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Broken 'Banksy bike' WASN'T stolen after all; Incredible Belgian bike path in the trees; Nigel Havers complains of cycle lanes 'causing gridlock every day'; Tao's Route; 'Example No.465 of how not to do cycle infrastructure' + more on the live blog

It's Monday and Dan Alexander is on the live blog to get you through the start of the week...
23 November 2020, 17:56
The famous broken 'Banksy bike' wasn't stolen after all and is "safe and well", according to Nottingham Project

The Nottingham Project, who are behind plans to rejuvenate Nottingham city centre, have responded to earlier reports of the bike that appears in front of a Banksy mural being stolen as false. 

Their statement reads: "Over the weekend it was reported that the Raleight bicycle that formed part of the Banksy artwork that appeared in our city last month had disappeared. 

"Well we have some good news. 

"The bike has been moved and is in very safe keeping. The action was taken to remove any risk to it remaining in its original location. 

"We are working with Nottingham City Council and the property owner to safeguard the future of the artwork, including the bicycle, as an important asset for Nottingham's cultural and creative future. 

"We will be releasing more details of the work to protect the artwork in coming weeks." 

Meanwhile, it appears a Good Samaritan has replace the original bike with a new one in the last few hours (above), so the piece as a whole still makes sense. 

23 November 2020, 16:28
Incredible 700m bike path takes you into the canopy
Belgian cycle path

This is pretty cool. A bike path in Limburg has been shortlisted for infrastructure project of the year at the Deezen Awards 2020. Aptly named 'Cycling Through The Trees', the bike path stands ten metres above the ground and is almost 700 metres long. Deezen say that the structure was built using a single crane to reduce the impact on the forest and no concrete was used in the construction.

Landscape architechture company BuroLandschap's founder, Pieter Daenen, said: "The most important thing for us was to build a structure with the lowest possible impact on the environment and the sensitive nature present.

"The nice thing about the construction is the round spiral shape. Cycling around in combination with cycling in height has something magical. It seems as if visitors are becoming children again. You often see visitors who drive around several times. Moreover, the ride of 600 meters is quite pleasant and not too hard, even if your condition is not too good."

Belgian cycle path


Belgian cycle path
23 November 2020, 15:55
Behind the scenes with EF Pro Cycling at the Giro d'Italia

These behind the scenes videos from Grand Tours are becoming more popular with Jumbo-Visma, Team Sunweb and Deceuninck-Quickstep all releasing in-house videos doucmenting their time at the Giro and Vuelta in the past few weeks. Now it's EF Pro Cycling's turn. The film captures the riders' reactions to their special one-off Palace kits and both the team's stage wins from another succesful Grand Tour for the men in pink. 

23 November 2020, 15:27
Wout van Aert looking forward to renewing rivalry with Mathieu van der Poel
Wout Van Aert and his Bianchi Aquila CV at the ITT Belgian National Championships (Credits- Cor Vos) - 1.jpeg


Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel have taken cycling to the next level since migrating onto the road from cyclocross. Van Aert won two stages of the Tour de France, Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo in 2020 but it was Van der Poel who got the final laugh, winning the Tour of Flanders in a head-to-head sprint.

The pair are set to renew their ongoing competitive rivalry on the familiar muddy tracks of cyclocross. Van Aert's Strava account shows the 26-year-old is training hard for the season ahead. The Belgian went on a four hour training ride yesterday morning followed by an 11-mile run in the afternoon.

Speaking to his sponsor Red Bull, Van Aert said: "I'm definitely looking forward to taking on Mathieu in the mud. I don't think it is any easier for me in cyclo-cross, everyone also knows Mathieu's ability on the bike. Even if I have very good legs, it's still difficult to get close to him, but that doesn't mean that I'll give up trying.

"I haven't been able to show myself in cyclo-cross very much in recent years due to injuries or just a lesser form but I still want to get back at my best. This year I've come out of the road season very well and there is really nothing to indicate that it would go less in the field.

"I hope to get back to my old level and be at my best in January, especially at the World Championships, so I can compete again with Mathieu and the other riders."

Van Aert and Van der Poel are due to renew acquaintances on December 23 at the X2O Trophy round in Herentals.

23 November 2020, 14:58
Low turnout for anti-LTN group

An anti-LTN Facebook group were left pretty disappointed by this response to a post asking for help handing out flyers... In October Ealing council won a vote that could have seen LTN's implementation suspended across the borough. 

23 November 2020, 14:22
'Scenes of utter havoc': Nigel Havers rants about cycle lanes 'causing gridlock every day' in front of empty Kensington High Street

In an article for MailOnline, actor Nigel Havers complains about the empty cycle lanes on Kensington High Street and blames them for "causing gridlock everyday". Havers is pictured above, by the Mail, in front of an empty Kensington High Street, bar one Range Rover... and with his feet angrily planted in the wheels of the painted bicycle (we're not sure what the significance of that is really). 

Havers wrote: "As my wife and I strolled down our local high street with our dog Charlie early one morning last week, the November air was clogged with fumes. The smell of pollution wafted from hundreds of cars, vans, lorries and buses which were stuck nose-to-tail in a horrendous traffic jam.

"It never used to be like this. We used to relish our brisk morning walks down Kensington High Street where we have lived on and off for the past 40 years. It was one of life’s simple pleasures. But that all changed almost overnight after my local council – without any notice – installed these dreaded new cycle lanes which have caused havoc across the country."

Havers's article goes on to complain about cyclists riding "like they are in the Tour de France peloton", red light jumping and empty cycle lanes. Some people on social media suggested it was hypocritical for Havers, a convicted drink driver, to be commenting on road safety issues.

On the other side of the pond, Kevin Smith expressed his 'love' for cycling this weekend...

23 November 2020, 12:56
MP who suggested a referendum was the only way to settle LTN debate hits back at 'Lycra brigade'

Labour MP Rupa Huq has hit back at the "Lycra brigade" who she described as "surprisingly vicious". In a column for The Telegraph, the MP for Ealing Central and Acton explained that she has received abuse and death threats and that she's "found the Lycra brigade surprisingly vicious".

Huq said: "I've been vigorously lobbied on Syria bombing and Brexit in my time but nothing has inflamed like this."

Having outlined her own history of commuting by bike as a child and at university, Huq continued: "Post-LTN, however, I've been labelled a petrolhead by the Lycra brigade, and warned that I am going to hell for passing on the concerns of my constituents."

The column was branded "embarrassing" and "riddled with inaccuracies and clichés" by pro-cycling councillor Jon Burke. Last week Huq suggested that a referendum would be the only way to settle the debate over LTNs.

23 November 2020, 10:26
Tao's Route and Beryl Burton Way: The London cycle routes to be renamed after Britain's famous cyclists
tao geoghegan hart held aloft giro 2020 - via RCS Sport.PNG

Possible and Brompton have teamed up to launch a campaign to rename London's cycle routes and some of the UK's great cyclists have been nominated. After thousands of people submitted suggestions the public are now being asked to vote for their favourites.

The CS1 could soon be renamed 'Tao's Route' in honour of Tao Geoghegan Hart's recent Giro d'Italia win. The route which connects Liverpool Street with Tottenham via Tao's home borough of Hackney is one of three cycleways that could soon have familiar names.

Legendary British cyclist Beryl Burton, who missed out on competing at the Olympics because women's cycling wasn't added until 1984, could appropriately have the CS2 from Aldgate to the Olympic Park in Stratford named 'The Beryl Burton Way'.

While Maurice Burton, Britain's first black cycling champion, has been nominated for the CS7 with the proposal reading: 'In recent interviews, he has said that his career might have been limited by prejudice. Including his name on the route and emphasising his achievements might start to counter that prejudice and encourage more inclusive participation in cycling - from commuting to sprint racing - in the capital.'

While the proposals have generally been welcomed, some cyclists have questioned whether naming routes after professional riders will help encourage non-cyclists to use bikes more often.

23 November 2020, 11:29
Bike goes missing from Banksy's latest artwork
banksy artwork next to broken bike october 2020 - via Banksy on Instagram.PNG

The bike from Banksy's hula-hooping girl artwork went missing before being replaced by a different bike hours later. The graffiti artist's latest piece, on a wall in Rothesday Avenue in Nottingham, features a girl hula-hooping with a bike wheel behind a bike missing it's rear wheel. But yesterday the rest of the bike disappeared too.

A local resident Tracy Jane found the bike was gone on Sunday morning. She told the BBC: "The artwork records an important part of Nottingham's history, Raleigh bikes. My late husband worked for Raleigh until it closed in 2002. He died at age 48 in 2017. It's such a shame if someone has stolen the bike. It's sheer disrespect and saddens me very much."

However, in another twist, it appears to have been replaced this morning by a different Raleigh bike...

23 November 2020, 09:47
The Grand Fondo that climbs the height of Everest
Tour des Stations Ultrafondo profile

At 242km long with an elevation gain of 8,848m, Tour des Stations is one tough day in the saddle. The new route for the event's fourth year challenges those brave enough to climb the height of Everest in one ride on August 6 next year. Surrounded by the backdrop of the Swiss Alps and taking in the vineyards and high mountains of Valais, the mountain bike Ultrafondo route ascends nine major climbs finishing at Mayens-de-la-Zour. 

There are three shorter courses, as well as an e-bike route, however even the shortest 34km option takes in 1,950m of climbing.

23 November 2020, 08:39
'Example No.465 of how not to do cycle infrastructure': Is this Britain's most dangerous cycle lane?

 A high-speed dual carriageway isn't the safest place to ride your bike, however this cycle lane in Bedfordshire leaves you little choice. It's well surfaced at least, but that's where the positives end. The so-called cycleway abruptly forces cyclists onto the Dunstable Bypass with just a very narrow white line for protection. We're not entirely sure where pedestrians are meant to go either.

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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