Tilt your head slightly, there you go...
This great piece of “cycle superhighway” flagged in the comments by road.cc user John (and featured in Near Miss of the Day 647) perfectly encapsulates the pointlessness of some of the UK’s painted, non-segregated cycle lanes.
Barely the width of your handlebars, drains everywhere, and then… nothing. Top bit of road design there...
The full route for the eighth edition of RideLondon, due to take place on Sunday 29th May, was announced on Friday.
The event, which will be held for the first time since 2019, has swapped its former Surrey stomping ground for Essex, with a new 100-mile route starting at Victoria Embankment in London before entering the county via the historic Epping Forest.
After riding through Ongar, Fyfield, the Rodings and Great Dunmow, the participants will join up with the route for stage three of the 2014 Tour de France around Chelmsford before heading back towards Ongar and central London, finishing at Tower Bridge.
The revamped format and partnership with Essex County Council also includes the creation of a new three-day UCI Women’s WorldTour stage race, the RideLondon Classique, which starts on Friday 27 May and features two stages in Essex.
Those who tried to enter this year’s RideLondon-Essex challenge via the public ballot should by now have found out whether they’ve got a place. However, there are still some charity places available.
If you fancy taking on RideLondon’s brand-new route for a good cause, the charity Lyme Disease Action, which strives for the prevention and treatment of Lyme disease and associated tick-borne diseases, has spaces available.
LDA is keen to promote the idea that people should not be scared of activity or the disease. If ticks are removed correctly then the risk of contracting Lyme disease is much lower and if it is treated in the early stages, the outcome is very good.
The charity is run by volunteers so any donations raised will go directly to funding the aims of the charity. Donations can also be increased by 25 per cent, with no extra cost to the person, if they are a UK taxpayer.
Anyone who wants to take part should contact LDA at fundraising [at] lymediseaseaction.org.uk.
Anquetil vs Poulidor
Cancellara vs Boonen
Coppi vs Bartali
Armstrong vs Ullrich
LeMond vs Hinault
Arkea-Samsic vs Lotto-Soudal
Great rivalries you can't tell the history of cycling without
— Nairo Quintana Fanclub (@NairoInGreen) February 20, 2022
Over the weekend one of cycling’s great rivalries came to a head. Forget Coppi and Bartali, and Hinault and LeMond – at the Tour du Var we saw the clash of the two great early season bandits, Nairo Quintana and Tim Wellens.
While Lotto Soudal’s Wellens predictably got the better of Quintana in their two-up sprint in La Turbie on Saturday, it was the Colombian from Arkéa Samsic who had the last laugh, riding to a dominant solo stage win and the GC the following day.
Quintana’s win at the Tour du Var followed his overall victory at the Tour de la Provence the week before, almost exactly mirroring his promising start to the 2020 season (later derailed by the pandemic, of course).
Nairoman’s recent penchant for early season success echoes that of his Lotto Soudal counterpart. Since 2016, Wellens has only went one year – 2020 – without picking up a win before the end of February, and he’s yet to finish outside the top 12 of any stage or one day race so far this year.
Can Quintana and Wellens keep this form going for the rest of 2022? Probably not, but at least we’ll always have February.
Same again this time next year, fellas?
Our feature, published over the weekend, which explored whether cyclists should use bike lights even during the day – an idea propagated by Trek – has provoked some fierce discussion on Twitter (the spiritual home of fierce discussion).
Here is a selection of some of your views, both from Twitter and in the comments section of the original article:
It’s not just inattentive drivers, though. Cyclists can disappear on a sunny day, just cycling under trees. Lights are a must and I despair at the number of us that cycle without them.
— James M. Turner QC (@ShipBrief) February 20, 2022
I think it all helps; lights hi-viz tops etc. But the mirror is the biggest safety device in the UK context of road sharing because it allows for early positioning and on the odd occasion just pulling over and waiting.
