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Car Free Day: Brompton takes over filling station; Four red lights and a pedestrian: How not to cycle; Too many cars on road, Londoners say; AVV's back; More hi-viz and lights chat as police crash into shop; Plan Vélo funding boost + more on the live blog

It’s Thursday, and while there were no world championships races to wake up to this morning, Ryan Mallon’s sure that there will be plenty to talk about on today’s car-free blog…
22 September 2022, 15:55
UCI confirms Haute-Savoie region will host 2027 multi-disciplinary world championships

I know, we’re only halfway through Wollongong and almost a full year away from Glasgow hosting the first ever unified world cycling championships, but the UCI has confirmed that France’s Haute-Savoie region – the scene of Bernard Hinault’s legendary rainbow jersey triumph in Sallanches in 1980 – will become the second host of the quadrennial multidisciplinary championships.

So, a fortnight in the Alps, anyone?

22 September 2022, 15:32
Unnecessary cycling metaphor of the week

Eh, I’m not sure this is the type of article you expect to find when you’re Googling ‘cyclists’, but a group of researchers North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University have found that – rather than the traditional representation of sperm as individuals racing against each to the finish line (the egg) – sperm actually gather in dynamic groups to swim upstream, with individual sperm regularly joining and leaving their cluster and changing positions within it.

According to the researchers, the arrangement “resembles how cyclists ride together in a peloton so they encounter less air resistance”.

So less Tommy Voeckler, more Jumbo-Visma then…

22 September 2022, 14:48
“Can we all please stop with the ‘they give us all a bad name’ nonsense? Reaction to red light-breaking cyclist

The video of the red-light jumping cyclist in Belfast has kicked off a debate, both in the comments and on Ye Olde Bird App.

Oldfatgit is clearly not a fan of that particular style of cycling, writing: “On my commute in Glasgow, I'm often the only cyclist that *has* stopped at red lights. I'm almost at risk of becoming paranoid of being hit up the arse due to the driver behind thinking I'm not going to stop.

“There is no excuse or justification for Red Light Jumping (except as when noted in the Highway Code) and the more people do it, the increase in risk to us that refuse to.”

Paul J agreed: “I've had cars screech and skid to a halt beside me in Glasgow, because I braked for a yellow light. The cars just weren't expecting anyone to stop for a yellow.

“And pretty much every traffic light in Glasgow has a car sail through it after turning red. Unless traffic is so light there aren't many cars.”

However, cyclisto argued that they “don’t see crossing redlights as the end of world, especially in a country like UK with no jaywalking laws”, while ChrisB200SX noted that the cyclist in the clip “didn't seem to cause anyone any problems. The pedestrian wasn't bothered at all, literally took no notice.”

Away from the rights and wrongs of red light-jumping, thelittleonion took umbrage at the original tweeter’s claim that law-breaking cyclists “give us a bad name”.

“Sure, bad cyclists are annoying, and a bit dangerous,” they wrote. “But can we all please stop with the ‘they give us all a bad name’ nonsense? We are not one community or mafia, you are not responsible for my actions on a bike, or vice versa.

“We don't ever say that people in other modes of transport give all other pedestrians/drivers/train passengers/horse riders/hovercraft pilots a bad name. It seems to be only cyclists that get tarred with the same brush.”

However, rjfrussell disagreed, arguing that “in the eyes of many drivers we are an homogenous tribe.

“The number of people riding badly/illegally/running red lights etc in London on a regular basis worries me, because, frankly, in so doing they increase the risk to my safety when I am on bike, because of the attitudes to cyclists they foment.”

A similar debate took place on Twitter:

In the end, HoarseMann pithily summed the whole thing up: “Whenever I see inconsiderate and careless cycling like that (which is rare thankfully), I remind myself to be grateful they're not driving a car.”

22 September 2022, 14:05
“Let that be the end of hi-viz-and-lights discourse around keeping cyclists safe”

Back in Northern Ireland for this latest clip, where the driver of a police car – as hi-viz and lit up as it’s possible to be, I suspect – was forced to take a slight detour into a shop in Lisburn after a turning motorist coming the other way failed to see the two-tonne yellow and blue box approach.

Spare a thought for the poor woman who was seconds away from disaster as she entered the shop:

22 September 2022, 13:39
One day after crashing and breaking her elbow… Annemiek van Vleuten is back on her bike. Can she still win the rainbow jersey?
Annemiek van Vleuten training after world crash (Instagram, Annemiek van Vleuten)

This year’s Tour-Giro-Vuelta winner Annemiek van Vleuten is famed for her ability to swiftly come back from adversary and return to the top of the sport after some devastating setbacks (see her response to her horrific crash at the 2016 Rio Olympics, or her dominance this year after breaking her pelvis at Paris-Roubaix last autumn).

