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“Distressing” footage of new King Street cycleway; Cav closes in on the King; NextBike rental takes off in Wales; Ganna loses time trial, world panics; Ronde introduces equal prize money; Presca releases new eco baselayer + more on the live blog

It’s Tuesday and Ryan Mallon is here to distract you from the front pages with another helping of cycling news and views on the live blog
22 February 2022, 18:02
Chasing the pack

A little bit of early ‘90s nostalgia to take you into the evening…

Winner of ‘Reply of the Day’ must go to Cameron, for this reference to the somewhat murky ethics of that particular era of pro cycling:

22 February 2022, 17:18
Bike path or cyclocross course?

This path, apparently a designated ‘family cycling route’, looks great fun – just maybe not for riding to work or taking the kids to school…

22 February 2022, 16:40
TotePack Bike+Rasket
Finnish bike and rack manufacturer Pelago brings out new range of bags

Lots of techy things for you to feast your eyes on today. Last up we have Finnish bike and rack manufacturer Pelago, who have now added a line of bags to their offerings.

Pelago Bags are made for everyday use on and off the bike and are designed to match the brand’s racks. I reckon they’re quite stylish, but I’m not overly known for my style…

RackBag Bike+Rasket

“These cargo bags are perfect for all sorts of needs,” says the brand. “Whether it’s just a basic commute to the office, riding home with your groceries or going on an adventure with your bike to whatever destination.”

Designed to fit on the Pelago front rack, the Rackbag attaches via four velcro straps. It has sturdy padding on the bottom to help it keep its shape and protect your stuff while riding. With the roll top closure the bag can also be adjusted according to size of its contents. “Strap it, roll it and clip the carabiners to keep it tight,” says Pelago.

Choose between black or green, the Rackbag is available in two sizes which are designed according to its rack sizes - the 23 litre capacity medium costs €79 (£66), while the larger 44 litre capacity version is €89 (£74.50).

TotePack Black M Backpack

Then there’s the Totepack which is a multipurpose bag that’s been tailored for the Pelago’s Raskets, and can be used off the bike as a tote bag, backpack or a shoulder bag. It also has a dedicated laptop pocket to keep your laptop safe while riding.

The medium size fits inside the Rasket, while the large can be placed in an upright position and secured with the carabiner hooks on the sides. It’s also priced at €79 (£66) for medium (16 litre) and €89 (£74.50) for the large (28 litre).

22 February 2022, 15:52
Tour of Flanders 2015 (licensed CC BY 2.0 by S Yuki on Flickr)
2022 Tour of Flanders to offer equal prize money to men and women

With the classics season almost upon us (only four more days to Omloop Het Nieuwsblad!), race organisers Flanders Classics yesterday announced that the 2022 Women’s Tour of Flanders will offer the same prize purse as the men’s race.

In a promising development for the future of the sport, Flanders Classics CEO Tomas van den Spiegel told Belgian newspaper De Tijd that €50,000 will be offered as prize money for both the elite men’s and women’s races, while the male and female winners of the Ronde will each pocket €20,000.

The decision to offer parity in terms of prize money for one of cycling’s biggest races forms part of the organisation’s ‘Closing the Gap’ initiative, which aims to promote women’s cycling in Flanders.

Van den Spiegel, who was criticised last year for the paltry €930 awarded to Omloop winner Anna van der Breggen, also said that from 2023 equal prize money will be distributed in every one-day race that falls under Flanders Classics’ umbrella, including Omloop, Gent-Wevelgem, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Scheldeprijs and Brabanste Pijl.

Van den Spiegel believes that the introduction of equal prize money marks an important step in the ongoing “professionalisation” of women’s cycling, but says that further measures – such as holding men’s and women’s races on separate days – are essential in achieving this goal.

"We are still facing a lot of obstacles," he said. "No money is yet paid for the TV rights of women's races. For income from sponsorships and VIP packages, we are still too dependent on the men's races that are raced on the same day. We have to come up with a product that can exist on its own as much as possible."

The 2021 editions of the Ronde saw Annemiek van Vleuten solo to victory after attacking on the final climb of the Paterberg, while Kasper Asgreen caused an upset by outsprinting favourite Mathieu van der Poel.

