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Journalist Ash Sarkar abused for posting learning to ride vid; De Gendt claims it's easier to drop TDF riders than win on Zwift; Vogue's cycle clothing guide; Niche cycling COVID meme; Weymouth seafront bike ban + more on the live blog

Welcome to Wednesday's live blog, with Jack Sexty in charge and Simon MacMichael taking over later this evening...
20 May 2020, 14:16
Journalist Ash Sarkar receives shocking racist abuse after posting video of her learning to ride a bike

The Novara Media editor and political activist posted the video of her learning to ride a bike (above) on 18th May; and although she has got plenty of encouragement from followers, a number of the comments are abusive, threatening and racist from accounts that have made little attempt to hide the identity of their owners. Nigel Ward - who made the first comment from the horrendous selection above  - has even had his place of work and the address identified in the comments section underneath his post. 

It's also evident that a number of the abusive comments come from accounts that share content related to far-right nationalism and Britain's relationship with the European Union, such as these charmers,...

Sarkar was also questioned for walking with the bike while in a seated position; however according to Cycling UK's video guide on teaching adults to ride a bike, this is best practice for learning. Sarkar also went a sensible step further by removing the pedals, presumably to ensure her ankles don't knock against them while walking with the bike. 

Sarkar says she was never taught to ride as a child because her mother didn't have the time to teach her, commenting: "Here’s why I didn’t learn: my mum was a working single mum, and my sister had a really bad respiratory illness. Mum was almost always working or caring - she didn’t have the time, tho (sic) she wanted to."

Since posting the video other adults have contacted Sarkar to say they too are learning to ride. She said: "One of the really nice things these last few days is grown ups (mostly women, but not sure how representative that is!) telling me they’re learning how to cycle for the first time too."

A bike rental company owner confirmed he had come across many adults who were learning to ride a bike after not getting the opportunity to learn as youngsters. 

20 May 2020, 13:30
Vogue's guide to what to wear for 'every type of bike ride this summer' has some interesting choices

When Chris Boardman notably said he wanted to see more "normal people in normal clothes" riding bikes, it's questionable whether he was referring to £300 designer shirts and floral swimsuits... but nevertheless, the world's foremost fashion magazine have put together a guide to cycle-friendly gear that's a bit less Lycra-heavy than your typical cycling apparel buyer's guide; after all, cycling shorts have been bang on trend for at least a couple of summers now, and it's refreshing to see cycling hit the fashion mainstream if it encourages more people to ride. 

Whether it's beach cruising or city slicking Vogue have a number of choices that might not strike you as typical pieces that would be found in a cyclist's wardrobe; although for the 'road warrior', they've recommended the Salsa Journeyman all-road bike and some BOA-equipped Giro Espada shoes, even if we're not too sure about the other picks of a leopard-print belt bag and $160 Stella McCartney running jacket. 

For some slightly less glam recommendations, check out our buyer's guides section

20 May 2020, 15:00
Man cycling with knitted boobs on to raise cash for breastfeeding support groups

After being forced to abandon his plans to ride Land's End to John O'Groats due to the pandemic, Andy Bruce is now completing his daily exercise by cycling with a pair of knitted breasts tucked into his jersey. He's doing so in aid of the South Cumbria Breastfeeding Support charity, hoping to raise £1,000. 

He told ITV News: "All my cycling holidays that I'm running this year have been cancelled but I still need to cycle for my own sanity so instead of the Land's End to John O'Groats trip that I was due to run, I'm cycling for 15 days and taking these fabulous knitted boobies to help raise funds for a local and national breastfeeding charity.

"When I started this the weather was slightly hotter than this and they did get a bit on the warm side."

Let's hope for Mr Bruce's sake the weather stays a bit nippier so he doesn't overheat...  

20 May 2020, 15:06
Specialist cycle insurers get £1.8 million in funding "to support global cycling boom"
Bike rack in Cheltenham town centre (picture courtesy Cheltenham Borough Council)

Bikmo have announced their the huge funding boost is led by Development Bank of Wales, alongside specialist global insurer Hiscox, plus existing and new angel investors. This will support their growth across the UK, Ireland, Germany and Austria.

