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“Next you will be asking why cyclists don’t pay road tax”: Hampshire Police respond to anti-cycling bingo drivers; “Sexist” bike hire scheme tells users they’re “riding” Maeve; Mallett versus dead ends; An expensive bag of crisps + more on the live blog

It’s another warm, sunny Tuesday and Ryan Mallon is here, trying his best to keep cool in the live blog hotseat
09 August 2022, 16:49
Reader reaction: Hampshire Police and “sexist” bikes

Hampshire’s Roads Policing Unit came in for some praise in the comments today, for their commendable attempt to slap down the usual anti-cycling bingo enthusiasts.

“Well done Hampshire Police for that tweet, more of this kind of awareness please,” wrote peted76.

Others, however, noticed a glaring omission from the force’s educational video.

“The Hampshire’s Roads Policing Unit video is all very well, but where, I ask, are the videos of killer cyclists mowing down all in their path?” asked eburtthebike, tongue firmly planted in cheek.

“With so many pedestrians and drivers being killed by these arrogant, selfish, law-breaking, lycra-clad Tour de France wannabes, surely they must have plenty of material?”

“Motorists and pedestrians aren't snitches though and obviously don't want to create division or incite cycle rage,” chrisonatrike helpfully pointed out.

“They're probably just providing hours of this footage to the police without comment (when did you ever see a driver stopping to confront a cyclist?). Although it's a complete mystery to me why this hasn't resulted in the courts being overwhelmed with cases against these criminal cyclists.”

When it came to the curious case of Moby’s Dublin bike hire scheme – accused of “everyday sexism” for naming all their bikes after women (with the added possible sexual implications of the term ‘riding’) –’s Simon suggested that a “tweak to the start of the message” would suffice.

“’Your hire bike is called Maeve’ or ‘You are cycling on Maeve’ would work, I reckon?” he pondered.

chrisonatrike went into some more detail: “Using names (or maybe even words) is often walking into a minefield.  Of course now that AI is sentient I guess numbers will be just as bad.

“However another solution presents itself. Names *are* useful in that people recall them better, so drop the "ride" and just use names of both sexes?  That was the case for Edinburgh's Just Eat hire bikes. Made it simple to report all the ones that ended up on my estate: "Justin's lying in the bushes here, he looks in a bad way".

“Presumably to cope with the numbers of bikes as much as for diversity reasons I was pleased to see a wider choice of names (also reflecting local reality) e.g. "Marcin", "Felizia" etc.”

From there the conversation deviated wildly, eventually ending up in A. A. Milne’s Hundred Acre Wood.

I’ll direct you to the comments section for that…

09 August 2022, 16:20
Drum and Bass On The Bike to make Irish debut this weekend

DJ Dom Whiting’s two-wheeled rave will be heading across the Irish Sea on Sunday:

Let’s just hope that any hire bikes used are all appropriately named…

09 August 2022, 15:47
Lewis Hamilton admits he finds driving “stressful” outside of F1

He may be one of the most successful racing drivers of all time, but seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has admitted that he’s not that fond of being behind the wheel out on the open road.

Speaking to Vanity Fair, the 37-year-old said: “I just think that I find it stressful. I try not to do things that don’t add to my life.”

As part of the interview, which was published yesterday, Hamilton drove the interviewer around Nice in his Mercedes Smart car, an experience he didn’t find particularly pleasant.

“Look, we’re on these roads, anything can happen,” he noted.

As traffic began to build, as it tends to do, Hamilton said: This is now stressful for me. This road is crazy. So much going on here. I’m going to turn around in a second.”

> The best bikes of the F1 grid: take a look at what the fastest drivers on earth choose to ride

While Hamilton bemoaned the stress of driving, the British racer – unlike many of his F1 contemporaries – isn’t that big on cycling either, only occasionally taking to his mountain bike for some downhill fun.

