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Cyclists slam Edinburgh Live for doctored, “victim-blaming” near miss video; Reaction to “brainless” RideLondon 22mph speed limit; Councils “not interested” in cycling schemes; López loses his bottle, but holds on to pink + more on the live blog

It’s Monday (again), so kick off your week right by joining Ryan Mallon – admittedly still slightly hungover after Eurovision – for all the latest bike-related news and views on the live blog
16 May 2022, 17:15
Not. Jealous. At. All.
16 May 2022, 16:38
Operation Aderlass: Danilo Hondo receives doping ban

Modern pro cycling is great and all, but sometimes I hark back to the mid-2000s, the days of Gerolsteiner, Milram, and almost daily reports of doping in the peloton…

Well, here’s a story for all you perverse nostalgia merchants out there, as Danilo Hondo – the former sprinter/classics man and Telekom, Tinkoff, Lampre and Radioshack alum – has received an eight year suspension for blood doping in connection with the Operation Aderlass investigation.

However, because Hondo gave his full co-operation to the investigators, five and a half years of his ban have been suspended and the other two and a half backdated to September 2019. So, there you go.

Operation Aderlass first hit the headlines in February 2019 when a number of arrests were made at the Nordic World Ski Championships in Austria following admissions made by cross-country skier Johannes Dürr that he was blood doped by German sports doctor Mark Schmidt, who worked for Gerolsteiner and Milram during the 2000s.

> German sports doctor at centre of Operation Aderlass jailed

The investigation – centring on a blood doping ring run by Schmidt and involving 23 athletes from eight countries – subsequently hit the cycling world, when former Aqua Blue Sport rider Stefan Denifl confessed to blood doping under Schmidt’s supervision.

Several elite cyclists have since been sanctioned, of which the highest profile is the Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi – winner of Milan-San Remo and the points jersey at all three Grand Tours, who also performed lead out duties for former rival Mark Cavendish late in his career – who received a two-year ban in 2019.

Kristijan Durasek, Kristijan Koren, Borut Božič, Georg Preidler and Denifl have also been banned, while former Swiss pro Pirmin Lang left the team he founded after admitting his involvement.

Last year Schmidt was jailed for four years and 10 months by a Munich court after being found guilty of 24 counts of using doping methods and two counts of prohibited use of drugs.

In May 2019, Hondo confessed to blood doping between late 2011 and early 2013, around ten years after his best results as a pro (including two stages of the 2001 Giro d’Italia) during one of cycling’s murkiest eras , and eight years after he was initially banned for doping in 2005.

Makes sense.

16 May 2022, 16:01
No problem for Romain...
16 May 2022, 15:49
Reaction to “brainless” RideLondon 22mph speed limit (+ Poll)

Earlier today we reported that the guide for the RideLondon sportive revealed that a safety car will travel at the head of the event, at the extremely controversial speed of 22mph, with organisers calling on participants to “ride safely – it’s not a race!”

Needless to say, RideLondon’s new speed limit has divided readers (ah, I remember the day when I would have been angry about a 22mph cap – ‘twas a glorious week).

So, here’s a selection of some of your comments:

Ride London is not a race. It's not a race against the clock either.

My training rides are not races either, but I still like to push my capacity to ride quicker and stronger. I can do that on an open road, so the benefit and joy of riding on closed safe roads, is to not stop at junctions and ride to my limits. It is also the chance to ride quickly in groups which I don't enjoy on open roads and for someone who avoids racing.

A closed road event should allow people to ride in a manner that they enjoy/feel tested by.

If the organisers said there was a car at the back maintaining a minimum speed that would be equally ridiculous.

I'm a heavy rider and have never been fast.  And yet, a few years back I averaged 20mph for the entire run back from the Leatherhead to the Mall.  It isn't supposed to be a race, fine, and having a 'safety car' would make sense if it was checking that the roads were indeed closed, but the speed seems needlessly low.

So what are they trying to achieve here?  The people starting in waves an hour after the start will go as fast as they like; there won't be a car in front of every wave.  All you'll achieve is to have a peloton of hundreds of riders following the car by halfway around, which will inevitably cause accidents as no-one other than category racers are used to riding at speed in that sort of group.

Brainless.

This has clearly been decided on by someone that is unfamiliar with cycling events and unaware of what actual safety issues there are in a cycling event.

