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"Thanks Essex, we love you, from Surrey x": NIMBY locals love RideLondon relocation; Lance's controversial Zwift ride; School run not LTNs the real traffic problem, says Cllr; Contador hails golden generation; But cyclists + more on the live blog

Dan Alexander is here for your Wednesday live blog fix, providing the updates as we pass the middle of the week
03 November 2021, 17:34
"Have the UCI banned PowerUps?" Approximately 1,500 Zwifters join Lance Armstrong for 'WEDU Wednesday' group ride
lance armstrong zwift screengrab.PNG editor Jack here, having just joined in the first WEDU Wednesday Zwift ride led by a certain Lance Armstrong. For those who didn't know (myself included before I googled it) WEDU is a company founded by Armstrong and is "a content destination designed to provoke and equip people to embody an endurance lifestyle"... me neither. 

The ride was was supposed to be 'an easy 60 minute cafe ride' at 2.5 -3.1W/KG. I strongly suspect it was quite a bit tougher than this, so didn't really get close to Lance's avatar and the rest of the front group. There were surprisingly few digs about the Texan's past popping up on Zwift and the Discord chat open during the workout, with hundreds popping up to say hi to their hero. Things weren't quite so civil over on Twitter... 

Lance gave us plenty of encouraging messages during the workout on Watopia's Flat Route Reverse, and also revealed on Discord that he was a Zwift newbie who was unfamilar with the Zwift Power website, or Zwift 'PowerUps' (the latter leading to a few disparaging comments). 

It seems that these rides will become a regular thing at 4pm on Wednesdays, if you want to join in next time. 

03 November 2021, 13:59
More NIMBY reaction to RideLondon changes...
Prudential RideLondon 2019 finish (credit RideLondon).JPG

Come on let's have some more NIMBY moaning for your afternoon entertainment. Gorden Seth didn't actually mind the event, he just prefers playing bingo..."Don't mind this event, raises a lot for good causes just the massed groups of cyclists that go out week in, week out unsupervised that cause problems on Surrey's roads, especially at weekends."

Sounds like we need some of that Dubai AI monitoring cyclists over here...

Tasha Dykes was delighted at the move, saying it's finally a sensible decision from Surrey County Council. Michelle Bland isn't so sure and reckons it'll mean the potholes will be getting ignored...

Mohammed Humza Mazar took issue with the 'it's once a year' line and had a pop at anyone and everyone who cycles in the county..."People keep saying this is once a year but what about all the cyclists that spend weeks before the event trying to get used the route if you drive for a living and timing is important for your job you wouldn’t be happy with these wannabes ruining the road for everyone else."

And in the most bizarre response, Tony Stilwell was just glad he doesn't have to walk to the pub (for a non-alcoholic beverage we assume) and can drive as usual...

Once again, it wasn't all bad... Marie J Nicholls said her family loved seeing it come past their door, while Brenda Simmins called the haters "miserable".

On the SurreyLive story, one reply commented: "This is a huge world-facing event that raises a large amount of money for charity. It should be able to showcase Surrey but a number of miseryguts feel it inconvenient. Let's move the Epsom Derby to Kent shall we?"

Another added: "No other UK event provided a county with such valuable exposure, which was well worth a small element of inconvenience."

Maybe we'll try tracking down some welcoming Essex residents for their thoughts...

03 November 2021, 16:35
2022 Giro d'Italia Grande Partenza announced with race start in Hungary — uphill finish on stage one, TT on second day before first sprint on stage three

Dreaming of pro cycling back on the telly? The first three Grand Tour stages we'll see next year have been announced — and the Giro is finally getting its Hungary Grande Partenza two years after it was first scheduled. Stage one will leave Budapest on May 6 with an uphill finish in Visegrád after 195km of racing. Stage two is back in Budapest: a 9.2km individual time trial, before the first sprint stage of the race comes on stage three.

The rest of the stages will be released in batches next week. First, the flat stages on Monday, followed by the medium mountain days on Tuesday, before finally the high mountain stages on Wednesday. The final stage, expected to be a TT in Verona, will be announced on Thursday.

03 November 2021, 15:48
Richard Carapaz to set up Ecuadorian cycling team, according to reports
Pogacar, Vingegaard and Carapaz on 2021 Tour de France Stage 17 (picture credit A.S.O./Pauline Ballet)

According to Marca Colombia, Tour de France podium finisher Richard Carapaz is to set up a Continental-level pro racing team to support Ecuadorian and Colombian riders. The team could be up and running as early as 2022 even with the relatively short time remaining until the new season.