Other F1 stars however, such as Valtteri Bottas, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button (among many others), have long professed their love for cycling, which often stretches beyond simple training for the racing season. For example, Bottas’ partner is Australian Canyon-Sram rider Tiffany Cromwell (and has been spotted out training with a certain Texan), while Alonso has long been rumoured to be interested in setting up a pro team with friend Alberto Contador.

Maybe Lewis will see the light some day…

09 August 2022, 14:52
Zoe Backstedt - World Championships (via British Cycling on Twitter)
Zoe Bäckstedt signs pro contract with EF Education-TIBCO-SVB

EF Education-TIBCO-SVB confirmed today that Zoe Bäckstedt has signed a full-time permanent deal with the team that she joined as a trainee at the start of August.

17-year-old Bäckstedt, the current junior world champion on the road and in cyclocross, raced with the American squad at last week’s CIC-Tour Féminin International des Pyrénées, where she took the best young rider’s jersey as well as contributing to the team’s three stage wins (including a team time trial) and the overall title, taken by Krista Doebel-Hickok.

Stepping up from that brief spell as a trainee, Bäckstedt’s first pro contract will see her race for EF in both road and cyclocross races.

> Zoe Bäckstedt wins junior cyclocross world championships

“I spoke with a couple of other teams,” the Welsh wunderkind admitted in a statement released by EF today.

“I had a Zoom call with Linda, the team owner. Just the way I was speaking with her, the way she was speaking with me, how we got along, it seemed to work. I went downstairs after that call and I said to my dad, ‘That’s my team. I want to sign for them.’

“Just the whole vibe was what I wanted. Linda let me be myself, she was herself. I think we clicked a little bit then. I felt good, I felt confident.

“I looked at some of the riders on the team already. The likes of Abi Smith, I already knew. Lizzy Banks, too. I know a couple of people within the team already so it's nice to know that if I find it a little bit hard the first couple of times, I still have someone I can talk to that I know already that can help me out.”

Bäckstedt also said that EF’s willingness to allow her to compete on the ‘cross field alongside learning the ropes in the World Tour peloton was one of the key motivations for joining the team.

“It makes life a heck of a lot easier if I’m being honest than racing for two teams because then you get the problem of being pulled in one direction for a road training camp but you get pulled into the cyclocross season and then nothing tends to coordinate,” she said.

“But with EF Education-TIBCO-SVB, I can do road and then I can switch to ‘cross and do ‘cross for as long as I want to, as many races as I want to and then I can take a break and go back onto the road. That approach of ‘you do what you want to do and we’ll make it work.’ I get to do a full cross season like I want to and I get to race on the road like I want to.”

09 August 2022, 14:17
Jake Stewart wins stage one of the Tour de l'Ain 2022 (GCN)
Jake Stewart takes first professional victory at Tour de l’Ain

Just when you thought the Selecter’s appearance at the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony would be the last notable performance by someone from Coventry at a major sporting event this week, Groupama-FDJ’s Jake Stewart only went and took the first victory of his pro career today on the opening stage of the Tour de l’Ain.

The 22-year-old sprinter-classics rider, who finished second at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad last year during his first full season as a pro, narrowly outsprinted Romain Cardis in Val-Revermont for a breakthrough victory after a year punctuated so far by illness.

A monstrous late attack by Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl’s Rémi Cavagna under the flame rouge looked like it was about to spoil the sprinters’ day, after the peloton had been put under pressure by the incessant attacks of the Frenchman’s world champion teammate Julian Alaphilippe, building his form following his horrible crash at April’s Liège–Bastogne–Liège, in the final ten kilometres.

But as attack after attack shot off the front, Stewart maintained his place near the head of the bunch, and Groupama-FDJ had enough in the tank to haul back Cavagna and tee up the Coventry-born rider’s maiden professional victory, and along with it the yellow jersey.

Stewart’s landmark success follows a 2022 season that until now had looked to have been derailed by intestinal issues which saw the promising Brit miss the classics campaign and only race once before May.

