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Driver says cyclists should pay ‘road tax’ – then admits to owning electric car; Queen ruins naked bike ride; Sprinter jumps barrier to avoid peloton; Bikes on Film; Local paper trolls Tour of Britain; Cities a result of choices + more on the live blog

It’s Thursday, the weekend’s just around the corner, and Ryan Mallon is back on the live blog, which may or may not be as exciting as a post-race trip to the bus after a Belgian semi-classic…
07 April 2022, 16:58
“You were only supposed to blow the bloody tyres up”: Bikes and action films

We’ll finish off today with a round-up of some of your favourite cycling action scenes, inspired by what Cocovelo described in the comments as Jackie Chan’s “relatively peaceful and pleasant” ride through Hong Kong in Project A – at least compared to the typical British morning commute.

I think Andy got too invested in working out how the Italian Job could have worked if they had used Raleighs instead of Minis:

Given a reasonable per-bike load of 25 kg of gold, that's only about 800 troy ounces or about £1.2M at today's prices. Probably not worth the trouble.

Thanks for that incredibly useful information there…

Though chrisonatrike at least thought there was some promise in my idea, saying “the scene at the end with the cargo bike hanging over the cliff was a classic!”

There were some great shouts when it came to your favourite bike-related action sequences, starting with 2012’s silly but fun bike messenger thriller Premium Rush (the posters for which included the Lance Armstrong-esque demand “Ride like Hell” – it’s no “Ride like you stole it Floyd”, but it’s decent). The film featured Scottish trials rider Danny MacAskill as a stunt rider:

Brooksby pointed out that there’s also a very similar British film called Alleycats, starring yer woman from Poldark:

Last on the bike messenger dramas is 1986’s Quicksilver – there had to be a Kevin Bacon film in here somewhere, didn’t there?

Which features a great early car versus bike race sequence…

 

... and some funky skills:

The opening ‘catch-the-fox’ scene of the Tomb Raider reboot is also super, and includes Lara Croft – who knew she could ride a bike like that – almost getting doored by a Range Rover driver and then being struck by a police car (just to make the whole thing relatable):

Finally, in Stormbreaker Alex Rider chases a white van man through London to a scrapyard:

One of the YouTube commenters, however, had some tips for young Alex:

Stormbreaker YouTube comment

And if action movies aren’t your thing, here’s a handy guide to some of the best other kinds of cycling films currently available on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and on DVD if you're feeling nostalgic. 

Enjoy! I’m away off to watch Breaking Away. Now that’s a proper film…

07 April 2022, 15:53
World Naked Bike Ride London 2021 (via WNBR London on Twitter)
“We’ll wish the Queen well from afar”: Start of naked bike ride to be moved – because of pesky Jubilee celebrations

The Queen and a bunch of nude cyclists – not your everyday combination, I’ll grant you that.

But the Queen’s upcoming Platinum Jubilee celebrations have become a thorn in the side of the organisers of the London leg of the World Naked Bike Ride, an annual event where hundreds of cyclists head off for a nice group spin in the buff to address issues such as road safety, oil dependency, climate change, and body positivity.

First held in Seattle in 2003, with the debut edition in London taking place the following year, the World Naked Bike Ride is now held in more than 120 cities around the world. Despite Covid restrictions last year (2020’s event was held virtually), over 1,421 riders bared all on their bikes through the country’s capital

The 2022 event is scheduled to take place in its usual slot on the second Saturday in June – which has led to it clashing it with a little old bash being organised for one of the inhabitants of Buckingham Palace.

Despite the Queen’s Jubilee taking place the week before, the organisers of the naked bike ride were informed that Hyde Park, along with other areas in the vicinity of the palace, will be closed the following weekend to accommodate the dismantling of infrastructure.

The anticipated closure of Hyde Park, Green Park, Constitution Hill and the Mall means that the ride won’t be able to start or finish in its usual spot, with changes also needing to be made to the route.

Other starts are expected to remain as planned, with feeder locations at Clapham Junction, Croydon, Deptford, Kew Bridge, Regents Park, Tower Hill, and Victoria Park, and an accessible option remaining feasible.

