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Those pesky cyclists, always exceeding urban speed limits… oh wait! 20mph camera catches over 23,000 speeding drivers; Ford unveiled as official RideLondon partner; 71% of Dubliners support more bike lanes; Bardet abandons Giro + more on the live blog

It’s (finally) Friday, and Ryan Mallon and Jack Sexty are here to take you into the weekend with the final live blog of the week…
20 May 2022, 16:33
From the archives: Britain’s shortest cycle lane?

As we head into the weekend, let’s take a trip down memory lane… down an extremely short cycle lane in fact, unveiled on the York Road in Leeds way back in 2001.

Ah, 2001… Blair and New Labour were still riding high, Beckham was single-handedly dragging England to the World Cup, and a certain Texan with a heart-warming story was on his way to a third straight Tour de France title.

And Leeds, apparently, was aiming for the title of ‘UK’s shortest bike lane’.

I really enjoy how it drops straight into a puddle – purely, I imagine, for the added entertainment value…

Now that’s what I call infrastructure.

20 May 2022, 16:04
“Drivers think that speed limits only apply to cyclists”: 20mph speed camera reaction

This morning’s story, about the thousand drivers a day breaking a new 20mph speed limit in Plymouth (despite the clear and obvious evidence that only cyclists speed through towns and cities), got quite a few of you talking in the comments.

Here are some of your thoughts:

One day it may dawn on drivers that it is the appalling standard of driving that is causing speed limits to be continually lowered.

The same with ever-increasing use of double white lines as numerous motorists demonstrate that they are incapable of judging how to overtake safely when it was previously allowed. Most traffic restrictions that councils and the HA bring in are evidence based (if only they'd apply some evidence to their approaches to cycle lane design).

The astonishment at 1,100 drivers exceeding the 20mph speed limit is hardly warranted; anywhere in the UK would get the same result.  Drivers think that speed limits only apply to cyclists.

I've managed to retrain myself to drive at 20mph where those limits apply, and frequently find myself being tailgated and overtaken. Some of the roads with 20mph limits may be safe to drive at 30mph, but the speed limit is the speed limit. Some of the roads with the new 20mph limit definitely need it.

Twice recently I have experienced road rage for driving at the 30mph limit. In the first instance the guy drove the wrong side of a roundabout to overtake and in the second the guy roared past while giving me the bird only to pull in at a burger place about 300 metres further on!

But what about that cyclist I saw once ride on a pavement? Have you considered how that renders all drivers faultless in all situations?

I've found that, when I do drive (infrequently and in someone else's vehicle, as I don't own a car anymore) I am a lot more conscious of speed limits and road rules, compared to before I took up cycling. I think being a vulnerable road user makes one even more aware of why road rules need to be followed; I reckon all drivers should have a 'cycling experience' test before completing their practical driving test!

Ah yes, "bells & reflectors" - two of the 'Fatal Four' right there...

And just to get this straight in my own head – cyclists apparently both break urban speed limits AND constantly hold drivers up? 

Driver: Sees you from far enough away to slow down, wind down the window and work out what they are going to yell at you.

Driver: I can't see you.

20 May 2022, 15:28
Heartbreak for the break as Démare seals Giro hat-trick

Turns out I spoke too soon.

It had all looked so rosy for the leading quartet with 35 kilometres to go on stage 13 of the Giro d’Italia.

At that point Julius Van den Berg, Pascal Eenkhoorn, Mirco Maestri and Nicolas Prodhomme had three minutes and 40 seconds on the slow-awakening peloton, who looked to have ceded one of the final opportunities for the sprinters before Verona.

With twenty kilometres to go, the gap to the peloton was two and a half minutes; by ten to go, it was still over a minute.

Hesitation, however, is the thief of breakaway success, and so it proved again in Cuneo, as the front four were swallowed up in the final kilometre, when for so long the day looked within their grasp.

One rider who hasn’t hesitated at this Giro is Arnaud Démare; the Frenchman once again showing his strength on the slight rise to the line, to take his third stage of the 2022 Giro and the eighth of his career.

A fast-finishing Phil Bauhaus came in second to the flying maglia ciclamino, while Mark Cavendish – who briefly looked like he had the beating of Démare before running out of legs – rounded off the podium.

For what could have been a dull transitional week on the Giro, the last four days have seen relentless, restless racing, a fitting prelude to the race’s mountainous denouement, which starts in earnest this weekend.