The men’s and women’s pelotons both start their classic campaigns on Saturday at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, while on Sunday the women will race the Omloop van het Hageland as the men take on Kuurne–Brussels–Kuurne.

22 February 2022, 15:19
Nextbike Cardiff (screenshot via BBC News report)
Triumphant return for NextBike rental scheme in South Wales

Last month we reported that the cycle hire provider NextBike had returned to Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, following a two-month withdrawal from the area due to the “staggering” scale of vandalism, theft and threats to staff.

Well, the return has been a triumphant one, with hundreds of bikes rented each day despite the harsh winter conditions.

Nextbike’s managing director Krysia Solheim told the South Wales Argus: "The rental numbers we’ve seen over the last week have been phenomenal, with almost three rides per bike per day for much of last week.

"That’s a really high figure, especially given that we’re still in the grips of winter - when traditionally bike share rentals often drop because of the inclement weather.

"As a comparison, our Glasgow OVO Bikes fleet saw an average of two rentals per bike when the world descended on the city during the UN’s COP26 Climate conference, which highlights just how impressive Cardiff and the Vale’s figures are.

"We may have been away for a couple of months, but it looks like the region’s love affair with the bicycle hasn’t been diminished."

Over 350 bikes are currently available to rent, with more expected to be added soon.

NextBike’s scheme in south Wales was originally suspended in November 2021 after 300 bikes had been stolen – 130 of those in the two months before the suspension alone – and a further 260 scrapped due to vandalism, including being dumped in rivers or set on fire.

The Cardiff Cycle Crime Reduction Partnership has been established to tackle vandalism and bike thefts in Cardiff and the Vale.

Vandalism, however, has still occurred since NextBike resumed its scheme in January, though thankfully not on the same scale as before.

"We have had several incidents of vandalism, which is obviously disappointing,” Solheim said.

"South Wales Police have been incredibly proactive in helping us deal with incidents.

"The majority of the Cardiffians and our OVO Bikes family have been incredibly supportive and have told us how glad they have been to have their bikes back on the streets.

"We continue to encourage the public to report any crime they see in progress immediately to South Wales Police and we’d like to thank everyone who has already helped alert us of incidents they’ve witnessed."

22 February 2022, 14:27
MAAP teams up with The Arrivals for alternative explorer range
MAAP and the Arrivals range 2

MAAP has collaborated with NYC outerwear giants, The Arrivals, for a limited-edition line for those who like exploring.

Expanding on its Alt_Road collection (underscore intended) which was launched in 2021, MAAP’s on-bike performance focus is paired with The Arrivals’ off-bike outlook for an alternative collection that comes in a colour palette that apparently captures the “earthy rolling plains of the desert”.

MAAP and the Arrivals range 1

The Arrivals brings its Haelo Packable Jacket and ultra-light cap to the collection, while MAAP’s offering is the Alt_Road Cargo Bibs, Polartec ride tees and durable abrasion resistant socks.

You can find the full collection at MAAP’s website, including men’s and women’s Alt_Road Cargo Bibs, Alt_Road LS Tees, Alt_Road Packable Jackets, Alt_Road Cap and Alt_Road Socks.

22 February 2022, 12:55
Crash and mechanical causes Luke Plapp to ride UAE TT on road bike (not because he was listening to Chris Froome)

Ineos Grenadiers youngster Luke Plapp went into today’s TT stage of the UAE Tour as one of the favourites, so it was a surprise to see him riding down the start ramp on a standard issue road bike.

Was the Australian neo-pro – as some (jokingly) speculated on Twitter – following the advice of the team’s former figurehead Chris Froome, who earlier this month suggested that time trial bikes should be banned for safety reasons?

No, as it turns out. Ineos revealed after the stage that Plapp had suffered a minor crash in the warm-up, causing a late mechanical, which meant he couldn’t ride his Pinarello Bolide TT machine (no spare was available due to travel restrictions).

The WorldTour debutant and current Australian road race champion, who last year won Olympic bronze in the team pursuit, ended up finishing 102nd, over a minute down on winner and short TT specialist Stefan Bissegger.

