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Froome v Celebs Zwift race; US racer flags YouTuber’s response to Instagram post about race struggles; Costa offers bizarre excuse for refusing to serve people on bikes at drive-through; Police wrongly claim arresting bike thief would be entrapment + more

Today's live blog with Alex Bowden (daytime) and Simon MacMichael (evening)...
04 June 2020, 15:21
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AA president says government should introduce “road miles” pricing system for drivers

AA president Edmund King says the government should introduce a “road miles” pricing system for drivers, reports the Guardian.

He’s advocated this before. In 2017, he and his wife Deirdre – a former economist at the British Road Federation – saw it shortlisted for the 2017 Wolfson Economics Prize.

Speaking at the time, he said:  “We set up a system where every driver in the UK gets at least 3,000 road miles free – so it’s free access to the road network – but then after that, there is then a small charge.”

They said that financial modelling projected total revenue above current Government revenue by an average of 3.4 per cent per annum over a decade.

Speaking at a virtual conference organised by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit this week, King said of the idea: “It makes you think about the trip and if you have a cleaner greener vehicle you can pay less … We need some radical thinking and perhaps now the time is right for the Treasury and others to address these bigger issues that politically they have been quite wary of addressing before.”

He is also hopeful that lockdown will have changed at least some people’s ideas about how to get about.

“I am optimistic that this lockdown is beginning to change the attitudes of drivers … If local authorities can put in well planned infrastructure to walk and to cycle – and public transport when that returns – I do feel that can have a credible difference,” he said.

“The time is right at the moment because people are out there and they themselves had seen the benefits of walking and cycling and running … it is a real opportunity.”

04 June 2020, 15:02
Wondering about Kevin Pietersen's cycling credentials?

Not exactly in Froome's class, but decent.

If you're thinking in W/kg, it's worth pointing out that KP's a big guy (6ft4in, 1.93m).

As for the other cricketers, Flintoff often rides around Cheshire and in 2014 took on a 1,200km ride along the Trans-Amazonian Highway.

He was also credited with saving the life of a fellow cyclist on a 2012 charity ride. Hopefully such actions won't be necessary on this occasion (not least because social distancing measures mean he won't actually be anywhere near any of the competitors).

Darren Gough took to cycling for the 2016 Channel 5 series, Tour de Celeb.

The most significant cyclist-cricketer of recent times is probably Matt Prior, who set up the One Pro cycling team. However, he and Pietersen are not what you'd call 'great mates' after falling out during an Ashes tour.

04 June 2020, 14:22
Froome v Celebs update: Flintoff a potential DNS

Can't spell it either.

04 June 2020, 14:15
Froome Chase
Froome to take on various celebrities in televised charity Zwift race

Chris Froome is to take on a host of celebrities in a live Zwift race on Sunday night.

The charity event has been organised with former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen to raise money for Wheels for Heroes.

The aim is to raise enough for 1,000 bikes for NHS staff.

“Kevin actually made the suggestion to do a charity event on Zwift back in April, so I’m really glad we have managed to get this off the ground,” said Froome.

“Our NHS workers have been truly inspiring, but with travel restrictions, it’s still difficult for them to travel to and from their place of work. These new bikes will truly make a difference and provide a safe means for our NHS workers to travel safely during COVID-19.”

‘The Race’ will see Froome take on Pietersen and other celebrity guests on Zwift’s Volcano circuit.

Participants will be gridded at the start with riders setting off at intervals dictated by the results of their FTP tests.

Those taking part will include Mel C, Olly Murs, Ryan Giggs, Andrew Flintoff, Lee Westwood, Maro Itoje, Steph Houghton, Darren Gough and Kirsty Gallacher. 

The Race will be broadcast on Sky Sports Main Event, Arena and Mix, as well as Zwift’s YouTube channel at 7.30pm.

It will be hosted by Laura Woods, Romesh Ranganathan and Matt Stephens.

Can't wait to see Froome hopping out of the way of 90mph bouncers in the return leg.

04 June 2020, 13:52
A stolen bike 'entrapment' question

Further to the story we kicked things off with this morning where police refused to address a stolen bike being sold on Gumtree, arguing it was 'entrapment' (8.20am).

Bikercub makes a great point in the comments:



04 June 2020, 13:39
Dr Ian Walker is planning a big ride (without going far)

Dr Ian Walker, the environmental psychologist who features semi-regularly on this website in one capacity or another – most recently for becoming the Guinness World Record holder for the fastest crossing of Europe – has a bit of time on his hands fairly imminently.

His plans seem fairly self-explanatory.

04 June 2020, 13:31
PedalMe now cheaper than Uber

PedalMe, the pedal-powered passenger and cargo service operating in London, says it's cheaper than Uber after dropping its prices.

04 June 2020, 12:56
Sheffield City Region announces plans for 1,000km of walking and cycling routes

The Sheffield City Region is planning over 620 miles of accessible walking and cycling routes by 2040.

Plans include a high-quality segregated cycle route along the A6178 to connect Rotherham, Meadowhall and Sheffield.

The network will also feature nearly 200 square miles of low traffic neighbourhoods.

Mayor Dan Jarvis said: “Active travel has always been at the heart of my transport vision for South Yorkshire. The benefits walking and cycling bring to all aspects of our lives are great and I am proud of how quickly we have developed this plan alongside our local authorities. Active travel is good for our health, good for the planet and good for the economy.

“We are in the midst of one the largest public health crisis in a generation and as we recover from coronavirus, we have an opportunity to change

“No one wants to return to gridlocked roads and polluted town centres, and this landmark strategy sets out how we can build back better. The aim should not be to go back to the status quo, it should be to make this a moment of fundamental change for our region and our country.

