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New bike day turns into £2,000 Brexit nightmare for British cyclist; Another helmet debate; M40 cyclist warned; Shimano poetry; How to avoid saddle sores in 1895; THOSE white shorts; Wiggo predicts Ineos success; Halifax-Roubaix; + more on the live blog

It's the start of a new week and Dan Alexander will be getting you through Monday on the live blog...
22 March 2021, 13:46
Cyclist recalls nightmare of being told to pay £2,000 duty on new £5,000 bike from Poland
Brexit Flickr Creative Commons

Shocker of a letter in today's Guardian from a cyclist who bought a new £5,000 bike over Christmas. The bike was initially returned to the sender due to the border chaos before being re-sent on 12 January. Here's where the fun starts...UPS told the cyclist in early February that there was more than £2,000 duty and taxes to be paid...When the cyclist refused, UPS insisted there was still a £1,500 duty to be paid to return the bike to Poland...

Consumer issues and financial journalist, Miles Brignall, understatedly noted it was "perhaps a little rash spending £5,00 on a bike three days before the Brexit deadline". Some further digging and contact with the courier found that the cyclist would only need to pay an extra £1,000 to get the new purchase to their front door...

Brignall's explanation of what happened follows: "What a nightmare – not helped by the fact that the government changed the rules after you made the purchase. In early January it stated that duty and VAT, which is what you have been asked for, was only payable on items that were bought from 1 January onwards. HMRC told me this week that items despatched after that were subject to the taxes, hence the bill."

Have a read of our story on Brexit and the bike industry: how the situation is evolving...

22 March 2021, 16:47
Cyclist given words of advice after being seen riding on the M40 hard shoulder
M40 cyclist (Highways England)

Another weekend with a motorway cyclist incident. This week it was on the M40 northbound between junction 1a for the M25 and junction 2 for Beaconsfield. The cyclist was seen just before 6pm yesterday evening. Highways England said: "Thames Valley Police Roads Policing have stopped the cyclist in his tracks, speaking with the cyclist and giving him words of advice about using the strategic road network for cycling."

Earlier this month, a cyclist riding on the M62 in West Yorkshire was pictured riding past a sign...warning of a cyclist on the motorway.

22 March 2021, 16:07
Surprise win for 22-year-old Andreas Kron on stage one of Volta a Catalunya

A group of four survived to the finish on a typically lumpy opening stage of the Volta a Catalunya. From that group Lotto Soudal's Andreas Kron managed to beat Luis León Sánchez, Rémy Rochas and Lennard Kämna in the sprint. Kämna and Sánchez should be happy with their 16-second advantage over the main group of riders ahead of tomorrow's individual time trial.

Back in the peloton, Team BikeExchange's Dion Smith took 5th ahead of Matej Mohorič. There was also a return to the pointy end of a bike race for Movistar veteran Alejandro Valverde who was 8th. 

Tuesday's TT should have a big impact on who wins the race overall, with the riders taking on a rolling 18km course around Banyoles.

22 March 2021, 15:24
Your thoughts on the main debate today over helmets...

And in the comments here...Compact Corned Beef asked: "Can't we just all say personal choice in grave tones, then nod our collective heads, certain we've sagely avoided the obvious trap?"  

22 March 2021, 08:59
"Incredible" helmet stats spark debate about making riding without one illegal

The London Cycling Campaign's latest magazine featured some helmet statistics which have got people talking on Twitter. London has the highest helmet usage of the nine European capital cities researched at 60.9 per cent, in comparison in Amsterdam just 1.1 per cent of cyclists use them. What should we take from this? That helmets aren't necessary for riding your bike? 

Plenty of people taking the opportunity to suggest the opposite, that wearing a helmet while cycling should be made mandatory like in Australia where a crackdown on speeding cyclists saw 33 riders fined for riding without a helmet in Melbourne last week...

Research presented at the National Road Safety Conference in Telford in 2019 found that wearing a helmet may put cyclists at more risk of being injured in a road traffic collision. The researchers concluded that helmet use increased accident rate by more than 40 per cent.

Meanwhile, a 2015 study from Canada found no link between cycle helmet legislation and head injuries, and instead recommended governments focus on providing bike infrastructure to protect cyclists.


