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“Why don’t we look at what’s causing the incidents?”: BBC asks ‘should helmets be mandatory for cyclists’; Pro cyclist jokes about sleeping in suitcase to avoid “rough” French hotels; 2026 Tour de France to start from Barcelona + more on the live blog

It’s Tuesday and Adwitiya is your live blogger-in-chief bringing you all the latest news, views and general chit-chat from the cycling world
18 June 2024, 11:40
2024 Gamel Helmets Le Remarquable - 1 (1)
“Rather than victimise cyclists, why don’t we look at what’s causing the incidents?”: BBC gets involved in ‘should helmets be mandatory for cyclists’ debate

It’s like clockwork isn’t it, this helmet debate? Last year, the talk was fuelled after Dan Walker’s crash in Sheffield and him thanking his helmet for saving his life. Now, a full year and some months on, we’ve had celebrity chef and TV presenter Gordon Ramsay urge all cyclists to wear helmets, no matter how short their journeys be, after suffering a really bad crash leaving him with a horrible purple patch of bruise on his abdomen.

> Gordon Ramsay says helmets are “crucial” for cyclists no matter “how short the journey is”, after accident leaves him with a terrible bruise

Meanwhile, like a twisted work of fate, the foul-mouthed chef's appeal has coincided with the Dutch government calling on cyclists to wear helmets and even the local authorities running discount campaigns to encourage cyclists to buy helmets, with the national transport ministry set to publish guidelines on voluntary helmet use.

So it was only a matter of time before the UK media joined the dots and asked the question: “Should helmets be mandatory for cyclists?”

And perhaps the first one to bite the bullet was yesterday’s BBC Radio Scotland show Mornings with Stephen Jardine, who spoke to Anna Holligan, the BBC’s correspondent in the Netherlands, famous for setting up a mobile broadcasting studio called The Bike Bureau on a cargo bike.

“I wouldn’t normally talk about this subject unless it was with you because it’s so sensitive,” she said. “And before we even explain what it looks like here, I have to just give you a bit of culture clash introduction to cycling in the Netherlands because I’m talking to from my saddle where I spend so much of my time.

“The Dutch are absolutely not perfect when it comes to cycling by any measure and there’s been a rise in accidents here too. But still people don’t wear helmets usually because they feel that the infrastructure gives them the protection. So the idea that they would have to put on any kind of body armour before they get on their bike in the morning is just kind of alien.”

> BBC journalist corrects cargo bike critics, points out it "replaced my car" and saved "£1,000 in fuel"

Holligan mentions that while her daughter wears a helmet when cycling in the Netherlands, she herself doesn’t. When asked if she feels compelled to wear one when back in Edinburgh, her hometown, she replied: “100 per cent. Partly because you don’t have the segregated lanes, partly because you’re sure here in the Netherlands that most drivers are also cyclists so they take extra care.

“Here, cyclists have protection under the law. If there’s an accident, there’s a presumption that the driver is at fault rather than the cyclist so it tends to make drivers pay extra attention. There, you don’t have a bike lane to protect you, you don’t have a segregated roundabout to make sure you’re not coming into contact with cars. I’m sorry to say, when I go home, it does still feel at times like you’re battling with drivers.”

> Why is Dan Walker’s claim that a bike helmet saved his life so controversial?

Jodi Gordon from Cycling Law Scotland was up next on the show, and Jardine doesn’t waste when much time, getting straight to the point and asking: “Should helmets be mandatory here in Scotland?”

Gordon said: “No, I don’t think they should be. It has to come down to a choice and I think it will be counter productive if we’re trying to encourage people on to bikes and then we made it mandatory for people to wear helmets.

“I think rather than victimise cyclists and they should have some kind of protective headgear when they’re out on their bike, why don’t we look at what’s causing the incidents and how we can reduce those and increase road safety generally for everybody using the road network… Then we can give people the choice whether they wish to wear the helmet or not.