Organiser Dave said in a statement: “Hyde Park is always the biggest and most popular start. It's where the ride started from in 2004 and we have always welcomed the support of the Royal Parks in facilitating this well-behaved, spectacular protest ride.

“The participants also love the area and sing Happy Birthday to the Queen as they ride down the Mall. It's a sad loss for us this year but we'll wish the Queen well from afar and be back next year.”

Surely Liz could join in?

Maybe best not to ask Andrew…

07 April 2022, 15:16
Chris Froome Volta Ciclista Catalunya - 1.jpeg
Chris Froome: ‘I’m 100 percent fit for the first time since crash’

Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome has said that he is fully fit for the first time since his horrific crash at the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2019. 

Froome has struggled for form and fitness since the crash almost three years ago and only raced for the first time this season at the Coppi e Bartali in late March after an interrupted winter.

However, the 36-year-old Israel-Premier Tech rider is confident that most of his health problems are now behind him.

“Obviously I was a bit delayed with the start to the season due to the setbacks that I had in December and January but I’ve now had solid two and a half months to set up a good base,” he said this week.

“Now, after Coppi e Bartali it’s time for me to introduce more intensity and more race-specific work on the bike. That’ll take me towards my next goal, which will probably be the Tour of the Alps in a couple of weeks’ time.

“I’ve no issues now. No niggles, no pains, and nothing holding me back. I’ve got the green light so I just need to get the work in. I’m on that path now and that’s what I’m used to doing. The training, the sacrifice, that’s the part of the sport that I enjoy. I’m just going to get stuck into it.

“This is the first time since the big crash that everything is at 100 percent. There’s no reason why I should be held back. It’s purely about getting the racing and the training in and trying to get back up to speed again.”

Froome plans to race the Tour of Romandie, a race he won in 2013 and 2014, after the Tour of the Alps, before another tilt at the Tour de France in the summer. But he insists he’s approaching this season one race at a time.

“I don’t know my programme yet and we’re taking it race by race at the moment. So much depends on where I get to in the next month or so and if it all goes to plan.

“I think that it won’t help to put expectations out there right now when I don’t know where I’m going to get to in the next couple of months. It really could go either way. I’d love to be back to my old self but it’s going to take a lot of work to get there. I’ve now got the green light to do that work. I’m optimistic and hope that I get there.”

07 April 2022, 14:14
‘Bloody cyclists, always holding me up, riding in the middle of the road like they own it…’ - Itzulia edition
07 April 2022, 13:50
Driver says cyclists should pay ‘road tax’ – then admits to owning an electric car

In the ‘why don’t cyclists pay road tax’ genre of anti-bike online trolling, this one surely must go down as a classic own goal.

Responding to a tweet – from GB News of all places – about the Land Rover driver who was fined £1,000 for causing a cyclist to fall off their bike, motorist Jonathan came up with this wholly unique and not-at-all-tired and misinformed critique of people who ride bikes:

This morning, a few cyclists gathered on Twitter to educate the motorist about the realities of ‘road tax’:

Cycling Mikey’s tweet about 4x4s appeared to irk Jonathan, who quickly – and perhaps naively given the inevitable response – attempted to dispel such a notion, but instead placed his foot neatly in his mouth:

Cue the fits of hysterics erupting throughout Cycling Twitter:

07 April 2022, 13:18
More Merlier memes
07 April 2022, 11:55
Tesco: Every Pedal Helps…

Speaking of cycling supermarkets, the giant Lidl banana made a welcome return at Scheldeprijs yesterday:

07 April 2022, 11:28
Bikes and action films: a match made in Heaven

Now this is what you call a movie chase…

Taken from 1983’s action-comedy film Project A, the scene sees Jackie Chan’s Sergeant Dragon Ma Yue Lung attempt to evade a gang of bike-riding gangsters through the tight, busy streets of late-nineteenth-century Hong Kong.

Chan, riding a bike sprayed in the Bianchi colours, shows he’s got some serious tekkers, flicking a dog bowl with his front wheel, taking part in some on-bike jousting, and carrying out some emergency seatpost repairs after a painful-looking mechanical incident.