But surely not even the super-resilient AVV can recover quick enough from a fractured elbow and wrist sustained in a spectacular crash at the start of yesterday’s team time trial event – which, it now appears, was the fault of a slipped chain – to stand a chance of taking the rainbow jersey in Wollongong on Saturday…

Or can she? After 40 miles in the saddle this morning, documented on Strava and Instagram, the Dutch superstar herself is certainly ruling nothing out, but says she will be “responsible” when it comes to making the final decision.

“It’s quite a huge disappointment as I prepared really well for this. I went to altitude after the Tour and that was all for this,” Van Vleuten told Cyclingnews today.

“Not awesome but it could have been worse. After the crash yesterday, I am quite lucky.

“On the bike, surprisingly it was possible, but I could not get out of the saddle. My broken wrist is the thing that is most bothering me and prevents me from standing up and putting pressure on the bars with my arms. I am super disappointed because of this.

“I did not crash because the tyre exploded, it was the chain slip or something. I found out when I rewatched the video what happened. It's super unfortunate. I was making jokes that when I start to wear orange, it’s not my lucky days.”

During her training ride today, Van Vleuten said she “was not thinking about competing on Saturday, just trying out how it was going on the bike.”

She explained: “I started on the rollers and then I thought I could go out on the road and how it is feeling if you hit a bump? Is it safe to ride my bike?

“Because I don’t want to end up on Saturday in the peloton unable to ride my bike. It must be responsible or make sense to start.”

22 September 2022, 13:25
Quick, someone fetch Mathieu a walking stick!

Just to clarify folks, he’s 27.


22 September 2022, 12:04
UAE Team Emirates unveil new signing

No, not Jay Vine, though apparently that one is on the cards…

22 September 2022, 11:26
Commuters (CC licensed image by kube414_Flickr).jpg
Two-thirds of Londoners say there are too many cars on the road, study finds

66 percent of Londoners feel that there are too many cars in the capital, a recent survey has found.

The study, conducted by e-bike, e-scooter and e-moped provider Tier, also found that 73 percent of people living in London believe that cars are responsible for the city’s air pollution.

However, over a third of those who took part in the study reported that they feel exposed to other vehicles when riding bikes or scooters on the road, and that only 50 percent feel that cycling is “easy and efficient” in London.

To help provide vulnerable road users with safer routes around the capital, micro-mobility brand Tier have teamed up with British bike navigation firm Beeline to offer users “quieter and safer routes which utilise cycling infrastructure and quiet streets” and which will make it “easier and safer to leave the car behind”.

Georgia Yexley, Tier’s general manager for the UK and Ireland, said in a statement: “The majority of Londoners want to see fewer cars on the streets, but for many people choosing an alternative form of transport like cycling or riding a e-scooter can feel unattainable.

“Through our partnership with Beeline, our users can choose a route which avoids major roads and links up some of the fantastic cycling infrastructure already in the city.

“This Car-Free Day we would like to encourage more people to grab an e-bike or e-scooter and see how pleasant and efficient leaving the car at home can be!”

22 September 2022, 10:51
Heart-warming cycle images, part two: Jakobsen and Groenewegen, two years on

Just over two years since their horrific crash at the Tour of Poland – which saw Fabio Jakobsen placed in a medically induced coma with multiple shocking injuries while Dylan Groenewegen received a barrage of abuse and a nine-month racing ban for his part in the terrifying incident – the two Dutch sprinters shared this touching moment on the podium of last Friday’s Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen:

While both men secured redemptive sprint victories at this year’s Tour de France, Jakobsen – who suffered a fractured skull, brain contusion, broken nose, torn palate, and the loss of 10 teeth and parts of his upper and lower jaw in Poland in August 2020 – retained his somewhat frosty demeanour towards his compatriot, telling the press at the Tour that his respect for Groenewegen has “completely gone after the crash”.

Hopefully, last Friday’s experience on the podium will go a long way to healing old wounds…

22 September 2022, 10:22
Brompton petrol station take over 2 (John Nguyen/PA Wire)
Car Free Day: Brompton takes over filling station, offering a “cycling haven” and “vision for the future”

Happy World Car Free Day everyone!

To celebrate, and to allow people to reimagine their local urban environment free of fumes and constant beeping, folding bike manufacturer Brompton has commandeered an old, dilapidated petrol station, transforming it into a “cycling oasis”.

Brompton petrol station take over, World Car Free Day 1 (John Nguyen/PA Wire)

John Nguyen/PA Wire

The filling station, located between Borough Road and the Newington Causeway near Elephant and Castle, will – for 24 hours – features test ride and track facilities for both standard and electric Bromptons, a Brompton Bike Hire dock, a consultation station with ‘Possible’ (a Brompton partner inspiring climate action), as well as refreshments for the morning rush of commuters, and alcohol-free beer in the evening for those on their way home.

The repurposed space also includes artwork, parklets and green space, designed to provide an area where the local community can relax throughout the day.

Brompton petrol station take over 3 (John Nguyen/PA Wire)

John Nguyen/PA Wire

“For too long, our cities have been dominated by the most inefficient mode of transport – the private car,” says Brompton Bicycle’s CEO Will Butler-Adams.

“At Brompton, we have long sought to highlight the benefits that increased levels of cycling and walking would bring to society.

“What better way to do that, than to totally re-imagine a space formerly used as a petrol station. Our cities have changed and are continuing to change. We hope that turning a dilapidated old petrol station into a green transport hub will show people what’s possible when it comes to their own perception of what cities are for.

“We also hope that this inspires people to ask more from politicians, and expect better from our streets than the current high levels of traffic and toxic air pollution.”

Will Norman, London’s cycling and walking commissioner added: “With the realities of the impacts of climate change becoming ever clearer, it has never been more important to re-imagine how we move around our cities.

“Car Free Day gives us an opportunity to do just that, and experience streets which prioritise people over cars.

“I’m delighted to be at Brompton’s vision for the future on Car Free Day, thinking about the potential for other spaces across London to be like this.”

22 September 2022, 09:39
Heart-warming cycle images: Tahiti savour world championships experience

It’s safe to say that the team time triallists from Tahiti (try saying that after a few beers) – a squad that included a 44-year-old and a former French club racer – enjoyed their chance to race against the world’s best in Wollongong yesterday:


A post shared by Sam Layzell (@samlayzell)

Now, when you put aside all the pressure, scandals and rivalry, that’s what bike racing is all about…

22 September 2022, 08:43
Four red lights and a pedestrian: How not to ride a bike

We spend a fair amount of time on pointing out examples of dodgy, careless, or downright dangerous driving (you may or may not have heard of a little feature called Near Miss of the Day)…

But since it’s Car Free Day, I thought I’d offer a semblance of balance and share this clip – filmed last night in Belfast by a Twitter user who regularly post clips of hazardous motorists – of a young person on a bike, seemingly on a mission to fulfil every ABD-concocted stereotype of cyclists in one journey:

Some fun facts: Depending on your knowledge of East Belfast, you may recognise the road in the video as the scene of the opening team time trial of the 2014 Giro d’Italia (you know, the one where Dan Martin hit the deck a bit further on). The two cyclists also pass on the left – though at Benny Hill speed – the Italian restaurant Il Pirata, inspired by 1998 Tour and Giro winner Marco Pantani’s nickname.

Come for the road safety clips, stay for the obscure pro cycling trivia…

Anyway, the red light-breaking rider has been criticised by the online cycling community, though as one local pointed out, this kind of reckless cycling is thankfully rare:

22 September 2022, 07:59
France commits €250 million a year to boost everyday cycling numbers – but experts claim it will take €2.4 billion

Earlier this week, soon after president Emmanuel Macron returned from his ‘incognito’ trip to London, the French government announced that it was renewing its four-year “Plan Vélo” by increasing spending on everyday cycling to a quarter of a billion euros a year.

Plan Vélo was introduced in 2018 in a bid to treble the number of people in France using their bicycles for everyday journeys from three to nine percent of the population. At the time of its unveiling, the government committed to spending €350 million on cycling infrastructure over the following seven years.

Announcing this week’s funding boost, prime minister Elisabeth Borne – who was in charge of the transport portfolio when Plan Vélo was implemented – says the scheme is “an unprecedented plan” to ensure that cycling becomes “a key mode of transport” and that France becomes “a great cycling nation”.

As well as building new cycle lanes and paths, the increased funding will support cycling lessons for 800,000 school children, while a new cycling committee will be established later this year.

> French prime minister pledges to treble levels of everyday cycling by 2024 

“Cycling in cities has taken off in recent years; the challenge for the coming years will be to show that cycling can also be a mode of transport in rural areas,” the prime minister said at a press conference this week.

However, as Forbes’ Carlton Reid noted yesterday, climatologist Valérie Masson-Delmotte and president of the French Federation of Bike Users (FUB) Olivier Schneider have stressed that more money – specifically something in the region of €2.4 billion – is needed if France is to massively increase cycle use.

Nevertheless, FUB has welcomed the funding boost. In a press release, the organisation said: “The state has never committed so much money to develop cycling in a single year. It’s great news because it will allow communities in rural and suburban situations to become fully involved.”

Well, at least now we know why a cool shades-sporting Macron was over in London this week – he was gleefully inspecting his rival- I mean close friend and ally’s work:

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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