— Stephen Feber Ltd (@StephenFeberLtd) February 20, 2022
IMO the argument that drivers should see everything and are to blame misses the point. Drivers are human and so will never be 100% infallible. and I once I am dead saying it is the drivers fault would not raise me from the dead. 2/
— Justin Clayton (@justintime991) February 20, 2022
It's more of a shame that manufacturers like @TrekBikes don't actually listen to people and instead spend time campaigning for safe cycling infrastructure which actually would have a demonstrably proven benefit.
— Elisabeth Anderson 🚲🐺 (@velobetty) February 20, 2022
IMO @TrekBikes are right about fitting collision avoidance transponders to bikes. Aviation has been doing this for many years. Though for now we should still be pushing for cycling infrastructure
— Justin Clayton (@justintime991) February 20, 2022
Back to your original comment regarding mirrors following the lights post, all the gizmos in tve world are not going to help unless culture changes, training improves and people learn to see as part of a multifaceted approach. https://t.co/u7sq3eBCj9
— Andi (@ArmitageAndi) February 21, 2022
In the daytime possibly, in bright conditions – definitely not.
When you can see a cyclist from a distance of about half a mile, but their light only becomes obvious at half that it seems pretty pointless. Just a waste of energy and a stick to beat cyclists who aren’t using lights with.
I'm generally against using lights in the daytime, as I am often trying to conserve my light burn time for when it matters.
As cyclists we are competing against the background and other road users to be seen.
New models of cars have been using DRLs since 2011.
We should not have to but are almost forced to use lights in daytime in our own interests.
It is only one small step from no lights to victim blaming.
I'll put my lights on during the daytime if the weather is bad (rainy, very overcast, fog, etc). Other than that, no.
If someone honestly can't see you during the hours of daylight without your bike having flashing lights then in my opinion they shouldn't be driving.
And if they are only looking for lights, not for - you know - things, then again they should probably go and retake their driving test.
The problem would occur if a requirement for daylight lights turned up, with all the potential for the hyper-junk press to excuse their moron psycho readers for any offence against cyclists.
Cycling as SPORT klaxon:
I ran the (Hammersmith) Cyclists' Film Show for years with Ray Pascoe: Ray is putting on a show at short notice this Sunday at the more recent venue of Finchley Phoenix.
RT for cycle sport people pic.twitter.com/noMq7d9r8N
— CHAIRRDRF (@CHAIRRDRF) February 21, 2022
After a two-year hiatus, the Cyclists’ Film Show (formerly held in Hammersmith) returns this Sunday to the Phoenix cinema in Finchley.
Organised at short notice by cycling film historian Ray Pascoe, best known for making two films about Tom Simpson, the event will feature screenings of Keep Going Lapebie, the story of Roger Lapébie’s 1937 Tour triumph, the Team Telekom documentary Hell on Wheels, and Ray’s own Notebook from the Tour 2019, as well as archival footage of cycling events from the 1910s and 1920s.
With Omloop Het Nieuwsblad kicking off Opening Weekend – and for many, the start of the cycling season proper (sorry, UAE Tour) – what better time to indulge your inner cycling historian?
— Jenny Hagger 🇪🇸 😍 (@jenny_Hagger) February 19, 2022
On the subject of protected cycle lanes, this one on the Balearic island of Menorca is… shall we say... interesting.
The lane was installed on the access road to the island’s airport by operator Aena. While the path is segregated from traffic, its serpiginous route around the lamp posts has baffled some on social media:
"Shall we move it a foot to the right boys, keep it straight"?
"Nah, let's go round the lampposts, much easier"
— Menorca Smyclist (@julian_hagger) February 19, 2022
Wonder why the lane looks drunk?
— Sanjay Lalwani (@i_SanjayLalwani) February 20, 2022
Removes the temptation to smash repeatedly into lamp posts. Red tape and beaurocracy wins 🤦
— Jim Clarkson (@Startledbymidge) February 19, 2022
"You cyclists want traffic calming? I don't get it but, here you go."
— Andrew C. Dingman (@acdingman) February 19, 2022
Others, however, at least saw the meandering path as an upgrade on some of the UK’s classic examples of cycle infrastructure:
At least it’s protected and not the magic protection painted lines that we get here.