This will create a huge clump of riders packed tightly at the front behind the car as faster people move up through the more inexperienced people with nowhere to go. This is really dangerous.

I'm considering starting up the Association of British Cyclists - the people complaining about speed restrictions for safety reasons will be my first point of call. Happy to give a discount to all those who want to be able to go as fast as they want in Ride London with no thought as to the consequences of their demands.

The problem is the safety car is not going to stop the cyclists further back doing 25-27mph in a bunch of slower riders, and will just piss off the ones who would start first complete on an average of 25mph. And the car is doing 22mph for the whole course, so what happens on a downhill?

I've got no problem with this as long as they did it before taking the large amount of money from you for participating in the event.

I doubt I'd have troubled the limit too much, but plenty would have and now are understandably peed off. No, it's not a race but people are trained to ride at different speeds and as long as they are safe there is no problem.

By the way, yes we all have seen d*ckheds riding like d*ckheads on these sportives many times before. They are a very small minority and this won’t stop them, in fact it will enable them to catch the faster riders and potentially cause problems.

Hopefully these fears will be unfounded having said all that. My problem is simply that they have said this now and not when they were taking people’s money.

If you want to race enter a race. Number on back not bars. Simple.

If you want to ride fast on closed roads but racing isn't your thing, enter a closed road sportive. Simple. Or it should be...

So what do you think? Are RideLondon’s organisers right to impose a speed limit at the head of the event?

Supersurvey

16 May 2022, 14:36
Cyclists criticise Edinburgh Live for doctored, “victim-blaming near miss” video

A bit of a strange one, this, if I’m honest…

Edinburgh Live has been criticised by cyclists on Twitter for publishing an article which claimed that a cyclist “raced” through a roundabout “without giving way to the traffic on their right”, causing them to “narrowly miss a black BMW who is forced to slow down and is almost brought to a halt to avoid a collision”.

According to the article’s author, the footage (which can be viewed below in its original format on TikTok, which – be warned – includes a sweary audio track) “shows the cyclist getting themselves into a precarious position”.

@truckdriveuk88 #hgv #edinburgh #Cyclists #safedriving #ukdriving #scotland #edinburghtiktok #qualityfood #edinburghcity #cyclistsoftiktok ♬ original sound - TallStack

Even if we disregard this highly questionable interpretation of the ‘incident’ – the original video, posted on TikTok, clearly shows the cyclist looking to their right before entering the roundabout, before the BMW driver (who, though it’s impossible to tell, appears to have approached the roundabout after the cyclist gave way) commits a close pass on the exit – the article was also criticised online for including a “sped up” version of the video.

Yes, that’s right. The edited video which appeared on Edinburgh Live’s site appeared to have been sped up at the moment the cyclist entered the roundabout, which added to the sense that the cyclist “raced” through the junction, as the article claims.

It’s not clear who was behind the doctored footage, though the speed of the video has been corrected on Edinburgh Live’s article.

The article was heavily criticised on Twitter, with many cyclists claiming that it misrepresented the footage to paint a less than flattering depiction of cyclists in the city.

Andy Arthur claimed the article defended the BMW driver “who is at fault here” and was evidence of “victim blaming on the part of the cyclist”:

It must be noted that while many Twitter users claimed that the original TikTok footage appears to show the person who filmed the footage singing an inflammatory song about cyclists, the audio featured in the video was later added in from an external source (not that that casts the poster in a more favourable light of course).

The article’s author Jacob Farr defended the piece, claiming he had “no desire to stoke any conflict”:

That defence, predictably, didn’t go down too well…

16 May 2022, 13:54
Justice for Dunbar! Eddie puts Giro selection blues behind him to win Tour of Hungary

Away from the Giro, yesterday’s final stage of the Tour of Hungary saw Eddie Dunbar continue his fine run of form in 2022 by taking the overall victory, despite being pipped at the line for the stage win by Trek-Segafredo’s Antonio Tiberi.

The win in Hungary was the 25-year-old Irishman’s second GC victory of the season, after he took the first stage race of his career at March’s Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali, and follows the Ineos Grenadiers’ decision to leave Dunbar out of their Giro line-up, in favour of Ben Tulett.

