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Special Forces 'leaked' secret locations to Putin using Strava; “I had zero control”: Team car driver crashes at Tour of Britain; Roglič crashes; Fair Fuel UK founder blasts “sad” road.cc story; Not your usual letter to the editor + more on the live blog

It’s Tuesday, we’ve got a new Prime Minister, and Ryan Mallon’s here with another helping of the live blog. What could possibly go wrong?

SUMMARY

06 September 2022, 16:25
Half of world’s population thinks Evenepoel will win Vuelta
2022 Vuelta poll results

And if we adhere to the Daily Mail and Fair Fuel UK’s survey-reporting standards, 12 percent of all people think Howard Cox will be wearing red in Madrid come Sunday.

That sounds right, doesn’t it?

06 September 2022, 15:52
Roglic crashes on stage 16 of 2022 Vuelta (GCN) 2
Drama at the Vuelta – Roglič attacks then crashes heavily on uphill finish, as Evenepoel punctures inside 3km

 Cycling, eh? Bloody hell.

Just when you thought that stage 16 of the Vuelta to Tomares would merely act as a relative second rest day in a row for the GC contenders, with a short burst of action on the rise to the finish line, Primož Roglič – never one to adhere doggedly to cycling conventions – promptly tore the script up, and inadvertently perhaps scuppered his own chance of a fourth-straight GC victory in Spain.

The Jumbo-Visma rider launched a ferocious attack with 2.6km to go, with only pre-stage favourites Mads Pedersen, Pascal Ackermann, Danny van Poppel and the ever-present Fred Wright able to follow on the deceptively steep ramps.

Roglic crashes on stage 16 of 2022 Vuelta (GCN) 3

As the race split to pieces in front, Remco Evenepoel was at the back, waving his hands in the air to indicate that he had suffered what turned out to be a rather timely puncture. Timely because – as the red jersey certainly knew, judging by his calm demeanour as he waited to be serviced by his team, despite the uphill slog to the line – the 3km rule applied on today’s stage, meaning Remco would be awarded the same time as the bunch.

While the 22-year-old Belgian calmly pedalled to the finish in a sort of impromptu warm-down, up ahead Roglič ferociously stamped on the pedals, time gains on his mind, as he put some of the world’s most powerful sprinter-rouleurs in difficulty even as the gradient eased off towards the finish.

But, as seems to be the case with Roglič (though not in Spain usually, it must be said), disaster soon struck – as the Slovenian jinked back into the slipstream after a final, surging turn at the front, he somehow tangled with Fred Wright and hit the ground hard.

As Roglič stumbled to his feet, decidedly groggy, his glasses clinging forlornly to his face, blood dripping from his arm, Pedersen secured his second stage win of the race, with Wright once again the nearly man in fourth. 

(The Jumbo-Visma’s riders crash also resulted in the rare occurrence where a GC contender gained time on the red jersey – eight seconds in this case – despite neither of them finishing in the group to which they were officially awarded their times.)

Roglic crashes on stage 16 of 2022 Vuelta (GCN)

“I think I got blocked a bit by Primož, and I think that’s what caused the crash,” Wright said at the finish.

“I don’t know, I think it was just a racing incident. I was coming out and around, and he was coming backwards… Nothing was deliberate, obviously.

“I hope he’s alright… Primož, even on the flat parts he was smashing it and I was just thinking ‘can I hold this wheel?’ Fair play, and I hope he’s alright.”

The extent of Roglič’s injuries are, of course, as yet unknown, though cycling’s ability to produce disaster right on the cusp of greatness is an aspect of the sport of which the Slovenian is all too well aware.

06 September 2022, 15:43
The bike path to Wigan Pier (via Wigan Council)
“We should be claiming a (protected) space on the road, not allowing ourselves to be surreptitiously transformed into a type of pedestrian”: road.cc reader on cycle lanes

As any avid reader of the live blog will know, ‘why don’t cyclists use cycle lanes?’ is an evergreen topic, often providing us with a plethora of images of parked cars and debris scattered across the designated bike lane, if it even deserves to be defined as such.

