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Fred Wright returns to the track – with weird tilted stem; Drivers blast new cycle lane crossing; Parlee in trouble; Cycling podcaster’s ‘interesting’ road safety advice; Ferry company's “disgraceful” bike fares; Bigham’s pink bike + more on the live blog

It’s Thursday and Ryan Mallon is back in the live blog hotseat with all the latest essential (and non-essential) cycling news and views
09 February 2023, 09:16
Fred Wright, 2023 European Track Championships, Elimination Race (Alex Whitehead/
‘Ah Fred, you’re racing next, did you say? Sure take one of those, we can whack the stem up if it doesn’t fit’: Fred Wright returns to the track at European championships… with odd-looking bike

After a breakthrough season on the road, which saw him take a top ten at the Tour of Flanders and going desperately close on several occasions at the Tour and Vuelta, Fred Wright has finally made his return to the track at this week’s European championships in Grenchen, Switzerland.

Last night’s elimination race marked the first time that the 23-year-old, who is eyeing up a Madison berth at next year’s Paris Olympics, has raced around in circles in Team GB kit since 2019.

Fred Wright, 2023 European Track Championships, Elimination Race (Alex Whitehead/

[Alex Whitehead/]

“I’m excited but a little bit nervous to see how the track legs are going to be, but that’s the whole reason I’m doing it,” Wright told the Independent last week.

“Going to the Olympics on the track was an ambition of mine since I started properly getting into cycling. The way things have gone haven’t led to that but I’m now in the position where the possibility of that is something I’m really going to push for.

“I want to do the road race possibly as well – the chance to come in and do the road race and the Madison, that’s what I’m aiming for. The Euros are almost a test to see how that would look.”

Oddly, it appears that Wright’s long-awaited return to the boards took some within British Cycling by surprise, judging by his rather peculiar bike set-up last night:

Or maybe the Bahrain-Victorious powerhouse just prefers the old school Beijing-era GB bike and a massive stem pointed towards the heavens, who knows?

Fred Wright, 2023 European Track Championships, Elimination Race (Alex Whitehead/

[Alex Whitehead/]

In any case, last night’s Devil certainly proved a “shock to the system” for a rider used to pounding over 200km of hills and cobbles lately, as he finished 14th behind the winner, young German prospect Tim Torn Teutenberg.

But don’t worry, we’ll still see Wright – and his weird bike – flying around the Velodrome Suisse on Sunday alongside Ollie Wood in the Madison.

Just get that stem sorted, eh Fred?

09 February 2023, 17:08
Introducing Tim Torn Teutenberg, Germany’s newest bike riding superhero…
Live blog comment 9 Feb 2023

Special power: Apparently never falling to the back of the bunch in a Devil Takes the Hindmost.

But don’t worry Fred, your name’s great too. I’ve been able to use the same pun with it about twenty times, for starters…

09 February 2023, 15:22
New cycle lane pedestrian crossing sparks game of anti-cycling bingo

In the most thoroughly predictable news of the day, Facebook’s ever-balanced patrons have reacted angrily to this image of a new pedestrian crossing on a cycle lane in Cardiff, with a wide-ranging game of anti-cycling bingo:

Here are just a few of the most head-in-hands comments:

In my opinion if they are hell bent on cycle lanes and traffic lights then it should be compulsory for them to take a test and be licensed and insured as they are now road users because the amount of cyclists that cause accidents then moan because they got hit is incredible maybe they need to spend less time riding two abreast chatting and concentrate on the road

Bravo – a full house in one breathless sentence is some feat…

It only works as a safe crossing when the cyclist actually stops at the crossing. Many don’t believe they need to stop. Same with traffic lights. Cyclist ignore them to

Unless there’s some realistic, enforceable sanction against cyclists ignoring the red light, it’s probably not a good value for money installation, and without some way of identifying riders in the same way that red light cameras can identify drivers, that won’t happen. That means licence plates and registration for bicycles and I can’t see that happening, so as pedestrians we will probably just have to get used to being more responsible for our own safety, expect idiots on bicycles riding at considerably about the 20mph limit and ignoring red lights. I know from cycling (responsibly!) that about 50 percent of pedestrians don’t hear a bell because they’ve got ear buds in and have little or no awareness of what’s going on around them. As a motorcyclist, I’ve learnt that you have to expect people to do stupid things and the only way to deal with that, is to expect it and take measures to look after yourself, rather than rely on others to do the right thing.

Another full house, impressive stuff.

I’d take a day off work and just wait for cyclists to approach and push the button. What fun.

