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Cyclists don't pay 'road tax'! (Except this one slapped with £1,500 bill); CyclingMikey interview; Maxine Peake talks Festive 500 on The One Show; Jan Ullrich rubbishes rehab rumours; Injured Van der Poel ends CX season; Cafe ride + more on the live blog

It's Tuesday...no it's not...it FEELS like a Tuesday...Dan Alexander is here for your Wednesday dose of live blog action...
05 January 2022, 17:11
Riding the entire Festive 500...in one ride

05 January 2022, 16:58
"World of pain" caused by Belfast party bikes, according to Northern Irish police official
Belfast Waterfront impression (copyright Belfast City Council)

A Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI) official has claimed that Belfast's party bikes have no place on the city's streets and are causing a "world of pain" for authorities. The bikes, described as "pubs on wheels", can hold up to 18 people who pedal along while drinking and playing music.

However, a PSNI official expressed concern in an email seen by Belfast Live: "As regards the party bike - that's a whole other world of pain that neither BCC (Belfast City Council) or police have managed to crack either through application of construction and use legislation or on-street drinking bye-laws."

"I honestly don't see any safe place for that contraption, but finding a legal remedy has so far failed."

Belfast City Council has always insisted responsibility falls to the police to enforce by-laws against street drinking.

05 January 2022, 16:43
Some interesting thoughts for your Wednesday afternoon...
05 January 2022, 08:42
Cyclists don't pay 'road tax'! (Except this one slapped with £1,500 bill)
Hill climb graffiti Pay your road tax (Image Ali McLean)

One cyclist now has the perfect response to any online troll brandishing 'cyclists don't pay road tax' in defence of (usually) very bad driving...because he does pay road tax...well, not really, because the summon from India's Dibiyapur municipality has been scrapped and there is an investigation into why they were served the £1,500 bill...

Suresh Chandra from Sehud owns just a bicycle but was slapped with a notice to stump up Rs 1.5 lakh (roughly £1,500) as a motor vehicle tax between June 2014 and September 2021.

DNA reports the security guard took the note to his neighbours as he and his son could not read the letter, and were surprised to find out it had been issued in the name of his 16-year-old son, Sudhir.

An ARTO official said the notice had been incorrectly issued and that the matter will be thoroughly investigated and action taken against the persons responsible.

And they didn't even need a loophole-specialising lawyer to get them off the charge...

05 January 2022, 15:37
Useful things bikes...
05 January 2022, 15:22
Wout keeps winning...but is Tom Pidcock now favourite for cyclo-cross rainbow jersey?

Wout van Aert did what Wout van Aert does...winning the cyclo-cross in Herentals this afternoon. BUT the big news, following on from Mathieu van der Poel's announcement that his cross season is over, is that Van Aert has in the last few minutes confirmed he won't be travelling to the US for the World Championships later this month...

No Van der Poel or Van Aert wearing the rainbow bands in 2022-23. Whisper it...but it's looking like as good a chance as ever for Tom Pidcock. The Brit was second behind his Belgian rival this afternoon. 

Van Aert said he wants to prioritise being in top shape for the spring campaign on the road, something the world champs in Fayetteville, North Carolina, would hamper. He also had some kind words for his injured great rival...

05 January 2022, 14:39
Christina Birch talks life as a NASA astronaut
Christina Birch (Image credit: NASA)

Bicycling sat down with retired pro cyclist turned NASA astronaut Christina Birch to talk about her transition from racing to spacing...

"It’s fulfilling in a way I wasn’t expecting, beyond, you know, just the pursuit of a tough performance like in a race," she explained. 

"Also, there’s this other critical piece, which I found in teaching, that I felt like I was really making a difference. And I’m so excited to be returning to a career where I can inspire people to pursue math, the sciences, whatever it is they are passionate about."

The full interview is here...

05 January 2022, 13:47
American police officer faces lawsuit after tackling man for not having a light on his bike

Norfolk Virginia-Pilot newspaper recently got hold of this footage from December 2018, in which a Virginia cop is seen tackling a man riding a bicycle to the ground, apparently due to his lack of lights.

Derrick Rountree was killed earlier this year in an unrelated daytime shooting, and his family are pursuing a $1.5 million excessive force lawsuit against the officer on his behalf.

The body cam footage shows the officer chasing the man at around 2.40am on Christmas Day before tackling him to the ground.

"Why you do that to me, bro? For what? I ain’t do nothing," the cyclist says. To which the cop responded: "You have no light. We tried to stop you. You tried to run." Before another officer added, "You need a light."

