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Bus driver filmed undertaking on cycle lane AND pavement; Councillor accused of “petty smear campaign” against cycling activists calling for bike lanes; Cycling club blasted for turning park into “mud bath”; Dan Lloyd breaks ankle + more on the live blog

It’s Wednesday and Ryan Mallon’s back with all the latest cycling news and views on your middle-of-the-week live blog
09 November 2022, 11:45
“One of the scariest things I’ve ever seen on the roads”: Bus driver filmed undertaking on cycle lane AND pavement

An oft-overlooked bonus of installing more cycling and walking infrastructure everywhere is that, besides the obvious health and climate benefits, pavements and cycle lanes can also occasionally double up as useful emergency bus lanes…

Well, at least that’s what this rather reckless bus driver in south Dublin assumed yesterday morning, when they decided to undertake a queue of traffic – by simply driving with two wheels on the cycle lane and the other two mounting the footpath:

Now, we see some horrendous examples of dangerous driving here at, but this is truly astonishing stuff.

The terrifying nature of the motorist’s manoeuvre, undertaken on a residential row lined with houses, is underlined by the appearance of a cyclist in the bike lane mere seconds after the bus – which appears to be out of service – passes, while the bus driver is soon forced to re-join the road by the presence of a motorist pulling out of an adjoining road.

While fortunately there have been no reports of any collisions or injuries following the bus driver’s bike lane-footpath detour, the clip – uploaded to Twitter by a driver stuck in the queue – has sparked quite the reaction online:

 Of course, there’s always one:

09 November 2022, 09:50
Bristol councillor accused of “petty smear campaign” against cycling campaigners calling for protected bike lanes

A councillor in Bristol has been accused of “petty point scoring” and of conducting a “smear campaign” against cycling campaigners in the city, who she criticised for leaving a council meeting – which discussed the potential for a new cycling plan for Bristol – once the debate had finished.

Last night, Bristol City Council debated a petition by the Bristol Cycling Campaign calling on the local authority to take action to make cycling safer in the city by publishing an updated Bristol Cycling Delivery Plan.

The plan, the petition says, “should include the creation of a comprehensive network of protected cycle lanes connecting all parts of the city” and should guarantee that “existing cycle lanes must not be removed” (something the council was roundly criticised for during the summer) but instead upgraded to national standards.

“Ask yourself, can an unaccompanied 10-year-old cycle to school safely, and will their mum or dad ride to work or the shops?” Bristol Cycling Campaign’s Nick Davies told the Bristol Cable this week. “If the answer is yes, then it’s good enough. If not, it needs improvement.”

The petition also demanded that the delivery plan “should include a strategic city-wide approach to secure cycle parking both in residential areas (cycle hangars) and at transportation hubs and destinations to contain the rampant bike theft that is occurring.

“Additionally, it should include schemes to increase cycling participation like cycle training, safe cycle routes to schools, a cycle loan programme.”

The petition has attracted almost 3,900 signatures, which led to it being debated in full by the council yesterday evening (though, oddly, there was confusion in the local press prior to the meeting concerning the extent of Bristol’s safe cycling infrastructure, with the local authority claiming the city contains 75 miles of protected bike lanes, while the Bristol Cycling Campaign says that the number actually falls somewhere between two and five miles. So, six of one…).

During the debate (which is summarised in this Twitter thread), most councillors seemed generally supportive of the campaign’s aims, though there was disagreement over the feasibility and urgency of any comprehensive scheme.

However, one councillor in particular took the opportunity to criticise the cycling campaigners – not for their proposals, but for leaving the meeting early.

Labour councillor Nicola Beech, the Cabinet Member for Planning, City Resilience and Flooding tweeted during the meeting: “We support the need for continually improving cycle infrastructure BUT I am appalled at those Bristol Cycling campaigners who couldn’t even wait until the break to leave and walked out on the important words from Alun Davies MBE on the work of Disability Equality Commission.”

Last night, Bristol Cycling Campaign apologised for the disruption, noting that its members were not aware that a break had been scheduled as part of the meeting:

Others, however, weren’t too pleased with the councillor’s criticism of the campaigners’ early exit, which one Twitter user described as “petty point scoring”:

While no vote took place on last night’s petition, the council is obligated to write a response to the Bristol Cycling Campaign concerning the its intended course of action within the next two weeks.

09 November 2022, 17:04
Another tramadol positive as 35-year-old Ukrainian Mykhaylo Kononenko sanctioned by UCI

A week after Nairo Quintana has lost his Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) appeal against his disqualification from this year’s Tour de France for an infringement of the in-competition ban on tramadol, the Colombian has been joined on the painkiller naughty step by another of the sport’s big names (by that, I mean his name is 17 letters long).

The UCI confirmed today that 35-year-old Ukrainian journeyman Mykhaylo Kononenko – whose teams have included the well-known fan favourites Kolss BDC, the Shenzhen Xidesheng Cycling Team, and Sakarya BB – tested positive for tramadol at September’s road world championships in Wollongong.

