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Cyclists "maim thousands a year", apparently; A whole lotta love... for cycling: Robert Plant on why he loves his bike; Bernal back riding outside; Active travel funding cut for tory councils; "Today's nonsense" from Jeremy Vine + more on the live blog

It's Monday again, and that is going down a bit like a Chris Rock joke. Liam Cahill is making a rare appearance at the helm of the Live Blog, so let's start the week with some big stories...
28 March 2022, 16:10
The silliest anti-cycling comment ever? Cyclists "maim thousands a year", apparently

The Twitter account 'Stupid shit people say on Facebook about cycling' scans the world's largest social media site for anti-cycling drivel so you don't have to... but even so, we thought this gem was worthy of some attention. 

It's a big claim indeed that cyclists "injury [sic] and maim thousands of people a year" - and one that probably can't be true even accounting for a lot of under-reporting, being as there were only 616 reported incidents of a collision between a pedestrian and pedal cyclist in an entire year according to the Reported Road Casualties Great Britain Annual Report 2020

Some other observations have been made about the absurd rant too, here are our favourites so far... 

28 March 2022, 15:46
Snake Pass to reopen to motorists, but with 20mph speed limit and weight limit for larger vehicles
Snake Pass protest (Image credit: Harry Gray/Twitter)

After the last three weekends have seen cyclists take to the temporarily traffic-free climb in Derbyshire, local news outlets are reporting that the road will reopen to motorists, but with temporary lights controlling traffic and a 20mph speed limit. HGVs over 7.5 tonnes will have to continue to follow a diversion - we'll have a full story on this soon.

> Snake Pass protest: Cyclists reclaim car-free route

28 March 2022, 14:23
Jeremy Vine shares latest "nonsense" from his London commute... only to be told it was his fault

The presenter shared this shocking piece of driving, accompanied by some very hard braking and shouting on his behalf, as the driver pulls out from a side road, completely oblivious to the presence of Vine on the main carriageway. 

As Vine noted, the first reply blaming him for the incident arrived "within 2 minutes", with Surrey's Road Policing Unit chipping in to explain why this person was so very wrong. This person then continues to argue with the actual road police about road policing openly on social media, which is too toe-curling to share any more of really... 

28 March 2022, 14:06
Lloyds CEO John Neal involved in a collision while riding his bike
Llloyds CEO John Neal

According to a source, Neal was involved in a collision with a car driver, sustaining "serious injuries". He is undergoing treatment in hospital, however he is expected to make a full recovery. 

28 March 2022, 14:03
Niche Robert Plant/Led Zep cycling jokes
robert plant comments screenshot

I'll admit we were stuck for puns and imaginative headlines on this one, but cheers to Secret Squirrel and mark1a for coming up with the goods down in the comments. 

28 March 2022, 13:24
Rock stars who love riding: a quick additional round-up
Bono and bike (source (RED) YouTube video still).JPG

A fleeting mention of other musicians who cycle on our post about Robert Plant further down the page quickly turned into a discussion about who we missed out, so here's a quick round-up... 

Bono (above) was known to enjoy a bike ride... that's until he had a bike crash in 2015 that shattered his arm, leaving him unable to play guitar, which we reckon might have put him off somewhat. 

Richard Coles, once of the Communards and now a vicar, once told the Guardian that he "always loved cycling" and often goes exploring by bike. Other mentions go to Mick Jagger (who apparently didn't talk about his love of cycling much in the 60s because it wasn't considered very groovy), Madonna, Nigel Blackwell of Half Man Half Biscuit, Usher... and of course this mini list would not be complete without mentioning Ralf Huetter and Florian Schneider of techno pioneers Kraftwerk, who made an entire song and then album dedicated to the Tour de France - they also collabroated with Canyon for a rather fetching special edition bike to mark the race departing from their home city of Düsseldorf back in 2017. 

Perhaps the most dedicated of all the rock star bike riders is Housemartins and Beautiful South icon Paul Heaton, who twice passed on a tour bus to cycle between gig venues instead. The original Pedals and Beer Pumps tour covered around 750 miles, but for his next in 2012 he was said to have covered 2,700. 

28 March 2022, 13:14
Tony Martin is auctioning off his Olympic medal to help children in Ukraine

The German is auctioning the silver medal he won at London 2012 (with the gold going to a certain Bradley Wiggins) with the current highest bid at 10,000 euros already. 

Martin says: "It's not easy to separate me from the biggest trophy I could win in my career but considering the fact that millions of people lost almost everything, it is something I really want to do!" 

Check out the auction here

28 March 2022, 12:33
[YOUR NAME HERE] - Gazprom-RusVelo change name to 'Professional Cycling Team'
Gazprom-RusVelo (CORVOS/SWPix.com)
CORVOS/SWPix.com

The Russian-registered team, Gazprom-RusVelo, has today changed its name to Professional Cycling Team, with the Russian state-owned energy corporation stepping aside as title sponsor.

While this has left the team, which has rebranded on social media as simply ‘Professional Cycling Team’, with a sizeable €3.5-€4m gap to fill in its funding, the departure of Gazprom has not meant that the team is able to return to racing.

As the UCI has banned all Russian and Belarusian teams from racing, the team’s Russian-registered licence means that even a move to a blank team kit and neutral team status couldn’t sway the UCI.

The team's management released a statement on Monday that read: "We will continue searching for a new title sponsor. Together with a new team partner we will be able to immediately come back to racing under a new name and together decide which country our international team will be representing."

Thanking Gazprom, who had sponsored the team since 20216 through subsidiary Gazprom Germainia, the statement continued, pointing to numerous successes. “Throughout the years, we achieved numerous victories, became highly recognisable in the world of cycling and helped many riders to become professionals. Now it is time to move further.”

