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Jeremy Vine defends Peter Hitchens not wearing a helmet; Your thoughts on e-scooters in bike racks debate; Danny MacAskill Climate Games; G set for new Ineos deal; UK's next CYCLOPS junction; Hire bikes installed in no cycling zone + more on the live blog

The middle of the week has arrived and Dan Alexander is here to get you through it...the weekend isn't far away...
27 October 2021, 16:10
Jeremy Vine defends Peter Hitchens not wearing a helmet as famous commuters cross paths in Hyde Park

A bit more on Jeremy Vine bumping into (not literally) Peter Hitchens in Hyde Park this morning...

We'd love to say the story ends with two well-known cyclists riding off into the sunset (grey Wednesday morning). Hitchens described Vine as "wheezing uphill towards me, dressed as an insect, with what looked like a periscope on his head". Some were more concerned with the lack of "periscope", or any protection for that matter, on his own head.

Vine got involved to reply to the helmet brigade..."Why are so many people telling my friend Peter Hitchens he should be wearing a helmet? It's entirely his choice, he looks good without one, and logically it should be car passengers compelled to wear them first. And anyone who drinks beer second."

The usual replies followed...

No doubt seeing Hitchens in the Hyde Park bike lane brought Vine more joy than crossing paths with a lost motorist...

27 October 2021, 15:40
Update: Mike Graham actually misunderstood genius
mike graham screenshot.PNG

As noted by mdavidford, Mike Graham was actually completely correct to say that concrete can grow

We retract our earlier post. Meanwhile, Mr Graham has done what anyone else would do when their intellect is being questioned by talking it all over with Jeremy Kyle. 

27 October 2021, 16:01
YouTubers don't seem to love it so much, but how about our reviewer? Find out in the full test report on this most controversial of expensive bike components...
27 October 2021, 15:27
How the Dutch do bike storage

No worries about an e-scooter taking your spot here... 

27 October 2021, 15:22
EBK GP announces global multi-city e-Bike race series to take place in 2022
E-bike Grand Prix

E-Bike Grand Prix (EBK GP) has today announced that the first ever race series will take place in 2022, with Dubai confirmed as the first host city partnership. EBK GP is a grand prix series "working with global host cities to raise awareness of climate change challenges; seeking to mobilise citizens and promote cleaner, greener, healthier cities."

The series will take place in cities around the world, with races along public roads, showcasing iconic landmarks and cultural sites. EBK GP will include ten events with ten competing franchise teams each fielding two squads, one male and one female, with both male and female competitions contributing equally to the team’s overall score.

27 October 2021, 14:58
Good news: 'Burnham Bikes' installed at Salford University...Bad news: In an area where cycling is banned
Salford University (Google Maps)

Salford University says it is acting to remove signs saying cycling is banned after many confused students noticed some new Bee Network hire bikes had been installed in a no cycling area of campus. The bikes are part of Mayor Andy Burnham's new cycle hire scheme, but were placed on a pedestrianised section with clear 'no cycling' signs.

The uni says it is "working hard" to ensure signs are taken down before the scheme launches. Manchester Evening News reports more 'Burnham Bike' docks are expected to be installed over the next few weeks and will see 1,500 bicycles available across the region.

A Salford University spokesperson said

We have been made aware that some of these stations were placed in a location on campus which advised that no cycling is allowed. The plan was always to remove the sign in time for the launch of the Scheme and we are working hard to ensure that it will be taken down by 3 November.

27 October 2021, 13:37
"If it means one less car": Your thoughts on e-scooters in bike racks debate
Live blog poll result 27/10/2021

Our ultra-scientific approach to polling has given us this...

EddyBerckx commented: "The thing about the e-scooters is most are foldable and to be honest, don't really need to be there, they can fit under your desk etc. In this case of course that might not be possible. Don't feel too strongly about it either way as I don't think it'll be a big problem."

Chrisonatrike added: "Scooters - given the extent that people will go to to avoid active travel (getting licence for car, buying, insuring, fuelling and finding parking for it) I suppose that we should welcome scooters on a harm-reduction principle. It would be great if more people could wean themselves off but scooters are so much less dangerous, take up less space, trash streets less etc.

"I still have some concerns about where all the batteries will come from (exploitative mining) and go to but that applies to any electric device. Better a small scooter battery than a car battery.