> Nairo Quintana loses appeal against Tour de France disqualification for tramadol infringement

As was the case with Quintana, infringements of the in-competition ban on using tramadol are offences under the UCI Medical Rules. They do not constitute anti-doping rule violations and are instead viewed as necessary to protect riders’ health.

Therefore, Kononenko will not be banned from competition but will simply be stripped of his 43rd place in the worlds time trial.

Those pesky positive tests, robbing cycling fans of their precious memories…

09 November 2022, 16:46
Hull hospitals set to install two secure bike compounds to encourage staff to cycle to work

Staff who work at two hospital sites in Hull are being encouraged to cycle to work through the installation of two new secure bike compounds, totalling £180,000.

The two-tier racks will be situated at Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital, and will each be able to hold 100 bikes, the BBC reports.

Shower blocks with changing facilities will also be opened by the end of the year alongside the compounds, as part of the trust’s plans to promote active travel.

Alex Best, from Hull University Teaching Hospitals and head of capital for the trust, said the new cycle storage facilities – which he says will be totally secure from “gangs of thieves” – will be a “major asset” to staff thinking about commuting to work by bike.

09 November 2022, 16:08
Some fan mail

This lovely letter popped into the inbox this afternoon, presumably in response to our story on that terribly contentious cycle hangar in Brighton (though, to be honest, who really knows for sure these days?): 

It's about time these money grabbing assholes got a life and stopped screwing the motorist!! I read that parking permits in Brighton are based on the vehicle's VED, what asshole came up with that! I live in Leeds and we have a car hating city council, what was an easy city to drive in is now strangled by bloody cycle lanes! THAT ARE NOT USED!!

Can’t beat a touch of shouty All Caps at the end of an email, can you?

09 November 2022, 15:44
Former world champion Chantal van den Broek-Blaak announces pregnancy

The 33-year-old Dutchwoman, who won the 2020 Tour of Flanders and the following year’s Strade Bianche, is the latest female pro to take time out of racing to start a family, following in the pioneering wheel tracks of Lizzie Deignan (who is currently on maternity leave following the birth of her second child) and Elinor Barker, who returned to the peloton in October after having her first child in March.

Van den Broek-Blaak had initially planned to retire following the 2022 classics campaign, but changes to the rules concerning maternity leave in the Women’s WorldTour have convinced her to balance parenthood with her career, and at the start of this year she penned a new deal with SD Work until 2024.

09 November 2022, 15:03
2019 Vuelta - Alejandro Valverde wins Stage 7 (© ASO, PHOTOGOMEZSPORT2019)
Is Alejandro Valverde the new Kenny Dalglish? Former world champion set for staff-rider liaison role at Movistar

We just can’t get rid of him, can we?

Like a bad smell emanating from a broken freezer in Madrid, the now-retired former world champion Alejandro Valverde will still be hanging around the peloton in 2023.

The 42-year-old Spaniard, who hung up his wheels after two tumultuous decades as a pro cyclist at Il Lombardia last month, will continue to be employed by Movistar – the team where he spent the vast majority of his racing career – as a key staff member for next season and beyond.

Speaking at the Saitama Criterium in Japan, Valverde told Spanish sports daily AS that his role will primarily involve him liaising between riders, directors and coaches at a squad which, as any avid viewer of Movistar’s Netflix series will know, is famed for its rather murky lines of communication.

The four-time Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner will also be present at all three grand tours, in the team bus and in the car, and will take part in altitude training camps alongside his new charges.

Valverde’s very hands-on job responsibilities have led some to speculate that it’s all part of a cunning ruse to ease the 2009 Vuelta winner back into the bunch next year, perhaps even in a Graeme Souness or Ruud Gullit-style player-manager role…

I can just see that last-minute call-up to the Tour de France now… 

09 November 2022, 14:15
Cyclocross race, East Brighton Park (credit - Pete Ranson, Facebook)
Cyclocross race has turned park into a “dangerous mud bath”, says councillor

A cycling club in Brighton has been criticised for turning a local park into what one councillor has described as a “dangerous mud bath” following a cyclocross race at the weekend.

Over 300 mud and knobbly tyre enthusiasts ventured to East Brighton Park on Sunday for round eight of the London X League series, hosted by Brighton Mitre Cycling Club.

Last week’s heavy rain ensured the course turned – as the best cyclocross courses tend to – into a particularly brown, mud-spattered affair. So brilliant fun, then.

However, while both Brighton and Hove City Council and British Cycling (who inspected the course beforehand) were happy for the race to go ahead, despite the grisly conditions, some locals and an East Brighton councillor have slammed the event’s organisers, who they argue have turned the park into a “mess”.

“Brighton Mitre Cycling Club, can you please explain why you felt it appropriate to go ahead with this cyclocross event on the wettest week in recent history?” wrote one local on Facebook.

“With the water table being completely saturated it was inevitable that East Brighton Park would turn into a mud bath with 400 wheeled participants winding their way around our beautiful park.

“I know it will recover, this is besides the point – other park users now have to navigate and look at the mess you’ve left behind. I hope it was worth it.”

East Brighton Park cyclocross race (Pete Ranson, Facebook)

Councillor Nancy Platts, who helps organise the weekly Park Run event in East Brighton Park, said she was “disappointed” that the race was given the green light, and has claimed that several residents have approached her to express their “shock” at the state of the park.