When are they going to insist that cycles have insurance to be legally on the road. How many more people are going to be injured by cyclist with them now being in close proximity. Why don't the councils fix all the potholes instead of wasting taxpayers money on these cycle paths.

Best of luck getting them to stop and observe the rules of the road we tax paying motorists have too

And before you say anything, yes, these are all real comments (depressingly so).

However, my favourite response – if the favourite is the right word – comes courtesy of Facebook user Colin, who rather strangely claimed that 16,000 pedestrians were injured and 141 killed in collisions with cyclists in 2020… before sharing a screenshot of the Department for Transport’s figures for – you guessed it – cyclist injuries and fatalities on the road.

In Colin’s defence, Google’s ropey ‘People also ask’ section led him astray there. But, come on man, click the link at least once!

Anyway, you’ll be glad to learn that it wasn’t all road tax, registration plates, insurance, red lights, cycling tests, two abreast, earphones, and dodgy statistics – one or two Facebook users actually welcomed the new crossing.

“Good on Cardiff for becoming more inclusive of cyclists,” wrote Clive, angering auntie Karen in the process. “Many new cycle lanes in place, but still lots more can be done.”

Jane concurred: “I love how everyone is complaining. This is normal in Denmark, they're a few decades ahead of us. I for one love this and think its about time we caught up!”

Don’t tell Colin about Denmark…

09 February 2023, 12:12
Cyclists get around extortionate ferry prices – by packing their bikes in bags and carrying them as foot passengers

Last month – though it feels like a lifetime ago – we reported on the live blog that former pro mountain biker and Active Nation commissioner for Scotland Lee Craigie questioned Brittany Ferries’ decision to charge her £75 to take her bike from Portsmouth to Santander.

> “Can we expect a valet service?” Former pro mountain biker charged £75 to bring bike on ferry 

After the company got back to her with, frankly, a load of old rubbish about increased demand and the acres upon acres of space apparently taken up by bikes on ferries (Won’t someone please think of the motorists?), Craigie and her mountain biking chums decided to sidestep the hefty charge with a bike bag each and some quick assembly upon arrival:

“They wanted to charge us £80 per bike to ride on to the ferry, so we carried bike bags with us and dismantled them, packed them up, and carried them on as foot passengers,” she said.

“Not easy but worth it.”

According to Brittany Ferries, “prices vary depending on the route/date/departure time and how far in advance the booking is made”, with fees for cyclists starting from £5 (and all the way up to £80, apparently).

Needless to say, many ferry-using cyclists weren’t happy with the company’s tepid response.

“Imagine doing this with a family of six of us, including an infant, five bikes, a trailer bike, a trailer, eighteen panniers and five handlebar bags,” wrote one Twitter user. “Brittany Ferries have lost our repeat business with this pathetic policy.”

“So they’re happy to rip off those who cycle, no care for those with disabilities or mobility issues who just can’t do this to avoid the extortionate fare for taking a cycle,” said another.

“Well this is properly bonkers,” noted Gaz. “Never heard of a ferry company charging for assembled bikes when wheeled on, but not if chucked in a bag and carried on. Most strange.”

09 February 2023, 11:43
Parlee RZ7 LE
High-end US bike brand Parlee files for bankruptcy

In another worrying sign for the current state of the bike industry, high-end US brand Parlee Cycles filed for voluntary bankruptcy this month, according to public court documents seen by Cycling Weekly.

Parlee was founded in 2000 by Massachusetts-based high-performance boat builder Bob Parlee, and quickly became known for its specialist, custom, and often stunning carbon fibre frames which aimed to provide speed without compromising ride quality. The company filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy on 6 February.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the road for Parlee. Under the United States Bankruptcy Code, a Chapter 11 allows the company in debt to propose a reorganisation plan, usually involving bringing in external partners, designed to pay creditors and keep the business afloat.

09 February 2023, 16:13
When you’ve had one too many SMIDSYs…

‘Those pesky cyclists, always riding with no lights and wearing their black Rapha gear…’ 

09 February 2023, 16:05
Botched e-bike theft in Nottingham as police track down stolen £3,000 machine in less than an hour
stolen e-bike - nottinghamshire police

If you thought reporting your stolen bike to the cops was a waste of time – and, it’s safe to say, the statistics would support your stance – a certain Deliveroo rider from Nottingham would like to disagree with you.

When the anonymous Deliveroo worker had his £3,000 e-bike stolen outside a McDonald’s (probably best not to leave your bike outside a Maccies, if we’re honest) in Exchange Way, Nottingham, police in the city centre managed to successfully locate it within an hour – with a little help from the cyclist himself.

