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'Mr Loophole' lawyer is back with another anti-cycling rant; MotoGP pro Aleix Espargaró shares brutal 300km ride on Strava; BTP Cheshire slammed for cycle safety pics; Burst pipe turns cycle lane into 'log flume' + more on the live blog

Welcome to Monday's live blog. Jack Sexty is in charge as we kick off the week, with Simon MacMichael taking over later this evening...
29 June 2020, 16:22
Boardman praises Tory councillor's "sensational contribution" after he labels UK's first Cyclops junction "stupid"

Councillor Max Woodvine - a candidate for the Oldham & Saddleworth Conservatives - simply described the UK's first Cycleops junction as "stupid" with no further explanation. Mr Boardman wasn't exactly impressed with the remark, and wished Councillor Woodvine good luck with his political career. 

Cycleops junctions are designed to provide an orbital cycle route to separate cyclists from general traffic, reducing the chances of collisions and conflicts such as 'left hooks'. The one above is the first of 20 that will be built in the UK soon. 

29 June 2020, 13:18
Lawyer nicknamed 'Mr Loophole' is back with another anti-cycling rant, this time in Cheshire Life Magazine

Nick Freeman - nicknamed 'Mr Loophole' for his history of getting clients such as David Beckham and Jeremy Clarkson off the hook for motoring offences - is once again trotting out his calls for cyclists to wear high-vis jackets "stamped with a registration number" and hold compulsory insurance, this time in a magazine about rural life in Cheshire. It's safe to say it didn't go down very well on social media...

In the article, Nutsford resident Freeman claims he was out on a walk with a friend's young son, when the boy was almost hit by a cyclist. He says this "was no isolated incident", and suggests that his high-vis registration tabard and insurance idea would solve the problem so cyclists can be identified (because of course, 100% of drivers are licenced and insured, Mr Freeman). His tweet describing cyclists as doing "top speed" has also caused confusion, and Freeman is yet to clarify his comments. Cheshire Life are yet to comment and have today shared the article again, saying that it "caused quite the stir over the weekend."

Over the years, Freeman has made repeated claims for cyclists and pedestrians to wear high-vis, while continuing to defend law-breaking and even killer motorists. In 2014, Freeman argued that his client Simon Martins - who ran over and killed rabbi Hyman Steinberg in Salford back in 2012 - may have avoided the collision if Mr Steinberg was wearing reflective clothing. He's also said that cyclists should be forced to use designated cycle lanes, and in 2015 urged motorists to "fight back" against cyclists using headcams to film dangerous driving. 

29 June 2020, 14:30
Edinburgh and Glasgow residents can take advantage of free bike hire to encourage cycling as lockdown eases
nextbike glasgow - via nextbike on twitter

From today onwards, free 30 minute cycle trips will be available on over 1,300 bikes across Scotland's two biggest cities to encourage cycling as the lockdown is eased. The scheme is being led by the CoMoUK charity, in partnership with Glasgow City Council, Transport for Edinburgh and bike-share operators nextbike and Serco, report Air Quality News.  

Cabinet Secretary for Transport Michael Matheson commented: "We’ve seen increased rates of cycling and increased use of our public hire bicycle schemes across the lockdown period and this offer will help maintain this shift in travel behaviour at a critical time in our COVID-19 response.

"By offering free 30-minute trips, in conjunction with temporary infrastructure in Glasgow and Edinburgh, we can greatly incentivise more sustainable everyday journeys in Phases 2 and 3 of the Scottish Government route map."

29 June 2020, 14:39
Manchester says thanks to cyclists for "saving a seat on buses and trams for those who need them"

That's the kind of message we can get behind. 

29 June 2020, 14:11
US bike brand Ocoee to rebrand due to name's connotations with 1920's race riots
ocoee bike 2 - via ocoee.PNG

The President of the American Bicycle Group, who owns Ocoee, has said that there was an immediate need to “erase any unknowing or accidental connotation by the brand of racial inequality" after learning about the little known 1920 Ocoee Election Day Riots, in which African Americans were murdered by a mob after a black citizen attempted to vote at a polling station. 