The video, shared to celebrate the legendary actor, filmmaker and martial artist’s 68th birthday today, has inspired some Twitter users to advocate for more bike chases in action films:

On that topic, this Jason Statham-BMX collaboration, from 2008’s Transporter 3, is pretty cool:

And though not quite a chase scene, even Bond rode a bike - barefooted - in 1983’s ‘unofficial’ Never Say Never Again:

Bond - Never Say Never Again

Are there any other action films out there featuring bikes or cycling-related chases?

And what existing chase scenes could be dramatically improved by reshooting them with bikes instead of the clichéd old cars?

I’m picturing the Italian Job with Raleighs instead of Mini Coopers…

Let us know in the comments!

07 April 2022, 10:30
Local paper trolls Tour of Britain

As we say yesterday, the Tour of Britain’s route announcement marks the start of an annual tradition, when needy cycling fans in the UK flock to Twitter to publicly express their disappointment that an eight-day, complicated stage race, with countless different stakeholders, doesn’t venture within walking distance of their house. 

> Hill-top finishes to bookend tough 2022 Tour of Britain route 

In return, the Santa Clauses behind the Tour of Britain spend the morning of the announcement calmly – and often humorously – explaining the rationale behind the route to the moaning hordes. Saints, the lot of them.

Well, it seems as if the local press has also decided to join in the fun by celebrating this most venerable of cycling festivals.

This morning the Isle of Wight’s County Press published an article about the race, the final stage of which will finish at the Needles Battery.

The story was accompanied by the tweet: ‘Will the Tour of Britain cycle race go past your house?’

Now that is some proper trolling…

07 April 2022, 09:37
‘Don’t mind me, I’m just out for a spin – oh, is a race going on?’

Oblivious leisure cyclist spotted at the Tour of the Basque Country yesterday…

That cyclist must be one of the few locals who isn’t constantly at the roadside cheering the riders on:

Well, at least they didn’t do a Merlier…

07 April 2022, 09:29
‘This is leadership’
07 April 2022, 08:39
Tim Merlier Scheldeprijs (GCN)
Oi, Tim, get out of the road!

Yesterday’s men’s Scheldeprijs race was a bit of an odd one to say the least.

Usually a race for the sprinters – Mark Cavendish is a three-time winner while Marcel Kittel won it five times during the 2010s – the peloton split to pieces in the crosswinds during the opening hour.

The rest of the day resembled the kind of pursuit race you’d normally see at the Tuesday night club league, with 14 riders up front being chased by a 16-strong group which included pre-race favourite Fabio Jakobsen. The gap hovered around a minute for 150km, before the elastic finally snapped during the finishing circuits around Schoten.

Alexander Kristoff then took full advantage of the lack of cohesion in the front group to slip away on the cobbles with seven kilometres to go to take an impressive solo victory, continuing his Intermarché team’s stellar classics campaign and cementing his own status as a serious contender for Paris-Roubaix in ten days’ time.

The win was also something of a collector’s item for the big Norwegian – despite racking up 83 professional victories during his stellar career, including the Tour of Flanders and Milan-San Remo, Scheldeprijs marked the first ever time he’s won a race by crossing the line on his own.

If that all wasn’t odd enough, Tim Merlier – who had just finished ninth after Alpecin-Fenix failed to capitalise on having two of the world’s best sprinters in the winning move – decided to get out of the rain as quickly as possible by riding back down the course towards his team’s bus.

Now we often we see riders heading back across the finish on mountain stages of grand tours, as the stragglers come past them in the opposite direction. We don’t, however, often see it during a flat classic, as a dozen of the peloton’s fastest finishers bolt for the line, spread out across the road.

Merlier, who later said he wasn’t aware that anyone was still left in the race (to be fair to him, only 30 riders finished, so he wasn’t far wrong), had to quickly take evasive action as Jakobsen, De Lie and the rest barrelled towards him in the sprint for fourteenth.

Fortunately, he was able to throw his bike and then himself over the barriers just in time to prevent a potentially disastrous crash – spawning a few internet memes in the process:

To give Tim his due, those barriers are fairly sizeable these days, no doubt forcing him to use all his cyclocross skills to get over them.

The Belgian sprinter was fined 200 Swiss Francs by the UCI and later apologised for the spot of post-race drama, saying “it was by no means my intention to endanger anyone”.

The weird and wonderful world of cycling, eh?

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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