“There’s not as clear research when it comes to cycling helmets. There’s conflicting research as to what speed it can protect you up to, some say it’s 12mph, some say it’s 30mph. Until that is clear, it makes it difficult for people to have informed decisions and to make that compulsory.”

18 June 2024, 16:31
Jeremy Vine shares statement after Joey Barton's apology and £75,000 settlement
18 June 2024, 15:10
Finally, the Dogma was denied... New Pinarello bike coming this Thursday

By this time, I'm assuming everyone and their dog know about the infamous exchange between our video guy Jamie and Team Ineos Grenadiers' personnel (who looked a bit too much like Steve Cummings if you'd ask me), where we were outright denied the permission to film not just their new bike (which was most definitely an upgrade of the Dogma), but even their old ones!

> CANCELLED by Ineos! What happened when we tried to take pics of the new Pinarello Dogma

Well, it looks like Pinarello is finally ready for the big reveal, implying through its social media that it will be launching the bike this Thursday.

18 June 2024, 14:34
The 'footballers who cycle XI' team selection gets more difficult as the English squad take to e-MTBs

Swipe to make the Three Lions cycle, reads the caption. Also swipe to see Pickford instruct Harry Kane where to make his runs, Jarrod Bowen do his best Ed Davey impression, Bellingham looking fatigued from carrying this team, Trippier looking like he's just been told he'll be sitting on the bench for the next game, and Saka... well, looking like the happiest kid on a bike. 

My days... I tell you, the selection headaches keep getting stronger.

> Footballers who cycle XI — the Premier League stars who love life on two wheels

18 June 2024, 13:17
In praise of London's Cycleways...
18 June 2024, 12:57
Joey Barton apologises and pays Jeremy Vine £75,000 over “bike nonce” tweet
Jeremy Vine - via Jeremy Vine on Twitter

Ex-footballer Joey Barton has apologised and agreed to pay broadcaster and cycling advocate Jeremy Vine £75,000 in damages and costs to settle a defamation case lodged by the Channel 5 presenter in the wake of a string of social media posts which saw Barton label Vine a “bike nonce” and a “paedo defender”.

> Joey Barton apologises and pays Jeremy Vine £75,000 over “bike nonce” tweet

18 June 2024, 12:43
Bad news for Lidl-Trek: Tao Geoghegan Hart tests positive for Covid-19 and Giulio Ciccone down with flu

It might end up meaning nothing but the news of two of Lidl-Trek's star riders being sick is definitely going to cause some major worries for the time being at the US team's headquarters.

“It was not a return home as I hoped,” Ciccone, who was very impressive at the Critérium du Dauphiné recently after missing the Giro d'Italia due to a saddle sore, wrote on social media on Monday. “The flu got me and I haven't trained since Friday. I hope to get better soon and recover in time for the Italian national championships.”  

Meanwhile, Geoghegan Hart, who was injured in the mass Dauphiné crash on stage five before eventually abandoning the French race before stage 7, has tested positive for COVID-19 and revealed he was ‘super sick’ last week.  

“I always say I miss buying fresh groceries and cooking. Even the simple decision of actually choosing what to have for lunch and dinner. This week has seen plenty of time for that, with zero bike riding and five days of Covid positive,” the Giro d'Italia winner wrote on social media, sharing pictures of his meals.

“I thought those days were long gone but unfortunately I’ve been super sick. Take care everyone. And make sure you eat all the colours of the rainbow.”

18 June 2024, 10:44
Drink driver.jpg
Doctors call for England’s drink-driving limit to be reduced to the equivalent of a small glass of wine or beer

The British Medical Association (BMA) has said that it would lobby the next government to reduce the limit by nearly half for most people, to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, or 0.05%, and to 20mg for new and commercial drivers.

Currently, England’s legal limit for getting safely behind the wheel is one of the highest in Europe at 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, a law established in 1967.