Their CEO David George commented: “We are here to support people’s active lifestyles, and we want riders to know that we can cover them, plus their bike and equipment, whether on road or trail. This investment will enable us to grow and support the recreational riders as we always have, plus the new riders we can all see rediscovering the freedom and utility of riding a bike in the fresh air.

We are all riders at Bikmo so we understand that cyclists need to know that they are protected if something happens, and we see that the vast majority of home insurance policies aren’t adequate. Cycling is more important than ever for our physical and mental health, and as a practical mode of transport for us all to remain safe and socially distanced.”

Bikmo also recently partnered with Cyclescheme, and recruited Gareth Mills from Strava as their Chief Marketing Officer. 


20 May 2020, 14:56
LCC's infrastructure campaigner talks through the latest developments on London's new cycling developments

In the video above, Simon Monk discusses London's Streetspace campaign and what else is going on to make cycling better and safer in London. 

20 May 2020, 12:37
Behind the scenes of Fabio Wibmer's Home Office

The lockdown video to end all lockdown videos wasn't quite done in one take, as the Austrian trials and stunt specialist shows us in this behind-the-scenes video. Here's the finished edit if you missed it first time... 

20 May 2020, 10:00
Thomas de Gendt claims dropping world class riders at the Tour is easier than winning a Zwift race

The Belgian has been getting himself stuck in to Zwift racing since the lockdown began... but could Mr De Gendt be insinuating that this futuristic new cycling world is actually operating more like a 90's peloton in this tweet? It's thought that 'cheating' on Zwift is rife - made possible by inputting a lower weight to make watts go further or lowering height to make the avatar more aero - and De Gendt claims it's easier for him to drop riders on the Tour de France than it is to win a Zwift race at the moment.

It's not the first time the Lotto Soudal rider has had trouble with the platform, after he was actually banned from a race because Zwift identified his numbers as suspicious; eventually his results were reinstated after he called it out on social media. Maybe everyone else just has 'superhuman power' too? 

20 May 2020, 10:40
Niche cycling-related coronavirus meme

Most of us didn't get this, until our niche racing news correspondent Liam pointed out that it's in reference to the snow-covered bank that ended poor old Steven Kruijswijk's hopes of winning the GC at the Giro d'Italia in 2016. Here's what happened next...

It always sucks having to explain a joke, but it's in reference to this unfortunate ending of Steven hopes if ya didn't get it (most of us didn't until our niche racing news correspondent Liam 

20 May 2020, 09:54
The ultimate Strava alternative
20 May 2020, 08:32
Cycling banned on Weymouth promenade
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Dorset council have announced that cycling will be banned on Weymouth's seafront between 10am-5.30pm from 22nd May to 31st October. No further reasons have been given for the enforcement of the Public Space Protection Order, with some questioning the move and asking for alternatives. 

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A similar ban has been previously discussed in Bournemouth, with leader of the council Vikki Slade saying that they would consider a ban unless their 10mph speed restriction was adhered to by cyclists, report the Bournemouth Echo

She said: "We are asking that the Prom is used sensibly. There have been issues with cyclists going too fast and their being too many of them.

“We want to give it one more weekend to see if people can behave fairly and responsibly and I have asked police to carry out a few more patrols in spots where people have been cycling in groups and cycling too fast.

“It’s frightening for people if you are cycling along at high speed and there have been accidents. I don’t want to have to take cyclists off the Prom.”

20 May 2020, 08:29
Re that little Strava debate from yesterday...

Yesterday's live blog was dominated by the news that Strava is putting a number of features behind a paywall, so we asked Twitter if they had any alternative recommendations. Looks like Mr Boulting has answered that question once and for all...

20 May 2020, 08:19
Top-earning cyclists

L'Equipe's round-up revealed that Peter Sagan is the highest earner, raking in €5 million a year, with Chris Froome second on the list with €4.5 million and Geraint Thomas third on €3.5 million. 

Arriving at in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.  

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