Responding to our latest examples of shoddy or mistreated bike lanes on the live blog last week, road.cc reader Peter got in touch to highlight another issue when it comes to some aspects of cycling infrastructure: bike paths that give way every 50 metres to junctions, private drives or side roads, creating a riding environment that Peter argues transforms cyclists into “high-speed pedestrians” or, God forbid, glorified skateboarders...

Here’s what he had to say:

I am grateful for cycle lanes where they exist and almost always use them, but I rarely use segregated cycle paths because they effectively remove me from the road and turn me into something analogous to a high-speed pedestrian (like a skateboard user!).

For example, the A59/A565 Preston/Southport Road near me is quite well provided with alternating stretches of cycle lanes and segregated cycle path for much of its length. The sections of cycle path are generally quite wide and in a fairly good state of repair.

But when I move from a section of cycle lane to a section of cycle path, I am effectively removed from the A59/A565, and instead of having priority over vehicles joining from side roads and driveways I am now obliged to give way to them.

This might not matter if the side roads and driveways were very infrequent, but they are not. In some sections they come up very frequently if you are doing any sort of speed, and each time you are obliged to slow down and check for traffic joining or leaving the main road, before crossing.

The constant slow-stop-start-accelerate-slow cycle is not only inconvenient and tiring, it often feels more dangerous than remaining main road. (For example, approaching a side road with high hedges and a sharp turn as it joins the main road, it is necessary to pull forward and crane your neck to try to peer down the side road, at the same time guarding against fast-moving traffic coming up behind you turning into the side road from the other direction – it’s like trying to cross a road from the inside of a blind hairpin bend, somewhere you’d never site a road junction!)

These problems could be obviated by making segregated cycle paths notionally part of the main carriageway, so that drivers were required to give way to cyclists as they do to motor traffic on the main carriageway.

However, as things stand, I’d be surprised if that got much compliance even if it were instituted, and I’d certainly be nervous of powering across a junction expecting drivers to stop and give way at the cycle path, rather than rolling forward to the verge of the main road.

All in all, I’d say that segregated cycle paths are a good idea for people travelling very short distances at slow speeds (e.g. with small children) but that cycle lanes with similar priority arrangements to the road they are on are a much more suitable idea for cyclists as a whole.

We should be claiming a (protected) space on the road, not allowing ourselves to be surreptitiously transformed into a type of pedestrian.

What do you think? 

06 September 2022, 15:34
“When you can’t wait any longer for the cyclocross season to start”

Or maybe the Movistar rider was in dire need of a Tom Dumoulin?

06 September 2022, 15:29
Ouch

Alexandar Richardson’s tactics today haven’t gone down too well with his breakaway companions, it seems…

06 September 2022, 15:17
Meanwhile, at the Vuelta…
06 September 2022, 14:34
Kamiel Bonneu wins Tour of Britain stage after nail biting finale – but Perry misses out on race lead

Today’s sodden stage of the Tour of Britain to Sunderland almost provided another textbook example for the university module, ‘Breakaway Failures 101: How to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory’.

Fortunately for Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise’s Kamiel Bonneu, who took the biggest win of his fledgling career with an impressive 500-metre-long sprint, the peloton – which had relied on Ineos Grenadiers’ Kwiatkowski-Amador axis for most of the day – had dithered during a crucial part of the stage, allowing the break enough time for the cat-and-mouse antics that almost derailed their own chances on the flooded streets of Sunderland.

Saint-Piran’s Alexandar Richardson – a live blog favourite for his mind-bogglingly long training rides – may have been the driving force behind the break in its early stages, but almost became responsible for its downfall, his brinkmanship tactics and short-lived digs slowly chipping away the cohesion of the four-man group without ever giving the 32-year-old former Alpecin rider a real shot at winning.

In the end, however, it was the slow-awakening peloton which made the day’s biggest tactical blunder, while the Belgian Bonneu proved the strongest and most resilient ahead of Benjamin Perry, Richardson and Mathijs Paasschens.

In a cruel twist of fate, however, second-place Perry was denied the red leader’s jersey, as the commissaires decreed that there was no time difference between the Canadian WiV SunGod rider and the charging bunch, led home by Bora-Hansgrohe’s Jordi Meeus.

