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Labour MP uses falling tree clip to argue against Low Traffic Neighbourhood plans; Helmets not designed to reduce injury "when impacts involve a car", says Giro developer; Cyclists attacked by rogue buzzard; Bike theft 'up by 50%' + more on the live blog

Welcome to Monday's live blog. Jack Sexty is in charge as we kick off the week, with Simon MacMichael taking over later this evening. ...
06 July 2020, 14:45
Labour MP uses falling tree clip to argue against Low Traffic Neighbourhood plans

Rupa Huq, who is the MP for Ealing Central and Acton (and sister of television presenter Konnie Huq), has puzzled social media by saying that terrifying footage of a tree falling inches away from a bystander makes plans for a Low Traffic Neighbourhood in the area "even more ludicrous."

As far as we can tell, Huq is trying to say that emergency vehicle access would be negatively affected if cars were restricted on the road... which most likely wouldn't be the case with less traffic around. The petition she's cited claims that local residents are unhappy with the proposed plans for a LTN between Bramley Road and Airedale Road. It says: 

"The proposed plan is impractical and counterproductive to the LTN objectives. Should the proposed plan be submitted and accepted in its current form, it would force the road traffic from the existing 400+ residential units affected, through one single-lane residential street. The proposed plan is counterproductive to LTN objectives as it will increase the traffic along the route at least threefold (more than negating the anticipated 15% reduction from such a scheme). Furthermore, the traffic will not be able to flow bi-directionally as the route is too narrow. The cause is likely to be significant congestion which will increase engine idling and fuel consumption thereby delivering a negative impact on the quality of air which is already exceptionally poor.

"We note concerns that congestion may cause problems for emergency service access. Our elderly, vulnerable and residents in poor health have increased dependency on emergency and medical services during this COVID 19 pandemic when timely interventions are sometimes critical."

A lot of people seem to disagree...

06 July 2020, 15:23
Alex Dowsett takes offence to Griff Rhys Jones' 'Off your bike!' article in Daily Mail

The Israel Start-Up Nation rider explained in a Twitter thread that he "wasn't much of a fan" of the article from the 66-year-old presenter, that was published in the Daily Mail this morning. 

Dowsett continues: "Whilst the facts of cyclists being on the footpath I believe to be wholeheartedly true, your descriptions of cyclists are exaggerated; depicting cyclists as “yobs”...

"...Claiming they’re travelling at 40mph on a footpath is absurd and the general tainting of the image of people no different to you keeping fit is disappointing.

"Even the headline, “Lycra clad Hooligans” is a bit much considering the dog owners that can’t clean up after themselves are simply brushed off like it’s very little, shouldn’t that headline have been; “Sh!t smearing wannabe tiger kings?”

"There’s a lot of cycling acts I don’t condone, along with the acts of some walkers, horse riders, drivers etc, but what won’t help is driving a harder wedge in between the divide that the media seem intent on creating. We share this planet, these roads and we all make mistakes.

"We all enjoy being part of groups/societies/clubs yet we don’t necessarily agree with what everyone in them do. The article could’ve been very different, instead of “us angels & them villains” how about “making it safe for everyone to enjoy East Anglia through signs, respect and education” but then I guess the mail would’ve ignored your work."

06 July 2020, 13:52
Delfast fail to make their bike pull an aircraft... because its own 'safety shutdown' system was activated

Ukranian e-bike innovators Delfast - who hold the world record for the biggest range on an electric pedal-assist bike (a claimed 321km, or 200 miles) - have attempted to set another world record by getting their supercharged TOP 1.0 model to pull a Yak-18T aircraft weighing 1.7 tons. They failed, but have made a video about it anyway. 

"The trial happened to be not as successful as expected, and yet it was very productive and effective for the team", explain Delfast.

"The TOP 1.0 is designed for long distance riding and was not originally intended to perform such tasks. This explains the results received by the team in the course of the experiment.

"Particularly, it was observed that the e-bike’s motor has enough power to move the aircraft. Yet, the bike did not make a move. The reason was that the safety shutdown system was activated."

CEO Daniel Tonkopiy has promised to find a way to bypass the electronics that shut the engine off when trying to haul such huge loads, so eventually they can make Delfast models to be used by farmers and distribution workers that can pull loads that weigh over a ton.

With a top speed of 80km/h and a huge 3,000 watt rear hub motor, it goes without saying that you'll be needing a licence and insurance to ride the latest Delfast Top 3.0 on public roads in the UK...