“Active travel should be part of an even wider strategy – a green new deal to transform our economy, create millions of new jobs, and counter the economic damage the pandemic has caused.

“I am pleased that the Government is allocating emergency funds to enable us to make space for pedestrians and cyclists in the age of social distancing, but this money must be released promptly.

“In the short term, we need to take the pressure off a stretched public transport system which is running at a fraction of its normal capacity, and prevent the gridlock which will be caused by people turning to their car. In the long term, we need sustained funding for active travel to enable us to deliver a green new deal for South Yorkshire.”

Dame Sarah Storey, Active Travel Commissioner, said: “During the first year of my appointment there has been an unwavering commitment to create this plan and I am delighted we can now publish it for all to see.

“Our local authorities have risen to the challenge to create an ambitious plan and are committed to redistributing road space and enabling active travel in a way that hasn’t been seen before. Our plan gives a clear goal – a network of routes linking up low traffic neighbourhoods.

“During the coronavirus pandemic we have seen an even greater demand for safe space for walking and cycling, as social distancing reduces public transport capacity and people look to maintain new exercise habits that were formed at the height of the lockdown.

“Creating space for active travel is creating space for everyone. It means that not having access to a car will no longer be a barrier to getting around. From safe streets for children to get to school, to pavements free from inconsiderately parked vehicles that block the way for people in wheelchairs and parents with pushchairs, walking and cycling provision ensures everyone can enjoy they place they live and travel safely and easily to the places they want to go.

“I was pleased to see the response from Government to the letter written by Mayor Jarvis and I about prioritising active travel in the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic but we need this money now so we can begin to make our roads more pleasant places to be for those on foot or on bikes.”

04 June 2020, 11:41
Costa update: Adam refuses to put down the spade
04 June 2020, 11:09
Costa Coffee offers bizarre excuse for refusing to serve people on bikes at drive-through (then backtracks, but you still can't get coffee)
04 June 2020, 10:22
US racer highlights Durianrider’s reply to his Instagram post about race struggles – says Aussie YouTuber is ‘a joke’

If you ever watch cycling videos online (which you do), you’ll almost certainly have happened across Australian YouTuber, Durianrider, at some point.

Durianrider – real name Harley Johnstone – is known for having, shall we say, robust opinions on many things.

He’s been involved in several controversies. The last time we reported on him he said he’d been 'ambushed' and assaulted in public by someone known to him.

This week Cory and Justin Williams of the L39ION cycling team in Los Angeles have been speaking on Instagram about how race has affected their opportunities and about what they're doing to effect change. (You can find Cory here and Justin here.)

Cory has published the following Durianrider reply to one of his posts.


I’m glad I can show you all examples right away... this guy is a joke @durianriders 💀

A post shared by Cory Williams (@nationsnumber1beast) on

We’ve heard that several recent posts on Durianrider’s own Instagram account have been reported by users. Some have been taken down, but he is still trying to engage with Williams despite having been blocked – even going so far as to ask him to appear on his podcast.

He also seems to have been replying using his girlfriend’s account after being blocked.

04 June 2020, 09:57
Here's a video of Turkmenistan's president shooting stuff while riding his bike

04 June 2020, 09:51
Turkmenistan's president bloody loves cycling

In 2013, the Independent reported that Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow had ordered all citizens to buy bikes in preparation for a mass event.

Before you get any ideas about emigrating, we should probably add that human rights groups say Turkmenistan is one of the world's most repressive regimes.

04 June 2020, 09:37
Video: Leicester pop-up bike lanes and 'time to travel'

Chris Boardman makes a point about a small element of this; that it's good to see how long a journey will take by bike, rather than how far it is.

04 June 2020, 08:56
Remember Michele Scarponi's macaw, Frankie, who joined him on training rides? She's back!

Frankie is a female blue and yellow macaw who would often ride along perched on Michele Scarponi's shoulder or helmet during his training rides.

After Scarponi was killed in a road traffic collision in April 2017, his friend and fellow pro, Luis Angel Maté also went for a ride with her, at one point saying, "How much we miss our friend, eh?" before she flew off.

It seems she's gone for a ride with Antonio Nibali this week.

04 June 2020, 08:47
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Only five cycle helmets available in the UK given 'recommended' status in new safety testing

New safety testing, funded by the Road Safety Trust and conducted by insurance company Folksam, saw just eight helmets receive a ‘recommended’ mark.

Of these, only five are readily available in the UK.

Full story here.


04 June 2020, 08:37
Met’s ‘entrapment’ argument – detective superintendent intervenes

Detective Superintendent Andy Cox, the Met’s head of road safety and transport policing, has got involved.

He’s not yet saying the force was definitely wrong with its ‘entrapment argument.

It seems he’s rather wisely reserving judgement until he’s heard the explanation first-hand.

04 June 2020, 08:22
'Entrapment' argument is not right

The Met's claim that approaching a bike thief selling on Gumtree would be entrapment (see below) is... not right.

It is not right at all.

It is not even nearly right, because of course no-one is being tricked into committing a crime - the crime has already been committed.

The bike has already been stolen and the stolen goods are already for sale.

04 June 2020, 08:20
Mental health nurse found her stolen bike for sale – police told her intervening would be entrapment

A mental health nurse whose bike was stolen has been told by police that it would be entrapment if they were to intervene after she found it for sale online.

Joey emerged from a 12-hour shift on Wednesday to find that her bike had been stolen. The theft was caught on CCTV.

She later found the bike for sale on Gumtree, but the police response has now left her feeling that she put, “too much work into it.”

Gumtree also refused to take the ad down.

Joey’s case has been taken up by Jeremy Vine, who says unless they review that decision, she will be left having to buy her own bike back.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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