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Record-breaking John O'Groats to Land's End...on a 7-seat conference bike; RideLondon is a "middle-class jamboree" comment sparks healthy discussion about event's merits; Is Froome back?; Car ownership falls; Close pass hipster + more on the live blog

It's Tuesday and Dan Alexander is in the saddle for another day on the live blog...
31 May 2022, 12:49
Record-breaking John O'Groats to Land's End...on a 7-seat conference bike
Conference seater LEJOG (Image: Cyclists Fighting Cancer)

A team of cyclists and university friends who aimed to cycle 865 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End on a seven-seater conference bike, and raise funds for Cyclists Fighting Cancer, have completed their challenge.

Conference seater record (Image: Cyclists Fighting Cancer)

Setting off on Sunday 22 May, two core teams of riders cycled in shifts through the days and nights, on a 200kg seven-seater conference bike. The previous Guinness World Record for the same route travelled on a conference bike was set in 2010, by a team of 194 people taking over 28 days; but this group completed the challenge in five days, 21 hours with 15 core riders, and have raised over £18,000 so far.

"Despite most of the team being experienced riders, it took a lot of mental as well as physical energy to keep going – especially through the nights," one of the riders Colin Bolton said. 

"The generous donations and the truly inspiring work that Cyclists Fighting Cancer does to support children and families living with cancer kept us pedalling until the very end!”

"We are so impressed by the team's mammoth achievement and efforts in completing their challenge," Cyclists Fighting Cancer CEO Mike Grisenthwaite said. 

"We are also grateful for their wonderful fundraising efforts: the team has raised over £18,000 so far, which will fund over 36 new lightweight bikes, tandems and specially adapted trikes to children and young people living with and beyond cancer."

Cyclists Fighting Cancer

31 May 2022, 15:10
"I'm trying to get back to my old self again. I'm not there, but I'm definitely one step closer": Chris Froome on the comeback path?

Chris Froome finished 11th at the Mercan'Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes, a one-day race that mimics a Grand Tour high mountain stage, as teammates Jakub Fuglsang and Mike Woods completed a 1-2 for Israel-Premier Tech.

At the finish, Froome said "he's one step closer" but opted out of completing the lyric...'to the edge and I'm about to break'...

Froomey has always been more Katy Perry than Linkin Park to be fair...

"I've seen a big progression these last couple of months, I've just come off a training camp now, the legs are feeling good. The next step will be the Critérium du Dauphiné. I'm just taking it one week at a time, focusing on building the feeling of momentum."

31 May 2022, 14:07
"At the end of the day, RideLondon does no real harm and the sums raised for charity by the participants should not be overlooked": RideLondon reaction — is it all just a "middle-class jamboree"?

For any of you eagle-eyed Dorkingphiles out there, yes that's the old route, no we don't have any pictures from the new route...yet...

Some of your RideLondon thoughts...

SimoninSpalding said: "I don't believe in the outdated notion of a class structure, but obviously an event like RideLondon is going to be predominantly for people with a reasonably comfortable income and lifestyle. Households relying on food banks to feed their kids and not having money for the electricity bill will not be dropping £100 to enter, regardless of their levels of fitness etc.

"Equally, the route I am guessing stuck to the more leafy parts of Essex, I doubt the more industrial/ less affluent areas along the Thames featured too highly.

"I do agree that in my experience (several years ago now) the FreeCycle event was a joy to behold and a vision of how great central London could be if more effort was made for active travel.

"At the end of the day, RideLondon does no real harm and the sums raised for charity by the participants should not be overlooked."

Smoggysteve added: "This country is never ever going to move forward with its healthcare targets if all it cares about is cars and drivers. Congestion in our cities, poor air quality and then when people try to live a better lifestlye and get out and exercise they are lambasted for it. RideLondon might be a middle-class lycrathon but its still a day of minimal car use and people doing something healthy. If you find that offensive then you're a total moron."

racyrich commented: "I thought only poor people who couldn't afford a car rode bikes. Now it's only the middle class. I can't keep up."

Steve K thinks: "Anything that gets people on bikes is a good thing, because then they remember how much fun it is to ride a bike, and may consider doing it more often. Plus seeing London car-free might encourage people to realise that if we stop car dominance, cities become much nicer places."

I'd say that's a nice place to stop...

31 May 2022, 13:57
Why cyclists don't use cycle lanes...
Cycle lane pros

Look at these road hoggers thinking they're in the Tour de France, riding in the middle of the lane...

Jakub Fuglsang just won the Mercan'Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes one-day race (if anyone cares). A certain Chris Froome was looking quite good for a while...I wonder if his disc brakes have stopped rubbing?

31 May 2022, 12:42
Tech of the week
31 May 2022, 11:33
Is he returning to win the Tour de France or running for UCI president?

Yesterday, a certain unnamed bookmaker was spotted taking bets on Dan Martin to win the Tour de France at 500-1...