— Matty P (@mattypnufc) February 20, 2022
Come on now. They've made an effort pic.twitter.com/L0VQ7Yenw0
— Stas Maksimov (@maksimov) February 20, 2022
It’s one thing beating Fernando Gaviria at the Tour of Oman; it’s quite another to come out on top against the likes of Jasper Philipsen, Sam Bennett, Pascal Ackermann, Dylan Groenewegen and Arnaud Demare at WorldTour level.
But that’s exactly what a flying Mark Cavendish did on today’s stage of the UAE Tour, edging out race leader Philipsen after the pair contested what was effectively a 250m drag race to the line, into a headwind.
Following his win in Oman, today’s victory marks only the fifth time in the Manxman’s career (and the first since 2015) that he’s won two or more sprints by the end of February.
Cavendish’s impressive long-range victory followed another relatively benign stage at the UAE Tour (a brief opportunity for echelons notwithstanding), characterised by pan-flat roads, a stifling headwind, and the incongruous sight of three Gazprom-Rusvelo riders making up the day’s breakaway.
Bora-Hansgrohe, Groupama-FDJ and Quick Step were the main protagonists in a slightly chaotic finale, with Cavendish launching his sprint early by peeling off a fading Sam Bennett’s wheel with 250m to go. Philipsen looked like he was closing on the Manx Missile as the duo approached the line, located on a slight bend, but Cavendish had done enough for win number two of 2022.
“I knew we could win here, but I’m more happy because how the team worked today,” the Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl rider said after the finish. “A third of the team here are first-year professionals, so this is the first or second race in their career.
“But seeing how they rode today, they were like seasoned professionals. And that’s after one day of talking about how we didn’t get it right yesterday.
“Nobody panicked today – the job was to get me to the final as fresh as possible. And they did that, and they did it so well I could go for between 300 and 250 metres into a headwind.
“But I was delivered so well, I knew I had the energy to take it to the line. I felt Philipsen coming fast at me and I knew he was in good form after his sprint yesterday, so I’m happy we could hold him off and take the win.”
Cavendish’s flying start to the year continues, and today’s win – taken against an arguably stronger field than he faced at the 2021 Tour de France – certainly bodes well as he challenges the other in-form sprinter of February, Fabio Jakobsen, for a spot in Quick Step’s team come July.
Yesterday the last 4km were done in 3'54" with the tailwind. Still, we were 10" slower than the italians at team pursuit on track. With standing start.
— Jacopo Guarnieri (@jacopoguarnieri) February 21, 2022
After a gentle 180km preamble, the last four kilometres of stage one of the UAE Tour yesterday were pretty rapid.
Just not as rapid as the Italian Team Pursuit squad that won gold in Tokyo, who – as Groupama-FDJ’s Jacopo Guarnieri pointed out – also had to deal with a standing start and no tailwind (incidentally, both the UAE Tour peloton and the Italy team had a certain Filippo Ganna to power them along).
Speaking of Italy’s gold medal-winning pursuiters, Bahrain-Victorious’ Jonathan Milan was heavily criticised after the stage for this aggressive shove on Ag2r Citroën's 21-year-old neo-pro Paul Lapeira, which almost caused a crash at the front of the bunch:
.@MilanJonathan_ you just can't do that. It's disrespectful and super dangerous in a peloton. To UCI, we have to do something about these guys and stop this kind of behavior for our safety.@BHRVictorious@UCI_media @uae_tour https://t.co/Z6r1FWBVlG
— Paul Lapeira (@PaulLapeira) February 20, 2022
It’s slightly less chaotic today at the UAE Tour, where a severe headwind has slowed everything down to jogging pace – for yesterday’s stage winner Jasper Philipsen at least…
— David Selby (@TeaStats) February 20, 2022
This close pass, captured by David Selby yesterday morning on a sodden A34 in Stockport, raises an important question concerning the future of cycling infrastructure – rather than protecting cyclists, do unsegregated bike lanes actually put them in more danger?
Here are some of the replies to David’s video on Twitter, with some users claiming that unprotected, painted lanes are a “contributory factor” to dangerous close passes:
The assumption that they are in their lane and you are in your lane means it’s okay to dangerously close pass 😞
— Cyclinginsmogeveryday😷🐝 (@markardern) February 20, 2022
100% dangerous close pass and should be reported.