06 July 2020, 12:50
Cyclists attacked by angry buzzard in North Yorkshire
Black breasted buzzard

Cyclists have been warned to be aware of a rogue buzzard that is said to have attacked numerous times on a country lane in the North Yorkshire district of Hambleton, reports Hambleton Today

A resident who lives near the lane, between the villages of Thornton-le-Beans and Thonton-le-Moor, has contacted North Yorkshire County Council to ask for signs to be erected to warn passing cyclists. Another resident said they believe the buzzard went for cyclists who run "flashing red lights" on their bikes, coupled with the theory that the birds become territorial when their young are being readied to leave the nest. 

While such attacks from buzzards are rare, in Australia magpie attacks are a regular occurrence during magpie mating season, and half of all reported victims are cyclists. Frighteningly it's thought that magpies also remember their victims, so if you've been attacked once, it's more likely you will be attacked again. Many cyclists Down Under attach cable ties to their helmets to deter the birds from swooping down on them when attacks are most common between August and November. 

06 July 2020, 12:03
Bike helmets "not designed to reduce chances or severity of injury when impacts involve a car", says Giro development manager
MIPS visit  - 3.jpg

In an interview with Cycling Industry News, Giro's Senior Brand Development Manager Eric Richter says there are "many misconceptions about helmets", and that when it comes to collisions with motor vehicles, it isn't possible to design a bicycle helmet specifically built to protect the user: 

“We do not design helmets specifically to reduce chances or severity of injury when impacts involve a car", said Richter.

"... the number of variables is too great to calculate – the speed of the car, the mass, the angle of impact, the rider, the surface, the speed of the rider, did the driver or rider swerve a little or hit the brakes before impact. All of these variables and more are unique in every instance, and there is no way to accurately predict what is going to happen or the forces involved.

“We are mindful of the different types of brain injuries including CTE, and ongoing advances in understanding them. But the common factor in brain injuries is force transmitted to the brain. That common factor is the realm where we have potential to make a difference, and it does not change over time. Therefore we emphasise a simple, unwavering mantra: Less energy to the brain is better protection. On the other hand, the understanding and emphasis around various types of head and brain trauma will continue to evolve, and the effects from an impact or multiple impacts are unknowable variables due to the fact that each impact is a unique event and every rider is unique and changing over time. So, by keeping our primary focus on reducing energy, we keep moving ahead in a way that can theoretically benefit every rider in every impact.”

In answer to the article's question "Are helmet standards overdue a revision?", Richter says that creating new helmet standards to increase rider safety is "much broader and deeper than most people realise", because "no two standards are the same, so different helmets require different test protocols":

“In the last few years, greater emphasis on addressing rotational forces has had a significant impact on helmet design, technology, engineering and testing. Therefore, understanding the effects of rotational motion on the brain, and working to reduce rotational forces by integrating technologies like Spherical Technology and the MIPS Brain Protection System into helmets during the last 5-10 years is the most visible example of how head protection is evolving in response to increased knowledge.”

06 July 2020, 11:56
Le Col unveils Recycled Pro Air jersey
2020 Le_Col Pro_Air_recycled_jersey_navy

British bike clothing brand Le Col has unveiled a new Recycled Pro Air jersey that’s made from recycled sea plastics.

The recycled nylon comes from Nurel, and is said to undergo a mechanical process that reduces CO2 emissions by 53%.

“The recycled elastane, sourced from Asahi-Kasei that has a plant in Germany, ensures less handling of hazardous chemical compounds, less air emissions and less energy consumption,” says Le Col.

The breathable 3D-mesh jersey is designed for use in temperatures from 20°C upwards, and is said to weigh just 103g (size medium).

Other brands already use fabrics made from recycled materials, of course. The Scimitar Eco1 Recycled Cycling Jersey that we reviewed recently is made from recycled plastic bottles, for instance.

The Le Col Recycled Pro Air Jersey is available in men’s sizes XS to 3XL and is priced £120.

Get more info over at Le Col's website

06 July 2020, 11:08
Euston Road pop-up finalised overnight

One of the busiest roads in the capital is getting the emergency cycle lane treatment, with lanes now installed on both sides of the road. 

Transport for London announced the Euston Road pop-ups last week; and although they will inevitably have to be dismantled when work on HS2 begins in late 2021, TfL say they will "work with local boroughs to develop alternative routes along side streets" when that happens. 

06 July 2020, 09:49
A third of drivers in Scotland don't leave enough room when passing cyclists, according to new Cycling Scotland campaign

Cycling Scotland's #GiveCycleSpace campaign has launched today, and the charity say that as well as the headline stat, their new survey of 1,500 Scots found that 80% say overtaking cyclists is "frustrating". Two thirds also didn't realise they could get three points on their driving license for close passing, and the percentage of those who admitted to not always giving at least 1.5 metres when passing a cyclist was 34%. 