Perry now sits in second overall, agonisingly on the same time as leader Corbin Strong, a rather fitting ending to a chaotic, brutal day.

06 September 2022, 14:20
Poll: Will Remco win the Vuelta?

It’s all a bit serious in the comments today (the live blog, serious? What’s going on?)…

So, when I was out on my lunchtime dri- I mean ride! I was cycling, of course I was cycling. I don’t just drive around in my 4x4, with a helmet in the passenger seat, looking for a place to take a photo… No, that would be mad…

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes – over lunchtime I thought we should brighten the mood by having a poll on the aching cycling question of the week: Will Remco Evenepoel win the Vuelta?

2022 Remco La Vuelta Espana red jersey ASO/SprintCyclingAgency

ASO/SprintCyclingAgency

The 22-year-old Belgian was looking invincible for most of the opening two weeks of his first proper crack at winning a grand tour. Until the weekend, that is, when he ceded time to chief rivals Primož Roglič and Enric Mas in the mountains of southern Spain.

However, while Evenepoel looked briefly on the ropes on Saturday’s summit finish to Sierra de La Pandera, before rallying late to limit his losses, the Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl rider appeared much more under control when first Mas and then Roglič distanced him on the dizzyingly high Alto Hoya de la Mora, operating a Big Mig-style tempo to keep his rivals with 40 seconds.

Evenepoel now leads three-time Vuelta winner Roglič by 1.34 and the in-form Mas by 2.01.

Do you think Remco (or Red-co as I call him – it hasn’t caught on) can hang on during what is unchartered territory for the young Belgian, starting with today’s relatively flat stage? Or do you think the mountains around Madrid on Saturday will prove his undoing, just like they did for Tom Dumoulin on his first GC bid back in 2015?

Super Survey

06 September 2022, 14:10
SUNderland? More grisly conditions at the Tour of Britain

Today’s stage from Durham to Sunderland – another delightful day of constant rain – currently hangs in the balance, as the breakaway of four, Alexandar Richardson, Mathijs Paaschens, Benjamin Perry, and Kamiel Bonneu lead the Ineos-fronted peloton by over two minutes with 14km left.

It’s anyone’s guess at the minute, though I imagine most of the riders in the bunch will just be dreaming of a hot shower rather than a stage victory…

06 September 2022, 13:33
Ethan Hayter (picture credit Alex Whitehead SWpix.com)
British Cycling announces squad for UCI road worlds in Wollongong

Following the news that Tom Pidcock has pulled out of this month’s UCI road world championships citing mental and physical fatigue after a long, successful season, British Cycling has today announced their 26-rider squad for the week-long event in Wollongong, which starts on 18 September.

In the elite men’s category, Ethan Hayter and Fred Wright, who have both enjoyed breakthrough seasons on the road, will lead the team.

Hayter will contest both the time trial and road race in Australia. Last month, the 23-year-old Ineos rider won the Tour of Poland, before he was forced to abandon his debut grand tour, the Vuelta a España, after testing positive for Covid despite a strong start.

Fred Wright and Ben Turner lead the group at the 2022 Commonwealth Games road race (Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)

Fred Wright and Ben Turner lead the group at the 2022 Commonwealth Games road race (Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)

Bahrain-Victorious’ Wright represents another possible rainbow jersey contender in the British ranks, following a strong season which has seen him secure a seventh place at the Tour of Flanders, along with a string of near misses at the Tour de France, Commonwealth Games and Vuelta.

They will be joined by Jake Stewart (an agonisingly close second at the Tour of Britain yesterday), Connor Swift, and Ineos teammates Ben Turner (who had another outstanding spring classics campaign), Ben Swift, Ben Tulett and Luke Rowe.

Pfeiffer Georgi rides on the front on stage four of the 2022 Women's Tour (Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)

Pfeiffer Georgi rides on the front on stage four of the 2022 Women's Tour (Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)

For the women’s races, Team DSM’s 21-year-old star and former British champion Pfeiffer Georgi will head the team. Georgi played an invaluable role for team leader Lorena Wiebes at the Tour de France Femmes in July and has enjoyed some impressive recent results, including second in the Postnord Vårgårda WestSweden last month.