Today he seems to be running for David Lappartient's job...

And someone's a fan...

Incidentally, on the subject of bookmaker blunders...

Yes, that is some random person's mate being priced up for the top job... anyway, enough football, we'll be back with more live blog action after lunch...

31 May 2022, 11:02
UK car ownership falls 0.2% – the first consecutive annual decrease in car ownership in more than 100 years
Cars in London (licensed CC BY SA 2.0 on Flickr by Pettras Gagilas)

(Licensed CC BY SA 2.0 on Flickr by Pettras Gagilas)

The latest Motorparc data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows that while the number of vehicles in the UK grew 0.4 per cent to 40,506,971 in 2021, car ownership fell by 0.2 per cent to 35,023,652 – the first consecutive annual decrease in more than 100 years.

SMMT says this is, in part, due to more advanced technology and greater reliability of new vehicles, and partly due to the impact of lockdowns on component shortages and closed dealerships.

31 May 2022, 10:45
Hipster highlights close pass effect...using his vape (of course)
31 May 2022, 10:24
Former vicar to cycle from Cumbria to Rome...carrying a cello

 Kenneth Wilson is cycling from Hadrian's Wall to Rome kitted up with his cello on the back of his bike. Wilson told the News & Star the journey is "from the edge of empire to its heart", and the 'poetical cellist' will be performing in each of the places he stops (for the night presumably, not just a layby on the A65).

"Playing the cello is the most important part of it, I’ll be playing music wherever I stop. I have gigs booked at each stop in the UK but once I get over the Channel and arrive in France and Italy it’ll very much be a case of turning up and playing," he said.

"I haven’t done a massive cycle since the summer I left school when I cycled round the coastline of England with a friend to celebrate the end of our studies. I decided to do this at the end of last year so have done a bit of training since then."

Wilson is expecting the journey to take five weeks, and is detailing his progress on his blog

Last week on the blog we talked about the nightmare that is taking a bike on trains, who knows how you get a cello-laden bike into one of those dreaded upright bike storage facilities? Turns out, you can't. "I need to post my bike back to Cumbria and then travel back with my cello."

31 May 2022, 09:13
Half term tumbleweed
31 May 2022, 08:50
Council and charities to provide free bikes for Ukrainian refugees
Ukraine flag

South Cambridgeshire council noted that the area has received the seventh highest number of visas issued as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme, and said they had teamed up with two local charities to help guests feel welcome.

Quality refurbished bike sellers OWL Bikes and life skills charity Camtrust are supplying Ukrainian guests with some vital transport in the form of a second-hand bike, as well as providing a helmet and lock free of charge.

"Once again, our communities are coming together to provide meaningful support to people arriving from Ukraine; and this time two excellent local charities are also stepping up to make a difference," Cllr Bill Handley told Cambridge Network.

"The bicycles provided to guests from Ukraine will mean they can get out and about in South Cambridgeshire, be better connected to other guests and villages, explore our beautiful countryside, and stay active during the summer months. This is important to help our guests settle in, meet-up and get around when public transport might not be an option."

"I’m truly grateful to OWL Bikes and Camtrust for supplying the bicycles for this scheme. It is yet another example of the incredible community spirit that exists throughout the district and the council is very pleased to be able to help co-ordinate the scheme."

Bikes can be requested here...

31 May 2022, 07:55
RideLondon is a "middle-class jamboree" comment sparks healthy discussion about event's merits

RideLondon is a big enough event that, along with thousands of satisfied participants, you're always going to attract comments suggesting it might not be all that. This self-professed 'unpopular opinion' goes further, however, and labels it the "Park Run of active travel"...the horror...

The comment from Jon Burke prompted a (strangely for Twitter) healthy discussion about the event and the RideLondon FreeCycle (a circuit of closed roads in central London on the same day as the sportive aimed at getting kids and families who otherwise might not cycle in the capital the opportunity to do so).

Outspoken active traveller Jeremy Vine disagreed saying he'd "happened upon it" and thought it was "glorious".

"Happy, not pushy, not even sporty. Good vibes," he tweeted.

A few of you got in touch yesterday with your experience of the day... 

tigersnapper said: "Seeing John O'Connell's tweet, I went up to London yesterday with the wife to tootle around on the FreeRide. It was great to see so many people of all ages and abilities on their bikes. I also noticed the team members of the parked up team buses stood clapping those of us chugging along past them which I thought was a real encouragement to keep people riding."

zeeridesbikes added: "Really great to see the locals cheering us on during RL yesterday. The atmosphere was good and I though it was really well organised. Route was a bit dull and the amount of littering was really disappointing. Other than that I really enjoyed it although won't be signing up for 2023."

31 May 2022, 08:26
"Humans gonna human"

If you missed it: Parked cars block cycle lane – while their owners ride static bikes in park 

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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