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Official! Cycling outdoors allowed this weekend; GB track cyclist says man purposely drove into her; Time for emergency bike lanes?; Alaphilippe says 'stay hard' through pandemic; Mango Bikes giveaway for nurses; Live Zwift racing + more on the live blog

Jack Sexty is blogging you into the weekend, with occasional contributions from other members of the team
20 March 2020, 18:00
Official! You’re still allowed to ride your bike this weekend*… but two riders tops

*but possibly only if you're a kid

Speaking at today's UK government press conference on the latest social distancing measures to combat the coronavirus Dr Jenny Harries, deputy chief medical officer for England, had this to say on the subject of exercise and cycling specfically.   

Doctor Harries's comments on cycling were made in response to a question on letting children play together outside. Her response though was given within the context of general principles that the government clearly thinks should apply to all of us. 

On that basis

  • group riding where there are more than two riders is out,
  • if there are two of you then sorry no wheel sucking you need to keep at least 2m apart. 
  • only ride your bike and use your own equipment
  • coughs and sneezes need to be caught with a tissue
  • if you're driving somewhere to ride - don't fill the car with people

"The basic strand running through all of these measures is social distancing and reducing the totality of our social interactions. That applies to children just as it does to the rest of us but also there is a balance there between maintaining physical and mental wellbeing when we are going through what will be for all of us quite a stressful period. 

"So for children who are at home, a family or a household group usually has the same sort of exposure risk, so put nicely that just means that it's okay for them to play together usually in their own home environment, kick a ball around in the garden if they have one. 

"We're not saying don't go outside but we are saying that if you go outside go in a way which reduces your social contact... we don't want to suggest that every child should go for a solitary walk across the park - that would not be a helpful public health measure – but certainly with appropriate supervision, buddying children for example, keeping two metres apart, off for a bike ride or something, that is absolutely fine and in many ways we would encourage that. 

"But there are some simple principles again around that: make sure you hang on to your own bike, your own equipment or whatever, wash your hands regularly, if you have coughs and sneezes use a tissue... all the things we have been encouraging people to do. 

"The weather is getting better, we want children to be exercising but to do so not in groups. When it comes to team games, I would not encourage those - the most important bit is the social element around it. If everyone piles up in shared cars, that's not a good thing to do

"So exercising: fine, but cut right down on the social interactions."

20 March 2020, 15:38
GB cyclist Lauren Bate says driver purposely went into the side of her and laughed at her on the floor

During times when you'd hope people could just be kind to each other, it seems that's far too greater task for the men who assaulted GB cyclist Lauren Bate earlier this afternoon. 

Ms Bate claims that the driver purposely went into the side of her, after which he and the passenger laughed at her as she lay on the road injured. 

She told "I'm all okay just a bit shook up as you can imagine, just glad it wasnt someone less experienced who could have been seriously shook up.

I didnt get any details so dont think I'll pursue anything, but I'll be keeping my wits about me for a while."

20 March 2020, 15:57
Decathlon is back and there are more socks to be won for #MyCyclingWeekend... we'll be picking a winner on Monday!
20 March 2020, 15:33
Marvellously topical coronavirus edition jerseys

Bog rolls, hand washing, panic buying... this jersey from Mr Glorious sums up the situation nicely at the moment, so you can be in keeping with current events while you smash out your turbo session. We're not sure if you'll be able to get one, but the designer says it's coming soon...

20 March 2020, 15:17
Swinnerton Cycles offering a ridiculously discounted Pinarello with Campagnolo EPS shifters
pinarello carbon ud.PNG

Whether bike sales are just really down and they want these ones gone we don't know, but Swinnerton have got hold of some Pinarello Carbon UD bikes with an RRP of £4,500, and are flogging them for £1,500. 

Made for the Italian market, the Carbon UD wasn't originally for sale outside of Italy and is modelled on the Tour de France-winning Dogma 2 from 2012. It comes with Campagnolo's Athena EPS 11 speed groupset and a set of Fulcrum 7 wheels, and there are 55cm, 56cm and 57cm sizes left at the time of writing - take a closer look here

20 March 2020, 15:08
Peloton rival Echelon report sales boost "in times of uncertainty"
echelon fitness

Echelon boast of a huge uptake in people enquiring about their spin bikes as they look for home fitness solutions, with founder Lou Lentine saying: "Connected fitness continues to be a must-have for anyone wanting to stay fit without leaving the home. Throughout the weekend we had over 1,000 people consistently shopping on our site for the Echelon indoor connect bike, rower, and Reflect Mirror." 

The Echelon Smart Connect EX3 Bike is available in the UK from £1,238.99; significantly undercutting Peloton, who are trying to sue the former for selling "cheap, copycat products.

20 March 2020, 14:12
So, which roads should we turn into emergency bike lanes?

Major routes in cities? Motorways? All of em? Cast your vote!

20 March 2020, 13:44
Dulux London Revolution two-day sportive rescheduled for 26th-27th September
Dulux London Revolution Tower Bridge

The 300km ride around the capital was originally scheduled to take place on 9th-10th May, but has been moved to September for obvious reasons. 

A statement says: "This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but after detailed discussion, we believe it is the best option to protect the interests of everyone involved including the general public. We strongly believe we all have a responsibility to tackle this challenge together."

See the Threshold Sports website for more info. 

20 March 2020, 13:28
Adam Blythe needs a mtb

Came in way too hot. Whoops.

A post shared by Adam Blythe (@adamblythe89) on

Of the many jobs Adam Blythe has held in the bike world, traversing a trail on a road bike should never be one of them... 