The doctor's trade union said in a statement yesterday that alcohol and drug-related deaths were at a record high in 2021 and 2022, and that fatalities and collisions caused by driving under the influence of alcohol had not decreased in the last decade, with almost one-fifth of all road deaths caused by drink-drivers, The Guardian reports.

> “Next you’ll be asking if drink driving laws are fair”: UK Government asks motorists “caught out” by cycle lanes if current traffic fines are “fair to drivers”, leaving cyclists baffled

Carrie Reidinger, a population health policy advice and research officer at the BMA, said: “We think it’s really important to call on government to lower the legal [use of alcohol]. This is in line with the approach taken by many European countries such as Ireland and Greece.”

The BMA’s statement said: “Harm caused by alcohol and other drugs, including when driving under the influence, places an avoidable burden on individuals and our society, emergency services, the NHS, and the economy.

“Therefore, the BMA, in collaboration with a range of organisations representing medical professional bodies, alcohol and road safety charities and campaign groups, police and emergency services, and others, have developed this consensus statement setting out key actions that are needed to tackle this issue.”

Recently, the Conservatives' Plan for Drivers campaign has come under fire from cyclists, especially a consultation launched by the Department for Transport (DfT) last month, seeking drivers’ opinions on whether current traffic fines are “fair” as part of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s ‘Plan for Drivers’, with a dubiously-worded social media post being slammed widely by cyclists.

The DfT sought views on how to “restrict the ability of local authorities to generate surplus funds from penalty charge notices”. The contraventions include motorists driving through no entry, no left or right turn, or prohibited vehicle signs, or unlawfully entering box junctions, and driving in mandatory cycle lanes.

18 June 2024, 08:02
“A wild Magnus Cort appeared!”: Pro cyclist jokes about sleeping inside his suitcase to avoid “rough” French hotels at Tour de France

For all the cringey and kitsch social media antics that have come out of this modern era of cycling (looking at you, Julian Alaphilippe and Quick-Step, tch tch), I guess there are sometimes a few teams which manage to nail the medium and hit the mark.

This time, it’s the young, fresh off the block team from Norway, Uno-X Mobility, that has already made big waves in the few years that it’s been a part of the pro peloton. And its production’s star is its new signee Magnus Cort, coming off the back of a Critérium du Dauphiné stage victory.

The theme? Taking the p*** out of the French hotels, as is tradition before the start of the Tour.


A post shared by Magnus Cort (@magnuscort)

> Tour de France pro accuses organisers of favouring French teams... for hotels, says there was "no AC" and "didn't even have space to open my suitcase"

In a hilarious first few seconds, a suitcase is opened and out pops Magnus Cort (yes, out of the suitcase), providing an image that is definitely going to go down in cycling history. Just so you know, we got here before Cycling out of context!

“Hello guys, just wanted to come out and say that I’m going to the Tour de France and you might be wondering what I’m doing inside my Salomon suitcase,” says Cort after awkwardly getting out of the suitcase, and of course mentioning the brand name because what is a social media post without a cheap few bucks from the sponsor.

He continues: “But as you all know that the hotels in France are not always the best or affordable, so I was just seeing if I could maybe stay in the suitcase some days, if it’s a really rough hotel. See you all at the Tour!”

What makes it even ironic is that Cort’s Instagram page is full of pictures of hotels as part of his ongoing series called ‘#Roomsandratings’, in which he eloquently reviews and rates the rooms and hotels he stays in during the races. Wonder if we’ll get a review and a rating for the inside of a suitcase, accompanied by a single black photo taken from inside…

Cort isn’t the first cyclist to bemoan the state of the French hotels during the Tour. Last year at the Tour before Mont-Blanc summit finish stage, Intermarché-Wanty’s Mike Teunissen spoke out about his hotel room being so cramped that he didn’t even have the space to open his suitcase, and even accused the organisers of favouring the French teams.