That shitty paint job is a contributory factor as it gives the drivers a false sense of entitlement to 'THEIR' road space.
I sometimes think us cyclists would be better off without it.
— Chris Pearson (@zebra100cp) February 20, 2022
A34 is a nightmare at the best of times. Plenty of space to put cycling infrastructure in!
— Peak Bike Station (@PeakBikeStation) February 20, 2022
What do you think? Does a simple lick of paint on the road actually invite motorists to overtake cyclists closer than they normally would, or is something always better than nothing when it comes to cycling infrastructure?
Incidentally, Stockport Council was awarded a grant in February 2020 to develop a business case to create a series of improvements along the A34. These proposals include the creation of a 5.6km segregated pedestrian and cycle route along the road.
The council has submitted its case to the Department of Transport, with a decision expected in the coming months. If funding is approved, the improvements will be carried out in phases between 2023 and 2026.
Festina, Puerto, Jiffy-gate… as cycling fans, we’re well used to our sporting heroes letting us down.
But even over a century of scandals wasn’t enough to prepare us for the shocking revelation published in L'Équipe over the weekend – Tadej Pogačar admitted that he’s a Manchester City fan.
I’ll let that sink in for a moment.
The two-time Tour de France winner told the French sports daily that watching the Premier League champions beat that other bastion of sporting integrity, Paris Saint-Germain, in a Champions League game in November was one of the highlights of his off-season, and that he even had breakfast with manager Pep Guardiola the following morning.
There are unconfirmed reports that the 23-year-old’s favourite footballer of all time is Nicky Weaver and that his earliest sporting memory is City’s penalty shootout win over Gillingham in the 1999 Second Division play-off final.
Or maybe he’s a blue because his UAE Team Emirates squad is sponsored by the same people who have bankrolled City’s success over the past decade and more. Yeah, that’s probably it.
Some on Twitter were less than impressed by Pog’s footballing allegiance:
easily the worst thing a cyclist has ever done in the history of the sport https://t.co/92Cc4MSkS3
— Robyn (@robynjournalist) February 20, 2022
Whatever you do, don’t Google Pep’s relationship with performance enhancers… https://t.co/SVXJSo4xKV
— Journal Velo (@JournalVelo) February 20, 2022
Waiting for Saudi to set up a cycling team, I'm sure their star rider will be a Newcastle fan 🧐
— Jessica (@rbjhan) February 20, 2022
Of course, the Slovenian superstar isn’t the first cycling link with the blue half of Manchester. Former City boss Roberto Mancini, who guided the club to its first league title in 44 years in 2012, is a keen cyclist who counts Felice Gimondi, Francesco Moser and Marco Pantani among his heroes.
On a visit to the Manchester velodrome in 2012 Mancini, who rode a custom blue Prestigio to training three or four times a week, said that his players could learn a lot from Team GB’s cyclists. A few years ago the current Italy manager spoke at an event hosted by the Michele Scarponi Foundation, where he claimed that it’s safer to cycle around areas of Manchester than in Italy.
Pogačar, meanwhile, also told L'Équipe that he would like to win all five monuments one day (he’s already got Liege and Lombardia in the bag after last year’s annus mirabilis), and that he will target Paris-Roubaix “when I've got more to gain than to lose”.
For the moment, the Slovenian seems as relaxed as ever as he looks to defend his UAE Tour title this week…
— Bayerischerelch (@Bayerischerelch) February 20, 2022
cycling is so beautiful 🤍 pic.twitter.com/m2s4pjzqkr
— Robyn (@robynjournalist) February 20, 2022
With storms Eunice and Franklin battering the UK this weekend, many of us took the opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with the neglected turbo trainer (provided your power stayed on).
Not in the Netherlands, however, where some brave – or foolish – cyclists continued to ride their bikes outside, turning Utrecht University’s famous rainbow bike path into a game of Mario Kart.
Or maybe they were just getting in some training for next year’s Dutch Headwind Championships…
Ryan joined road.cc 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.