The sprinters, meanwhile, have only one more chance to make their mark on the race, next week in Treviso (I’ll be there too, just to make you jealous) – which perhaps explains the panic that arose within the hitherto snoozing peloton this afternoon.

20 May 2022, 14:33
“Doing 100 mile with a backpack on will be something new”: RideLondon organisers blasted again for not including bag drop

The RideLondon organisers can’t catch a break, can they?

(Quite like the Giro peloton today… Although I probably shouldn’t speak too soon on that.)

After doing their best to recover from some self-inflicted PR disasters this week, from safety cars to time pauses and car sponsorship deals, the organisers have received yet more flak this morning – for not including a bag drop for entrants.

The bag drop fiasco appears to be something of a long-held grievance for entrants travelling to RideLondon this year:

It never ends, does it?

20 May 2022, 14:12
Scores on the Whoop: Recovery key to Oldani’s breakaway success

As you may have noticed throughout GCN’s coverage of the Giro, fitness and recovery tracker Whoop has been keeping tabs on the riders as they take on the stresses and strains of a three-week grand tour.

Whoop’s stats, which chronicle a rider’s sleep performance and how much strain they are under during a stage, give a revealing insight into that mysterious element of grand tour success: recovery.

It’s one thing being ready for a one-day classic, where you can leave everything on the road, it’s another being able to repeat the feat day after day during a stage race.

For instance, Whoop’s data for Stefano Oldani, the winner of yesterday’s stage from the break into Genova, shows that it wasn’t just his fast finish that enabled the Alpecin-Fenix rider to take his first pro victory ahead of Lorenzo Rota and Gijs Leemreize.

As you can see below, Oldani’s ability to recover during the Giro’s surprisingly fast and stressful second week teed him up perfectly for his shot at glory in his home tour (though his sleep, understandably, took a bit of a hit following his win).

Stage 12 Stefano Oldani Cyclist Dashboard Sleep _ Recovery

Oldani’s teammate and breakaway partner, Mathieu van der Poel, was in dire need of Monday’s rest day, according to Whoop’s data, but has recovered well as he aims for a second stage win in the next day or two.

Stage 12 MVPD Cyclist Dashboard Sleep _ Recovery

Although road racing - as we all know - is never an exact science, and the sprinters’ carefully tuned recovery could come to naught if the peloton doesn’t catch the breakaway today…

20 May 2022, 13:11
Romain Bardet abandons Giro d’Italia with stomach bug

Sad news for fans of panache and boyish looks everywhere, as Team DSM confirms that Romain Bardet has abandoned the Giro d’Italia during today’s stage 13 between Samremo and Cuneo.

Bardet had looked in fantastic form throughout the Giro (even combining an impressive showing on Blockhaus with lead out duties two days ago), and this morning sat in fourth place on the GC, trailing pink jersey Juan Pedro López by 14 seconds, and only two seconds behind João Almeida and Richard Carapaz, arguably the Frenchman’s biggest rivals for the overall win.

With the general classification so delicately poised, many onlookers were intrigued to see how Bardet, who last stood on the final podium of a grand tour at the 2017 Tour de France, would fare in the Giro’s final week after such a strong start to the race.

Unfortunately, a stomach bug has scuppered the 31-year-old’s Italian renaissance, and despite struggling through yesterday’s stage while sick, Bardet was forced to pull the plug on the road to Cuneo, disappointing expectant cycling fans (and former teammates) everywhere:

Romain Bardet abandons Giro (GCN)

 Although I do agree with Katy that the Bardet boke replay was a tad unnecessary…

20 May 2022, 11:51
The stupidest of all the stupid s*it people say about cycling?

The Twitter account 'Stupid shit people say on Facebook about cycling' regularly keeps us entertained and horrified all at once, and this one might just top the lot so far. Plenty of cyclists have chipped in with their opinion on this gem already... 

Of course, whoever made this comment on Facebook does have some stiff competition in the form of the admin of a certain farming advocacy page... 

20 May 2022, 11:12
Sagan shredding on the trails

Well he's actually just posing in a snap with Daniel Oss here, but we assume that's what happened next. Wonder if Peter got the pressure washer out after his ride? 

20 May 2022, 10:40
Cyclist riding 1,800 miles to site of Stalag IV-B prisoner-of-war camp, 78 years after his father was taken there
d-day normandy to stalag trip - via Richard Stoodley on justgiving

On 5th June 1944, Richard Stoodley's father Lance Corporal Robert ‘Bob’ Stoodley, then 20, was one of four who took off from RAF Harwell near Didcot bound for Normandy. After successfully completing their D-Day mission, Corporal Stoodley was captured and taken on a brutal 23-day train journey to Stalag IV-B, one of the largest prisoner-of-war camps in Germany during WW2. 