"In bike racks? If we're fighting over bike parking space(link is external) rather than car parking space that's a nice problem to have. Once anything is mainstream then it's "people being people" rather than "I was nearly killed by one of those cyclists the other day"

Squired said: "Never used one, but I can see the benefits of e-scooter adoption. My concerns are that they will just be used by people to replace journeys they would have otherwise walked and thus limit their exercise levels, rather than replacing car journeys."

hawkinspeter said: "I positively enjoy seeing scooters out on the roads and 'cycle' lanes as it means that drivers have more non-cars to be looking out for.

"I'm not a fan of the big collections of VOI scooters left out on pavements though as they're a trip hazard in most places, so I'd rather they were parked out on the road like most other vehicles. However, if people want to lock their private (illegal) e-scooters in a bike park, then I don't see how it's much different to if someone is locking their bike there. Bike parks can easily get filled with bikes, so getting filled with scooters is much the same thing."

Here's some of the Twitter reaction...

27 October 2021, 13:11
Live blog favourite Mike Graham back making headlines... (thankfully) not about cycling

You've probably seen it by now. If you haven't, here it is in all its (painful) glory...

Mike Graham's a bit of a live blog legend, which definitely isn't a good thing. He was the TalkRadio presenter behind 'The rant to end all anti-cycling rants?' In August he also held a poll asking are cyclists a danger on the road? 

Don't mind me, I'm just off to water my concrete in the garden...

27 October 2021, 13:01
UK's fourth CYCLOPS junction opens in Cambridge, the second of its kind in the city
Cambridge CYCLOPS junction (Camcycle)

A new CYCLOPS junction has opened in Cambridge, the fourth of its kind in the UK. Camcycle successfully campaigned for the design back in 2018, and it includes a protected cycle lane which encircles the junction, keeping riders separate from motor traffic and pedestrians. 

Cyclists can make signal-free left turns at any point or use the cycle buttons to access the green phase of traffic signals, allowing them to make a right turn or travel straight across without mixing with other traffic.

The junction design first came to the UK as part of Greater Manchester's Bee Network. A CYCLOPS junction was also opened on Fendon Road last year, this one on Histon Road is the second to come to the city.

Camcycle trustee and infrastructure campaigner Matthew Danish, who encouraged GCP officers to take inspiration from Manchester in their redesign of this junction, said: "We believe this new design will greatly enhance the safety and usability of the Gilbert Road junction on Histon Road. We know that traditional junctions are a major barrier to active travel and the location of many collisions.

"The CYCLOPS junction and protected roundabout are just two of the many designs available to local authorities from LTN 1/20, the government’s cycle infrastructure standards, and there are now good options for every intersection in our county. Camcycle calls for designs like these to be implemented at every new or renovated junction in Cambridgeshire to keep people safe and to enable and encourage more people to walk and cycle."

27 October 2021, 10:27
Danny MacAskill promotes sustainable riding along wind turbine blade

Is anything that Danny MacAskill does on a bike even vaguely surprising anymore? The skill king's latest video aimed to promote sustainable energy...naturally, he took the brief and rode along a wind turbine blade. Another thing that isn't surprising...MacAskill is now the first person to ever ride a bicycle on a wind turbine blade.

'Climate Games' features tricks recorded while MacAskill had free reign of a wind turbine factory and was designed to visualise the percentage of the world's energy currently generated from renewable sources.

> Danny MacAskill is back doing ridiculous things on two wheels

The Danny MacAskill archives are packed full of daredevil 2014 he went back to his roots to conquer The Ridge, while back in January he described The Slabs as "probably the wildest thing" he'd ever done...

27 October 2021, 11:11
Brompton simplifies range naming system: Meet the A Line, C Line and Electric C Line
2021 Brompton C Line

Folding bike brand Brompton has simplified its range naming system, with its 2022 bikes now grouped into the A Line, C Line and Electric C Line, as well as given a tag denoting its use case. 

Previously the brand’s product naming system centred around the product specification as opposed to focusing on the people who use the bikes. Brompton hopes the redefined range will make it easier for customers to find the best bike for them. 

Here’s the new line up:

A Line (£850): This is the essential one-size-fits-all Brompton with a folding steel frame finished in Gloss White.  “The bike has 3 hub-gears tuned for city riding, and a mid-rise handlebar for a comfortable upright ride,” says Brompton.

C Line (from £1,150): The classic all-steel folding bike, now also painted in Piccadilly Blue and Fire Coral for 2022, is available in Urban, Utility and Explore versions to meet different rider needs. All C Line bikes also come with the choice of three types of handlebar; low, mid, and high.

The minimalist option for zipping around the city is the C Line Urban. “With 2 gears, the bike is lighter to both ride and carry, perfect for hybrid journeys involving public transport,” says Brompton.