Carapaz's venture comes off the back of the most successful season of his career, with the Ineos Grenadiers rider adding an Olympic Games gold medal, Tour de France podium and Tour de Suisse to his glittering palmares which already included the 2019 Giro d'Italia, Vuelta podium and three stages of Grand Tours.

03 November 2021, 14:44
Enhance your performance by training on Zwift with Lance Armstrong

Here's your one-hour warning if you want to ride with Lance Armstrong. The polarising former pro is hosting "an easy 60-minute cafe ride" on Zwift and what's more he'll have discord open if you want to drop him a message...

For some unknown reason Zwift hasn't promoted the ride on social media, but it's happening in just over an hour's time. Just don't get caught cheating if you've put your weight down as 34kg...get involved if you want, I'm sure it'll be dope.

03 November 2021, 14:18
But cyclists...

At this point 'but cyclists...' could become a daily feature on the blog...there's probably enough material for a morning and afternoon edition.

03 November 2021, 12:50
"The WTAF moment from this morning's commute": Bus driver just has to get in front

Jeremy Vine was one of the thousands braving the cold this morning. This driver seemed to think he should be on the bus instead... 

03 November 2021, 12:43
More bike hangars on the way to Portsmouth

Portsmouth City Council cabinet members have approved an extension to the city's bike hangar scheme, The News reports. Almost 200 requests for more storage facilities have been made since the council launched a pilot in March. Eight more hangars will be installed as the project is expanded.

"This city is predominantly terraced houses, even if you've got a forecourt, very often there's no way of locking your bike and people take it over the wall quite easily," Lynne Stagg, cabinet member for transport said. "These bike hangars are a brilliant way of encouraging more people to use bikes but also for those who've already got them to store them safely."

The hangars will be funded through £30,000 of government grant funding and will be installed on Methuen Road, Worsley Street, Binsteed Road, Lennox Road South, Lumsden/Ferry Road, Collingwood Road, Landguard Road and Francis Avenue.

03 November 2021, 12:33
Phones 4 U billionaire John Caudwell blasts "horrendous" Italian hospital experience after "horrific" cycling crash on holiday

Phones 4 U tycoon John Caudwell was left "badly smashed up" with a punctured lung, 12 displaced fractures in his left shoulder and ribcage, and a concussion after a cycling crash on holiday in Italy. Speaking to OK! magazine. The billionaire and husband to former Lithuanian Olympic cyclist Modesta Vžesniauskaitė's main gripe was the Italian hospital he was treated at.

Caudwell described the hospital as "barbarian"...

"I was in Italy for a week and then transferred to Monaco for a week," he explained. "It was horrendous because I was really badly smashed up – a punctured lung and all these fractures, and I still tested positive on a PCR test from Covid five weeks before, so they put me on a Covid ward.

"Everybody was dressed in hazmat suits and Modesta was not allowed to visit me, and very few people spoke a word of English. The Italian hospital, for lots of reasons, was a real nightmare. It felt quite barbarian. I’ve never been treated so badly in my life by a hospital or staff. I was in horrific pain."

03 November 2021, 12:23
Alberto Contador: Cycling is in one of its best moments. We are before a golden generation
Andy Schleck, Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador, 2009 Tour de France (licensed CCC BY-SA 3.0 on Wikimedia Commons by Serge Zacharias)

Seven-time Grand Tour winner Alberto Contador sung the praises of the current state of pro cycling, saying it's a "golden generation" of talent. Speaking to Spanish newspaper Ultima Hora, Contador said that double Tour de France champ Tadej Pogačar is the standout performer, but stressed it will be hard to stay on top during an era with so many top riders.

"Cycling is living one of its best moments," Contador said. "We are before a golden generation. In whatever race or stage, we’re seeing ambition, with the big names fighting for victory. 

"Pogačar dominates the Tour and he’s the man to beat, especially after what he did last year. But every edition is different and there’s competition. Roglič had problems, so we’ll see how he is in 2022. But I see a very strong Pogačar, with room to improve, and becoming more confident by his results, and he shows a spectacular level when he tries to win."

Tadej Pogacar, Stage 19 of 2021 (picture credit Tour de France A.S.O./Pauline Ballet)

The two-time Tour de France winner saved a special mention for the women's side of the sport, saying it's "booming" in terms of talent and media coverage. "In Spain we have the case of Mavi García," Contador continued. "She reflects that step forwards has been taken in Spain, and worldwide. The great professional teams have a female structure and there are more and better races shows the way and will surely motivate the younger riders."