Thankfully Corporal Stoodley escaped in 1945, and 78 years later it's his journey to the camp that son Richard will recreate by bike, starting on 5th June of course. Richard plans to ride around 90 miles a day, on a route "that will take in as much of the [original] route as possible even though some can only be the best estimation", arriving on the former site of Stalag IV-B 21 days after departing Normandy. 

Unfortunately Stoodley Sr. passed away last year, with Richard adding: "I am doing this for myself but also for my Dad who turned 97 in May 2021 but unfortunately left us 3 months later in August that year. We spent hours talking about the trip and planned so much of it together." 

Over £3,000 has already been raised for the Support Our PARAS charity - you can find out more and donate on Richard's JustGiving page here

20 May 2022, 09:50
Just Egan Bernal, out for a spin, buying some plants…

When he’s not shopping at Dobbies (other garden centres are available), the 2019 Tour de France winner is remaining tight-lipped about a possible return to racing in July or August. Watch this space…

20 May 2022, 09:32
Cyclist in Dublin (licensed CC BY 2.0 on Flickr by Teyvan Petttinger)
Alive, alive, oh: 71 percent of Dubliners support more cycling infrastructure

In Dublin’s fair city, where the bike lanes aren’t too pretty…

Molly Malone will hopefully be able to wheel her wheelbarrow more safely through Dublin’s broad and narrow streets in the future (okay, I’ll stop now), as a recent survey has found that 71 percent of the city’s residents are in favour of the creation of more dedicated cycle lanes.

The 2021 Walking and Cycling Index, produced by sustainable transport charity Sustrans and published during this year’s Bike Week, which runs until Sunday and features 600 events across Ireland, found that 25 percent of Dubliners cycle at least five days a week.

However, only 18 percent of women, compared to 33 percent of men, said they cycled regularly in the city.

The survey of over 1,100 residents also concluded that people would feel more inclined to cycle, walk or wheel their way around Dublin if the city’s existing active travel infrastructure was improved.

71 percent said they would support an increase in dedicated cycling infrastructure, while 76 percent would support the installation of more road crossings with shorter waiting times.

84 percent were also in favour of ’20-minute neighbourhoods’, where essential daily services and shops would be within easy walking distance.

Ireland’s Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said the results of the survey were “packed with good news” as they demonstrated that cycling and walking was an important part of life in Dublin.

“Crucially, however, this report is also helping us build a picture of what people need, gaps in infrastructure and how we can improve things further so that we can make it more attractive for even more people to choose walking, wheeling and cycling in years to come,” Ryan said.

20 May 2022, 09:13
RideLondon announces... one of the world's biggest car manufacturers as presenting partner
ford park the car initiative - via Ford

It's been a busy week for the people behind RideLondon Essex, with a 22mph speed limit hastily canned and news that riders' times will be paused at feed stops ahead of the event next Sunday. Now, the sportive's organisers have announced that car giant Ford will be a major partner. 

> Has Zwift had its day? Plus RideLondon's U-turn on on the Podcast
> RideLondon: rider times will be paused at feed stations
> RideLondon safety car WON'T set 22mph speed limit

To be fair, Ford is pushing its 'Park the Car' initiative (noted on Tuesday's live blog) as part of the partnership, encouraging people to ditch the car and cycle or walk if the journey is under three miles.

For the pro event, the race director will also drive a Ford Kuga PHEV in the convoy, and the Ford Mustang Mach-E will be "the Official Electric Vehicle as part of the London 2022 RideLondon Classique support fleet."

This is all well and good, but then again Graham on Twitter may have a point... 

20 May 2022, 08:39
Those pesky cyclists, always exceeding urban speed limits… oh wait

A couple of days ago on the blog, you may recall, we featured some sage (and misspelled) road safety guidance from Merseyside Police, advising people on bikes to “cycle like you drive”.

According to the tweet (which, remarkably, remains up two days on – who had that in the pool?), “many cyclists can exceed urban speed limits”.

So, when riding in towns and cities, cyclists should adopt the behaviour and attitude of those famously law-abiding, careful and patient road users, motorists.

Oh, wait…

1,100 in the first day?! Must have been cyclists driving all those cars…

Of course, as with anything pedalling broadcaster Jezza Vine touches, the whataboutery merchants were soon out in force:

But remember folks, cycle like you drive... 

Ryan joined as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.

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