Bit harsh on poor Landani…

22 February 2022, 12:11
Ganna loses flat time trial, world panics

More harrowing news emerging this morning:

I’m sure I read about this somewhere in the Book of Revelation…

22 February 2022, 11:46
Presca Egret baselayer
Making use of the “victims of fickle fashion”: The story behind Presca’s eco Egret Baselayer

Utilising unwanted, end-of-roll fabric, UK-based activewear apparel brand Presca produced its first baselayer with sustainability fully in mind.

Looking for the perfect fabric, Presca notes, performance wise “it had to be something incredibly soft, stretchy for full freedom of movement and be both breathable and absorbing”, and from the environmental perspective, it couldn’t produce microplastic pollution during the laundry process and had to be solvent-free.

“But Covid and Brexit were causing delays,” Presca recalls. “So we made repeated phone calls to the fabric guys, who each time told us about long wait times to have our fabric made – unless we wanted the egret.

“The egret length had been made and never ordered,” Presca continues. “Unwanted fabric. A beautiful off-white colour, it was another victim of fickle fashion.

“We decided to do what we had always done and root for the little guy,” Presca says. It bought up the egret and made its base layers in Newcastle using this recycled material that’s also fully recyclable at the end of its life.

With no excess trims and no dye post purchase, this base layer keeps its natural egret shade and is claimed to boast a soft finish and natural elasticity for all-day comfort. 

You can find the Egret baselayer collection at Preca's website.

22 February 2022, 11:40
But... cyclists!
22 February 2022, 11:30
Cav closes in on the King

After yesterday’s spectacular victory at the UAE Tour, Mark Cavendish has now equalled his old teammate and former foe Andre Greipel’s number of professional wins on the road.

The Manx Missile’s 158 career wins means he is now joint sixth on the all-time list of most ‘winningest’ (apologies) male pro riders, and one off equalling the King himself, Irish legend Sean Kelly.

That particular feat won’t happen today at the UAE Tour, however, as the riders take on a nine-kilometre time trial, tailormade for a certain Italian specialist…

> Mark Cavendish will race Tour de France if he's better than Fabio Jakobsen, says Patrick Lefevere

To paraphrase King Kelly himself, Cav won’t want to “play the waiting game” too long when it comes to moving up the all-time list (Rik Van Looy’s record of 162 is surely within grasp this year, going by the Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl sprinter’s current form), especially since a slot at the Tour de France appears to still be up for grabs, according to his boss Patrick Lefevre.

Even if Cavendish pulls off a repeat of his Lazarus-style 2021 season, it would perhaps require another full career before he comes close to touching the two most prolific cyclists of all time: Eddy Merckx (with a staggering 283 wins) and Marianne Vos (238 and counting).

Although it’s difficult to imagine any number other than 35 cropping up too much in Cavendish’s thoughts this year…

22 February 2022, 09:25
“Distressing” footage of new King Street cycleway – oh wait, it’s fine

Cycleway 9, the segregated bike lane scheme in West London, has come under fire from motorists and politicians since it was first proposed in 2017. 

At the 2019 General Election, the Conservative candidate for the Brentford and Isleworth constituency Seena Shah said the scheme, which aims to make cycling and walking easier, safer and more appealing on roads in West London, was “putting pedestrians at risk and jeopardising our already struggling retail economy by removing pavement space, as well as parking and loading bays.”  

In 2020, the anti-LTN and cycleway group OneChiswick launched a legal challenge against the decision to install C9, which was finally dropped at the end of last year.

One of that group’s members, David Giles – a former local Conservative chairman – was filmed by Jeremy Vine in December shouting (like any normal person would) at children to “get off your bikes” as they rode along the newly opened section of cycleway from King Street to Goldhawk Road. 

A petition has been launched to scrap the King Street scheme, with one Twitter user claiming last week that the road is "a shocking state now. Buses stop, no one can get past, several friends reporting Emergency Services being blocked as no passing options. Cycle lane, as usual, underused."

With all this opposition, I hear you cry, surely it's clear that the new lanes have completely ruined local businesses and the day-to-day lives of people in the area? Well, here’s some footage from King Street at 6pm last night (warning – the following 42 seconds may be very distressing for easily disgruntled and/or entitled motorists):

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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