“To finally get the win after chasing it for so long, it just feels like a massive weight off my shoulders,” an emotional Stewart said after the finish.

The 22-year-old is set to make his grand tour debut at the Vuelta a España, which starts in ten days in Utrecht, where he will be hoping he can carry this momentum into one of the sport's showpiece races.

09 August 2022, 13:37
Copenhagen crowds out in force (again) for major bike race

Another day, another bike race in Copenhagen…

Unless you were living under a rock for the whole of July – or, you know, out on your bike – you will have gathered that Denmark is the new professional cycling capital of the world, after the 5.8 million-strong nation had the kind of racing summer that would prompt a national tabloid newspaper to encourage their readers to cut out a mask depicting Jonas Vingegaard’s boyish features and tape it to their face (Nah, that’s a bit too mad, surely…).

Anyway, the party continued on this morning in the Danish capital, which was playing host to the start of another top-level stage race: this time, it was the turn of the Tour of Scandinavia, a brand-new Women’s WorldTour event, built on the foundations of the Tour of Norway.

The six-day race will kick off with a stage each in Denmark and Sweden before four decisive stages in Norway.

FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope’s Danish champion Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, a stage winner and seventh overall at the Tour de France Femmes, was predictably the star of the show, wowing the crowds in the City Hall Square, the scene of Vingegaard’s glorious post-Tour homecoming last month:

09 August 2022, 13:07
Why don’t cyclists use cycle lanes? Part 698
09 August 2022, 11:53
Harsh, but fair
09 August 2022, 11:19
Matt Page London Edinburgh London bike and kit - credit Matt Page
Matt Page is smashing London Edinburgh London

In the early hours of Sunday morning, almost 2,000 hardy souls set off from the Guildhall to take on the iconic, 1,500km-long London Edinburgh London.

Established in 1989, and back after a five-year hiatus, London Edinburgh London is a self-supported Audax event modelled on France’s legendary long-distance event Paris-Brest-Paris, first run in 1891.

While formally known as a ‘cycle ride’, rather than a race, the event still features a 125 hour cut-off, which means you’ll have to keep the pace high and rest and recuperation to a minimum.

The cut-off certainly won’t be a problem for and contributor (and world-record breaking castle visitor) Matt Page, who is currently smashing the course to shreds at the head of the event.

Matt is no stranger to enduring needless amounts of pain on his bike – in 2020 he raised over £4,000 for charity after completing Rapha’s annual Festive 500 in just 18 hours – so it’s no surprise he’s making light work (though I’m sure it’s very difficult) of LEL.

> What do you need to ride London Edinburgh London? Matt Page's bike and equipment for 1,500km self-supported classic

He was first rider to make the turn south and should reach Checkpoint 16 in Louth, Lincolnshire, by lunch time, about 50km ahead of the nearest rider on the road.

Not too shabby at all, Matt.

Although, yesterday evening two riders appeared to have sacked the whole thing off after 400-odd kilometres, with their dots – according to’s Simon – appearing suspiciously close to a pub inside York train station.

I think I know who has the right idea there…

You can keep up-to-date with all the dot-based escapades on the London Edinburgh London website.

09 August 2022, 10:43
The world’s most expensive bag of crisps?

A bit of a shocker this one, as a member of Bristol Road Club had their bike nicked right at the tills of a Tesco Express, by a determined thief who had followed the cyclist into the shop on the Whiteladies Road:

Goes to show, even taking your bike into the shop with you won’t deter some criminals. I’m not sure a packet of salt and vinegar could provide any kind of consolation after that…

If you have any information about the stolen bike – a Specialized Tarmac S-Works with SRAM AXS groupset and ENVE wheels – the rider has provided a contact number on the Facebook.