She will be joined by Commonwealth Games silver medallist Anna Henderson, current British road race champion Alice Towers, Lizzie Holden, Anna Shackley and double junior bronze medallist Elynor Bäckstedt.

Bob Donaldson, Sean Flynn, Ethan’s little brother and baby Giro winner Leo Hayter, Oliver Stockwell, and the in-form Sam Watson make up the U23 men’s team, while Zachary Walker, Jed Smithson and Ineos-bound Josh Tarling will line up in the junior ranks.

Zoe Backstedt - World Championships (via British Cycling on Twitter)

Multiple world champion Zoe Bäckstedt will aim to defend her rainbow bands in the junior women’s road race (and perhaps add a time trial gold to her collection), and will be joined by her worlds winning Madison partner Grace Lister, track worlds medallist Izzy Sharp and national champs runner-up Awen Roberts.

“Competition for places in our road teams gets fiercer every year, and every single rider selected for the squad should feel incredibly proud to be pulling on the jersey as we go in search of rainbow jerseys down under,” says GB’s Performance Director Stephen Park.

“The UCI Road World Championships, and the chance to wear the rainbow jersey, continues to be incredibly special for our riders, and we have some incredibly strong contenders across the events. I’m sure that our fans back at home will be setting their alarm clocks early and cheering them on through the night.”

06 September 2022, 13:09
I see what you did there, Tour of Britain admin person

The ToB’s social media account is once again living up to its reputation:

06 September 2022, 12:16
Chiswick High Road 02 copyright Simon MacMichael
Chiswick High Road cycle lane ‘exceeding expectations’ – despite anti-bike lane councillor’s predictions

It may only be the start of September, but the half-term results are in for London’s cycling infrastructure and it’s safe to say that the much-debated Cycleway 9 has so far ‘exceeded expectations’.

This morning, the capital’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner Will Norman revealed that Chiswick High Road – where the cycle lane was built as a temporary measure during the 2020 lockdown and made permanent (for 18 months anyway) the following year – has seen the biggest increase in people riding their bikes, rising by 37 percent from 2019’s daily high.

> Conservative councillors say people going for brunch are 'ruining cycle lane experiment'

This news prompted one Twitter user to remind outspoken Tory councillor and anti-cycle lane activist Joanna Biddolph of her rather bleak prediction from back in 2018:

I’m not sure Chiswick High Road’s impressive cycling numbers will halt Biddolph’s crusade against active travel and LTNs, however…

06 September 2022, 11:32
More cooking with the pros

Last week we were forced to watch Bora-Hansgrohe’s Irish duo Ryan Mullen and Sam Bennett doing their best Gordon and Gino impersonation in the kitchen, with an interesting take on salmon and champ (that was in no way related to Bennett’s subsequent withdrawal from the Vuelta, we’re told).

Well, today we have round two of ‘cooking with the pros’ (please don’t let this become a regular thing), as soon-to-be-retiring Little Richie Porte treated us to his, ehh, ‘breakfast of champions’, Weetabix and cottage cheese…

It didn’t take long for the World Tour’s other social media admins to join the fun (featuring a now-mandatory reference to pro cycling’s chief gourmand, Elisa Longo Borghini):

06 September 2022, 10:45
Near Miss of the Day, Tour of Britain convoy edition: Team manager crashes car after tyre blowout

Professional cycling is a sport riddled with contradictions, especially when compared to its leisurely or travel-oriented counterpart.

For example, while encouraging people to ride their bikes has long been viewed as key to tackling the climate crisis, pro cycling’s environmental record is far from impressive, to say the least.

> “They’re protesting about a good thing”: Tour de France riders, organisers and journalists react to climate protest

It’s also ironic that, while leisure and commuter cyclists (such as those who read road.cc) are at the forefront of the campaign to encourage motorists to drive more safely, some of the hairiest examples of driving can be found in the long, snaking, jostling convoy of vehicles at bike races.

That certainly proved the case during Sunday’s sodden opening stage of the Tour of Britain in Aberdeenshire, when the driver of one team car managed to just about avoid a spectacular crash following a tyre blowout on a fast, wet descent.