Towards the end of the statement, the management sought to distance the team, which has riders and staff from numerous countries, from the invasion of Ukraine, going further to suggest that the team could be a tool for peace.

"We are certain that politics should be kept away from sport and sport should be a platform for unity of nations," the statement read. "Cycling and our team, in particular, could be a messenger of peace. We stand for peace in the world and do not support any wars.”

While the Russian team begins the search for a new backer, the UCI continues to allow Igor Makarov to sit on its committee. Russian riders on German teams, such as Aleksandr Vlasov, continue to race without issue and Vladyslav Pohorelov, a Ukrainian pro on the banned Belarusian Continental team CCN Factory Racing, is unable to race.

28 March 2022, 11:23
Robert Plant says cycling with his dad helped them to "discuss the meaning of life together"

Lead image: Licenced under CC BY 3.0 by Egghead06 on Wikimedia Commons

Led Zeppelin legend Robert Plant sure does have a silky smooth voice and a way with words, and we've just been alerted to some of the best ones we think he's ever said that happen to be about cycling... yes this episode of Desert Island Discs was published a week or two ago, but we'll just pretend the blog isn't so 'live' for a moment to recap on Plant's wise words. 

As presenter Lauren Laverne mentions that Plant is known to have a love of cycling, he replies: "My father before the war he did several tours of the British isles.

"He had this deal about cyclocross, so he would cycle and then carry his bike. He would take photographs of the most amazing chains of hills and across the Pennines and into Cumbria.

"As I got older I used to cycle alongside him and he taught me how to conserve my strength. I started track racing, which was fixed wheel racing and it was really good.

"To share the same fascination and attraction to something when you have this generational thing which was radical then, but not so much now between me and my kids at all. But it did help us to discuss the meaning of life together as well." 

A bike ride where you discuss the meaning of life certainly sounds like a peaceful and joyous one, and a lot less hectic than Plant's rock and roll lifestyle during his Led Zeppelin heyday. He's not the only rock star who loves cycling either: Rush drummer Neil Peart was known to like a bike ride, ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons was spotted riding an e-bike in Las Vegas a couple of years ago and David Byrne of the Talking Heads even penned a book about cycling

What bike do you reckon is at the end of Plant's Stairway to Heaven? Something steel and handsome from back when he was a lad, or perhaps a roomy cargo bike to collect up all the TVs he lobs out of hotel windows? Maybe those wild days are behind him, who knows... 

28 March 2022, 11:03
They've begun...

I won't go trying to explain why Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars. Instead, I'll make it today's mission to bring you all of the best memes. 

28 March 2022, 09:53
Just two months after being in intensive care, Egan Bernal is back riding his bike outside
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Egan Bernal (@eganbernal)

In what is proving to be at least as remarkable as the recovery of his former teammate Chris Froome, Egan Bernal has gone from intensive care and saying he had a 95% chance of becoming paraplegic to being back out on the bike in just two months. 

Bernal suffered a fractured vertebrae, fractured right femur, fractured right patella, chest trauma, a punctured lung and several fractured ribs in the collision with a parked bus while riding his time trial bike in late January of this year. The latest unfortunate incident in which a pro cyclist has suffered potential life-threatening injuries led to a debate about the use of increasingly aggressive time trial bikes on open roads, with Chris Froome calling for a time trial bike ban in pro cycling. We also discussed this on the road.cc Podcast, with no less than the current LEJOG record holder Michael Broadwith joining us to discuss

> Are time trial bikes safe to ride on open roads?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Egan Bernal (@eganbernal)

Of course, we haven't seen all the painful rehab Bernal has had to go through to get to this point, but the post above from a couple of weeks ago gives you an idea in cartoony sketch form. 

Bernal's full words to accompany the pics of his return to the roads translated are: 
"The happiest day of my life.

"After 2 months and 20 broken bones, here I am, and I want more! See you guys on the road." 

28 March 2022, 09:50
And from the man himself...

He has no words, but this picture says it all. Could Girmay's victory herald a new era of African champions in professional cycling? 

28 March 2022, 07:42
Girmay wins - the reaction

If you were busy actually riding a bike, doing a bit of gardening or just soaking up the sun on Sunday, then you might have missed the news that Biniam Girmay won Gent-Wevelgem. In doing so, he became the first African rider to win the race and many believe that this could be a turning point for men's pro road cycling.

Anyway, while my heart continues to melt, here's some of the reaction...

Any possibly the most important thing...

Everyone Liked That
28 March 2022, 07:07
Funding withheld for Tory some councils as one councillor says "the car is king"

If you ride to work, take the kids to school by bike, or just prefer to cycle for short trips then you might not like the news coming out of some Conservative-controlled councils this morning.

The Guardian reports that the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead lost funding for cycling and walking infrastructure plans last year after two proposed low-traffic neighbourhoods were sidelined.

Just this month, the borough said that it was set to scrap pavement widening schemes in favour of increasing space for car parking and in a Town Forum, which you can watch at your leisure, a councillor declared that "the car is still king" in Maidenhead.

West Sussex, meanwhile, has also had funding withheld. The council made headlines for all the wrong reasons after the council's cabinet member for highways, Roger Elkins, decided that a cycle lane should be removed despite it having yet to be completed.

> Cycling UK heads to Court of Appeal over scrapped Shoreham-By-Sea pop-up cycle lane

The decision was taken in spite of a 6:2 vote from the scrutiny committee in favour of him reconsidering. Insult was added to injury when it emerged that Elkins had never actually been to see the cycle lane in question, which linked five schools and had been used for 30,000 cycle trips.

Though the evidence points to the contrary, both councils have made noises about being supportive of active travel measures.

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