Peter Hurley said in a statement: "Over the past few days, I’ve become aware of a horrible event associated with our brand name. With fair warning, I invite you to read about it here.

"As our team here in Tennessee grows, it’s simply not tenable to set a path forward that builds on the legacy of this event, so we’re going to do what we always do: lead with integrity."

American Bicycle Group are deciding on a new name, and also plan to get in touch with Ocoee bike owners to swap out the decals for free. 

29 June 2020, 14:10
Transport for Greater Manchester say new bike hire scheme has moved a step closer as they search for a service provider
Mobike in Manchester (Sian Dibben)

The new £10 million scheme set to launch in spring 2021 will see a fleet of 1,500 docked hire bikes hit the streets of Manchester, and TfGM say they are now looking for a company to run it. This will replace Mobike (above) who pulled out of Manchester in 2018 citing high levels of theft and vandalism

Greater Manchester's Cycling and Walking Commissioner Chris Boardman commented: “A third of households across Greater Manchester don’t have access to a car and almost 75% don’t have access to a bicycle, limiting their travel options. GM bike hire will make bikes more accessible and convenient and deliver a viable travel option by providing public bikes within 500 metres of 100,000 households.

“This isn’t just about bikes, it’s about a holistic approach to sustainable transport which is exactly what the Mayor’s ‘Our Network’ plan aims to deliver, tying together public transport and active travel options to make a better place for everyone to live.”

29 June 2020, 12:58
London cycle lane temporarily turned into a log flume due to burst main

And according to a couple of the replies to this tweet from Tower Hamlets Police, there may be more than just water down where the burst pipe came from. Time to swap your bike for a canoe on CS2 until this is fixed by the looks of things...

29 June 2020, 11:41
MotoGP pro Aleix Espargaró shares details of monster 300km (push)bike ride

We were sceptical when the Spaniard first tagged Egan Bernal into the Twitter post above, wondering if the 300km (186 mile) ride completed at an average speed of 32.3km/h (over 20mph) was in some way motorbike-assisted... but after doing some snooping on Espargaró's Strava account, it appears very likely that the brutal ride was genuine and pedal-assisted.

aleix Espargaro strava ride 29 june 2020.PNG

The Strava upload (accompanied by a sweary caption in Spanish) and picture on his Instagram account seem to suggest it was a group ride, with Espargaró averaging 225 watts over the nine hours and 21 minutes he was in the saddle. Will we see the 30-year-old switching from motor to pedal cycle racing in the future? On this evidence, it's certainly a possibility. 

29 June 2020, 11:05
British Transport Police Cheshire take Twitter kicking for bizarre North American cycle safety post

Made even more strange by the fact that BTP Cheshire are responsible for policing railways, the post includes two images that appear to be copied from a cycling safety group based in either the US or Canada, judging from the language used. The first advises cyclists to always wear a helmet "even if you are only going a few blocks", and the second says that cyclists should "get off (your) bike and walk it across busy corners."

Neither of these recommendations are legally required or even advisable in the UK according to numerous people who have replied, including Surrey's Road Policing Unit and Bikeability instructors. 

Was BTP Cheshire's account hacked by a misinformed cycle safety advocate from overseas at the weekend? They've yet to provide an explanation or remove the offending tweet and are still receiving negative replies, but we'll keep an eye out for updates nevertheless...

29 June 2020, 10:54
Anne Hidalgo re-elected as Mayor of Paris

Campaigning largely on her mission to improve cycling and walking infrastructure, Socialist Party politician Hidalgo swept to victory by polling just under half of all votes cast. Hidalgo's vision for Paris includes a cycle path on every street in the city, removing 60% of on-street car parking and ensuring all residents are within a 15 minute walk of local amenities. 