03 November 2021, 11:00
Have you earned a slice of cake? Wiggle opens pop-up cafe where currency is miles travelled
Wiggle pop-up cafe

Wiggle has opened a pop-up cafe for one day only where cyclists, walkers and kayakers can pick up coffees and cake...if they've ridden, walked or paddled far enough. The Wiggle Adventurer's Cafe is open for business today and has been devised by Great British Bake Off finalist and outdoor sports enthusiast Steph Blackwell. Payments will be charged in the form of miles travelled — the more distance travelled, the more snacks you'll get.

The cafe is at Boughton Mochelsea Place, Maidstone, in Kent and is sat "on its very own remote island in the middle of a lake" in the deer park here. Once at the lake, Wiggle teams will be on hand to provide attendees with their currency card, which will be stamped to validate the miles travelled and used as payment at the cafe. Wiggle will provide kayaks and paddleboards to those that use them, who can show they’ve earned their coffee and cake stop for the final leg of the journey.

Mysteriously, Wiggle hasn't told us how far you'll need to ride, so set off now and pray it's enough for more than a crumb of carrot cake...

Wiggle pop-up cafe


03 November 2021, 10:29
Nobody cycles when it's cold...

More busy commuter scenes this morning...

03 November 2021, 09:56
Where have all the cars gone? Oxford councillor defends LTNs — blames school run for congestion

An Oxford councillor was so sick of people blaming the city's LTNs for traffic problems he went out for a little the video shared to his Twitter followers Cllr Tim Bearder shows off the miraculously empty roads. He says, "It's half term week and those 'bloody LTNs' are ruining the traffic in Oxford.

"Hang on - there is no traffic in Oxford. Hmm, half-term, no traffic in Oxford. Is it really the LTNs? The LTN - we only have one LTN."

The video was recorded at 8.30am on a Tuesday, peak morning rush hour time, but Cllr Bearder said the city "was like a ghost town". 

We've covered Oxford's LTN struggles before...back in May a mystery music producer put up a £1,000 reward for the safe return of a garden gnome stolen from a planter. Scaramanga Silk put up the sizeable reward for the safe return of 'PC Plod'...who, as far as we know, was never returned.

03 November 2021, 09:38
No flash kit here...

You can have all the kit in the world but you'll still have the same legs.

Here's the second part of that video from yesterday as promised...

03 November 2021, 08:17
"Thanks again Essex, we love you, from Surrey x": NIMBY locals love RideLondon relocation
Prudential ride london

RideLondon is back in May, but will not be heading out to Surrey to take in Box Hill and the route made famous by the 2012 Olympic Games. Essex County Council has replaced the county as partners for the event, something some of the home county NIMBY's have been loving...

Surrey Live's story on the news, plus social media posts, have been full of comments from joyous locals glad to have an extra 12 hours of no road closures to drive their cars...there's even a hint of anti-cyclist bingo to some of the replies...

One said, "Great, hopefully all the weekend Wiggins will discover the joys of Essex too!"

Another particularly pleasant one, "Thanks Essex, good luck dealing with the dangerous cyclists as they race on roads to practice weeks before the race day. Good luck with the burden on the NHS when they fall off and helicopter and ambulances are needed as happened in Surrey two years running. Good luck with closed roads for the day and not being able to go to do normal stuff so they can race about. Thanks again Essex we love you from Surrey x"

And one more for good measure: "Essex is welcome to the event on a permanent basis. Goodbye, good riddance."

There was a similar picture on Facebook...

Michael Day replied to Surrey Live's 'are you glad to see the back of it?' post..."That’s great news let someone else have the problems caused by this. It’s bad enough with all the road races every weekend without having this."

Christine Johnson called the event, which caused around 12 hours of local road closures on a Sunday each August, the "bane of my life". It's tough in Surrey. Darren Smith added: "Thank goodness for that it might get rid of the wannabe cycle races.. every weekend."

It wasn't all negative NIMBYs however...

Victor Keech argued: "It was one day a year, but a fabulous group event. The marathon on wheels. Surrey CC lack vision, empathy and common sense in failing to support this."

Matt Hancock (stop laughing at the back) said: "Strange how people get so anti stuff that happens once a year - a bit like fireworks and Halloween. Very very odd."

Stephen Mander commented: "Surrey CC bowing down to a few who can't go one day a year without driving their car ooh it really is an inconvenience, the dimwits that panic bought fuel. Simple-minded."

Phil Hall added: "I used to love doing that event, just because it came through Surrey, through all the places I lived when growing up, it was a brilliant event...shame it has been ruined by a bunch of NIMBYs who can't put up with a bit of inconvenience for half a day a year while thousands of people raised some money for charity."

That's a lot of reaction...

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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