09 August 2022, 10:19
Revenge, a dish best served cold… and strawberry-flavoured?
09 August 2022, 09:58
“Who thought up that bright idea?”: Timmy Mallett versus dead-end cycle paths

As Timmy Mallett’s two-wheeled tour of the UK comes to a close, the TV presenter took the time to point out one of the glaring flaws in the county’s bike network: the dead-end cycle path.

“One of the great joys of cycling the coast of Britain is finding that there is a cycle path right alongside the water,” he said on a video posted to Twitter.

“This is fantastic, brilliant. But then you come to this,” he says, turning the camera to face a metal fence and some overgrown weeds, “and you realise that the system isn’t joined up at all. It’s a complete and utter dead end. That’s it, no further.

“Who thought up that bright idea?”

Not so ‘utterly brilliant’, eh?

Cycling charity Sustrans, who Mallett tagged in his Twitter post, responded to the legendary entertainer’s complaint yesterday, and offered him a catch-up on the lessons he’s learned while riding his e-bike on stupidly steep Welsh roads and foreboding Highland tracks:

09 August 2022, 08:57
Dublin bike hire scheme accused of “everyday sexism” – after telling users that they’re “riding” Maeve or Mary

A bike hire scheme based in Dublin will no longer give its bikes female names after one user complained that the company was reinforcing “everyday sexism”, Sticky Bottle reports.

Bikes belonging to Irish company Moby – which offers rentals in Dublin and Co. Westmeath, as well as in London – were named after women, with the scheme’s app informing the user that they were ‘riding’ Mary or Maeve, and for what cost.

Now – I’ve been reliably informed by some of my baffled English colleagues that the term ‘ride’ may have various connotations in different parts of the Atlantic Archipelago.

While our American cousins tend to use ‘ride’ to refer to getting a lift somewhere, in Irish slang… how should I put this… ‘ride’ more often than not refers to sexual activities.

So, you can see why there might be some confusion surrounding Moby’s bike hire scheme.

Dr Eemer Eivers, a research fellow at Dublin City University, tweeted and emailed her objections to the crude use of language employed by Moby, which she argued implied that users were “buying women for a ride”.

Moby then initially responded to her complaint by suggesting that the use of women’s names for all of the scheme’s bikes was “empowering” – a reply which Dr Eivers, rather charitably, deemed “ignorant” and “sexist”.

However, Dr Eivers’ Twitter campaign appears to have paid off, as Moby then informed her on Monday that the scheme will revert back to its initial use of ID codes for its bikes.

“For all the Maeves I’ve known!” Eemer tweeted after hearing the news.

09 August 2022, 08:11
“Next you will be asking why cyclists don’t pay road tax”: Hampshire Police respond to anti-cycling bingo drivers

Lately on the live blog, we’ve been fairly critical of how certain police forces have handled themselves on social media regarding cycling (looking at you, Essex).

But credit where it’s due – on Friday evening Hampshire’s Roads Policing Unit posted a compilation of close passes and details of the resultant prosecutions, alongside a call for motorists to avoid being “space invaders” and to show “consideration for vulnerable road users”.

While some cyclists bemoaned the seemingly lenient outcomes of one or two of the cases highlighted in the video (how the first driver got away with just three points and a £100 fine is beyond me), Hampshire Police nevertheless received some extra kudos for their handling of the plethora of red-faced motorists who invaded the thread to fill in their anti-cycling bingo cards.

When one highly original driver, in a since-deleted tweet, pointed out that cyclists can engage in “red light jumping, riding on pavements, using mobile phones, think they’re above the law”, the police’s retort was worthy of the live blog comments section:

They also swiftly slapped down this attempt to fill in the more obscure edges of the bingo card:

Hampshire Police’s prolific tweeting on Friday was enough to earn the attention of the notoriously pro-cycling advocates at the Daily Mail and GB News, who reported that the Roads Policing Unit sparked a “furious backlash” for simply asking drivers to treat cyclists like human beings, so they must be doing something right…

Ryan joined 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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