22 March 2021, 14:41
Shimano celebrates their 100th anniversary with a bizarre poem
Shimano 100th anniversary poem

Of all the creative ways to mark your 100th anniversary...Shimano went for component-inspired poetry...After all, who hasn't been moved to poetic expression by the click of a perfectly indexed rear derailleur. There's also a timely reminder that Shimano make fishing gear. Presumably "with the click of each gear shift with each cast of a line" isn't an endorsement of a new cycle-fishing event...

Shimano are doing a giveaway of 2,000 fancy commemerative photobooks, minus the poetry, if that's your thing...


22 March 2021, 13:02
Paris-Roubaix in Halifax?

Paris-Roubaix looks increasingly likely to be called off as per our story this morning...What about a British equivalent? This looks more like Flanders than Roubaix with all those steep cobbled climbs but Peterborough to Halifax anyone?

22 March 2021, 12:11
Bradley Wiggins talks up Ineos Grenadiers' chances ahead of Volta a Catalunya

Bradley Wiggins spoke about his former team on The Bradley Wiggins Show and talked up their chances of "doing something big" this week at the Volta a Catalunya. Wiggo said the team has settled into the season and now look ready to translate those positive early signs into results. 

"There's a feeling that they're going to do something big at the moment and I think it could be this week," he predicted. "Maybe not with G [Geraint Thomas], I'm not too sure where he's at. I get the feeling they're poised to do something, you get the sense that they mean business this week.

"I think this time next week we'll be looking at a performance. I think Yates will probably be the leader based on his form up to this point. He's ridden well at this race before and I don't think G will be concerned about needing to be the leader, there's plenty of time for that with what he's gunning for this year."

Ineos have taken an incredibly strong team to the week-long race including Adam Yates, Richard Carapaz, Geraint Thomas, Richie Porte, Rohan Dennis, Luke Rowe and Jonathan Castroviejo.

22 March 2021, 11:14
Poll time
White shorts?

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22 March 2021, 10:57
THOSE white shorts
Mathieu van der Poel white shorts (GCN+/Eurosport)

When there isn't much to talk about for the first six hours of Milan-San Remo, cycling fans spotting a potential fashion faux pas is about as entertaining as it gets. Mathieu van der Poel donned the white shorts again, along with matching leg warmers to the disgust of clothing snobs everywhere...

However, it probably wasn't a fashion statement from the Dutch champion. In 2019, he opted for white shorts at the Tour of Flanders to help his team car distinguish him from Luxembourg champion Bob Jungels in the helicopter pictures. Current Luxembourg champ, Kevin Geniets is having an impressive season and was regularly at the front of the pack alongside Van der Poel on Saturday so my best guess is it was another tactical kit choice...

That's my AC-12esque detective work done for the morning...Or perhaps he just likes white shorts...

22 March 2021, 10:35
How to alleviate saddle sores in 1895
1800s cycling (via Flickr Creative Commons)

Back in March 1895 The Manchester Guardian ran a weekly cycling column that recommended anti-friction paste and avoiding double-seated riding breaches as a nailed on bet for escaping the pain of saddle sores. It sounds like the origins of chamois cream to me...The author also recommended experimenting with the tilt of your saddle too...

And how about some Victorian wisdom on saddles in general. "The saddle that will exactly suit one man may be even as anathema to another"...

22 March 2021, 10:20
Home World Championships logo

The 2023 World Championships will see some huge changes to the event, most notably combining all 13 UCI World Championships together over 10 days for the first time. Glasgow will play host to thousands of athletes competing across the road, track, mountain bike, BMX, trials and indoor disciplines in what the governing body are calling the biggest cycling event in history.

Held in August too, a month earlier than usual, means we may see the newly crowned road race world champ showing off their stripes at the Vuelta...To mark the event, the UCI and design agency Stand have created a fun squiggly bicycle logo to "portray a sense of playfulness, inclusivity and positivity. A symbol of the event's lasting legacy for Scotland".

The UCI's Director General, Amina Lanaya said: "The event logo and visual identity we are unveiling today illustrates the excellence and universality of the UCI World Championships combined with the expertise, hospitality and vision of our hosts. This unique event will leave a lasting legacy in Scotland for generations to come and will make history for the UCI and our sport in all its forms – competition, leisure and transport."

UCI World Championships 2023 Glasgow logo

Dan joined in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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