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"I can smell this picture": Bike shop peels away bar tape... finds sweat-corroded handlebar; "No prizes for loyalty": British Cycling's £99 smart light sign-up offer goes down well with existing members; New Van Rysel TT bike + more on the live blog

It's Wednesday and Dan Alexander is here to take you through the middle of the week on the live blog...
22 March 2023, 14:55
"I can smell this picture": Bike shop peels away bar tape... finds sweat-corroded handlebar

The good folks at Trench Tales called these the Powder Pro Blow bars, another cracker for the crusty bar canon...


A post shared by trench_tales (@trench_tales) 

Trench Tales' Insta bio just about sums it up... "The abyss, gazing back"...

Our favourite account documenting life on the front line as a bike mechanic, in reply to one query from a follower asking if they could set up a page showing how the dubiously maintained machines look after they've repaired them, Trench Tales simply laughed... "Oh, you think we actually know how to fix these things?"

The post caused speculation about if the bike belonged to a member of a cartel, while others guessed the customer probably just wanted a retape... "Don't try to upsell me..."

One follower reckoned they could smell the picture, Trench Tales suggested snorting might be easier...

We've been here before...

Handlebar nightmare (Credit: Stevil Kinevil/Twitter)

> "This needs an exorcist, not a mechanic": You'll never train indoors without a towel again

22 March 2023, 16:02
Remco bags first win in rainbow jersey.... ah wait a second... (+ Grim Belgian racing)
Remco Evenepoel Catalunya 2023 (GCN/Eurosport)

You wait your whole life for a first win in the rainbow jersey and you're wearing that...

No offence to Volta Ciclista a Catalunya's youth classification jersey, well, some offence actually, it's not the best. Anyway, Remco's rainbow photo wait goes on. He got the better of soon-to-be Giro d'Italia rival Primož Roglič atop La Molina, what a battle we could be in for come May.

Anyway, while the rest of the peloton crawls to the line of the summit finish, no matter how much gravity-induced suffering they've been put through they can thank their lucky starts they weren't sent to Brugge-De Panne...

Nice day for it...

The pan-flat classic for the fast men was ripped to shreds by the conditions, pre-race favourite Jasper Philipsen winning from a lead quartet including Olav Kooij, Yves Lampaert and chief Peter Sagan impersonator Frederik Frison.

Get back on the bus and warm up, lads...

22 March 2023, 14:21
Alastair Campbell: Sad that it takes crowdfunding to get Women's Tour the backing it needs
Pfeiffer Georgi rides on the front on stage four of the 2022 Women's Tour (Alex Whitehead/

[Alex Whitehead/]

Tony Blair's former director of comms and strategy Alastair Campbell has promoted the Women's Tour's crowdfunder, saying it is "sad that it takes crowdfunding for this to get the backing it needs, but worth supporting for sure".

> Women’s Tour launches crowdfunding campaign to cover sponsorship shortfall

Elisa Longo Borghini wins the 2022 Women's Tour (picture copyright, Simon Wilkinson)

At the time of writing £11,681 has been raised on Gofundme, just over 10 per cent of the £100,000 goal.

Anybody who contributes will have their name included on a "special heroes' wall" at each stage start and finish at the 2023 race, as well as printed in the official race roadbook. Digital certificates will also be sent to all contributors.

The organisers say all donations will be returned should the race not take place.

22 March 2023, 12:49
"The major issue for me is that British Cycling is less than open with its membership on a range of subjects. Hence no comments on the issue of giveaways"
British Cycling logo

Some of your reaction to the British Cycling disgruntlement...

Legin: "With regard to BC's new members offer. Many organisations use these incentives. The major issue for me is that BC is less than open with its membership on a range of subjects. Hence no comments on the issue of giveaways.

"BC's biggest problem is it has lost the trust of the membership and many non-members. Yet many of us know individuals at BC who are doing a brilliant job for the sport. Plus the reality is they are all we've got, so if we want the sport to thrive we need to have a BC we can all support and trust."

Shake: "What I didn't like from BC was the line 'Make sure you have your lights on' like it was a requirement. (For the record I do ride with a daylight running light but that's a choice)"

22 March 2023, 12:12
Disused South Staffordshire railway to be transformed into walking and cycling route
South Staffordshire Railway Line (Lichfield District Council)

Lichfield District Council is hoping to "transform a mothballed" former South Staffordshire Railway Line into a greenway for cyclists and walkers between Lichfield and Brownhills. The aim is to link the Lichfield section to The McClean Way, an established walking and cycling route which runs from Walsall to Brownhills, the council say. Chasewater Country Park and Lichfield District Council are in the final stages of negotiations with Network Rail to secure the lease to the land.

Sustrans will be involved on the project, with community groups set to "lead the transformation of the line into a traffic-free greenway".

Councillor Doug Pullen, Leader of the Council, said: "Creating a walking and cycling route on this former railway line will deliver fitness and mental health benefits to our residents and aid our visitor economy. A beautiful greenway already runs from Walsall to Brownhills. I am looking forward to seeing it extended as far as Lichfield."

