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Is Fix Your Bike fixed now? 50,000 more vouchers made available on govt scheme; Styles' new bike-theme style; Dygert apologises for social media conduct; Campaigners call for park traffic ban; MP suggests LTN referendum + more on the live blog

It's Monday and Dan Alexander will take you through the start of the week on the live blog...
16 November 2020, 18:21
Fix Your Bike: bike servicing company welcome scheme, but ask for further extension plus "rapid progression" of cycle lanes and LTNs
Lego bike mechanic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 clement127:Flickr) .jpg

As many of you who tried to get one when the first wave were released back in July will know, £50 Fix Your Bike vouchers were like gold dust, and when you did get them many bike workshops were experiencing unprecented demand, and admin issues which prevented them from claiming the cash back

As the news came trickled through from Government this morning that another 50,000 vouchers have been released, 'collect & return' bike repair company havebike have welcomed it... but also say there should be another extension, and further speedy improvements to improve the infrastructure that people will be riding their fixed up bikes upon should be rolled out. 

havebike's CEO Nick Brown said: "We value any Government support that seeks to encourage and enable cycling to get more people back on bikes that are in a roadworthy condition. As we've seen bicycles can help NHS and other key workers make essential journeys during this lockdown and also provide the wider public with a great way to exercise and improve mental health.

"While we welcome the Fix Your Bike Voucher scheme, we would like to see continued investment and rapid progression in the installation of cycle lanes and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods. The vouchers are extremely popular and very hard to get hold of, so we would welcome another extension to the scheme.

"We also feel there's a very important job to do in terms of educating people on the costs associated with getting your bike serviced. While £50 goes some of the way to fixing a bicycle, it doesn't cater to some of the more common worn or defective parts that often need replacing."

Will Fix Your Bike work more efficiently this time around? Hopefully it will contribute to plenty more winter bikes being given a second lease of life. And as always, if you managed to nab a voucher do let us know how you got on in the comments.

16 November 2020, 18:41
Style-ish? Harry Styles poses in kilt with vintage bike for new Vogue shoot

Becoming the first male to pose for the cover of US Vogue in its 127-year existence, in this shot the former One Direction member has a rather fetching vintage bicycle with his unusual outfit. Probably not the best get-up for a windy day... 

16 November 2020, 17:00
Ben Foster's cycling YouTube channel

He may have eight England caps, played for Manchester United and been a mainstay in the Premier League for most of the past decade but Ben Foster sure knows how to have a day off from football. His YouTube channel, The Cycling GK, has plenty to keep us cyclists interested including his Specialized Tarmac SL7. Not a bad life these professional footballers have...

16 November 2020, 16:44
Snake or bar tape?
16 November 2020, 16:27
Pop-up cycle lane described as 'so useless and unable to be cycled in, it's only purpose is to narrow the road, and fire cyclists in to a width restriction'
Bridgend pop-up cycle lane

These photos of a pop-up cycle lane in Bridgend were sent to us over the weekend by a reader called Cycling Pete and have no shortage of issues for cyclists. Pete told us: "It's so useless and unable to be cycled in, it's only purpose is to narrow the road, and fire cyclists in to a width restriction.

"It's difficult to see how anybody can use it, so presumably demand will be recorded at zero! It actually makes cycling along that section of road more dangerous!"

How you're meant to get in or out the lane with a barrier at one end and cars parked at the other remains a mystery to us...

Bridgend pop-up cycle lane



16 November 2020, 15:49
La Course en Tête season review
La Course en Tete

If cycling books are your sort of thing then this might be the perfect memento to the strangest of seasons. 'Cycling in the Time of Covid, a review of the tumultuous 2020 season' is a 230-page reflection on the season just finished. The book includes writing from La Course en Tête and may be just the thing to tide you over until 2021.

16 November 2020, 15:13
Chloe Dygert apologises for controversial social media conduct

Former time trial world champion and current individual pursuit world record holder Chloe Dygert has apologised for her social media conduct. According to Cycling News the 23-year-old reportedly liked a tweet saying 'white privilege doesn't exist', as well as another from Donald Trump which many accused of being transphobic.

A third liked tweet referenced Colin Kaepernick, the NFL player who knelt during the national anthem, and reportedly read: 'realized that if he [Kaepernick] grew an afro and played the part of victim, he could scam the black community out of millions.'

Dygert no longer likes the tweets and has apologised on Instagram: "Cycling should be for everyone regardless of color, gender, sexuality or background. Like CANYON//SRAM Racing, I am committed to promoting diversity, inclusion and equality in cycling and our wider communities.

"I apologize to those who felt offended or hurt by my conduct on social media. I am committed to keep learning and growing as an athlete and a person."

The American signed for Canyon-SRAM last week is currently recovering from a serious laceration to her leg which she sustained during a crash at the time trial world championships in Imola. Her team also released a statement.

16 November 2020, 14:36
Biking with Biden
16 November 2020, 13:39
Second-round of Fix Your Bike Vouchers available now

The second-round of 50,000 government funded Fix Your Bike Vouchers worth up to £50 are available from today. The scheme allows anyone with an unused cycle in need of repair to get their bike fixed for free with the aim of encouraging more people to use bikes, placing less strain on the public transport network during lockdown. When the initiative was announced earlier this year it was widely praised and all 50,000 vouchers were claimed within a few hours.  

