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Cyclists "drive motorists somewhat insane", claims councillor; LTNs 'need time to settle'; Tokyo broken bar probe begins; Kangaroo rescued by cyclists caught attacking cyclist; Brighton bike lane debate; Gravel champs reaction + more on the live blog

It's Thursday and Jack Sexty is your live blogger today for old time's sake. Bear with me, I'm a little rusty.....
23 September 2021, 15:21
North Yorkshire councillor says cyclists "drive motorists somewhat insane" in anti-cyclist bingo game at road safety meeting
PWC Yorkshire Cycle Ride (CC BY 2.0 Allan McKenzie|Flickr).jpg

It's widely known that Yorkshire experienced a boom in recreational cycling after the 2014 Tour de France depart, and again during the 2019 UCI Road World Championships; and ahead of North Yorkshire County Council approving the York and North Yorkshire Road Safety Partnership Strategy for 2021-26, some opposition councillors have been sharing their opinions on how cyclists and motorists can co-exist. Not all of those opinions were fact-based, unfortunately... 

The Yorkshire Post reports that some members wanted to know what could be done to resolve "escalating" conflict between cyclists and motorists in rural areas, and the anti-cyclist bingo game began with the introduction of Cllr Stuart Parsons: 

Cyclists were “making themselves a great number of potential enemies and therefore dangerous situations by their approach to using the roads, especially when they are not road taxpayers when using it for their cycles," he claimed. 

"Cyclists do drive motorists somewhat insane, especially when they are travelling two or three abreast, which they seem to be doing more and more so. On these winding roads it makes it difficult for anybody to pass safely.”

Road tax and two abreast... not bad! 

The authority said it was already trying to educate drivers and cyclists on sharing the roads. Cllr Don Mackenzie saying that while some cyclists should learn not to “create obstructions on the highway”, cyclists had his sympathies because their vehicle only weighs a few kilograms as opposed to cars weighing up to two tonnes. 

Officers also shared statistics at the meeting to show that cyclists were "at fault for about 70 per cent and drivers 30 per cent of cycle collisions on rural roads", statistics that will be questioning further with an FOI request to North Yorkshire County Council. 

23 September 2021, 14:48
AusCycling hire plane crash expert as part of investigation into Alex Porter's snapped bars at Tokyo Olympics
argon18 snapped bar

Some of the most memorable moments of the track cycling at the Tokyo Olympics weren't the world records or victories, but strange goings on and incidents such as the Danish tape fiasco, Charlie Tanfield being crashed into and the unfortunate Alex Porter losing his handlebars mid-ride

After some speculation, it turned out that the bars were made by Bastion Cycles rather than Australian team's bike supplier Argon 18. At the time Bastion said it was conducting its own investigations into the failure, and now AusCycling has released details of its own probe into what happened. 

The project lead will be Toni Cumpston, described as "an experienced high-performance executive with a record of success across multiple sports and international sporting systems". Interestingly the lead investigator John Baker is a mechanical and aeronautical engineer "with a particular focus and expertise in fault-finding and investigations, including several aircraft crash investigations."

AusCycling's CEO Marne Fechner said: ‘’At the time we committed to a thorough, independent, and transparent review of what happened, and we’re now well placed to deliver on that promise.

‘’Toni and John are leaders in their respective fields and have the blessing of the AusCycling Board and leadership to find out exactly what happened and what to do to prevent it happening again." 

Full findings are expected to be released before the end of next year - and we'll have a full story on this later today which is expected to be released before teatime. 

23 September 2021, 14:39
4iiii opens UK factory, so you can send your crank off to be fitted with a power meter
4iii power meter.JPG

The Canadian tech company now has a UK facility, meaning we can take advantage of its popular factory install service - simply send off your left side Shimano crank to 4iiii, and it will be back with you fitted with one of its Precision power meters a week later. 

The factory install service is priced at £299.99 - find out more here and read our review of the 4iiii Precision power meter here

23 September 2021, 14:34
Are quieter roads upon us?

The good news: a potential fuel crisis could mean quieter roads for cycling on! 
The bad news: small chance we could all freeze or starve to death... 

