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Family told to remove bike shed due to planning breach; New cycle paths branded "unsuitable" and "dangerous" by locals; Charity cyclist riding Britain's coastline; Cargo bike boom; African World Championships; Team car puncture + more on the live blog

It's Wednesday and Dan Alexander will have all your live blog news coming throughout the day...
05 May 2021, 09:42
Leicester City Council wants family's homemade eco bike shed removed because it is not in keeping with the Victorian character of the area
Leicester bike shed (Kavi Pujara)

A Leicester-based family were disappointed to be told by the city's council that they must remove their homemade eco bike shed as it is not in keeping with the Victorian character of the street. Kavi Pujara's family has been told they are unlikely to receive permission from the planning department as they live in a conservation area and the family is now asking for help compiling comments of support in the council's planning portal. 

"We are a family of four cyclists who last September made an eco bike shed in our front garden," Pujara wrote on Facebook. "It is made of sustainably grown wood and has a sedum living roof. Other houses in the same terrace have converted their front gardens to driveways for parking multiple cars—so there really isn't a homogeneous Victorian look to the street anyway."

Labour councillor Lindsay Broadwell urged people to support the family's cause. "Today in Leicester putting a bike shed in your garden is apparently a planning breach, according to the council," she said. "We simultaneously want to encourage cycling but want to make it hard for people to store their bikes safely? But cars on-street is fine? 

"You can write in support of the family and I encourage you to do so. The council's line is 'it's not in keeping with the Victorian character of the area'—the Victorians invented and popularised cycling. And sheds, for that matter."

05 May 2021, 15:29
Brian Smith appointed as new pathway director at Scottish-based team The Cycling Academy

Cycling Industry News reports that Brian Smith will help bring through the next generation of Scottish cyclists in his new role as pathway director for The Cycling Academy. The new team based in Scotland has said its goal is to help develop Scotland's first WorldTour rider in 25 years.

While David Millar has ridden in cycling's top tier since, he was brought up in Hong Kong and The Cycling Academy wants to see Scottish cyclists coming through their home country's system making it to the top.

"At the start of this project, we realised there is a 25-year gap since Scotland produced a domestically developed WorldTour cyclist. Brian and David Millar are in fact the only World Tour Scottish riders since the glory days of Robert Millar in the 1980s. Brian built a world-class palmares including two British Championships, before getting involved in many aspects of the professional sport. On and off the bike I always considered Brian to be the epitome of professionalism in sport, so it’s a huge achievement to have him support the work we’re doing," team director James McCallum said.

05 May 2021, 15:09
7mesh resumes shipping to the UK after opening new distribution centre
7mesh Horizon jersey - riding.jpg

7mesh Cycling Apparel are resuming shipping to the UK after opening a new distribution centre in Thurrock. The centre will allow the brand to post clothing out to UK customers, overcoming the challenge of post-Brexit shipping. General manager, John Zopfi explained the news: "The United Kingdom has emerged as an important and welcoming international market for 7mesh. Making this investment helps ensure that 7mesh fans and partners in the UK will continue to be able to order from dedicated in-country inventory and pay in GBP with no duty or import costs added on.”

7mesh UK distribution centre.JPEG
05 May 2021, 14:00
UK's first cycling club for emergency service workers
Bluelight Cycling Club (via Met Police)

Bluelight Cycling Club is the UK's first cycling club for emergency service workers and stemmed from the idea of three Met Police officers—Colin Nye, Neil Turner and Dan Bryant—who planned to cycle from London to Paris to raise money for police charities following the death of a friend.

After plenty of interest from colleagues, the ride soon exceeded the capabilities of the organisers. Unfortunately, while that planned ride was ultimately cancelled due to covid, the underlying interest in cycling among emergency service workers has led to the newly-formed Bluelight Cycling Club. 

"The enthusiasm of the co-founders, the original committee and our business partners has led to something truly amazing being created," retired flying squad detective sergeant Neil Turner said. "Dealing with traumatic events and the wellbeing of others while juggling concerns for our families and our own personal safety has been a delicate balancing act. Our aim, going forward, is for the club to actively support wellbeing for those who work in the emergency service arena."

The non-profit community club will welcome riders from the police, NHS, fire and rescue services, HM Coastguard, RNLI, HM Prison Service, armed forces, National Crime Agency and search and rescue organisations.

05 May 2021, 13:30
Remco Evenepoel realistic about his chances ahead of return to racing at the Giro d'Italia

Remco Evenepoel is looking forward to pinning a race number on his jersey for the first time since August. The 21-year-old star of Belgian cycling will make his Grand Tour debut at the Giro d'Italia this weekend in Turin. Evenepoel has not raced since the Il Lombardia crash where he was thrown off a bridge into a ravine and he is not putting any pressure on himself to be challenging for the maglia rosa in his first race back.

"I’m happy to race again after such a long period, during which I worked hard to be ready for my first Grand Tour," he said. "Being my first race since last August means that we’ll need to see how my body will react. We will take it day by day and see how things go. The most important thing is that I am back with my teammates and staff again, which makes me very happy."

Should Evenepoel be a touch shy of his prodigious best, Deceuninck-Quick-Step have a decent second card to play in last year's fourth placed rider João Almeida. "Last year it was an incredible Giro," Almeida said. "The team put in a huge effort in what was an amazing but at the same time hard three weeks. We fought for a good result, and in the end, I finished fourth on the GC.

"I would like to be up there again, fight for a nice result and keep a good feeling, which is the most important thing. Hopefully, things will go well and we’ll score some nice results. This year, the mountain stages are going to play a more important role in the final outcome, which means consistency will be the key."

Brit James Knox will be part of the Quick-Step squad supporting their two leaders. Roll on Saturday...

05 May 2021, 12:48
Cargo bike sales up 354% in France as the country scales up its plans for cycling

The French 'Plan for the Development of Cycling' is an interesting read this lunchtime. The government is putting a cyclology plan into action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transport of goods, with cargo bikes at the heart of the strategy.

Accelerated by the health crisis of the past year, the development of deliveries in cities led to the statistic that in Paris, transport of goods represents 15-20 per cent of traffic but generates 45 per cent of fine particles emitted. To address this, the government plans to promote use of cargo bikes by offering employers financial assistance and improved infrastructure.

The full document with the extensive plans can be read here...

05 May 2021, 11:20
Residents voice objections as workers attempt to remove historic bollards

These bollards have been in place for more than 30 years, according to local journalist David Whetstone. It is not entirely clear who has ordered the works, with Newcastle City Council insisting they are private contractors. Whetstone reports the workers will replace the bollards with collapsible ones, possibly justified as a means of allowing emergency services access. However, residents feel the road has existed as it is without problem for years and have concerns about any form of through road linking the quiet back lane, which is popular with dog walkers and families, to the busier next street.

05 May 2021, 11:04
Questions asked of Stockport Council's new bike paths' loose gravel surface

Hopefully we will get some answers shortly from Stockport Council about this morning's main blog story. The consensus on the original post and in the comments here is that loose gravel is a terrible choice for accessible paths and completely unsuitable for cycling, wheelchair users or families with prams or young children on balance bikes. All round not very useful then.

Here are some of your thoughts:

"Loose gravel is an appalling surface for any path users. Self-binding gravel can be very nice, there's a wood near where I live that has a very pleasant path path that is some sort of self binding gravel path - it handles leaf litter extraordinarily well. The one place they've used asphalt is the one place you really don't want it... under a bunch of trees. Unless they spend a fortune keeping it clear, that will become treacherous in the autumn," jh2727 wrote.

eburtthebike commented: "Quite why a council would use such a blatantly obviously unsuitable surface is beyond me; does no-one on the council ride a bike, use a wheelchair or push a buggy? If such a glaring error can pass their conception, design and construction processes, there is something very wrong with them. Or was it a case of 'it's only pedestrians/cyclists, so we'll put the freshest, least experienced, least knowledgable graduate on it'. Worse, they don't appear to have consulted the people it was supposed to serve, and even Sustrans use crushed stone. Honestly, if this was Denmark or Holland they'd die laughing."

Hopefully, we will have some answers from Stockport Council for you this afternoon...

05 May 2021, 10:28
Cycling the entire coastline of mainland Britain for the RNLI

Harry Lidgley is cycling the entire coastline of mainland Great Britain to raise money for the RNLI. The 23-year-old's route will take him 7,000km, the equivalent of riding from Land's End to John O'Groats five times. Harry will be calling in at all 168 lifeboat stations along the route to raise money and awareness about the work they do.

He has set himself the target of completing the challenge in 42 days and will need to cover 65,000m of climbing to get back to the finish in Poole by mid-June. Harry has an interactive map on the challenge's website where you can track his progress. He is currently coming back up the west coast of Cornwall having most recently reached the lifeboat station in Newquay.

05 May 2021, 10:06
It is not just the riders who suffer punctures
05 May 2021, 09:03
Josh Quigley sets new date in July for second crack at seven-day cycling distance world record attempt

Undefeated by being forced to pull out of his world record attempt on Friday due to a knee injury, Josh Quigley has set a new date in July. He is hoping the next 12 weeks will allow his injury to heal and he can get back to training for the epic 320-mile per day target he set himself to break the current record of 2,177 miles. So far Josh has raised £9,213 of his £10,000 target with all donations going to Arthritis Action. 

05 May 2021, 08:29
UCI president confirms 2025 World Championships will be hosted by an African nation for the first time

UCI president David Lappartient has confirmed that the 2025 UCI World Championships will be hosted by an African country for the first time in the sport's history. Lappartient confirmed the news from Rwanda, where Sporza reports he is currently attending the Tour du Rwanda. That trip may turn out to be something of a scouting mission as the country's capital Kigali is one of two cities being considered for the historic event—Tangier in Morocco is the other possible location.

"The UCI has decided that 2025 will be the year of Africa," Lappartient said. "For the first time since the creation of the UCI on April 14, 1900, the World Cup will be held in Africa. We have two official candidates: Kigali in Rwanda and Tangier in Morocco. On September 24, the UCI will decide who will organise the 2025 event."

The news has been somewhat overshadowed by the story that broke yesterday about the row between the UCI and WADA over the Chris Froome doping case. In a letter written in the days following the investigation against Froome being dropped, Lappartient told WADA president Sir Craig Reedie that it “appears to be placing full responsibility for the decision squarely on the UCI's shoulders.”

05 May 2021, 07:47
New cycle paths branded "unsuitable" and "dangerous" by locals

 Stockport Council proudly paraded the pictures of these new cycle paths that have been opened as part of their Town Centre Access Plan—an initiative to improve cycling and walking routes to the town centre. However, most of the paths between Bredbury Hall, Pear Mill, Woodbank Park and Cow Lane have been laid using unbound gravel which local riders have branded "unsuitable" and "dangerous".

Peaks & Puddles gave us a closer look at the loose surface...

 It has not just been seasoned cyclists who have complaints either. Matt Jackson pointed out the dangers of trying to teach his children to ride on it, while another commenter said it is terrible for wheelchair users.

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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