Rountree required surgery to reset his leg which was broken in multiple places during the incident. He was later charged with a headlight offence and obstruction of justice.

In court the officer's attorneys asked Rountree why he had not stopped. According to the Virginia-Pilot, he replied, "Because I’m on a bicycle. What would he stop me for?"

05 January 2022, 12:33
Just saw two cyclists refuse to use this perfectly good cycle lane
05 January 2022, 11:52
Sigma Sports' 'The Cafe Ride' returns after two-year hiatus — Pippa York first guest back

Two famous faces from the cycling world having a chat over a spin around the south-west of Glasgow, featuring, of course, the obligatory cafe stop...it wouldn't be a very good cafe ride without a refreshment stop, would it?

Pippa York is Matt Stephens' first guest back. Expect stories from the peloton, discussion on the inclusion of transgender athletes in sport, and Pippa's perspective on her new career in front of the camera and behind the mic.

05 January 2022, 11:31
Jan Ullrich says hospitalisation was due to "severe blood poisoning", not alcohol relapse
Jan Ullrich in 2004 Image by Moritz Petersen

A report which surfaced the week before Christmas in German newspaper Bild claimed 1997 Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich had been admitted to hospital after relapsing into alcoholism.

However, Ullrich has addressed the reports, telling the German news outlet, "I had a thrombosis and very severe blood poisoning. I escaped death again.

"To dispel all speculation: At the start of the treatment, I had a drug test done - and of course it was negative."

It turns out Ullrich spent time in hospital in Mexico and has continued his rehab on returning to Europe. The 48-year-old also thanked Lance Armstrong for his support.

"He was the first person who came to see me in the hospital. He helped me a lot. I want to thank him for that," Ullrich continued, before explaining his ongoing back problems have caused him to shrink. 

"Three or four intervertebral discs have completely collapsed in the meantime. I'm only 1.81 meters now, I used to be 1.83 metres."

05 January 2022, 11:11
CyclingMikey interview

The Guardian has done a feature with CyclingMikey (and kindly linked back to our story on his points victory over Chris Eubank)...

It's well worth a read for a look at what makes Mikey tick, and the story of why he started filming law-breaking drivers.

"I just like to think that with the power of one I’m trying to change a little bit of road safety," is a particular favourite from the interview. Have a read here...

05 January 2022, 10:21
Maxine Peake talks Festive 500 on The One Show
Maxine Peak Festive 500 (Strava)

Maxine Peake was on The One Show last night talking about her new BBC drama Rules of the Game...AND more importantly the Rapha Festive 500.

Maxine completed the challenge with seven rides, mainly around the Manchester area and down into Cheshire, averaging 71.46km per activity.

And before she began talking to Alex Jones and Jermaine Jenas about her new show, the actress addressed the important business — riding bikes.

"It can get in the way of your Christmas a little bit," Peake admitted. "You're taking your bike everywhere and constantly checking your Strava to make sure you've made the miles, but it's good because it plateaus off the weight gain."

Anyone else complete the 500?

05 January 2022, 10:11
How it started vs how it's going...

Wait for it...

05 January 2022, 10:01
Injured Mathieu van der Poel ends cyclo-cross season early, hopes to recover in time for Classics
Matthieu van der Poel Canyon Inflite Worlds 6-2

World champion Mathieu van der Poel will not defend his cyclo-cross world title later this month, Alpecin-Fenix have announced. Van der Poel's winter has been blighted by injury, and following the latest flare up of his back injury, the 26-year-old has decided to prioritise recovery, hopefully in time for the spring Classics.

The news is not particularly unexpected. Yesterday, Van der Poel's father, Adrie, told Sporza that his son would not be competing this week and hinted that the remainder of his cyclo-cross season was in jeopardy.

This morning, in a team press release, Mathieu confirmed the news, "I can't say much about it, it is what it is. Because of that back pain I haven’t been able to reach my desired level since the Tour. I just want that to be in the past.

"The only remedy turns out to be a longer rest period. It would therefore be foolish to interrupt this period again and still try to make it to the World Championships. We all agree on that. Even though it is very bitter – I have participated in the World CX Championships 10 consecutive times – not being able to defend my title in the States is a real downer.

"I'm not worried about the future of my career, but of course it frustrates me now not knowing how long this rest period will last. We’ll only set a date and goals if we can do so in a substantiated manner. Until then, I'll do what I can."

Dan joined road.cc 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 road.cc, 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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