Since signing for what was then Team Sky in September 2018 after the demise of Aqua Blue Sport, Eddie has only ridden one grand tour for the British squad – at the 2019 Giro d’Italia, where he finished 22nd on GC, the team’s second-highest placed finisher.

“It’s another step in the right direction,” the climber said after his win in Hungary. “The last four days went really good.

“I was hoping to do the Giro d’Italia this season, but coming back from that disappointment I stayed on it and I kept my condition good. To come here and leave with a GC victory is good for me and the team.”

As GCN’s stats man Cillian Kelly pointed out, Dunbar is the only Ineos rider in the past three years to win more than one stage race in a season.

Which begs the question: what will it take for Eddie to be selected for a grand tour?

By the looks of things, it might take a transfer to BikeExchange-Jayco for the clearly talented Dunbar to realise his grand tour aspirations.

The Australian team are reportedly interested in signing the Irish climber, whose contract runs out at the end of 2022, though Jumbo-Visma and EF Education-EasyPost are also reportedly in the running.

Wherever he ends up, let’s hope Dunbar gets a few more chances at the highest level than he has had during his time at Ineos.

16 May 2022, 12:25
Christina Mackenzie sets new women’s North Coast 500 record

My legs hurt just thinking about this…

Over the weekend, Scottish adventure cyclist Christina Mackenzie set a new women’s solo record for the North Coast 500 route.

Mackenzie, who last year set a new Land’s End to John O’Groats record, completed the 516-mile journey around the Scottish Highlands in 36 hours, 39 minutes and seven seconds, beating the previous best time by two hours, according to the Roads Records Association.

The Stirling-based endurance athlete’s ride wasn’t without incident, however, as she narrowly avoided about a dozen deer who ventured into the road in the middle of the night.

Mackenzie was also forced to climb Bealach na Ba, one of Britain’s truly great cycling climbs, awarded 11/10 in difficulty and described as the “holy grail” by hills aficionado Simon Warren, with gradients reaching 20 percent during its gruelling five miles.

All that during a non-stop 37-hour ride, while getting battered by crosswinds? Ouch.

“Let's just say I wanted to get off my bike and put it back in the van because it was just awful,” Mackenzie said after her mammoth ride.

“Climbing up there were cross winds. Once I got to the top, I don't know how I managed to stay upright, I was getting blown from side to side.”

Despite the pain, the Lewis-born rider has another record in her pocket and, more importantly, raised money for charity Alzheimer Scotland, in memory of her mother Elizabeth, who died in 2014.

Chapeau.

16 May 2022, 11:44
Kidical Mass takes to the streets across Britain and Europe

More of this, please…

 Though less of this kind of thing would be great as well, at least as a start…

16 May 2022, 10:53
Cycling fans and Eurovision fans – we’ve been through the same pain…

Apologies in advance – this will be my one and only Eurovision-themed post today.

Though I can’t make any promises…

Saturday night was great, though.

Even the live blog’s resident Eurovision sceptic Dan would have to admit that (he assures me he didn’t watch it, and says he just "looked up the result". Yeah right).

16 May 2022, 10:34
Savage stuff from Dan Martin

The retired pro is clearly embracing his new position as a devastatingly cutting social media personality…

16 May 2022, 10:11
Giro rest day recap: The race finally bursts into life, as Juan Pedro López loses his bottle… but holds on to pink

Another Monday, another rest day at the Giro d’Italia, when cycling fans everywhere are left with nothing but their own thoughts for roughly 43 hours… Scary, I know.

But at least after stage six’s soporific “action” on the way to Scalea, we were treated to a long weekend of proper racing – and not to mention a terrifically Italian (and by that I mean brilliantly chaotic) edition of the Eurovision Song Contest…

After an equally chaotic and thrilling start to Friday’s stage seven, Koen Bouwman took the biggest win of his career in Potenza, with a little help from his Jumbo-Visma super-domestique – and former Giro winner – Tom Dumoulin.

Saturday’s mini-world championships in and around Naples, meanwhile, saw Mathieu van der Poel being, well, Mathieu van der Poel, tearing every cycling rule book to shreds with his non-stop attacking on the series of twisting, technical circuits.

But despite MVDP and his new sidekick Biniam Girmay’s best efforts, it was that old fox Thomas De Gendt who took the stage from the breakaway and – most importantly – built up an impressive lead in the Tour De Gendt over namesake Aimé.