As you can see from the frankly terrifying video above, Steve Lampier, the team manager of the Cornwall-based UCI Continental squad Saint Piran, managed to somehow squeeze between the Bardiani-CSF team car parked on the corner and a wall and telegraph pole.

While the shunt (and accompanying screams) looked terrifying, fortunately no one was hurt in the crash, with only scratches to the Italian squad’s car to show for it after Lampier’s impressive save.

Explaining the situation to The British Continental podcast, the 38-year-old said: “Stage one at the Tour of Britain was eventful to say the least for the Saint Piran lads… We were called up to service a rider, it was a slight downhill.

“And I’m not sure how it happened, but we had a front tyre blowout – and just had no control of the car. The car was sliding and unfortunately there was a Bardiani [CSF] car parked just on the apex of the corner, servicing one of their riders who unfortunately crashed.

“And we were on a slippy bit of road and had zero control. I don’t know how I managed to, but I put it between the wall and the car, the Bardiani car.

“I’ll maybe speak to them tomorrow and give them a few beers. There are a few tiny little scratches on their car, but no damage.”

He continued: “No one was injured, fortunately, which was my… you know, you always worry yourself in those situations.

“I’ve been driving for 20-something years and never had a crash so, yeah, I was very, very lucky that no one got injured. But still not great, still doesn’t look good when you crash a team car does it?

“So yeah, I’ll have to speak to the team boss tonight. But all good.”

Now, that's a near miss...

06 September 2022, 10:00
Commuters (CC licensed image by kube414_Flickr).jpg
Three temporary cycling lanes to be made permanent, says Transport for London

Three temporary roads schemes in London, introduced during the pandemic to make cycling and walking safer in the capital, will be made permanent, says Transport for London (TfL) after data collected during the recent trial period showed that the measures have boosted cycling by more than 25 percent – without negatively impacting motor traffic.

Following public consultations, TfL have confirmed that the protected cycle lane on Tooley Street in Southwark (installed to make it easier for people to travel between existing cycle routes in the area, including on London Bridge and towards Greenwich along Cycleway 4), the new sections of protected bike lane and bus lane on Cycleway 8 between Chelsea Bridge and Wandsworth town centre, and the 24-hour bus lanes on Cycleway 7 between Elephant & Castle and Oval, will all be retained.

According to TfL, data collected during the schemes’ experimental period has demonstrated that the changes have been successful in increasing the number of people cycling.

On Tooley Street and along Cycleway 8, the number of cyclists increased by more then 25 percent since the schemes were implemented.

More than 9,500 people on an average weekday cycle along some sections of CS7, putting it in the top five percent of routes in London, according to TfL, “with the greatest potential for people to cycle”.

> Cycling levels dropped in England because “short-sighted councils pulled out protected lanes”

Before Howard Cox comes along to complain, the data also shows that the measures have not delayed motor traffic, with very little change occurring to the road network – and the time spent queuing in cars – since the cycle lanes were introduced.

On Tooley Street, vehicle numbers have fallen by a third, making the area – as TfL says – “more pleasant for people visiting”, while bus journey times westbound are now quicker and more reliable.

“We’ve seen a huge rise in walking and cycling over the past two years as more and more Londoners enjoy using sustainable ways to get around the capital,” says Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner.

“To maintain this success, we are continuing to make our roads safer as we build a better London for everyone. I’m delighted that these cycle schemes have been made permanent, enabling even more Londoners to choose greener, cleaner and healthier modes of transport.”

A consultation has also been launched to allow locals to have their say on another of the schemes introduced during lockdown between Clapham Common and Oval.

TfL says that the scheme has shown peaks of more than 870 people per hour cycling southbound on the corridor with highs of nearly 3,500 people cycling in both directions each day. The consultation remains open until 9 October.

06 September 2022, 09:10
Not your usual local paper letter about cycling: Plymouth resident says government should encourage cycling to help tackle fuel poverty

We love a good letter to the editor over here on the live blog. Especially when it’s about cycling and addressed to the editor of a local newspaper (though we do enjoy our own angry ‘fan’ mail from time to time).

For one thing, they allow us to crack out our anti-cycling bingo cards, like when Brighton resident Phil Reay told the Argus in January 2021 that it was “time to crack down on cyclists” and that we should all be “taxed, insured and have number plates”.

