passione raises €7 million investment
La Passione windproof jackets

Italian clothing brand La Passione has raised €7 million from a group of investors, to be funded over four years. "We have climbed many positions in the market in terms of sales, becoming a relevant brand in the industry. Now we want to increase our brand awareness, exploring new territories where online and offline marketing are integrated. The round will grant the development of these new projects," said company co-founder and CEO Giuliano Ragazzi.

Former pro rider Andrea Tonti is one of the investors in the brand, which expects revenues exceeding €10 million in 2021 with 35 per cent of custom coming from the US and UK.

14 July 2021, 10:48
Col du Portet: Today's summit finish returns to the scene of Nairo Quintana's 2018 win when Geraint Thomas extended GC lead

The road may now be paved but it's still an epic climb to finish stage 17. Chris Froome is one rider who will have bad memories of Col du Portet. This was the climb where, in 2018, he dropped 48 seconds to teammate Geraint Thomas, fell to third on GC and pledged his support to G. Nairo Quintana was the winner that day, while Dan Martin took second.

Today's stage got underway half an hour ago...Lukas Pöstlberger, Anthony Perez, Danny van Poppel and Dorian Godon are at the head of the race. As it's Bastille Day and with the words of their sports directors probably still ringing in their ears, Anthony Turgis, Maxime Chevalier and Julien Bernard are giving chase behind.

14 July 2021, 10:28
Does Cav deserve a knighthood? Poll results
MArk Cavendish after equalling Eddy Merckx's record - picture credit A.S.O./Pauline Ballet

Over on our forum there was a fair bit of debate about Mark Cavendish and whether the Manxman deserves a knighthood? We brought it to you guys, the good people of the live blog, for a classic bit of democracy...79 per cent agree Cav's done enough for an honour, while nine per cent agreed but think it should be something other than a knighthood. Only 12 per cent thought he shouldn't...

That's as scientific as it gets...go on Queen 'Liz, make it Sir Cav.

14 July 2021, 10:02
Virgin Galactic admits Richard Branson's pre-flight bike ride didn't happen

Virgin Galactic has admitted Richard Branson's pre-flight spin to the space flight launch site, which was shown in a widely-shared video on the company's stream of the event, didn't happen. The video showed Branson riding a bike to the Spaceport America launch site, taking off his helmet on arrival before greeting crewmates.

Virgin Galactic yesterday admitted to Reuters that the video was actually filmed on Monday 5 July and that Branson did not ride his bike to the launch. "The footage of Sir Richard Branson shown during the event on Sunday was prerecorded and misidentified in the broadcast. We regret the error and any confusion it may have caused," a Virgin Galactic official confirmed to Reuters.

Trek Bicycles claimed Branson rode one of its custom-made bikes on launch day, but it turns out the clip, which Branson shared to Twitter and was published by Virgin with the line 'earlier today', was actually from a week earlier. After the flight, Branson said, "It's so awesome to arrive on a bicycle, across this beautiful New Mexico countryside."

14 July 2021, 09:26
The most expensive fan in cycling?

Does the price include someone to wave it or is that extra? 

14 July 2021, 09:07
Tour de France stage 17: The first of a Pyrenean mountain double-header with a summit finish at 2,200m
TdF 2021 Stage 17 profile.jpg

The next two stages are the final days of this year's Tour de France in the mountains and the race organisers might just have saved the best until last. Stage 17 takes the peloton from Muret to the Hors Catégorie Col du Portet via two 1st Category mountains - the Peyresourde and Col de Val Louron-Azet.

The first 110km are flat and easy as the riders ease their way towards the high mountains. Kilometre 113 is going to be key as the intermediate sprint comes before the main climbs in Bagnères-de-Luchon, so Cav should not be dropped and will hope to re-establish his lead in the green jersey competition which has been cut in recent days. Michael Matthews' superior climbing has allowed the Aussie to rack up the points while Cav has been in the grupetto, reducing the deficit to 38 points.

After the sprint it's time for the Peyresourde, a stalwart of the Tour de France route. A short descent leads to Col de Val Louron-Azet, before another short descent takes the peloton to the foot of the final climb - Col du Portet.

At 2,200m, it is huge by the Pyrenees' usually shorter, steeper standards. It's an Alpine-sized climb with Pyrenean roughness and averages 8.7 per cent for 16km, rarely dropping below 10 per cent for the first six...Can anyone crack Tadej Pogačar?

14 July 2021, 07:47
"Try listening to those who take bikes on trains": Vertical cycle storage design concept doesn't go down well

 The government is currently investing £9 million in projects to improve rail journeys by running a competition where winning designs receive funding to continue to develop their plans. One such winner is PriestmanGoode whose 'Proteus' scheme provides a flexible seating layout that can be rearranged quickly to react to demand. That is how we come to this bike storage 'solution', which is one part of the design...

Unsurprisingly the reaction has been coming thick and fast...

Lockdown Cyclist said: "Who wants to lift up my dirty single speed bike and have it drip filth all over the seat for the next person to sit on? And imagine how pleased the next person will be who sits on a filthy seat. What happens when a passenger wants a seat and there’s a bike in the way. Garbage."

Speaking about the winning projects, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps commented: "These winners will hopefully play a role in putting passengers at the centre of our railways as we build back better from COVID-19. The competition always throws up surprises and the ideas shown today could transform how we travel in future." Right, Grant...You might want to listen to some of the reaction first... 

Back in 2019, Cycling UK slammed the "awful" cycle storage on GWR's high-speed trains...And we've had our own terrible train experiences too...road.cc editor Jack took to the live blog to detail exactly what it's like trying to take a very expensive bike across the country by train. Spoiler alert: it's not fun...

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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23 comments

Avatar
Muddy Ford | 3 years ago
1 like

I used the Cross Country bike storage option recently, and it was fine. Don't book your ticket without first booking a space for your bike using their messenger chat, it only takes 5 minutes and you will be given a reference. Else you may find you cannot board the train with bike. The storage was fine but bring a small bungee to tie it against grab rail else it will swing wildly in its vertical position. The provided straps are a faff to reach once the bike is on the hook. 

I vote the Copenhagen option, that looks perfect. The Proteus is ridiculously unworkable.

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eburtthebike replied to Muddy Ford | 2 years ago
0 likes

Muddy Ford wrote:

I used the Cross Country bike storage option recently, and it was fine. Don't book your ticket without first booking a space for your bike using their messenger chat, it only takes 5 minutes and you will be given a reference.

Only takes five minutes? Are they writing it down in longhand using block capitals and a crayon?  Should be fully automatic and take five seconds max.

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Cozz | 3 years ago
0 likes

Highland bike carriages - a bizzillion ton carriage for 100kg worth of bikes. Really?

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Sriracha replied to Cozz | 3 years ago
3 likes

You're saying the bikes ought to weigh more? Because...?

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chunky | 3 years ago
5 likes

I almost missed my stop cos I couldn't get my tyres out of GWR's stupidly small bike hooks. Had to let the tyre down. My heart has rarely raced so fast. All whilst the conducter glared at me as if it was my fault.

Just a normal mountain bike! I wasn't even on my big bike with 2.5"s on fat carbon rims. Absolutely sick of feeling like a third class passenger for daring to using a bike to complete my journeys. The highland train looks pretty good, but of course they already worked this stuff out in europe years ago. Love that copenhagen train.

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brooksby replied to chunky | 3 years ago
0 likes

chunky wrote:

I almost missed my stop cos I couldn't get my tyres out of GWR's stupidly small bike hooks. Had to let the tyre down. My heart has rarely raced so fast. All whilst the conducter glared at me as if it was my fault.

Just a normal mountain bike! I wasn't even on my big bike with 2.5"s on fat carbon rims. Absolutely sick of feeling like a third class passenger for daring to using a bike to complete my journeys. The highland train looks pretty good, but of course they already worked this stuff out in europe years ago. Love that copenhagen train.

How did you manage to get the bike hooked, if you had to let the tyres down to unhook it?

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chunky replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
1 like

By smacking it in with my fist. I was trying to be a good boy and securely store it. Well done GWR, I won't be doing that next time.

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brooksby replied to chunky | 2 years ago
0 likes

Ha!  Clearly GWR thinks every one of those lycra clad Chris Froome wannabes rides a 20mm tyre at 300psi...  Or something like that 

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iandusud | 3 years ago
8 likes

After over 40 years of car ownership, my wife and I took the decision last year to go car-less. Our daily transport is a tandem or our solo bikes, plus a cargo bike for shopping. This means that to cover large distances in a day we will need to use trains. The system in the UK is hopeless. Different service providers with different policies, some you can book with, others you can't. Want to take a tandem? Forget it. We're getting a frame made with couplings so at least we can split it in two which will make it more feasible on some services, and enable us to hire a car if necessary and put it the back. Train and bike is the perfect combination, bike for the short local journey and train for the long distances. It was simple when we had guard’s vans. Privatisation of the railways has been a disaster with profit being the number one priority which has only served to encourage more car usage where less profitable services have been removed. We need to see transport as necessary service, such as water, sewage treatment and electricity and have some joined up thinking as to how it can be provided for all, not just those who can afford a car or who don't give a toss about the climate emergency.

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NPlus1Bikelights | 3 years ago
3 likes

Guard's van were great on Virgin East Coast, back in the good old days. Popular, always several bikes, helpful staff. I see so many bikes not fitting whateve fancy designs they try.

How do the designs meet disability rules? Some cyclists cannot walk well.

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HoarseMann replied to NPlus1Bikelights | 3 years ago
0 likes

In the good old-old days, you could even get a motorbike onboard with no fuss...

https://youtu.be/pKwLVPqy3io?t=1248

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Mark B | 3 years ago
0 likes

In defence of these - and it's a very half-hearted defence because I agree with everything that has been said - there isn't really a good solution.

Obviously, a separate carriage with lots of space for bikes is needed - a guards van or something nicer like in Copenhagen. But commuter trains, at least on the main lines into London, are already the maximum length the platforms on the routes allow (and sometimes signalling and even track layout constrain the train length too, which is a harder problem to solve). This makes adding a bike carriage impossible, and replacing a normal carriage with a bike one would be unpopular given how crowded they all are normally.

(Or rather, were before the pandemic. I assume they will go back to previous loadings in the next year or two, If they don't, then that makes it a lot easier).

So some way of allowing space to be used for commuters in peak hour trains, and bikes off-peak, while not helpful for would-be cycling commuters, does have some benefits.

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hawkinspeter | 3 years ago
4 likes

Those Copenhagen trains are brilliant. When it's not busy, you can use one of the wheel slots and then sit watching over it. When it gets busy, bikes get packed in like sardines and it ends up being a logistics problem to get out of the door when you reach your station.

I don't get why bike storage designers don't just go and ask an experienced cyclist.

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Captain Badger replied to hawkinspeter | 3 years ago
9 likes

hawkinspeter wrote:

Those Copenhagen trains are brilliant. When it's not busy, you can use one of the wheel slots and then sit watching over it. When it gets busy, bikes get packed in like sardines and it ends up being a logistics problem to get out of the door when you reach your station.

I don't get why bike storage designers don't just go and ask an experienced cyclist.

Because they want to be able to say "there, cycle box ticked" without actually applying time budget or effort to it....

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Secret_squirrel replied to Captain Badger | 3 years ago
8 likes

Actually its more likely "not invented here syndrome".  I see it all the time in my job.  Most people - particularly "knowledge workers" and "creatives" are unable to lay their ego's aside long enough to check whether someone else might have already solved the problem for them.

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hawkinspeter replied to Secret_squirrel | 3 years ago
0 likes

Secret_squirrel wrote:

Actually its more likely "not invented here syndrome".  I see it all the time in my job.  Most people - particularly "knowledge workers" and "creatives" are unable to lay their ego's aside long enough to check whether someone else might have already solved the problem for them.

Sounds like we need a 'StackExchange syndrome' - just google for a solution and copy/paste it.

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eburtthebike | 3 years ago
9 likes

Just like transport itself, designing for bicycles has a multitude of people with no knowledge, experience or qualifications coming up with genius ideas which fall at the first hurdle.  All the comments on that Proteus cycle parking are accurate, and the design has so many drawbacks that it would instantly be discarded in any country where cycling is mainstream.

The fact that it has won and gone through to the next stage means that it will gain more support amongst people who make decisions but don't cycle, more energy and resources will be thrown into it, and it will become too big to fail; then they will consult with cyclists, when it's too late.  They'll be installed with fanfares and publicity, and then there will be complaints because the awkward damn cyclists won't use them.  Five years later they'll be taken out and the space will be just normal seats, and cyclists will be ignored.

There are so many examples of people "doing things for cyclists" without actually consulting cyclists, and then getting upset when they fail that it might be worth writing a book about it.  Bridge and road design, cycle parking, routes etc, etc all consulted on when the design is already fixed and it's too late to change anything.

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TonyE-H replied to eburtthebike | 3 years ago
10 likes

eburtthebike wrote:

There are so many examples of people "doing things for cyclists" without actually consulting cyclists, and then getting upset when they fail that it might be worth writing a book about it.  Bridge and road design, cycle parking, routes etc, etc all consulted on when the design is already fixed and it's too late to change anything.

This!   My workplace has just completed a major refurb of the offices, including put in place secure offstreet bike parking, modern shower blocks, drying room.  However, they have decided that lockers will be for 'day use' only, meaning it won't be possible to leave anything at work overnight/between days in the office, not even somewhere to leave toiletries, shoes etc.  So they have basically created a completely unnecessay barrier to cycling.  I will be starting a petition as soon as possible when we return to the office next week! 

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Captain Badger replied to TonyE-H | 3 years ago
1 like

TonyE-H wrote:

 

This!   My workplace has just completed a major refurb of the offices, including put in place secure offstreet bike parking, modern shower blocks, drying room.  However, they have decided that lockers will be for 'day use' only, meaning it won't be possible to leave anything at work overnight/between days in the office, not even somewhere to leave toiletries, shoes etc.  So they have basically created a completely unnecessay barrier to cycling.  I will be starting a petition as soon as possible when we return to the office next week! 

This kind of thing happens all teh time. A designer (knowledge worker, creative, yeuch) will put forward a design, and also a list of requirements for the design to be supported.

Someone up teh chain will look at the list, spot something (say, I dunno, overnight lockers) and go "I don't like that, why is that necessary?" and strike it off. Note the rhetorical question, with no intention of actually asking the one who designed it or included it in requirements.

The designer is in no place to influence the management or implementation, and takes it on trust that their design won't be made unusable once built, by people who just want to make a decision, any decision.

 

Avatar
Shake | 3 years ago
3 likes

Not to mention, try getting someone that isn't particular strong to lift a >20Kg bike up onto one of those things

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OnYerBike | 3 years ago
5 likes

There's a lot of advice out there on what makes good bike parking. Bike spaces on a train should follow the exact same principals - just inside a carriage rather than inside (or outside) a building.

I guess this goes without saying, but another major obstacle to taking a bike on a train is the booking process. Every different operator has their own system, and (as far as I can tell) none of those systems are at all good.

This is compounded by the lack of spaces - intercity trains with capacity for hundreds of passengers but only two bike spaces means it is literally impossible for groups of 3+ to all travel together with bikes; and nigh on impossible for one or two people unless booked months in advance. Not to mention if you miss you train (or it is cancelled, or a connecting train is delayed) you're royally screwed. As a foot passenger, you might have to buy a new ticket but at least you almost certainly can hop on the next train.

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WBoy replied to OnYerBike | 3 years ago
1 like

The booking process, at least, should be rationalised if the Williams Review of UK rail structure is implemented, as the government seems keen to do - it recommends a unified national booking system covering all operators.re

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sean1 | 3 years ago
2 likes

ScotRail seem to have done a good job with their bike carriage design on the Highland line.

https://road.cc/content/news/267921-scotrail-unveils-forthcoming-west-hi...

 

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