For less maintenance, the C Line Utility 3-speed bike has hub gearing which means the gears sealed inside are protected from city grit and water. “The gears can also be changed when stationary, essential for commutes with plenty of stopping and starting at traffic lights,” Brompton adds.

2021 Brompton C Line

Then there’s the C Line Explore which Brompton says is ready for anything. “Equipped with 6 gears, load this bike with luggage and a rack for all-weather commutes or longer touring trips further afield,” says Brompton.

Electric C Line (from £1,995): The C Line Urban and Explore models are also available with a 250w hub motor for covering a range of 25-50 miles so you arrive feeling fresh. Charged up in a claimed four hours, Brompton promises the bike still folds down into the compact package that can be tucked under the desk at work or on the train.

27 October 2021, 10:55
Cycling friends: Jeremy Vine + Peter Hitchens edition

Maybe one day Jeremy Vine catches a clip of Jeremy Clarkson secretly riding a bicycle around London...I fear that day might break the live blog forever. Until then, here's a Vine x Hitchens collab...

27 October 2021, 09:27
There's a shark in the water...

duuuunnnn duun… duuunnnnnnnn dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnn dunnnn. Yes, I just searched 'how to spell Jaws theme song'...

27 October 2021, 09:17
James Shaw rewarded for impressive 2021 with return to the WorldTour with EF Education-Nippo

James Shaw will be back riding in the WorldTour next season with EF Education-Nippo. The 25-year-old has spent three seasons at Pro Team and Cotinental level after his departure from Lotto-Soudal. Shaw impressed for Ribble Weldtite this season, finishing fifth at Tour of Slovenia, a race won by Tadej Pogačar. He was also third in the British national TT champs and ninth in the road race. 

Speaking about his goals for next season, Shaw said he'll be targeting the Ardennes Classics in the spring. Team boss Jonathan Vaughters spoke of his admiration for the rider not giving up on his dream..."James went into the WorldTour probably a little too young and just got lost in the mix and didn’t know how to fit in, didn’t adapt to their management style.

"And that’s really hard. Basically he had to restart his career from scratch at 22 years old. Luckily he’s a really smart and resourceful kid who just figured out how to bootstrap his way back into professional cycling and he’s shown since then, on his own two feet, that he has the ability to be competitive with the best in the WorldTour so this is his born again moment as a WorldTour rider."

27 October 2021, 08:21
How do we feel about e-scooters parked in bicycle racks?

 In the red corner, e-scooters. In the blue corner, bicycles...

Today's active travel hot topic seems to be whether e-scooters should be allowed to park in bicycle racks? Some take the 'any active travel is welcome' stance, others the 'nope, give them their own parking' line. Where do you stand?

The ultra scientific approach of tallying up the 33 replies on Twitter (that's how YouGov does it, right?) left us with 28 votes for e-scooters being allowed in bike parking, two objections and three on the fence. I hereby definitively conclude that 84.8 per cent of people are fine with it...let's see what you think...pick a side, there's no fence-sitting here...


Here are some of the replies to Gazza 'the ghoulish' Biker (someone likes Halloween)...

One interesting point that did come up was that rather than getting picky about what bikes/scooters can park where, wouldn't it make more sense just to build more storage for both? 

27 October 2021, 07:52
Geraint Thomas set to sign new Ineos Grenadiers deal after long and "tough" negotiations
Geraint Thomas 2021

Geraint Thomas looks set to put an end to the silly season transfer rumours and sign a new contract with Ineos Grenadiers. The 2018 Tour de France champion had been expected to leave the team after 12 years, but now seems almost certainly to be sticking around for another season.

"It's pretty much done but it's still not signed so I don't want to curse it," Thomas told BBC Sport Wales. "It's hard. I've had to separate the emotional and the business side of things. I've known Dave [Brailsford] since 2003 and that relationship is obviously a good one but he has his bosses and his agenda and there's me and what my family want.

"So it's been tough. It's been the worst one [contract] to redo because there's been a lot going on but I'm happy that it's finally almost done. Once it's announced, we can move on and I can concentrate on getting fit and riding my bike."

Thomas' big season goal, a tilt at winning a second Tour de France, was derailed by a crash in the opening week. Coming into the Tour the Welshman was in good form, winning Tour de Romandie despite a bizarre finish line crash, and finishing third at Volta Ciclista Catalunya and Critérium du Dauphiné. Thomas was speaking about the launch of his new Cycling Trust, aimed at supporting more young people to get cycling.

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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