The officers invited the rider to accompany them in their van as they scoured the streets in search of the stolen bike. Within minutes, they spotted the evidently not very fast-moving suspect, who managed to evade his pursuers by ducking down an alley.

> Almost 90% of bike thefts reported to police closed without suspect identified

However, in less than the time it takes for Mathieu van der Poel to win a cyclocross race, the police then ordered a search of a property in the area linked with criminal activity in the past – and duly found the bike casually propped up in the hallway.

Sergeant Richard Tiernan, of the city centre neighbourhood policing team, said the victim was extremely relieved to be reunited with his bike.

“By doing all we could to find the e-bike, a very grateful victim was reunited with it 45 minutes after it was stolen,” he said.

“He had no insurance so would have been £3,000 out of pocket if we hadn’t found it for him.”

09 February 2023, 14:44
If Doc Brown did indoor cycling…
09 February 2023, 14:03
Dear Santa… Bike Mechanic Simulator game set for release this year

Move over Pro Cycling Manager, there’s a new bike-themed game in town…

Yep, according to Cycling Industry News, Bike Mechanic Simulator 2023 – which, if you haven’t guessed it already, is a virtual dive into the world of repairing bikes and running a cycling shop – has gone live as a demo on the Steam platform, and will be released on PC later this year.

Punch Punk S.A., the studio behind the game, say the simulator will also later be released on PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch.

The current demo limits you to carrying out some repairs on three different bikes, but in the full version the gameplay will apparently involving servicing, repairing, and assembling a wide range of bikes, from city bikes to fully fledged racing machines, while making sure you keep on top of the daily admin.

A career mode will see you progress, if you have the skills, from a tiny workshop to a multi-room shop, while the game’s storyline will revolve around the renovation of antique bikes.

Unfortunately, there’s no chance in the game to progress to the WorldTour – the ‘dealing with angry pros’ level would be great fun – but I’m sure that will come in the 2024 edition.

For the meantime, I know a six-year-old who would love this for Christmas (and no, I don’t mean me…).

09 February 2023, 13:09
Top tips for toasty toes in… errr, sub-zero temperatures (damn, almost made it)
09 February 2023, 12:39
Charlotte Kool outsprints former teammate Lorena Wiebes on opening stage of UAE Tour

The opening stage of the first-ever edition of the women’s UAE Tour took place today, with SD Worx’s Lorena Wiebes – who, in recent years, became the world’s most prolific sprinter while in the colours of DSM – losing out to former lead-out rider (and current DSM sprinter) Charlotte Kool in a frenetic finale at Dubai Harbour.


09 February 2023, 11:12
The ‘avid cyclist’ strikes again…

On this morning’s edition of ‘Transparently Controversial Twitter Threads’:

I suppose getting roasted on Twitter and alienating almost every cyclist on the planet is one way of drumming up business for your podcast… 

09 February 2023, 10:38
Ask Phil Gil

The retired classics legend’s new Agony Aunt column seems to be going well…

09 February 2023, 09:56
Team GB men’s team pursuit, 2023 European track championships (Alex Whitehead/
From the ridiculous to the sublime: Dan Bigham rides fetching pink bike as Katy Marchant secures silver on return to racing after giving birth

While Fred Wright’s pointy stem set-up may not be to everyone’s tastes, his British teammate Dan Bigham’s team pursuit bike is… actually, I’m sure it’ll divide opinion too, if I’m honest.

Bigham, who helped propel Team GB – the current team pursuit world champions – to the second-fastest time in qualifying at the Velodrome Suisse yesterday, opted for a rather modest, refined split pink and black Pinarello for this week’s European Championships:

Unfortunately for aero guru Bigham and teammates Charlie Tanfield, Ethan Vernon, and Ollie Wood, it might take more than pink to make the Italians sink, as the Filippo Ganna-powered Azzurri secured top spot in qualifying with a strong 3:49.582.

Lauren Bell, Emma Finucane, and Katy Marchant of Great Britain in action during the Women’s Team Sprint final, 2023 European Track Championships (Alex Whitehead/

[Alex Whitehead/]

Meanwhile, Katy Marchant enjoyed a successful return to international competition since giving birth to son Arthur last June, helping Team GB to the team sprint silver – alongside the astute squad rotation of Lauren Bell, Emma Finucane, and Sophie Capewell – behind a strong German team.

GB’s men team sprinters were also forced to settle for silver, as Ali Fielding, Jack Carlin, and Joe Truman succumbed to a dominant Dutch outfit.

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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