The Dutch rider said: “I am fine, but the biggest crunch I got in the evening after a two-hour bus ride in some three-star, two-by-two room. I didn't even have space to open my suitcase. It was 40 degrees, no air conditioning. That's when it got a little hard.”

“I certainly don't want to start comparing myself to Champions League soccer players, but it's incredible. This is one of the biggest sporting events in the world. Look at what places they send us. Tennis players at Wimbledon or soccer players in the Champions League: if they ever end up in these places, they'll turn around immediately.”

“Our team got a very bad draw and French teams never get a bad draw.”

Also, does anyone remember when Geraint Thomas showed off his decadent and glamorous washroom at Giro d'Italia?

If not, go ahead and click the link below, but PLEASE don't if you're in the middle of eating or plan to in the next few hours. Or just if you're pukish or squeamish in general. Or, if you simply don't want your morning ruined... Disclaimer: will not accept liability for you throwing up at your desk.

> G shows off super glamorous pro cycling hotels... hideously grim toilets and all

18 June 2024, 09:30
Barcelona aerial view (credit: Logan Armstrong on Unsplash)
Hola, Catalunya! 2026 Tour de France Grand Départ set for Barcelona

After gracing the streets of Florence this year and then finding its way through Lille next year, the peloton is set to assemble in Barcelona to mark the start of the 113th Tour de France in 2026.

Barcelona mayor Jaume Collboni and director of the Tour de France, Christian Prudhomme's announcement at the official ceremony hosted in the Catalan capital this morning means that the city will be host to the Grand Départ for the fourth time in history, having previously rolled out the red carpet in 1957, 1965 and 2009.

The 2026 route will feature two stages inside Catalonia and the start of a stage finishing on French soil. It also marks a return to Spanish soil for the Tour after last year's incredible escape into the Basque country, with fans setting the stage for an impressive first two stages.

Barcelona also played host to the 2023 Vuelta a España opening team time trial stage, although that was marred by questionable management and torrential weather conditions turning the planned late summer dusk affair into a terrible wet slog with pouring rain as several riders crashed on the puddle-filled roads amidst complaints of "ridiculous" conditions with almost no visibility.

Remco Evenepoel 2023 Vuelta a España team time trial (GCN/Eurosport)

> "You couldn't see anything": Remco Evenepoel slams "ridiculous" Vuelta a España team time trial in horrendous conditions

Interestingly, the Grand Départ also means that the 2026 Tour de France will set a new record in the history of the event, as Barcelona, straddling the 41st parallel, will edge out Porto-Vecchio as the southernmost start of the race by a dozen minutes of latitude. It will also share a momentous occasion with the people of Barcelona, as the Sagrada Família is slated to finally reach completion in 2026

Meanwhile, the Grande Boucle has already graced the streets of the Catalan capital, most recently in 2009, when Thor Hushovd outsprinted the Spanish speedsters Óscar Freire and José Joaquín Rojas to take stage 6 right next to Montjuïc Stadium.

And finally, this marks a perhaps intriguing turn of events for the city's mayor Jaume Collboni, who just two weeks ago was involved in a bizarre situation when he got fined €100 for riding through a road where cycling had been banned by his own council... while filming a promotional video of him cycling to work for World Bicycle Day to encourage other people in the city to cycle more.

> Mayor fined €100 for riding on street where cycling is banned by the council, while shooting ‘cycle to work’ video to encourage cycling in Barcelona

18 June 2024, 10:16
Ghent's cycling investments paying dividends — car usage goes down and cycling goes up

Adwitiya joined in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

Add new comment


Steve K | 1 month ago

You missed Marc Guehi from your footballers who cycle...


Rome73 | 1 month ago
1 like

Cycleway 4 - Surrey Quays.  Fantastic. When I lived that way, many moons ago, it was called Surrey Docks and I was the only cyclist. I would cycle every day across Rotherhithe roundabout,  up Jamaica Road, across Tower. Ridge and through The City. How the place has changed. 

mattw | 1 month ago
1 like

Reading around, this seems to only be the first half of the case ie there are two.

mitsky | 1 month ago

With regards to JV v JB and the £75k settlement...