While some (including De Gendt himself) heralded the Belgian’s victory as a return to winning ways after a barren spell spent hunting down breakaways on the front of the peloton, such an assessment is relatively unfair on a rider who won a stage of Catalunya just last year.

Yesterday’s stage to the summit of Blockhaus (named by a nineteenth-century Austrian commander, just so you know, the scene of Eddy Merckx’s emergence as a grand tour phenomenon, just so you know) finally saw the GC battle spring to life.

Unfortunately for British cycling fans, the 13-kilometre brute of a climb also saw the end of Simon Yates’ maglia rosa hopes for 2022, as the BikeExchange-Jayco rider – knee heavily bandaged after a fall earlier this week – dropped off the pace almost immediately as the road veered skywards.

Yates wasn’t the only big name who suffered due to the attritional pace set by Ineos and UAE, as Hugh Carthy, Wilco Kelderman and home favourite Giulio Ciccone saw their GC hopes go up in smoke in the Apennines.

The stage was thus set for a race-winning move by 2019 Giro winner Richard Carapaz, but the Ineos rider could only bring the ominously strong-looking pair of Romain Bardet and Mikel Landa with him, both men riding like it was 2015 all over again on the slopes of Blockhaus.

Jai Hindley, 39-year-old Domenico Pozzovivo (who was without a team only three months ago before Intermarché snapped him up), and the battling João Almeida managed to claw their way back to the dithering trio, with 2020 Giro runner-up Hindley taking the win ahead of Bardet and Carapaz after a pulsating sprint to the line.

Even more dramatically, Juan Pedro López held on to the maglia rosa by just 12 seconds, losing only 1:46 after arguably the most impressive ride of the 24-year-old’s life.

A clearly emotional López – who has the chance to keep the pink jersey for much of the Giro’s second week – also admitted to the television interviewer after the stage that he threw a bottle at Jumbo-Visma’s Sam Oomen following a spot of argy-bargy early on the climb.

What’s the Giro without some drama, eh? The organisers decided not to dock López any time following his apologetic admission, keeping his 2004 Thomas Voeckler-esque stint in pink alive for a while longer yet.

And the drama looks set to continue next week, and possibly beyond. As there was no definitive knockout blow on Blockhaus, the GC battle looks remarkably wide open, with eight riders all within a minute of pink, and another four (which includes the seemingly indefatigable old-timer Alejandro Valverde, who, along with the soon-to-be-retired Vincenzo Nibali, looked impressive on Sunday) within 90 seconds.

Now hurry up rest day, so we can get back to the racing…

16 May 2022, 08:41
Nextbike Cardiff (screenshot via BBC News report)
Some councils “not interested” in bidding for cycling and walking funds, Welsh government minister claims

This morning, as you may already have read, we reported that councils across England are set to share £200 million of government money aimed at encouraging cycling and walking initiatives, with 134 active travel projects set to receive funding through the scheme.

In Wales, however, a government minister has claimed that some councils are not interested in bidding for funding for new cycling and walking routes.

Lee Waters, Wales’ deputy minister for climate change, made the claim as the devolved government announced the allocation of its £50 million active travel fund.

While schemes in Cardiff and Swansea are set to receive around £6 million each to either continue or create new cycling and walking routes, some councils – such as in Wrexham, Neath Port Talbot, Gwynedd, Denbighshire and Caerphilly – will only receive a “core allocation” of £500,000, the minimum amount of funding that can secured from the scheme.

> More than 100 cycling and walking projects across England to share £200 million in funding

“The truth is, some counties are more interested in this agenda than others,” Waters told the BBC, while speaking at an event in Cardiff organised by cycling charity Pedal Power, where he called on local authorities to “take action now” against climate change.

“Some counties don't put bids in. Others, like Cardiff, put enormous bids in – and there is an unevenness.

“I'm quite happy to fund ambitious councils like Cardiff who want to do the right thing and put infrastructure in. I can't worry too much if another council does not put another bid in, in the short term.

“One of the conversations I'm having with councils is: ‘How do we help them overcome the barriers they have?’

“Some councillors aren't putting bids in because they can't get the staff to put the bids in and to build the schemes.