A true visionary, Mr Reay.

> Anti-cycling rant to local newspaper sabotaged by sensible comments

His letter continued: “I know some cyclists have insurance (probably about two percent) but if they hit something, it is what they hit that has to pay and surprise, surprise, it isn’t always what they hit that is at fault.

“They use the roads and expect cycle lanes to be provided so, like other road users, they should pay tax, just like other vehicles. It doesn’t have to be a lot and I would suggest something in the region of £10 would be sufficient.

“There is no way of identifying them if they break the law.”

Line!

Or when a jeweller blamed his shop closing after 42 years on, yep that’s right, the pesky cycle lane outside.

“I always thought I’d be carried out of here in a wooden box but the day they started putting the bollards down I said, ‘that's it’, and we closed,” he told Extra.ie in May, presumably while taking a long, melancholy drag of his cigarette and staring into the middle distance.

However, today’s featured local letter about cycling, you’ll be pleased to hear, takes a rather different line than its illustrious, red-faced predecessors.

> Cyclists WON'T need number plates — Grant Shapps again insists "we're not going to do number plates"

Writing to the Plymouth Herald – which, for some reason, has insisted on implying that bike number plates could still happen, despite Grant Shapps’ belated declaration that they’re off the table – Cathy Slaughter argued that the government should make cycling safer for everyone to help tackle the current cost-of-living crisis.

She writes:

Speed limits for cyclists seems like an issue being introduced to distract. Why not just stick to existing limits for cars?

The risks from people on bikes are tiny compared with the risks from motor vehicles, because the weight difference is massive. Yes, we need to protect pedestrians, but let’s do that simply and sensibly. Keeping bikes off pavements would be a good start and having fewer cars on the roads, so it is safer for bikes, is a great next step.

What really concerns me is the proposal to require number plates and insurance for people on bikes. That’s ridiculous! Such restrictions on cyclists will lead to a dramatic reduction in people prepared to cycle when we need more.

It would mean more journeys by cars, leading to more serious injuries and deaths; 99 percent of current road deaths involve motor vehicles. It would also cause more pollution, more carbon dioxide emissions and a less healthy population. Do we want higher costs and more work for the NHS? The net loss to society would be massive, and for what? It makes no sense when the Government is funding a pilot scheme to prescribe cycling to improve mental and physical health.

With the cost-of-living crisis, cycling is a great way of supporting those in fuel poverty. We need cycling to be safe, so that means better provision for people wanting to get to work, school or the shops by bike. It is a key part of our transition to net zero. It is to be welcomed and encouraged.

Now that all seems a bit sensible for a local paper, Cathy. What about road tax? And lycra? And the Tour de bleedin’ France?

06 September 2022, 08:30
If it ain’t on Strava: Special Forces soldiers may have leaked secret locations to Putin – by sharing their cycling and running routes

I have a confession to make: I’ve never used Strava.

I was irrevocably put off the idea in its infancy, after a post-race group recovery ride was ruined by two or three riders – who didn’t take part in the race, I’ll add – deciding to sprint up every hill home, for what I perceived at the time to be no reason at all (and still do, in fact). But I digress...

> Why all cyclists should take a break from Strava and ride unplugged 

Anyway, perhaps members of the military need to follow my example, and that of Steve Thomas, by giving up on the app, as it has once again made the headlines – for potentially revealing secret locations to Russia.

The Sun reports that SAS and SBS members “have risked leaking the locations of secret military bases to Putin” by sharing their cycling and running routes on Strava.

A number of routes have allegedly been recorded around the perimeters of highly classified training sites in Eastern Europe, as well as in the Middle East and bases in Hereford and Poole.

According to the paper, intelligence has warned that Russian GRU spies are attempting to target the Special Forces by infiltrating their phone data, including their locations, movements and private images, through Strava.

While the Ministry of Defence has refused to comment, a defence source told the Sun: “This information is viewable to anyone. Quite frankly, it’s horrifying. If someone wanted to do something sinister with this information, then it would be very easy to do.”

> Strava accused of giving away military secrets through its Global Heatmaps

This isn’t the first time that Strava’s privacy settings have come under the spotlight, especially when it comes to potentially giving away military secrets.

In 2018, the Guardian reported that the popularity of the app among military personnel – who through their training are fitter than the average person with many also taking part in sport in their free time – had raised security concerns following the revelation that details of military bases, including what some believed to be secret sites, were being made public through Strava’s Global Heatmaps feature.

> Strava used to spy on Israeli military – by setting up fake segments in army bases and intelligence agencies

In June, we reported on the blog that an anonymous Strava user, who according to their profile hails from Boston, Massachusetts, had set up a number of fake segments across various military establishments in Israel, including those belonging to the country’s intelligence agencies and highly secure bases assumed to be linked with Israel’s nuclear programme.

The user – whose affiliation has yet to be uncovered – could then keep tabs on members of the Israeli military, tracking their movements as they exercised in secret bases in Israel and around the world.

The fake segment approach allowed the spies to bypass Strava’s privacy settings: while profiles can be made available only to followers, unless users set each individual activity to be actively secured, their profile picture, first name and initial will appear on segments they have covered.

> Strava’s new Edit Map Visibility provides greater privacy control 

In a statement at the time, Strava said: “We take matters of privacy very seriously and have been made aware by an Israeli group, FakeReporter, of a segment issue regarding a specific user account and have taken the necessary steps to remedy this situation.

“We provide readily accessible information regarding how information is shared on Strava, and give every athlete the ability to make their own privacy selections. For more information on all of our privacy controls, please visit our privacy centre as we recommend that all athletes take the time to ensure their selections in Strava represent their intended experience.”

06 September 2022, 07:46
“Howard needs to work on his comprehension skills”: Fair Fuel UK founder blasts “sad” road.cc story… and gets promptly ridiculed by cyclists

Does this mean I’m famous now?

Yesterday evening, everyone’s favourite motoring mouthpiece Howard Cox, founder of the esteemed pro-car lobby group Fair Fuel UK (once again, Laura K, I’m being sarcastic), tweeted his frustration concerning a road.cc story from the weekend.

Written by yours truly (so you know it’s good stuff), the article reported on Cycling UK’s complaint to press watchdog IPSO over what the charity described as a “misleading and unreliable” MailOnline piece which suggested that there is wide public support for tougher cycling regulations such as mandatory registration plates for bikes.

> Mail’s cycling number plates poll story “misleading and unreliable”, says Cycling UK

So, why’s Howard getting all gammony about that, I hear you cry?

Well, because the online survey of 1,500 people used by the Mail to determine that the majority of drivers on the road were categorically in favour of cycling number plates was conducted by none other than, you guessed it, Fair Fuel UK.

As the poll was shared widely by Cox and his band of merry men, Cycling UK said that “it is more than likely that poll respondents also support the views of Fair Fuel UK meaning results may be affected by self-selection bias” and therefore can’t be said to represent all drivers.

> "Lunatic Highway Code" encourages road rage and gives cyclists carte blanche, Fair Fuel UK boss claims

Out on Highway 61, poor Howard wasn’t too happy that a cycling charity complained to the press regulator about a potentially misleading Daily Mail article, and directed his anger towards the obvious culprit: the messenger.

“It’s sad road.cc know only one way to get their way,” Mr Cox tweeted yesterday, in what can only be described as a Trumpian style. Sad!

He continued: “Complain at honest people who believe cyclists should adhere to the rules of the road and ignore fact. Drivers are fed up with a renegade bunch of cyclists who ruin it for all road users.”

The Fair Fuel UK head honcho also tagged his apparent partner-in-poll-related-news-stories, the Mail’s Transport Editor David Churchill, as part of his rant (Churchill, as of this morning, is yet to publicly respond).

Howard, it must be said, didn’t quite get the reception he might have hoped for with his tweet.

Some users were quick to refute Cox’s accusation that “renegade” cyclists are at fault for the dangers on our roads:

Others, however, pointedly advised Howard to actually *read* the articles he chooses to publicly criticise:

Nope, doesn’t sound like him at all.

Right, I’m off to the framers this morning…

Ryan joined road.cc as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.

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