20 March 2020, 13:14
Should we be using roads as emergency bikes lanes?

Coventry's Bicycle Mayor and Fusion Media CEO Adam Tranter pointed to the action taken in the Colombian capital of Bogotá, with temporary emergency bike lanes installed to get workers off public transport to stop the spread of coronavirus. 

Smart Cities World report that 76km of roads are being transformed into bike lanes, which reduces crowding on public transport and improves air quality. Bogotá already has an impressive 550km network of permanent bike lanes, with cycle trips going up fivefold since construction began. 

22km of the new lanes were converted overnight on 17th March, with activity being monitored to see how extensive the conversions will be through the pandemic. 

A statement from Bogotá's mayoral office said: "The bicycle, being an individual means of transport, represents one of the most hygienic alternatives for the prevention of the virus, especially in this first preventive stage in which it is recommended to avoid close contact and crowds." 

Bogotá came top of the Inrix Global Traffic Scorecard recently for having the worst congestion of any major city, and politicians say the threat of the virus plus deaths from poor air quality that were already occurring would put too much strain on the health system, which required decisive action.  

Is it time for the UK to take similar action? Let us know your thoughts, and if you think yes how should it be implemented?  

20 March 2020, 12:27
Gravel racer Daniel Bond gets four-year doping ban for refusing urine test

Now isn't necessarily the worst time to receive a doping suspension (there are no events on) but gravel racer Daniel Bond will likely be out of competition long after this is all over after receiving a four-year sanction for refusing to provide a urine sample. 

The 42-year-old refused to give a sample during an out-of-competition test on 11th 2019, and his four-year period of ineligibility began on March 16, 2020. 

He'll now have plenty of time to reflect on his punishment at home, no doubt... 

20 March 2020, 12:12
“The Grands Tours will have priority – after events already existing on the calendar at the date of resumption."
20 March 2020, 11:56
Mango Bikes are giving away 10 bikes to 10 NHS staff... and also donated a bike to a doctor who had theirs stolen

Mango have been giving the gift of bikes to help those who need them most get through these uncertain times, with a competition launched on their website which allows the public to nominate deserving nurses. 

Mango say: "We want these bikes to be used by the amazing ladies and gents who will be doing some amazing work over the next few months. Maybe it’ll help them avoid public transport, ensure they get lots of fresh air on the way to or home from work or just bring a smile to their face.

Nominations close on Thursday 26th March at 5pm, and you can vote here. ​

According to the editor of Cycling Industry News Mark Sutton, Mango also stepped in to offer a free bike to a doctor who had theirs stolen when he posted the news on a group discussion... chapeau to Mango. 

20 March 2020, 11:50
Devising a makeshift Tour of Flanders
20 March 2020, 09:50
"It's a total mess at the moment": Callum Skinner urges Olympic chiefs to make a call on whether Games will go ahead
Callum Skinner clebrates gold in Rio (copyright Alex Whitehead via

Speaking to the Daily Mail, the Rio 2016 gold medallist and British Olympic Association rep has criticised the International Olympic Committee for not coming to a quicker decision on whether the Games would be postponed. Skinner asked for "strong leadership and says a decision must be made by 24th April:  

"It's a total mess at the moment. This level of uncertainty is unprecedented. A call needs to be made with three months to go. That has to be the cut off. Once we get into that three-month window where athletes are starting to make their final preparations, it is going to really heighten the stress of a lot of athletes.

"Ultimately, athlete health has to come first. Even if the IOC does proceed it will then be up to the athletes and the national organising committees themselves as to whether they actually attend."

20 March 2020, 09:38
Missing live racing? Now you can watch virtual Zwift racing instead

Indoor cycling is arguably one of the few success stories in these troubling times; and that's not just because we're all riding on trainers indoors, but there are also opportunities to conduct a bit of live sport to make up for the entire real-world sporting calendar being completely decimated for the foreseeable. 

Zwift are continuing their live race series with the Tour of Watopia stage 4 at 7pm UK time, featuring the NTT Continental Cycling Team, Canyon ZCC, Team and KISS Racing Team. Both Men’s and Women’s races will get a full broadcast production hosted by Esports presenter and Zwifter OJ Borg alongside special guest presenters - you can check out all the upcoming events on Zwift's website, and watch Tour of Watopia stage 4 on YouTube this evening

If you haven't got to grips with Zwift yet and want to get started, see our how to guide; and for the ultimate tips list for the self-isolating cyclist, your bible is here

20 March 2020, 09:06
Julian Alaphilippe appears to tell us to 'stay hard' through coronavirus pandemic in Deceuninck–Quick-Step goodwill message gaffe

We'll start by saying, all credit to Mr Alaphilippe for wishing his fans around the world the best in a foreign language... but for his own sake, it would have been nice if someone could have stepped in to tell him that what he was saying could be interpreted altogether differently. 

After Shane Archbold, Remco Evenepoel, Mattia Cattaneo and Dries Devenyns pop up to wish their fans good health and urging them to stay safe, Mr Alaphilippe appears and asks fans to "stay hard and be patient";  presumably he thought it meant something along the lines of "stay strong", and you'd think someone in the know could have asked him to redo his bit or at the least edit the quote to go alongside his speech... but alas, the words were typed next to the Frenchman's innocent face unedited. 

With most of the developed world's office-based employees now working from home - likely in a secluded home office or bedroom - maybe there is an element of truth in his message after all... 

20 March 2020, 08:53
Now we can all wash our hands... can we start indicating too?
coronavirus indicating meme.PNG

This may be a step too far for some drivers!

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 in 2017, and reports on all things tech as well as editing the 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. 

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