22 March 2023, 12:07
What does active travel actually mean to you? Chris Boardman has a suggestion...

National Active Travel Commissioner Chris Boardman reckons "if you are struggling to understand what 'active travel' actually means to you, it's this"...

22 March 2023, 10:51
"No prizes for loyalty": British Cycling's £99 smart light sign-up offer goes down well with existing members

In fairness to British Cycling they're far from the only organisation shouting loud about great deals... (for new customers)...

Funnily enough this one's a few weeks old now, but the trickle of members having a pop has become a steady stream in the past 24 hours...

Eric Bartlett said it's a "shame loyal members can't access this safety item". "Nothing for loyalty," he said.

Numerous other replies questioned if renewing members, many of whom have been supporting the organisation for many years, would be able to get in on the action. I think you can probably guess the answer to 'has there been a reply to those queries?'

Sue Gilles commented: "This has been an ongoing debate for a while now but BC has not responded. It's not just that they don't reward their loyal members, but also their volunteers.

"I lead Breeze rides and when I signed up, you were issued with a first aid kit, jersey and jacket. Since their sponsorship changed, all I received is a gilet. TBH it's more useful than their jacket as I can wear it over my winter kit, but it is a bit cheap and nasty!!"

Alan Doney added: "I renewed and got nothing? Race and membership at £80 odd quid. Insurance is rubbish and discounts you can get with voucher codes or my blue light discount. Treat loyal members like that? Money making organisations."

Carl Dyson: "Been a member for 14 [years], race licence. All I've seen is a decline in races and increase cost of the licence and entry fees"

Of course, as with anything British Cycling has put out on social media for the past few months, a certain partner from the oil industry got an airing too...

Jim Hinks: "Sponsorship from Shell, telling members not to ride on the day of the Queen's funeral - not for me ta, I'll stick with the Clarion."

Alastair Jackson: "£99 to endorse Big Oil. No thanks."

Dave Robins: "Think I might cancel my membership.. no interest in grass roots cycling only sponsorship & racing…"

What do you reckon? A bit harsh when eye-catching introductory offers are commonplace? Should British Cycling be treating long-paying members better? Is the backlash symptomatic of member disillusionment in recent times? Let us know your thoughts in the comments...

22 March 2023, 09:50
New Van Rysel TT bike breaks cover

A post shared by VAN RYSEL (@van_rysel)

Van Rysel has handed out a couple of its brand new TT bike to pro triathletes Justine Mathieux and Denis Chevrot. The social post comes two months after the brand announced it would be releasing seven – yes, seven – new bikes, with the XCR time trial bike, the brand's first ever TT offering (pictured below at the Velofollies exhibition in Belgium), the headline act.

"After a passage through the hands of our engineers and specialists for a meticulous adjustment of the bikes, the first ride was on our emblematic land of the north," Van Rysel said before confirming it will be available to the public in 2024 at prices from €5,500 to €7,000.

Here's everything we know so far...

22 March 2023, 09:22
How's the commute going, Dan?

Still better than yesterday perhaps...

> Dan Walker gets back on his bike – and is berated for not wearing hi-vis 

22 March 2023, 09:00
"I'm saving money every day, feeling happier and healthier": Guardian letters hit back at Adrian Chiles' cargo bike criticism

You'll remember last week Adrian Chiles hit the headlines once again for one of his Guardian columns. No hot cross bun ranting or urinal enlightenment this time, just slightly bizarre criticism of cargo bikes.

> "The man who never misses has officially missed": Adrian Chiles claims expensive cargo bikes are a "new kind of class politics"

Yep, Chiles scoffed at the idea a cargo bike could be worth £4,000 and went on to pen a somewhat lazy and abruptly ending paragraph about the people who'd buy them. 

Anyway, the column clearly didn't hit the heights of others previous considering the letters published in the Guardian this week...

One from Shane in London explains how he's "a happy diesel-van-liberated, e-cargo bike user" who uses his to get to almost all his plumbing jobs. "Of course, the bike is an investment," he wrote in. 

Raleigh MD Lee Kidger with cargo bike (copyright Simon MacMichael)

"A huge amount of research has gone into creating these amazing pieces of kit. The alternative, a van, is much more expensive in both upfront and running costs. The environmental benefits are a great selling point, but I'm also saving money every day and feeling happier and healthier for being more active."

The second, from Ashleigh in Stirling, points out theirs "cost £3,000, which was the same price as our nearly 10-year-old car bought just two years earlier" and "we've saved a fortune" on running costs.

"With the right infrastructure to make cycling safer and more convenient, many other families could save money with one of these 'expensive' bikes. I'd suggest Chiles thinks more before he criticises those who buy one, unless he's equally critical of those who spend tens of thousands on a new car."

If nothing else, it's just another great excuse to post our favourite pictures from last week...

Adrian Chiles Sunday Times interview (Sunday Times)

All way less than four grand, you'd imagine... 

Adrian Chiles Sunday Times interview (Sunday Times)


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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