“It’s council land, so my understanding is that normally if the council thought it was going to be dangerous or that it was going to cause damage they could say it can’t go ahead because the weather is too bad. They could have done that,” Councillor Platts told Brighton and Hove News.

“Perhaps the organisers themselves could have looked at the ground and said, ‘We’re going to call it off’. During the Park Run event we reverse the course during winter so we don’t use the areas where it gets really muddy so people don’t fall over.

“The risk is now that it’s already such a quagmire that it starts to get dangerous because too many people will slip. I’ve had loads of people write to me because they normally walk their dog, kids use the park and we’ve got fitness groups who regularly use the park and massive areas of it now are just mud.

“I just don’t think it’s acceptable to turn the park into that mud bath and I think a lot of people are really shocked by it.”

Clare Johnson, from Brighton Mitre Cycling Club, responded to the concerns raised by the councillor and said she hopes that the club and the council can work together to ensure that the race – and other events in the park – can continue in the future.

“The feedback from the participants, including many local children, was fantastic as was that from local businesses involved in the event (such as the café) so we’re very disappointed if our event has a negative impact upon other events that take place in the park,” the cyclist said.

“Cycling is a fun and healthy activity which should be encouraged but so too is Park Run and given a lot of our members are also park runners, we want to be able to coexist happily in the same space.

“The last time this event was held at East Brighton Park was also in the autumn in wet conditions but while there was some damage to the grass, it was not as widespread as on this occasion. That said, there were also complaints after the previous event about the state of the grass but, then as now, the grass will return faster than people realise.

“Ultimately, there will always be a risk of some short-term damage to grass from any event that sees large groups of people congregate in a small space – concerts, Pride, and team sport fixtures, such as the Rugby pitch in Hove Recreation Ground, and it’s a case of getting the balance correct between the enjoyment of each event and subsequent park use.

“As for any future events, we would welcome the opportunity to work with the council and any other stakeholders to ensure it can continue in a sustainable way, for example holding the event earlier in the year when there is a higher chance of dry conditions.

“The council has indicated that there will be a small additional charge to cover some of the cost of ground repairs.”

East Brighton Park cyclocross race (credit - Pete Ranson, Facebook)

A council spokesperson apologised to residents affected by the race’s aftermath but noted that the damage was largely “superficial”.

“We understand the concerns people are feeling about the paths at East Brighton park following the cycling event at the weekend,” the spokesperson said.

“We gave serious consideration to calling the event off because of the weather. But we decided it should go ahead because it was a very valued and popular charity event that enabled hundreds of people young and old to enjoy the outdoors and improve their health and wellbeing.

“We know the paths now need some repair and we apologise to park users who are being affected by this. We will need to do some repair work and this will take place when the ground is drier.

“But ultimately the damage is relatively superficial and the grass land and paths will recover. Our parks are for residents and visitors to enjoy and there is space for everyone.”

09 November 2022, 13:21
Pro cyclists on holiday

Pro cyclists also on holiday: 

09 November 2022, 12:33
Cycling podcasters and their terrible food opinions

Now, well-known cycling YouTuber Benji Naesen – the co-host of the Lanterne Rouge podcast – came in for some flak earlier this year for undertaking some (secret) freelance tactical analysis work for Tour de France winners Jumbo-Visma…

But while Cycling Twitter™ has appeared to have forgiven him for that spot of double jobbing, it seems that Benji may have finally crossed the line with this morning’s highly dubious culinary opinion:

News editor Dan is suitably apoplectic about Benji’s typically Belgian take on roast dinners, and is currently putting together a petition for the podcaster to be cancelled (steady on Dan…).

But with Elisa Longo Borghini firmly established as the peloton’s foremost defender of all things Italian cuisine, surely our very own Lancashire hotpot Hugh Carthy can step up to fulfil a similar role for the UK’s stodgy delicacies?

09 November 2022, 10:58
‘The road is for cars’ and other assorted anti-cycling comments

While Dan covered the latest deranged episode of ‘Small Boy vs. Big Chunk of Metal: Who’s in the Wrong?’ in full yesterday, this particular comment – a response to West Midlands Police’s Mark Hodson (who happens to know a thing or two about road safety) – still managed to jump out amongst a crowded field:

> Viral video of driver refusing to stop for five-year-old cyclist debated on Jeremy Vine's Channel 5 show 

09 November 2022, 10:35
Dan Lloyd tries cyclocross… and breaks ankle

So, it turns out that the dreaded curse of the off-season training crash can even affect retired pro cyclists, cruelly denting their diligent winter preparation for those all-important 2023 goals…

Which, in the case of GCN presenter Dan Lloyd – who broke his ankle 20 minutes into an off-road spin on the cyclocross bike yesterday – means upping his TikTok dancing game, of course.

I imagine the scene was somewhat similar to when another British stalwart of the noughties and early 2010s tried his hand at the unforgiving world of ‘cross:

Luckily for Dan, however, his flamboyantly dressed colleague Adam Blythe was on hand with some sound medical advice:

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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