23 September 2021, 14:32
The reality of cycling to work

If you commute in a built up area, part 2 might look more familiar to you than part 1... 

23 September 2021, 13:37
Vincenzo Nibali returns to Astana

The 36-year-old has returned to the team where he saw his greatest successes, including two Giro d'Italia and one Tour de France titles between 2013 and 2016. 

With no assistance from an Astana PR person whatsoever, Nibali commented: "I am very happy to come back to Team Astana, because for me it is a real family that has given me a lot and together with which I have achieved my greatest successes. I know most of the management and staff of the team, so I will return to the team I know really well. Also I have some very nice memories from visiting Kazakhstan and its capital and it was an unforgettable experience.”

Other than really looking forward to going back to Kazakhstan, do you reckon the The Shark can also look forward to recapturing success at the highest level again now he's back at Astana? 

23 September 2021, 12:44
Grant Shapps on cycle lanes and LTNs: "You've got to allow things to settle before you U-turn on it"

Further to numerous recent stories about councils ripping up cycle lanes and U-turning on LTNs, transport secretary Grant Shapps gave his opinion to the cross-party Transport Committee. 

Asked what his message is to councils and community activists who oppose low traffic neighbourhoods, Shapps said: "We're very keen to not just go back to the world how it was before, we had huge amounts of congestion, lots of pollution even before the pandemic. The pandemic has seen an enormous increase in active travel, such that the country has never seen before. 

"Sometimes they've [councils] tried something and the immediately walked away from it, perhaps actually because they don't realise it takes a while to bed in. 

"...You've got to allow things to settle before you do a U-turn on it." 

"What's often forgotten is that every car you take off the road because somebody decides to walk or cycle is a hell of a lot more road space, and actually helps everybody including the motorist." 

As we discussed in the inaugural episode of the Podcast with regards to the situation in London, Shapps' words and the general message from the government as outlined in its Gear Change document shows what an unusual time it is for local politics when it comes to active travel. Councils - often Conservative and Labour ones - have fought back against cycle lanes and LTNs on numerous occasions following (what they perceive to be) fierce opposition, while central government is heavily promoting active travel, and instructing councils to build infrastructure that will cut motor vehicle usage. 

23 September 2021, 11:56
Will the beginning of UCI gravel world champs mark the end of peak gravel? Gravel fans are split
Michelin Power Gravel Tyre Fitted

Remember our mini report on the King's Cup, which held its (unofficial) British Gravel Championships the other day? Well barely a day later the UCI has announced that it will be working with the event's organiser Golazo for a UCI-sanctioned gravel world series and world championship next year. 

The UCI says: "From next year, the UCI will organise – in collaboration with events organiser Golazo – a UCI Gravel World Series consisting of events enabling athletes to qualify for the UCI Gravel World Championships. This discipline combines elements of road and mountain bike, and takes place mainly on unsealed roads (gravel, forest tracks, farm roads, cobbles, etc). Races in the UCI World Series will be mass participation events."

Reaction has been mixed, with some saying it's a good thing gravel being brought to the mainstream, others saying it could ruin the scene and some just speculating on the competitors' hipster moustache size. Will you be watching the gravel world champs next year? 

HVMN Ketone.jpg

Other announcements from the UCI's management committee meeting includes continuing commitment to developing women's cycling, the launch of a cyclocross team relay test event and more research into the benefit of ketones for performance enhancement.

The UCI says: "Despite the absence of scientific proof of performance enhancement from ketones, and as part of the UCI’s commitment to an honest and credible sport, the UCI Management Committee – like the Professional Cycling Council at its meeting on 20 September - requested that an additional scientific study be launched to clarify the question.

"While waiting for the results of the study, the UCI recommends riders to refrain from using this substance." 

23 September 2021, 10:43
More news from Canberra... this time it's rubbish bike lanes

We've had a Jekyll and Hyde Kangaroo from Australia's capital, now it's time for a measly five metres of bike lane. This is in reply to a cyclist from Worcester in the UK, who calls this painted bit of unprotected cycle lane as "at best pointless, at worst actively harmful."

For a seriously bad bike lane that's hard to beat, check out this edition of our live blog from back in March. 