As the saying goes:

"Punishable by a fine" means "Legal for the rich".


Don't forget, Trump kept getting fined for his comments on social media/to the media during his trial(s).
Didn't stop him.

mdavidford replied to mitsky | 1 month ago

Well he only actually got fined twice - the first time several fines at once.

The second time he did stop. Sort of. Ish. (Although he was threatened with jail at the same time, which was probably more what reined him in.)

mdavidford | 1 month ago
1 like

So TGH has been 'super sick' with Covid, and so has spent the time *checks notes* shopping for fresh groceries?

Bet everyone else who was in the shop at the time are delighted.

Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
8 likes wrote:

Giulio Ciccone has flue

Poor chap, hopefully that doesn't mean his Tour plans are up the chimney...

mdavidford replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago

His whole plan for the season has gone to pot.

Pub bike replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago

Not grate is it.  A stack of bad luck when he should have been making a clean sweep back on the coal face.  He probably looks quite ashen-faced etc.

chrisonabike | 1 month ago

Incoming - on the grapeVine...

chrisonabike | 1 month ago

Ghent - Streetfilms video (a few years back now).  It explains their idea of making the city into "cells" that motor traffic can't directly easily cross between (don't mention quarter of an hour!) Also used in other places and I believe that's the plan for the centre of Birmingham?

Guardian did an article with some (all positive) vox-pops after the change.

If you fancy a visit, they're hosting Velo-city 2024 right now!

SimoninSpalding replied to chrisonabike | 1 month ago
1 like

If you are a talking to tinfoil hat wearing paranoid conspiracy theorists (e.g. Daily Mail readers), I don't think using the word cell is a good idea.

Also it is news to me there is a plan for the centre of Birmingham.

chrisonabike replied to SimoninSpalding | 1 month ago

Hmm... can't recall where I read it (thought here?) - and it was a while back.  Plus with Birmingham going bankrupt it may well have gone the way of all things...

The segments plan (some years back) is listed here:

Their current plan here - haven't browsed it: had articles on (possibly smaller) improvements here:

Pub bike | 1 month ago

Maybe 80mg made sense back in '67 when the roads were quieter and there were police patrols.  I don't think it does now.  A non-zero limit says that it is basically okay to have a drink and drive, when it isn't okay.

Tom_77 | 1 month ago

Leaflet from my local Conservative candidate. Shockingly it's promising improved transport for everyone, not just car drivers. Guess he must have missed the memo from CCHQ about turning everything into a culture war.

(Still not going to vote for him)

chrisonabike replied to Tom_77 | 1 month ago

To be fair he's emphasising roads and has listed the cycle paths last, as is traditional!

Does it mention he's a Conservative?  Seems many are a bit shy.

eburtthebike replied to chrisonabike | 1 month ago
1 like

chrisonabike wrote:

To be fair he's emphasising roads and has listed the cycle paths last, as is traditional!

Does it mention he's a Conservative?  Seems many are a bit shy.

And there's a lot of green in that picture!

Tom_77 replied to Tom_77 | 1 month ago

Also, a quick reminder - if you haven't registered to vote, the deadline is midnight tonight (18th June).


mdavidford replied to Tom_77 | 1 month ago


Hedge End and Swanwick Railway stations have been awarded a share of £350m

Is that like how I've been awarded a share of the UK's £2.3tn GDP?

ktache replied to Tom_77 | 1 month ago

You'd think they might want to avoid anything mentioning £350 million...

SimoninSpalding replied to ktache | 1 month ago

It's a good figure, as I seem to recall we are saving that much every week now, so presumably there are 52 of these types of investments happening every year?😜

marmotte27 replied to ktache | 1 month ago

ktache wrote:

You'd think they might want to avoid anything mentioning £350 million...

It's not "per week" so that's ok....

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