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Oxfordshire Council promote cycling with painted bike lane pic; New Peter James novel is 'inspired by Strava'; Thomas De Gendt 'sock doping'; G hints at Ineos' new TdF Jersey; Jennifer Aniston gifted $12K Chanel bike + more on the live blog

Liam Cahill is in control of Wednesday's live blog for the morning, before Jack Sexty takes over after lunch...
05 August 2020, 15:11
New Peter James thriller was inspired by Strava (and its privacy settings)
strava logo 2.PNG

Once again highlighting the need to be careful with telling the world where you're running or riding, author Peter James has revealed that his new crime novel 'I Follow You' was inspired by his wife's use of Strava. 

Mrs James told the Sunday Times that a man she waved at briefly on a run in Brighton had started running the same route as her; and then again following a brief chat with another male runner in Jersey a year later, that runner then found her profile and followed her on the app. 

Perfectly innocent as that may seem, Mrs James said: “I thought this could be really dangerous if that guy was awful or a stalker"... and Mr James' imagination did the rest for the novel, which tells the story of a doctor who becomes infatuated with a female runner he almost knocks down while driving in Jersey, using a fictional running app called Run Master to track her. 

It should be noted that it's possible to enable the 'privacy zone' feature on Strava to stop anyone finding out exactly where you live. Thieves have been known to take advantage of location data in the past, allegedly searching for 'fast times' on the app to lead them to potentially expensive bikes. Back in 2018 a cyclist said he had £12,500 worth of bikes stolen, and he claims the thieve(s) job was made easier due to information he shared online. Our article regarding the theft includes our top online security tips, to help prevent incidents such as this one or unwanted stalking... 

05 August 2020, 15:01
Cycling UK celebrate 142 years, and welcome a new Chief Executive

Britain's foremost cycling charity was founded on this day in 1878 as The Bicycle Touring Club, and on their birthday they've also announced a new chief executive in Sarah Mitchell. 

Mitchell, a keen cyclist who is the former chief executive of Carers Network and head of housing at Crisis, will take over from interim chief executive Pete Fitzboydon, commenting: "'I am thrilled to be joining the Cycling UK team at this really important time for cycling. We have a massive opportunity to support more people from communities all over the UK to get out on their bikes and I look forward to being part of the movement to make that happen.”

05 August 2020, 14:40
The Giro in October? No problem...

Translation: it might well be a massive problem, as this is the current scene on the Stelvio in the middle of summer. Italy's Grand Tour has been blighted by snow and storms in the past, but an October Giro could bring with it a whole new level of disruption to proceedings. 

05 August 2020, 14:00
"Is this a wind-up?" Oxforshire Council slammed for using inadequate cycle lane to invite cyclists to use county's "amazing cycling infrastructure"

Oxon Travel - the Twitter account for Oxfordshire Council's travel centre team - is encouraging people to get on their bikes ahead of Cycle to Work Day tomorrow... and that's about where the good stuff ends, as many people have pointed out that the photo they've used appears to show a cycle lane that is far from adequate. 

In the government's recent Gear Shift document protected cycling infrastructure is recommended as the gold standard, and councils bidding for funding who aren't planning to meet these designed standards will invariably be turned down; painted lanes like the one in the photo will almost certainly fall into the 'try harder' category. 

Oxfordshire County Council appear unrepentant, replying that they "certainly do" have amazing cycling infrastructure in answer to the above question. Oxon Travel also report that new cycle racks will be fitted across the county plus upgrades to the cycle network - hopefully some "world-class cycling infrastructure" will indeed follow. 

05 August 2020, 13:51
"Is the sock rule still valid?"

Thomas de Gendt claims to have been away for so long that he's unsure of the rules nowadays. We're pretty confident that when it comes to over-zealous policing of sock heights, the UCI are unlikely to have changed their tune...

05 August 2020, 10:35
Craig Nilsson breaks three World Ultracycling Association records in one ride
Craig Nilsson Across England record

The records (pending ratification) fell last weekend when Craig rode from the Western border of England, over to the East coast and then back again, all in one day, four hours and ten seconds.