“Others aren't putting it in, because frankly they are not interested.

“That needs to change, and it needs to be challenged both by the Welsh government, and also by local people.”

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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33 comments

Avatar
Rome73 | 2 years ago
6 likes

the Kidical Mass is fantastic. Well done to all those involved. I wish I'd known about it in advance. 

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lllnorrislll | 2 years ago
5 likes

Edinburgh Live Cyclist - Truckdriveuk88/ticktock

Shows the mentality of some people, that getting likes on Ticktock is important by submitting videos stating that you want to kill cyclists in one video and then your Marks and Spencers livered work vehicle in the next.

Hopefully he might not be for just any sort of dismissal but a Marks and Spencers dismissal!

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TheBillder replied to lllnorrislll | 2 years ago
5 likes
lllnorrislll wrote:

... Marks and Spencers livered work vehicle in the next.

I suppose liver is cheaper than paint nowadays. But then it's M&S so probably ptarmigan liver.

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brooksby replied to lllnorrislll | 2 years ago
0 likes

I haven't watched that video with the sound on, but does it have the Benny Hill music playing over the top of it...?  4

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AlsoSomniloquism | 2 years ago
6 likes

I see AndyCox was in the Times yesterday because he has lead on re-examining the causes of road collisions after the event and stated that 50% are probably caused by speeding, and not the circa 20% based off initial studies. 

Also he has started his Road Peace charity and did the first leg with Laura. Hopefully she is doing an article for this site on it and other parts of Andy's role.

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iandusud replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 2 years ago
4 likes

AlsoSomniloquism wrote:

I see AndyCox was in the Times yesterday because he has lead on re-examining the causes of road collisions after the event and stated that 50% are probably caused by speeding, and not the circa 20% based off initial studies. 

That sounds more like it. I'm shocked by the number of speeding drivers I encounter and even more shocked that when they claim hardship when they accumilate 12 points they're allowed to carry on driving! If losing your licence is going to cause you hardship don't speed!

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AlsoSomniloquism | 2 years ago
6 likes

Re: Edinburgh Live

Jacob putting in something in "print" ready for his Interview with the Daily Heil?

I mean even with the speeding up (which happens well before the cyclist gets to the roundabout unless the white van is doing 50mph), there is no way equating a car that only appears when cyclist is almost at the exit with causing it to brake for speeding in front of it is PBU levels of anti-cycling mental gymnastics. 

if it wasn't for the apparent singing on the original video upload, I would have actually stated well done to the following driver for not overtaking the slow cyclist whilst approaching a pinch point.

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brooksby | 2 years ago
3 likes

Solving Clifton flooding by removing cycle lanes is 'crazy' say critics (Bristol Post)

https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/solving-clifton-flooding...

Quote:

Bristol City Council has unveiled its proposals to reduce that flooding, and are encouraging people who live, work or travel through this area to say what they think about the plan.

The plans involve creating soft grass verges to soak up the rain, adding a drainage channel, widening the footpaths on both sides of the road and replacing the pavements with block paving, which has better drainage. The road would still be one lane each way for traffic, but widening the pavement and creating grass verges would mean the cycle lanes on either side of the road would have to go, the council said.

“Our streets are for everyone, and this part of Whiteladies Road clearly needs to be rethought,” said transport chief, Cllr Don Alexander (Lab, Avonmouth). “It is always a last resort to propose taking out cycle lanes, but the lack of space in this area means we need to consider it.

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hawkinspeter replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
4 likes

You just beat me to it.

It's a fact-free proposal as they don't have figures on how many people use that cycle lane (I do from time to time).

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brooksby replied to hawkinspeter | 2 years ago
2 likes

The cycle lane inbound isn't great due to all the tree roots, but it seems ludicrous to go ahead with this before checking whether they're forcing hundreds of cyclists* into the main traffic lane...

Primary position it is, then!  4

 

*Might not be hundreds, but I reckon it's a LOT.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
0 likes

I looked at Streetview and didn't notice any cycle lane along the whole road. Some paint here and there approaching lights but nothing else. Is it other roads leading on that they are working on?