Cycling Scotland's Chief Executive Keith Irving says their 2020 campaign is "more important than ever", as statistics show that Scotland has seen a 77% increase in cycling during the lockdown: 

“Cycling reduces our carbon footprint, improves our air quality and is fantastic for the nation’s health, and for those reasons we have to make sure this renewed enthusiasm for cycling continues and expands", says Irving. 

“People driving need to be aware of vulnerable road users around them and give at least a car’s width and even more when passing at higher speeds. Often that means waiting at a safe distance until there is space to pass.

“Many people don’t realise that driving too close to someone is damaging even when no contact is made and can put people off cycling. Concern about road safety is also the main reason people don’t get back on their bike.”

There's more info on this Cycling Scotland's road safety campaign here

06 July 2020, 09:37
Cars parked in the (pop-up) cycle lane again

Sadly as we reported last week, the sight of new pop-up cycle lanes also serving as car parking spaces is becoming all too familiar. 

06 July 2020, 09:10
"The right to complain about cyclists has been granted": paying your road tax...

Yes it is satire, and the person who posted their £0 VED contribution continues: "In 2012 the negative externalities of cars were costing every EU citizen £600. In 2012 there was a £10 billion shortfall between Fuel Duty/VED and the costs of motoring. Given Fuel Duty has been frozen for a decade. The costs are likely to be much higher now."

06 July 2020, 09:02
Former Shimano president Yoshizo Shimano dies aged 85
Shimano logo large

Yoshizo - the grandson of the company's founder Shozaburo Shimano - has passed away after suffering chronic heart failure. He served as Shimano’s President of American trade from 1965 until he was made president in 1995, and finally the chairman in 2001.  He also served as president of the Bicycle Association of Japan, remaining an honorary Chairman since 2011. 

Shimano said in a statement: "The contributions he made to Shimano’s business cannot be measured and his impact will be felt forever.

"On behalf of our management team and employees, we extend our deepest condolences to his family.

"The funeral has been held by close relatives, with his surviving wife, Ms. Ikuko Shimano, representing the family."

06 July 2020, 09:20
Join us on Zwift tonight at 7pm BST

Once again we're heading to the traffic-free roads of Watopia tonight for another round of Ride Your Socks Off!

It's a category D week this week, and tha means a gentler pace and a flatter route. The ride will be just over an hour, and we'll give away socks on the hour to one lucky rider. So if you're planning to train indoors tonight, why not join us?

06 July 2020, 08:26
Bike theft up 50% in past month, according to insurance firm
Lambeth Bikehangar

New data from insurance firm Urban Jungle suggests that bike theft is on the rise again during lockdown, with claims up by a half in the past month. This backs up research from Admiral, who said they saw claims rise by 46% back in May. 

Urban Jungle also say enquiries for bike insurance are up 60%, and thieves are becoming more sophisticated when it comes to picking which bikes to steal. CEO Jimmy Williams says: "Thieves have a great knowledge for which brands and models are expensive. We rarely see bikes worth less than £500 being stolen.

"Bike-related insurance claims are nearly all for theft, which is particularly common across big cities - there were around 287,000 victims of a bicycle theft from July 2018 to June 2019 in England and Wales."

Worryingly for those who think their bikes are completely safe stored in on-street Bikehangars (pictured above) is that thieves 'appear to have worked out how to get into' them, claim Urban Jungle. The award-winning bike storage solution developed by Cyclehoop was first introduced in London, and they are now regular fixtures in residential streets across the capital.  

Urban Jungle recommend cyclists join Bike Register, buy a decent lock, park it somewhere well lit and busy and remove accessories to lessen the chance of your pride and joy being pinched. 

*Since this blog post was published, Cyclehoop have since been in touch and told "Over the past few months during the lockdown, cycling has seen incredible growth with record numbers of bicycles being sold across the nation. Unfortunately, cycle theft has also jumped with thieves targeting cycles stored in sheds, garages and gardens. As a result, we have noticed an increase in attacks on Bikehangars using new methods and tools. Working in partnership with the councils, we have designed and fitted additional security features to eliminate this problem."

06 July 2020, 08:54
Man cycles 2,000 miles from Aberdeen to Greece to get home to his family

'Homesick' 20-year-old student Kleon Papadimitirou decided to take matters into his own legs when travel restrictions meant he was unable to fly back to Athens for summer after his term finished... so he spent seven weeks cycling 2,000 miles across six countries instead. He's now spoken to the BBC about his journey. 

Arriving at in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.  

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