23 September 2021, 10:23
The hill climb overlord has spoken

Have you noticed bike brands using this year's world champs to post tasteful photos of their bikes on climbs in Flanders that don't feature on the actual course? Simon Warren, who as the author of numerous books about hills tends to know his stuff about them, isn't happy... 

23 September 2021, 10:03
"It’s on our doorstep": Sadiq Khan shares damning image following Boris Johnson's UN speech

You may have heard or read something about Boris Johnson and Kermit the Frog this morning... which was actually an excerpt from the PM's speech to the UN last night ahead of COP26 in Glasgow next month, in which he said that Kermit was wrong to say it's not easy being green. 

Many politicians have been talking and tweeting about environment-themed things since, with Sadiq Khan reminding us that it's a local problem as well as global. This recent image from London where a solitary cyclist passes huge queues of traffic on Tower Bridge is particularly grabbing, with London's Mayor saying: 

"Climate change is not a problem in far off parts of the world. It’s on our doorstep. It’s our problem too." 

23 September 2021, 08:51
Kangaroo rescued from icy water by cyclists attacks another cyclist later in the day

After the heart-warming footage above showing a kangaroo being rescued from icy waters on Canberra's Lake Burley Griffin, it looks truly grateful for the efforts of the cyclists pulling it to safety. Throwing its arms around one of the men who rescued it, the roo was shivering and seems wholly appreciative. However, footage from later in the day shows a different story... 


Kangaroo beating up a cyclist 😳 welcome to Australia! #Kangaroofight #Streetfight

♬ Gonna Fly Now - Rocky Orchestra

This is reportedly the same roo on the same lake, caught squaring up to a cyclist a few hours later! Francesco Collodi can be heard saying "I can't believe it" at the end of the clip, with the cyclist still not managing to shake off the moody marsupial.

One TikTok user suggested the roo could have come from Melbourne, in the thick of volatile anti-lockdown protests, saying: "The roo just came from Melbourne and learned some bad habits".

Another praised the actions of the cyclist, saying: "I'm delighted to see the cyclist was just trying to redirect the roo, not fighting back necessarily." 

So much for high-vis improving your safety...  

23 September 2021, 08:30
Old Shoreham cycle lane: claims that traffic "exactly the same" following controversial removal

Following the removal of the Old Shoreham Road pop-up cycle lane in Brighton, some have taken to social media in an attempt to show that it hasn't exactly had the desired effect on improving traffic flow.  Adam Bronkhorst took the photo above on World Car Free Day yesterday, claiming traffic is "exactly the same" despite the cycle lane's removal last week. 

Others claim the removal has reduced congestion on side streets at peak times, and that the photo isn't a true representation of the situation. What we do know is that the lane's removal has been extremely controversial, with The Argus reporting that Extinction Rebellion protestors attempted to block the council from ripping it up last week. Local Consersative coucillor Robert Nemeth was 'applauded' by another disgruntled social media user for supporting the lane's removal, simply replying "cheers" to the remark. 

23 September 2021, 10:40
Vodaphone not exactly ahead of the curve on bike tech according to our reviewer
23 September 2021, 08:13
World champs: mini preview of what's coming up, with men's junior and men's U23 road race tomorrow
Ethan Vernon Alex

We're hotting up towards the elite road races at the weekend, and with just exhibition events taking place today, tomorrow it's the turn of the young'uns to show us what could be a glimpse into the future of the pro peloton.

Ethan Vernon (above) goes for Great Britain in the U23 race after finishing 7th in the time trial, joined by fellow promising Brit Lews Askey. There's also a whole load of Dutch talent that could bag a win over the 160km course including the Van Dijke twins Mick and Tim and Jumbo-Visma's 19-year-old talent Olav Kooij. It starts tomorrow at 2.25pm BST. 

The men's junior race will just be confined to the Leuven circuit in Flanders, covering 8 laps for a total distance of 121km, and that kicks off at 7.15am tomorrow morning. Oddly there's no women's U23 event, meaning it's just a 75km junior event on Saturday morning before the elite women go in the afternoon. The elite men's road race is on Sunday. 

Arriving at in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.  

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