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brooksby replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 2 years ago
0 likes

I'm pretty sure they're on about this length of painted lane, from Belgrave Road down to Queens Road (that's the bit that floods):

https://goo.gl/maps/c8dXY4WtECq3JmSG7

 

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hawkinspeter replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 2 years ago
6 likes

AlsoSomniloquism wrote:

I looked at Streetview and didn't notice any cycle lane along the whole road. Some paint here and there approaching lights but nothing else. Is it other roads leading on that they are working on?

It may be just a bit of paint (and tree roots) to you, but to us Bristolians, that's quality infrastructure

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chrisonabike replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
4 likes

Nice - keep the cars and ban the cycles because we've climate-related troubles. (Yeah, short term and long term issues - but the current issues may be more or less directly linked to too many cars / tarmac.) If they were really interested - I suspect this isn't without other motivations - they should ask e.g. The Ranty Highwayman about rain gardens and amost anyone (apart from the Royal Borough of Ken and Chelsey) about how to find space for cycling.  Hint - one of the lanes of the road could go.

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mdavidford | 2 years ago
2 likes

Quote:

Unfortunately for British cycling fans, the 13-kilometre brute of a climb also saw the end of Simon Yates’ maglia rosa hopes

British cycling fans can enjoy watching non-British riders winning. Sometimes more than they enjoy watching British ones winning.

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Ryan Mallon replied to mdavidford | 2 years ago
0 likes

Absolutely, and I would be a vocal proponent of that pre-2012 way of thinking. But I had to start the sentence some way...

I was more disappointed Yates got dropped because he's in my Velogames team, if I'm honest.

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brooksby | 2 years ago
3 likes

On that twitter footage of the Kidical Mass in Bristol, dontcha just love how the driver of the council van thinks it's just fine to park across the cycle lane...?

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Rendel Harris | 2 years ago
3 likes

Quote:

Yesterday’s stage to the summit of Blockhaus (named after a nineteenth-century Austrian commander, just so you know...

It was named not after but by a C19th Austrian commander who commanded a stone fort there in the 1860s to fight brigands following Italian unification, Blockhaus being German for fort (literally "stone house"), just so you know.

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Ryan Mallon replied to Rendel Harris | 2 years ago
1 like

Cheers for spotting my deliberate mistake/brief brain fade.

I've read enough about Blockhaus to last a lifetime, but of course when I go to write about it, my head turns to mush...

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eburtthebike | 2 years ago
9 likes

"Some councils “not interested” in bidding for cycling and walking funds, Welsh government minister claims"

Maybe it's because some councils realise that spending tiny amounts on single schemes won't achieve much, if anything at all.

What is needed is a long term, large scale, strategic plan for getting to Holland/Denmark levels of cycling, not one-off petty amounts of funding to be fought for between councils.  A twenty year time-scale is required, with short, medium and long term goals, and this drib-drab of pathetically insignificant amounts is just for headlines for the government, to distract from the obscene amount of money they're spending on encouraging driving.

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Fursty Ferret replied to eburtthebike | 2 years ago
13 likes

Harrogate Council took many millions of central government funding and used it to add an extra lane for cars on an A-road while sticking some shared use signs to move cyclists onto the pavement.

Guess who gets priority at every single side road and Toucan crossing? 

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brooksby replied to Fursty Ferret | 2 years ago
1 like

Fursty Ferret wrote:

Harrogate Council took many millions of central government funding and used it to add an extra lane for cars on an A-road while sticking some shared use signs to move cyclists onto the pavement.

Guess who gets priority at every single side road and Toucan crossing? 

And they justified that as 'active travel spending' how, exactly??

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eburtthebike replied to Fursty Ferret | 2 years ago
2 likes

Fursty Ferret wrote:

Harrogate Council took many millions of central government funding and used it to add an extra lane for cars on an A-road while sticking some shared use signs to move cyclists onto the pavement.

That sounds very much like misuse of funding.  Have you taken it to the ombudsman or your MP or the local government auditor, or whatever they're called?

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chrisonabike replied to eburtthebike | 2 years ago
6 likes

Just thinking that.  Look at the minimum costs for some very simple infra (new pedestrian footway 265 / metre, pedestrian refuge £9,400 - £12,500,  toucan crossing £58,000-£70,000) e.g. here or here.  Looking at the money and dividing by the number of projects suggests that they can't get much more than paint unless they're only doing a very short distance.  The "basic allocation" of 500,000 above would definitely suggest that nothing of value will be done.

It is actually possible to do useful bargain basement interventions.  You can create modal filters on streets simply by dumping existing concrete blocks or with simple bollards.  You can plonk down concrete "jersey barriers" in the carriageway to make a protected cycle path.  On a slightly more expensive level I know Seville's cycle network was initially a bit ropey (think trees in cycle paths) and some of Copenhagen's infra looks decidely "tacked on".  In both cases however they decided to make a network.  And weren't afraid to occasionally offend the motor lobby.

The problem tends to come at junctions however - which are the crucial part.  Although we have proven designs (and principles) which have decades of testing there is no getting around the need for changes here.  That is far more "visible" than e.g. a traffic-calmed side road and tends to be expensive and contentious.

Cycling infra in the UK seems to be hugely overpriced for the value gained.  This is likely due to several factors including fundamental lack of understanding by authorities, lack of skills by designers and constructors, suitable materials being available but more "bespoke" and resistance from the motor lobby or the "not in keeping" brigade.  The idea that cycling should impact the convenience of the motorist is still a battleground.  Actually this should really be a design goal.  Even where cycling and driving are equally convenient in the UK - which is almost never the case - people drive.  Sadly the levels of driving we have are not sustainable.

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Bungle_52 replied to eburtthebike | 2 years ago
4 likes

What is needed is a change in the law to make it possible for the police to prosecute poor driving around cyclists so we can all share the roads safely without the need for infrastructure.  Imagine what it would be like after a few months if, for example, the 1.5m rule was law instead of guidance. Cost : zero. It might even make money if the fines can be kept.

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Bill H replied to Bungle_52 | 2 years ago
4 likes

@Bungle_52 As a society we have been asking / expecting that enforcement for decades and decades. It has never happened and quite frankly will never happen. I was hit by the driver of an unregistered car, he was stoned and had run a red light. No amount of enforcement can stop every individual like that, and I would far rather avoid such a collision in the first place than see a successful prosecution afterwards.

The only proven solution for safe cycling is properly segregated infrastructure. My commute into the City is radically different today to what it was in the 90s, and wholly for the better. The benefits that I enjoy should be shared around the country.

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ChasP replied to Bill H | 2 years ago
2 likes

Whilst infrastructure is great for commuters on urban or suburban routes it will never be practical or desirable on all roads. Modification of driver behavior by whatever means is an essential accompaniment.

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chrisonabike replied to ChasP | 2 years ago
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It's both, plus legal changes.  In the UK it's possibly (slightly) quicker to start addressing poor driving.  That will always need policing.  But even with all the enforcement we can't afford this won't convince everyone - or even most - that cycling's safe and convenient.  Luckily we don't need to build new cycle infra absolutely everywhere - though we must have networka.  "Share where possible, segregate where necessary" - infra is not needed on all roads as you say.  We can start by separating main routes for different modes and using modal filters to stop motorist cut-throughs.  And if you default to "build cycle paths by connector roads"* in the countryside people might be surprised at the amount of use they'll get.  * Rather than our current nothing or a scrappy bit of narrow footpath with a "shared space" sign.

It's a virtuous circle if you can get into it: good infra makes cycling feel safe and is also convenient so there are more cycle journeys.  More cycle trips means fewer local car trips.  That means less conflict and more space for cycling, more drivers (or their relatives / friends) cycling some trips gives understanding / motivation for safer driving, cycling is no longer a "minority" issue but one that gets serious and cross party support etc.

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zideriup replied to Bungle_52 | 2 years ago
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I don't think a lot of people are still aware of the guidance. Bear in mind the government has gone out of its way to not advertise the recent changes to the Highway Code, leaving the job, as they usually do, to the right wing punditry who subsequently did what they usually do... Which was to wilfully misconstrue the changes and report them as a result of some sort of anti-driving agenda.

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Rich_cb replied to eburtthebike | 2 years ago
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Loath as I am to defend the Welsh Labour Government, their active travel budget is pretty decent.

£50 million across a population of 3.5 million is quite good.

More would always be better but some of the new infrastructure in Cardiff is top drawer. £6 million across a population of roughly 350,000 goes a long way.

It's a real shame that Caerphilly council havent engaged as there is also the potential for some amazing infrastructure there with minimal effort.

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