29 June 2020, 10:24
Ride Your Socks Off! with us on Zwift tonight

Planning some Zwifting tonight? This evening at 7pm (BST) it's the next in our regular Ride Your Socks Off! series. Join us to win socks!

This week it's a C ride, so a bit quicker, and it's the NY KOM After Party route. That means it's fairly flat for the most part, then we'll give away some socks and everyone has to turn themselves inside out up the last climb. It's everyone for themselves at that point  1

Click here to join the ride

29 June 2020, 08:56
Boardman calls for cargo bike exemption as government considers compulsory online delivery fee to cut pollution

The Times report that the government's scientific advisers have recommended a mandatory charge for online deliveries - similar to the successful plastic bag charge - to “encourage more sustainable behaviour” amid a rise in delivery vans on UK roads. The report from the Department for Transport also noted that a culture of free next-day deliveries had lead to “unnecessary over-ordering”, including some customers taking advantage of free returns with some larger online retailers. 

Deliveries by e-cargo bike are in their infancy in the UK, but Chris Boardman notes that this could be a big opportunity for retailers to "invest in clean, local delivery as it gives them a competitive advantage."

One of the most notable examples of e-cargo delivery successes are Pedal Me of London, who say they're ready to step in to provide more sustainable deliveries for larger companies to replace the increasing number of polluting vans on Britain's roads.

29 June 2020, 09:43
Cycle lanes among best value projects for tackling climate change, say Green Alliance
Cycle Superhighway.jpg

In their 'Blueprint for a Resilient Economy' report published today, the think tank say that an extra £14 billion a year is needed to tackle climate change, and that cycle lanes are among the 'best value' low carbon projects. Cycle lanes and retrofitting buildings were given a score of 20, while electric ferries and battery factories scored 19. Road building score just 10; in fact Green Alliance say that the government has actually spent £9 billion on projects that increase carbon emissions in the past three years. 

29 June 2020, 09:17
Islabikes cease Facebook advertising in support of Stop Hate for Profit campaign
Islabikes Rothan balance bike

The Ludlow-based kids bike brand Islabikes say that they stopped all paid activity on Facebook in November 2019, because "Facebook’s values were incompatible with their own." This is in support of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign. 

Founder Isla Rowntree said in a statement: “We owe it to our children to support an environment where they are safe, on and offline. Just as we need safer cycling infrastructure, we need safe spaces online for children too.” 

Islabikes say they will encourage other businesses to join the campaign to stop all advertising on Facebook-owned platforms such as Instagram for the month of July, and ideally "until the social media behemoth take meaningful action."

29 June 2020, 08:23
Police report 71% rise in speeding during lockdown
Speed camera sign (CC licensed by DPP Law via Flickr)

The most shocking figures obtained by PA news agency come from the Metropolitan Police - the UK's largest police force - who recorded 3,282 Traffic Offence Reports in April compared to 1,922 during April 2019. Amongst these some frighteningly high speeds were recorded across London, including one driver caught doing 163mph on a 70mph road, and another at 110mph on a 30mph road. 

Derbyshire and Kent police forces also recorded 41% and 53% rises respectively, although the majority of forces did see an overall decrease, thought to be due to the considerable drop in driver numbers. 

A number of drivers trying to take advantage of the quieter roads were caught out, with Dept Supt Andy Cox telling the BBC: "Early on, for some people driving at extreme speeds, they would be really surprised to see us there.

"They would actually come out and say 'we thought you'd be busy dealing with Covid'. Maybe some people (tried to take) advantage because congestion was less and thought they'd get away with it."

Back in April, we reported that cyclist fatalities since the UK lockdown began on 23 March were running at more than double the average for the time of year, with Cycling UK's Duncan Dollimore noting that they had received regular reports of "people driving way too fast"; we speculated that speeding drivers could be a factor in the spike, although there are numerous other potential factors at play, such as the increased number of cyclists on the roads as cycling's popularity grew during the lockdown. 

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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