It's the little bike ride everyone has an opinion on, and pro triathlete Joe Skipper has remained defiant that he was justified in heading out for over nine hours while the country is in lockdown, replying to a critic on Twitter: "If it’s ok to go out for an hour then it’s ok to go out for 5/6. If it’s not ok to go out then there will be a ban, it’s either one or the other and doesn’t have anything to do with duration. We will just have to agree to disagree."
Considering his lifestyle and particular expertise in riding these kind of distances, what do you think?
The Dutch Jumbo-Visma rider said in response to the suggestion of a Tour behind closed doors as suggested by the French Minister for Sports:
" Is that a solution that justifies going on a tour? Call your shot... At least we’ll have something to show on television, but is it realistic?”
“Then everything must be safe and there must be no more health risks. Then it would be possible. But even then there shouldn’t be a risk that we, as a Tour, will be able to get the distribution going again. Because without a crowd you’re still talking about a travelling circus of more than 1000 people. And that’s still a lot of people together.”
Kruijswijk has been training exlusively indoors on Zwift - which he is said to dislike - and last rode outside on 17th March. He continued: “I now realise even better how hard it is for my wife to give the children enough attention when I’m away. The kids now don’t even understand why they can’t go outside. That doesn’t alter the fact that I can enjoy all those moments together, but I would have preferred to do it under different circumstances.”
It seems like everyone's got it in for cyclists in Richmond right now, with Mother Nature ganging up with the Moon and Old Father Thames to make the towpath unrideable...
BC guidance is "only ride on routes you know well, that are close to home and that are well within your ability level - this is a time for calm recreation, not for challenging yourself." Also 10 hours on the bike like this will suppress the immune system putting you at more risk.
— Elisabeth Anderson (@velobetty) March 26, 2020
Skipper says that he is following government guidelines and has got advice from his partner - who is a doctor - that his long ride is permissible; however the triathlete is continuing to be criticised for allegedly stretching the limits of the latest government guidelines that state one 'form' of exercise per day is allowed. Others have defended Skipper, while also bemoaning Norfolk's apparent lack of decent elevation...
2700 feet of climb is not a challenge.
— Pompey Cyclist (@PompeyCyclist) March 27, 2020
A brief thread on @theroyalparks decision to close Richmond Park to cycling.
— Tim Lennon (@lucullus) March 27, 2020
In which the author says by banning cyclists and closing gates, people are forced to crowd on pavements and a plan for general access hasn't been considered.
Read our full story here.
As noted by the BBC, the De-Carbonising Transport consultation was quietly published by the government this week; and active travel campaigners are astounded at the tone of voice and apparent change of tact from the top.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps says: "Public transport and active travel will be the natural first choice for our daily activities. We will use our cars less and be able to rely on a convenient, cost-effective and coherent public transport network."
Stephen Joseph of Hertfordshire University said the document was "utterly gob-smacking", while Cycling UK's Roger Geffen told the BBC: "It’s absolutely amazing.
"This makes Grant Shapps the first government minister in the UK to talk about traffic reduction since John Prescott tried (and failed) to achieve this aim in the late 1990s.
“There are some holes in the document, but it suggests that the government really does seem to be taking climate change seriously."
Are the government really taking taking this climate thing by the scruff of the neck now? We'll wait and see...
Santini will begin to make protective face masks in the next few days after their factory announced they were switching production last week; and the organisers of the famous vintage bike race L'Eroica - who carry Santini as a headline sponsor - are launching a fundraising campaign to help finance the move.
L'Eroica's founder Giancarlo Brocci said: “As you all know, my mode of communication is very down to earth, familiar, in the style of Berruti (another foundind father of L'Eroica) and with his kind of passion.
"The first time I went to the Santini factory – they were already partners of Eroica – I remember how the owners, Monica and Paola, were delighted to introduce me to their father and founder of the business, Pietro. And I remember the pride with which they insisted on keeping the old knitting machines, the ones that were there when they started their quality work, along their fortunate entrepreneurial path.
"Santini is a partner of Eroica, and the factory started recreating those amazing wool jerseys that can now be found all over the world. Today, in the middle of this national emergency, the company has decided to start producing the masks that are increasingly difficult to find. What a heroic way to lend a hand and keep the light of passion and pride alive, in that proud heart of Italy that resists and will bounce back stronger and more conscientious than ever."
L'Eroica's campaign to raise funds is called 'STOPCORONA', with crowdfunding pages and links coming soon. Numerous bike brands have altered production in order to manufacture goods to help combat the spread of coronavirus - read off.road.cc's round-up here.