The effort was enough to break the West to East, East to West and West-East-West World Ultracycling Association Cross England records with Craig smashing the there and back record by over 24 hours.

Craig says that "setting off at 10am Saturday just outside Kington in Hereford I rode to Lowestoft in 12:47 where the previous record was 15:44." A quick 30-minute break was all that was needed before Craig was on his way back, riding the return leg in 14:50. Craig says that his slower time on the return leg wasn't due to fatigue, but caused by "headwinds and a lot more climbing than on the way out." The previous record was 1d:18h:22.

You can see Craig's ride here. The key question, though; Is it on Strava?

We might have to find you some socks, Craig!

05 August 2020, 08:40
Jenifer Aniston prefers the Chanel bike to the S-Works SL7

Apparently, the Friends actress was given the $12,000 Chanel town bike like the one above, by a co-star. The bike features a suspension saddle, a frame-mounted pump, mudguards and a pannier rack too. 

On that pannier rack, you'll find a collection of Channel bags which we're guessing is where most of the $12,000 is going. For that, you could have the new S-Works SL7, the new Trek Emonda, or even a properly good eBike.

05 August 2020, 08:09
Donald Trump has *checks notes* done something good
Trump signs Great American Outdoors Act Credit White House

Trump has signed the Great American Outdoors act into law, meaning that $900million will go to the Land and Water Conservation Fund annually. American cyclists are set to benefit from more trail maintenance along with the creation of new trails.

Despite pulling out of the Paris Agreement and vocally denouncing climate change evidence, Trump said that "from an environmental standpoint and from just the beauty of our country standpoint, there hasn’t been anything like this since Teddy Roosevelt, I suspect.” 

So at least he was humble about it.

05 August 2020, 08:01
Geraint also has a new espresso range
geraint thomas ineos 2020

One coffee company to spot the addiction that cyclists have to their products is Pact Coffee, an ethical producer of speciality coffee. They've signed up the Tour de France winner as an ambassador and he's put his name against a dark roast profile coffee, presumably being a fan of a strong cuppa.

The limited-edition Geraint Thomas ‘Gran Fondo Espresso’ blend is now available in select UK coffee shops and cycle cafes. Pact customers will be able to buy Gran Fondo Espresso direct from from 17th August. A 250g bag of Gran Fondo Espresso costs £11.95.

Pact says that the "Gran Fondo Espresso has a zesty profile, which is balanced with a dark chocolate flavour that gives it a stronger roast. The beans for the blend are grown at the Buenos Aires farm in Colombia, and the Remera Washing Station farm in Rwanda and the blend is best served as a classic Italian 5oz cappuccino."

Geraint Thomas commented: “Coffee and caffeine play such a pivotal role in how I train for events, on race days, and how I like to kick back and recover, so becoming a brand ambassador for Pact is a natural fit. Pact isn’t just a leading speciality coffee provider, the work it does with farmers and growers really resonated with me and being able to create my own coffee blend with the company’s experts gave me great insight into just how impactful a single cup of coffee can be.”

Thanks, Geraint, I'll take one now and keep them coming, please!

05 August 2020, 07:54
Can you tell what it is yet?

We're guessing that Ineos has gone for the menacing look with their new TdF kit to replicate the Grenadier 4x4 that gives them their name change.

Geraint Thomas gave us a peek at the new kit yesterday. I'm getting tasting notes of Aqua Blue Sports, Sky 2010 and a faint aftertaste of Alpecin Fenix. It's certainly a return to the mostly black design that the Sky/Ineos team has favoured over the years.

You can't go wrong with a little black number, after all.

Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. After joining the staff in 2016 as a reviewer, Liam quickly started writing feature articles and news pieces. After a little time living in Canada, where he spent most of his time eating poutine, Liam returned with the launch of DealClincher, taking over the Editor role at the start of 2018. At the weekend, Liam can be found racing on the road both in the UK and abroad, though he prefers the muddy fields of cyclocross. To date, his biggest race win is to the front of the cafe queue.

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