However, the initiative was not without problems. Some bike shops faced difficulty getting refunds for the work they were carrying out which led one shop owner to describe the scheme as a "nightmare". There were also issues with the website crashing due to the massive demand. 

Back in August one bike repair shop in Cheshire said: "The voucher scheme is a great thing, but the logistics of it is letting customers and repairers down.

"The first voucher redeemed was on August 3rd, 2020 and I’ve been redeeming them daily since then. I have received no payment as yet from The Energy Saving Trust despite promises of payments between 5-12 days after redemption."

You can apply for a voucher here...

16 November 2020, 12:00
Bikes for Refugees hit 1,000-bike milestone

Bikes for Refugees is a simple concept: people donate their old or underused bikes to help those more in need so they have a cheap and accessible transport solution. Since 2016 the charity has provided more than 1,000 bikes to refugees in Scotland. The 1,000-bike milestone was hit in January and is testament to the work of Steven McCluskey and a team of volunteers who collect the bikes and refurbish them before passing them on to those in need.

"When I’m asked [about Bikes for Refugees] I less and less describe the project as a bike project, and instead describe it as a project which is about supporting people’s resettlement, supporting their social inclusion and integration," McCluskey told The Scotsman.

16 November 2020, 11:56
Coolest workshop photo ever?
16 November 2020, 11:27
Astana renamed Astana-Premier Tech for 2021
Astana 2020 (screenshot)

It's one of the peculiarities about professional cycling that teams come and go and team names change from year-to-year. For 2021 Astana will join Ag2r Citroën, Bahrain Victorious and Greenedge Cycling as the revised names in the WorldTour peloton. Canadian company Premier Tech have sponsored the team since 2017 but will take on title sponsorship for 2021. One of the consistent titles in the peloton, it is the first time Astana will have a co-sponsor for the first time in their 15-year history.

16 November 2020, 10:46
Should through traffic be banned from Richmond Park?

The London Cycling Campaign has called for better traffic management in London's parks to create a safer environment for cyclists. While some areas of Richmond Park have been shut off from motor traffic the Queen's Road was heavily congested with through traffic this weekend. 

This tricyclist was repeatedly close passed by drivers as heavy traffic flowed in both directions. Campaigners have said the park is no longer safe for vulnerable road users and have encouraged people to make their voices heard by responding to The Royal Parks’ Movement Strategy questionnaire on Richmond Park which launched today.

Richmond Park reopened to through traffic in August allowing rat running drivers to use the road as a shortcut. Campaigners described the move as "reckless and drastic" at the time and now hope that the consultation can end through traffic in the park for good.

You can make suggestions and add your thoughts to the consultation by following this link...

16 November 2020, 09:54
Team GB top the medal table at UEC European Track Championships

Great Britain won two more medals on the final day of competition to take their tally for the week to six gold, three silver and two bronze. Ethan Vernon's silver and Laura Kenny and Elinor Barker's bronze in the Madison was enough to see GB clinch top spot in the medal table in Bulgaria. Vernon set a personal best time in the Kilo, narrowly missing out on gold to Czech rider Tomas Babek. 

Vernon said: "You always come into a race to win but to do a PB by five tenths of a second and go under 1:01 – I can’t really ask for much more. Especially after late last night where I was racing a 160 lap points race which was a mega tough race, so to only have a bit of recovery and then go and do that, I’m happy to get a PB and the silver medal."

GB could have won a twelfth medal had it not been for an unfortunate crash in the men's Madison which saw Matt Walls and Ollie Wood crash out while in the lead.

16 November 2020, 09:30
Harry Tanfield signs for Ribble Weldtite

Harry Tanfield has dropped down to UCI Continental level to secure a spot with Ribble Weldtite next season. The 25 year-old spent the past two seasons at WorldTour level with Katusha-Alpecin and AG2R but has been the victim of a tricky transfer market, with the coronavirus pandemic making it harder to find a contract. Tanfield recently rode his first Grand Tour at La Vuelta a Espana but was forced to abandon on Stage 15. It will be his first time riding at Continental level since 2018 when the strong time trialist won the opening stage of the Tour de Yorkshire from the breakaway.

16 November 2020, 08:59
MP calls for referendum on LTNs to resolve 'entrenched' debate

Rupa Huq, the Labour MP for Ealing and Central Acton, has suggested the only way to resolve the debate over LTNs is to hold a referendum. The issue has attracted interest from pro-Active Travel campaigners, residents and motorists alike over the past few months. The Department for Transport has repeatedly expressed their support for the schemes and the issue was debated in Parliament at the beginning of November.

However, LTNs have not been universally popular. Motorists especially, who now cannot rat run, have complained about their journeys taking longer. Some residents, like the group mentioned in the ITV report above, also oppose LTNs despite the infrastructure reducing traffic and pollution in their residential areas.

Even accounting for the vocal opposition, a YouGov survey found that three times as many people in the UK are in favour of LTNs than are opposed to them. Huq's call for a referendum did not go down well on Twitter with one reply pointing out that planning should not be carried out by referendum.

David Arditti said: "I don’t recall the referendum on flooding our minor roads with rat-running cars follwing routes suggested by Tomtom or Waze. Besides, planning is not best done by referenda, but by elected councillors deciding on the basis of evidence and compliance with policies."

Another added: "This is a rubbish idea. It’s like asking turkeys to vote for Christmas. If there’d been a referendum we’d not wear seat belts and have no upper speed limit. Decisions for the common good are often unpopular but time shows us that they were right."

Dan joined in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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