Skipper took to Strava last night to tell his followers of a 325km (202 mile) ride around Norfolk, that took him 9hrs 30 mins to complete; but some of his followers on Strava and social media were not amused. We've also had an email in at road.cc from a follower who wanted to flag the ride "to highlight the issue of personal and social responsibility in these unprecedented times." Skipper has now started responding on Twitter to his critics...
As I’ve said numerous times. Currently there is no ban. I took precautions and seemed advice off medical professionals that have said it’s fine to do what I’ve been doing. As long as it’s within government guidelines which it was. Stop causing trouble and worry about yourself.
— Joe Skipper (@Noaveragejoe88) March 27, 2020
Because I’m not doing anything wrong at the moment. Government guidelines state you can exercise once a day, there’s no time limit on it. Strava is very toxic at the moment and my account was mostly private anyway. If they put a total ban on outside exercise I’ll adhere to it,
— Joe Skipper (@Noaveragejoe88) March 27, 2020
As a 12 hour time trial specialist and one of the Britain's leading Ironman triathletes, Skipper knows a thing or two about riding solo. In response to a comment highlighting the risk of mechanical failures and the need to stop for supplies, Skipper claims he "took precautions" and only needed one stop for water. He also says his girlfriend is a doctor and she believes he isn't doing anything wrong.
Sticking to government guidelines, if they say we go into a complete lockdown I’ll adhere to that. My gf is actually a doctor and thinks it’s fine. Last I comment on this, we will just have to agree to disagree.
— Joe Skipper (@Noaveragejoe88) March 26, 2020
Technically Skipper is not breaking any emergency laws, as the government guidelines as outlined by Michael Gove state one 'form' of exercise per day is permitted; no actual time limit has been applied, although police forces are saying that driving to a location to exercise isn't permitted.
To our knowledge, Skipper's once public Strava account now has extra privacy settings. You can read our updated advice on riding responsibly during a pandemic here, and how much distance you should leave when passing other cyclists here.
Thank you @Halfords_uk for still managing next day delivery despite everything that's going on in the UK/world. It has made my little girl's 3rd birthday special even after we've had to postpone her birthday party and can't see any of her extended family or friends. pic.twitter.com/LpSJpYgBcn
— Becky Green (@BeckyGr96127220) March 27, 2020
After announcing free services for NHS staff and emergency workers earlier today, Halfords are still staying on top of their deliveries to cheer up their customers. There's another large bike shop chain owned by an even larger sportswear chain who could perhaps take note...
Unless you’re giving free hats to key workers it seems incredibly unseemly to be punting out your wares at this moment.
— two20 (@two20) March 27, 2020
The ex-pro and founder of the Chpt3 cycling apparel brand was accused of being 'unseemly' in promoting caps on his Twitter account during the pandemic; but hit back by saying that he's just trying to keep business going "like every other business out there."
Breaking: cycling will be banned in Richmond Park from tomorrow due to the huge volume of cyclists and the failure to observe social distancing, @theroyalparks has announced. Police and stewards will be posted at park gates. NHS staff can still ride through the park. pic.twitter.com/ywTyXFqtUX
— Ross Lydall (@RossLydall) March 27, 2020
After concerns cyclists weren't paying enough attention to social distancing guidelines, the Royal Parks have now issued a statement saying that all cycling will be banned in Richmond Park from tomorrow. Full story to follow.
While some were questioning if Halfords was an 'essential retailer' earlier this week (there was even a petition demanding they stay closed) they've backed up their stance by offering free bike servicing and ten point car checks to all NHS and emergency workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
The free bike service offered is usually worth £30, and workers will be able to claim it at 'most' Halfords stores starting form today. The Halfords Bronze Bike Service includes brake and gear adjustment/alignment and drivetrain lubrication.
Halfords CEO Graham Stapleton said: “Now more than ever the NHS and emergency workers need our help and support. Our research shows how vital their cars and bikes are in getting to and from work, so we want to do our bit and help the extraordinary people who are doing an incredibly trying job at the most difficult of times.”
All NHS and emergency staff have to do to redeem the offer is show their staff ID card to a Halfords employee.
Working from home, cycling and ironing simultaneously...
And turbo + pringles is all in a day's work for the internet's foremost fixed gear stunt team.
After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since. He was Staff Writer at 220 Triathlon magazine for two years before joining road.cc in 2017, and reports on all things tech as well as editing the road.cc live blog. He is also the news editor of our electric-powered sister site eBikeTips. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake.