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Holiday firm tells Lake District visitors to ditch the car for a bike – and to stop speeding; “Jumbo-Visma have moved the game on”: Geraint Thomas on Ineos “transition period”; Jumbo-Visma pro seriously injured after crashing car + more on the live blog

It’s Tuesday and, after a lengthy (some might say welcome) break from the live blog, Ryan Mallon is back in the hot seat with all the latest cycling news and views. If he can remember how it all works…
12 September 2023, 08:08
Congestion in Buttermere (Friends of the Lake District)
Holiday firm tells motorists visiting the Lake District to ditch the car for a bike – and to stop driving over speed limits and accelerating into corners

In the same week that cyclists have criticised plans to completely close a road in the Lake District due to storm damage – which Cycling UK says would “block off a key part of the National Cycle Network” and force cyclists to use “a narrow section of busy A-road, hemmed in by walls with fast traffic and HGVs” – a holiday firm in the area has urged visitors to ditch their car in favour of a bike if they want to take in the sights.

> "One of the only safe road cycling routes": Cyclists object to complete closure of "key part" of National Cycling Network

With the majority of the Lake District’s 16 million visitors a year travelling by car, the sight of queues of traffic and badly parked vehicles on narrow roads has become a ubiquitous one in the region during the holidays, prompting last year’s ban on parking at some of the area’s major tourist spots.

Following that ban, the Friends of the Lake District group said that “we have reached a tipping point where we can either embrace a radical re-think on transport within the Lake District National Park or risk destroying the sense of tranquillity and escape that this landscape has delivered for generations”.

Thirlmere western road. Image by Heliosphere (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A rare car-less image in the Lake District…

And this week, Jerry Rebbeck, from the Elterwater-based holiday cottages company Wheelwrights, has now called on visitors to take to two wheels when soaking in the picturesque views, and reducing congestion and keeping vulnerable road users safer in the process.

“There are lots of ways to travel around the Lake District without a car,” Jerry said on the company's website. “Cycling and hiking from place to place is one of the best ways to see the park whilst reducing congestion. There are plenty of places to hire bikes if you don’t have your own.”

As part of his tips for properly enjoying the area, Rebbeck also criticised the standard of driving from some holiday makers.

“People are often driving over the speed limits on the country roads in the Lake District or accelerating down straight sections of road and then braking at corners. This type of driving increases noise and air pollution, as well as emptying your wallet, as it uses fuel much quicker,” he said.

“Driving smoothly and adhering to local speed limits will be better for the local environment and better for your bank account.”

Thirlmere road closure (image supplied)

> "If it was important for motorised traffic it would have been done": Cyclist slams council's plan to permanently close quiet route and send everyone along busy main road

Not that the local authorities are making the switch from car to bike in the Lake District easy, of course.

Last week, we reported that Cycling UK has launched a campaign in response to Cumberland Council’s consultation to completely close a storm-damaged road, which forms part of the National Cycling Network and described by the cycling charity as “one of the only safe road cycling routes leading towards Keswick”.

The quiet route alongside Thirlmere reservoir was badly damaged during Storm Arwen in 2021. Having been temporarily closed for two years, it now faces permanent closure.

Cycling UK has objected to the proposals that would see cyclists forced to use the A591 instead, “a narrow section of busy A-road, hemmed in by walls with fast traffic and HGVs”.

Furthermore, it was revealed that the council's diversion route “only stipulates suitability for vehicular traffic; therefore no diversion route is provided for pedestrians and cyclists at this time”, a plan Cycling UK has branded “ridiculous”.

12 September 2023, 15:33
Vuelta, stage 16 recap: Jonas Vingegaard displays his best Bernard Hinault impression, as he storms to emotional solo stage win – and moves within 30 seconds of teammate Sepp Kuss

He may have been caught ‘doing a Dumoulin’ during week one of this year’s Vuelta a España, but this afternoon on the steep slopes of the Bejes in the Cantabria region of Spain, Jonas Vingegaard showed us all his best Bernard Hinault impression, attacking from the foot of the climb to take his second stage win of the race and – most importantly – move within 30 seconds of his Jumbo-Visma teammate Sepp Kuss at the top of the GC.

Not that the emerging internecine battle for the red jersey was at the forefront of Vingegaard’s mind as he launched his stage-winning move with just under four kilometres to go. The two-time Tour de France winner was clearly emotional as he crossed the line, dedicating the win to his friend and teammate Nathan Van Hooydonck, who is currently being treated in hospital after being involved in a road traffic incident this morning.

According to Jumbo-Visma’s Attila Valter, the team were informed at the foot of the climb, just moments before Vingegaard’s move, that Van Hooydonck was awake in hospital, and that he appears to be recovering better than expected from the crash.

“I’m just happy to win today,” Vingegaard said after the finish. “We had some terrible news this morning, and I just wanted to win for my best friend today. Luckily, we’ve had some good news about his condition, and that’s a big relief for me and the team, and I hope he can recover soon.”

Mixed up confusion in the friendly battle for red

Putting aside the obvious emotional element that drove the Dane’s victory, Vingegaard’s move – which saw him gain over a minute on all his GC rivals – arguably raised more questions than answers as we begin the Vuelta’s decisive third week.

With Primož Roglič’s late attack snuffed out relatively easily by Juan Ayuso and Enric Mas, and with Sepp Kuss looking uncharacteristically ragged, shipping four seconds to the group in front (albeit on a short, punchy climb which certainly doesn’t suit the American’s steady style), it is clear that Vingegaard has emerged as Jumbo-Visma’s strongest card.

However, that fact didn’t appear to be clear within the chaotic chasing group – instead of limiting their losses to Vingegaard, UAE Team Emirates instead sent Finn Fisher-Black up the road in pursuit, the young Kiwi putting in a great ride to finish second on the day, though using energy that, GC logic dictates, could have been spared in the service of fourth-placed Ayuso’s battle for the podium.

Results powered by FirstCycling.com

Jumbo-Visma’s rivals may not appear to have any grasp on how to counter their three-pronged offence, but it seems like the Dutch team don’t fully know how to approach their clear tactical and physical superiority either. Unless their tactic is to simply create chaos (which, to be honest, it could well be).

By chipping away at Kuss’s lead over the past few stages, Vingegaard has put the American in an uncomfortable box, from which he is forced – by the unwritten cycling decree of ‘never chase your teammate’ – to watch the Dane slowly lift the red jersey off his shoulders.

Of course, in cycling you’re not supposed to attack your leader either, but such is the sheer strength of Jumbo-Visma’s race-leading triumvirate, they can certainly afford to play games with their rivals, and amongst themselves, at the moment.

Whether or not those games erupt into all-out warfare, especially tomorrow on the fearsome Angliru, remains to be seen.

12 September 2023, 14:54
Some topical world champs banner vandalism

Ah, nice to see that the UCI’s Glasgow 2023 sign is still coming in handy for mischief-making football fans…

12 September 2023, 14:35
Tom Dumoulin wins 2017 Giro d'Italia (picture credit LaPresse, RCS Sport)
Tom’s legacy lives on: Jonas Vingegaard reveals he “did a Dumoulin” while suffering stomach issues during first week of the Vuelta

A Giro d’Italia win, a Tour de France podium, three Tour stage wins, four Giro stages, two Vuelta stages, a world individual time trial title, two Olympics medals… And yet, Tom Dumoulin will forever be remembered for that one moment on the side of the road on the way to Bormio in 2017.

The retired Dutch rider’s ascent into verb status continued on yesterday’s rest day at the Vuelta, when Jonas Vingegaard detailed the reasons behind his more sluggish than usual (of course, when it comes to Vingegaard, this is all relative) form in the Spanish grand tour, including the bacterial issue that saw him grovel through the first week of the race.

“I suffered more from stomach bacteria than I let on at the time,” the double Tour de France winner told Danish TV. “It doesn’t bother me anymore, but it did in the first week. I had no strength anymore.

“I ‘did a Dumoulin’. It wasn’t the proudest moment of my career. It only happened once. And luckily it was a quiet stage the next day. If that hadn’t happened, I could have dropped down the overall rankings. After what I’ve been through, I’m glad I’m still in the game.”

A lot like Dumoulin’s untimely call of nature, six years later. I’m sure Tom will be hoping ‘did a Dumoulin’ doesn’t catch on, unless it relates to a brilliant time trial win or a gritty performance in the mountains, though that might be a forlorn hope…

12 September 2023, 13:57
First look: Wahoo Kickr Move and Kickr Bike Shift Indoor Trainers

What’s this about? We’ve just had the best week of the whole ‘summer’, and you’re already talking to us about indoor winter training? Time just keeps slipping away…

> Wahoo introduces £1,400 Kickr Move indoor trainer with “the closest real-world ride-feel”

12 September 2023, 08:54
Geraint Thomas, stage 7 Vuelta 2023 (@Cxcling Creative Agency)
“It’s not a total disaster… Jumbo-Visma have just moved the game on”: Geraint Thomas reflects on “transition period” for Ineos Grenadiers

Filippo Ganna’s by-now obligatory time trial victory aside, it’s been a rough Vuelta a España so far for the Ineos Grenadiers.

While the Jumbo-Visma sledgehammer continues to smash the peloton to pieces (more on some unsubstantiated speculation surrounding the make-up of that hammer in a moment), and UAE Team Emirates gamely try to usurp the yellow and black dominance – while doing their own bit of demolition work to the rest of the cycling calendar – the British squad appears to be languishing in racing no man’s land, a shadow of the merciless Skybots of the 2010s.

That chasm between those top two teams and Ineos – one that has been steadily opening since the British team last tasted success at the Tour de France in 2019, courtesy of Egan Bernal – has arguably never appeared so gaping as it has done at this Vuelta.

As Jumbo-Visma march relentlessly on to a possible, if not probably, 1-2-3 in Madrid – which would make them the first men’s team in history to win all three grand tours in one season – Ineos do not have a single rider within an hour overall of red jersey Sepp Kuss.

GC hope Geraint Thomas – who, with two podiums at the Tour and Giro, has almost single-handedly kept Ineos’ hopes for grand tour success alive over the past two years, at the age of 37 – has looked forlorn throughout the race, a victim once again of crashes and misfortune, while Bernal rather understandably is still a long way away from his Tour-winning best, following last year’s horrific training crash.

Untimely crashes also saw Laurens De Plus and Thymen Arensmen exit early, though Ganna has at least been on hand to provide some flashes of brilliance, even popping up in the occasional bunch gallop.

Filippo Ganna wins stage 10, 2023 Vuelta a España (Rafa Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency©2023)

Ganna doing Ganna things (Rafa Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency©2023)

The Vuelta has epitomised, then, what has been an often painful and turbulent period of transition for Ineos, characterised by bad luck, crashes, and perhaps some questionable development and transfer policies.

But, speaking at yesterday’s rest day press conference, 2018 Tour winner Thomas believes such a transition period is inevitable after a prolonged spell of dominance.

“For a start we were dominant for more or less a decade from 2012 to 2019 when we were constantly winning the Tour and on podiums,” the Welsh rider said.

“Naturally in sport there’s a changing of the guard. For us as a team, I still believe we’re good but Jumbo-Visma and UAE have overtaken us, certainly when Tadej Pogačar is riding in front of us.

“I just think that with dominance a lot of it is down to morale and confidence in the team. Speaking from personal experience, you obviously need the leader to win but when you have strong leadership then everyone else can go up a level with that.

“You can sense that here with the way the domestiques are going. Gesink has found his legs of old and Van Baarle and Valter, they’re all riding really well and it’s a snowball effect. It’s the opposite for us in this race. It started really badly losing De Plus and then it was one thing after the next. With Jumbo, they’ve just moved the game on. We’re doing everything that we can.”

Geraint Thomas, stage 11, 2023 Vuelta a España (Luis Angel Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency©2023)

Thomas battles for the win from the breakaway on stage 11 (Luis Angel Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency©2023)

“We’re still trying to be positive and we can either laugh or cry so we try to make light of it. We’ve got a few memes in our group about how it’s going. It’s not been a total disaster.

“If you look at Carlos [Rodriquez, the team’s 22-year-old Spanish stage racer], he was fighting for the podium in the Tour and then he had that crash. He could have been fourth, ended up fifth but he’s a young guy who joined the team when he was 19. That’s a real success story. I was 15 seconds away from winning the Giro.

“We’re a young team and it’s been a bit of a team in transition for the last couple of years, for a number of reasons really.”

12 September 2023, 11:19
Nathan Van Hooydonck, 2023 world road race championships, Glasgow (Zac Williams/SWpix.com)
Jumbo-Visma’s Nathan Van Hooydonck “in life-threatening condition” after falling ill and crashing car

Jumbo-Visma pro Nathan Van Hooydonck has reportedly been seriously injured and is in a “life-threatening condition” after crashing his car in Belgium this morning.

According to Het Laatste Nieuws, the 27-year-old, a key domestique for Wout van Aert and Jonas Vingegaard at the classics and the Tour de France, was driving his pregnant wife to the hospital at around 8.30am when he fell ill while stopped at a set of traffic lights in the town of Kalhmthout. This caused him to accelerate across the junction, hitting five cars on the other side.

Van Hooydonck, who had just returned home from helping Wout van Aert win the Tour of Britain on Sunday, was resuscitated at the scene and was taken to hospital, where he is believed to be in critical condition, a spokesperson for the border police zone told the Belgian press. His wife, who was not injured in the collision, was also taken to hospital for a check-up.

Three other people involved in the crash, including a child, suffered minor injuries.

Nathan Van Hooydonck and Jonas Vingegaard, 2023 Tour de France (Zac Williams/SWpix.com)

Van Hooydonck leads Jonas Vingegaard around the Arc de Triomphe on the final stage of the 2023 Tour de France (Zac Williams/SWpix.com)

One onlooker told Het Nieuwsblad: “I immediately walked to the black Range Rover. I saw that there was a pregnant woman in there and I immediately tried to reassure her. Two social workers from the police immediately arrived to take care of the woman.

“Then I went back to the car to see how the man was doing. I think he must have had an epileptic fit or something. We immediately started resuscitating him and when the emergency services arrived I went to see if I could do anything to other people.”

12 September 2023, 13:27
Some lovely Welsh weather at the Vuelta

It seems as if Thomas’s ambivalent approach to the bad weather rubbed off on the rest of his Ineos teammates, who all inexplicably missed the main break at the start of the stage, forcing them into a gruelling hour-long chase, which – at the time of writing – has only just succeeded in bringing the attackers back.

Now we’re all back together and the sun’s out (mostly), we’ll see if any Ineos riders can infiltrate Breakaway Mark 2 – if not, I imagine an Alex Ferguson-patented hairdryer could soon be installed on the Death Star…

12 September 2023, 12:57
Jumbo-Visma DS confirms Nathan Van Hooydonck in “induced coma” following car crash

Following this morning’s reports from Belgium that Jumbo-Visma pro Nathan Van Hooydonck was involved in a road traffic collision this morning, after falling ill while driving, his team confirmed the news at lunchtime with a short statement on social media.

“We can confirm that earlier today our rider Nathan van Hooydonck became unwell while driving his car, leading to his involvement in a traffic accident,” the statement says.

“He was subsequently transported to the hospital, where he is receiving good medical care. We cannot confirm rumours that his condition is critical. He is undergoing further medical examinations. Thank you all for your messages to Nathan and the team.”

Meanwhile, Jumbo-Visma DS Grischa Niermann told reporters at the start of today’s Vuelta stage: “He had an accident and he had to go to hospital. He’s there now, I think in an induced coma. It’s very harsh news, for us, for everybody. Our thoughts are with him and his girlfriend. We all hope and wish for the best.”

12 September 2023, 12:19
Police officer pulls ‘a Jensie’ by borrowing child’s bike to catch suspected thief

Now, here’s something you don’t see everyday (unless you enjoy watching outtakes from Hot Fuzz)…

A police officer in Gosport channelled her inner Jens Voigt on Friday evening, borrowing a BMX from a (probably befuddled) young boy before chasing down, and eventually arresting, a suspected thief – and promptly returning the bike to its grateful owner.

Gosport Police, who posted a video of PC Harriett Taylor’s unique take on the individual pursuit, said the officer, after spotting the suspect in the White Lion Walk area, approached the surprised youngster and asked him for a quick lend of his bike – a request which I imagine was greeted with a look of fear, confusion, and a shrug of the shoulders – leading to the arrest of the 47-year-old man on suspicion of theft, burglary, and shoplifting.

“Thank you so much for the generous loan of your bike, young man! You, and your bike, were a great help to us!” the force tweeted. “It was a truly brilliant joint-effort from everyone involved!”

And, if you’re struggling with the Jensie reference, here’s the iconic image of the big German telling everything to shut up as he made his way gingerly down the Col de Peyresourde at the 2010 Tour de France, bloodied, battered, and forced to ride a young spectator’s bike, with his own Specialized destroyed and the team car nowhere to be seen…

12 September 2023, 11:48
“No family should go through what mine did”: Chris Boardman speaks about losing his mum at the hands of killer driver for the first time
Chris Boardman speaking at APPWCG report launch 2023

“My father just wailed, from grief, and he has never recovered from that. And I’ve kept it in a box for seven years, and that’s why I’m here because no-one else, no family should have to go through that.”

> Chris Boardman speaks about losing his mum at the hands of killer driver for the first time

12 September 2023, 10:52
Kiwi climber George Bennett signs for Israel-Premier Tech

Israel-Premier Tech’s transformation from a pre-retirement home for aging climbers to a stage-hunting, attacking machine continues at pace, as UAE Team Emirates’ George ‘He did a Landis’ Bennett becomes the squad’s eighth new signing for 2024.

The 33-year-old New Zealander joined UAE from grand tour rivals Jumbo-Visma in 2022 to bolster Tadej Pogačar’s mountain support, but arguably failed to live up to expectations, failing to finish the only grand tour he started for the team, after leaving last year’s Tour de France before stage 10 with Covid.

However, Bennett – who will be taking orders from the car from his The Social Distance podcast co-host, and Israel DS, Sam Bewley – hopes his two-year deal with Israel will revitalise the autumn of his career.

“I’m really excited for my future with IPT. I’m already close with a lot of people in the team and it’s clear that there is a great culture and desire to grow and I want to be a big part of that. I’m looking forward to chasing results personally and as a team and to have the resources to be the best rider I can whilst surrounded by great people,” he said.

“I see a lot of opportunities, especially in Grand Tours and in the high mountains and I can’t wait to get started.”

Bennett will form part of a raft of new signings at Israel-Premier Tech, including current UAE teammate Pascal Ackermann, whose sprint train has also been augmented by the arrivals of British rider Ethan Vernon, Hugo Hofstetter, and Michael Schwarzmann.

12 September 2023, 10:27
Track cyclists are a different breed

Considering Joop Zoetemelk couldn’t even manage a single pull-up when he appeared on Superstars back in the day, this – courtesy of UK-born Aussie track sprinter Matthew Richardson – is something else:

Alright Froomey, you’re up next…

12 September 2023, 09:46
Sepp Kuss 2023 Vuelta (Luis Angel Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency© 2023/ASO)
“That person can talk about others?” Jumbo-Visma hit back at Jérôme Pineau’s mechanical doping accusations

It feels like ages since Jérôme Pineau – the man behind the whole B&B Hotels boom to bust debacle and Mark Cavendish transfer saga that dominated the gossip pages last winter – last popped up on our screens.

And it feels like even longer since the words ‘motor doping’ were uttered in the direction of the pro peloton, and not just by French pensioners doing hill climbs or Italian jokers ripping up gran fondos.

But today those two dormant news stories collided with a thud, as former Quick Step rider Pineau accused Jumbo-Visma of taking advantage of some motorised assistance on their way to that stunning 1-2-3 on the Col du Tourmalet last Friday.

> Former pro cyclist accuses Jumbo-Visma of motor doping, questions Sepp Kuss' Tourmalet performance

As reported by Dan this morning, Pineau told RMC’s Les grandes gueules du sport podcast: “We see the images… I’m not talking about doping, but about something much worse. Mechanical doping? Yes, mechanical. If you look at Sepp Kuss’ attack on the Col du Tourmalet, against riders like Juan Ayuso, Cian Uijtdebroeks – who is seen as a great talent – ​​and Marc Soler. They’re not losers on bicycles, are they? Kuss rides ten kilometres per hour faster during his attack, then has to brake by a spectator and then rides ten kilometres per hour faster again.

“How can you explain that? Cycling is my sport, I lived from it and still live from it. It's my passion, but I'm scared. It worries me very much. I see certain things happening... On the Col de Spandelles [during the 2022 Tour stage finishing at Hautacam] Kuss goes ahead for ten seconds without pedalling. I don't know how that's possible.”

Jonas Vingegaard, Col du Tourmalet, 2023 Vuelta (Luis Angel Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency©2023)

Stage winner Jonas Vingegaard surveys the damage on the Tourmalet (Luis Angel Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency©2023)

While Pineau himself acknowledged that he has no evidence to substantiate his claims – and it must be noted that the UCI routinely test for mechanical doping at races – this isn’t the first time that the Dutch team have been linked to similar claims.

Back in 2016, during his first season with the then-LottoNL-Jumbo squad, Primož Roglič (one of the Tourmalet triumvirate) was accused of using a hidden motor by French TV programme Stade 2, especially in the wake of the Slovenian’s time trial victory on stage nine of the Giro d’Italia, something the team has always denied.

And this morning, Jumbo DS Merjin Zeeman – whose team was also forced to deal with a much more old-school doping problem last month following Michel Hessmann’s positive test for a diuretic – hit back at Pineau’s claims, even taking aim at the ex-pro’s handling of B&B’s collapse last year.

“Comments of a ‘team manager’ who signed multiple riders and staff and then in October it turned out that he was fooling everybody and put all these people in a bad position? That person can talk about others?” Zeeman said via text, according to GCN.

Shots fired… Though I for one can’t imagine the noise surrounding Jumbo-Visma will die down anytime soon – especially if Roglič, Vingegaard, and Kuss are all standing on that podium in Madrid on Sunday.

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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30 comments

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quiff | 5 months ago
5 likes

A moment of disbelief this morning. Cycling down a road. There's a long queue of stationary cars in the oncoming lane, held at traffic lights. Ahead of me I see a van pull onto my side of the road to move past some parked cars. He passes them, but is still approaching in my lane. I slow and then stop in the middle of my lane. The van driver also slows and stops, still in my lane, with the queue of cars alongside him. At this point I assumed he was trying to skip past the queing traffic on the wrong side of the road to turn into a side road which is just behind me, and I'm expecting some unpleasant exchange about how I should get out of his way. However, it seems in fact he is simply oblivious that he has just overtaken not just some parked cars, but also the back of the queue, and he's going to have to slot back in. Instead, I exchanged some rather nicer words with the driver of the van he'd just overtaken, who shared my view of him.                   

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Paul J | 5 months ago
3 likes

"a spokesperson for the border police zone told the Belgian press." - has a slight mistranslation. Original says "Politiezone Grens", meaning "Police Area Grens", grens does mean border but... is just a name for a region in this context and should not be translated. "spokesperson for Police Zone Grens ..." would be more correct.

Also, other stories are suggesting a heart attack. He had to be resuscitated at the scene, which is more consistent with a cardiac arrest, rather than an epileptic fit. But none of the stories have any authoritative information on the cause.

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Paul J replied to Paul J | 5 months ago
0 likes

Also the 3 other injuries (besides Nathan and his wife who was taken to hospital out of caution), including the child, were in the other cars.

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IanMK | 5 months ago
5 likes

Several years ago my wife and I hired MTBs from Coniston. We are not MTBers but just thought it would be a nice thing to do. We took a picnic and cycled around Coniston Water. We were occassionally forced on to the A roads but it was flat and not too unpleasant. When we were almost back to Coniston we still had plenty of time left so thought we'd go for a coffee in Hawkshead. It's obviously steep to get over Hawkshead Hill but only 3 or 4 miles. To say it was horrible is an understatement. Too many cars, just an unpleasant experience, without even considering the risk. Sadly we turned back and dropped off the bikes early. There might have been a more enjoyable off road route but we didn't find it.

It's catch 22. Before you expect tourists to get about by cycle you've either got to build safe cycle infrastructure which is accessible to the inexperienced and direct or you've got to do something about the traffic.

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chrisonabike replied to IanMK | 5 months ago
2 likes

IanMK wrote:

It's catch 22. Before you expect tourists to get about by cycle you've either got to build safe cycle infrastructure which is accessible to the inexperienced and direct or you've got to do something about the traffic.

Agree, but... can it be "both"?  Perhaps it is only possible if it is "both" (plus better public transport)?

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I love my bike replied to chrisonabike | 5 months ago
9 likes

I don't think separated cycle infrastructure should be the answer to illegal driving - there will never be 100% coverage, so it can only reduce the danger where it does exist (& likely increases it elsewhere, as motorists increasingly believe cyclists don't belong on 'their' roads (not just  motorways)).

The common use of language (even on road.cc) hides that it's an issue of motor vehicles driven by licenced drivers, e.g.

'queues of (motor) traffic and badly parked (motor) vehicles on narrow roads'

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Backladder replied to I love my bike | 5 months ago
1 like

I'd give that comment a dozen "likes" if I was allowed to!

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Hirsute replied to I love my bike | 5 months ago
1 like

I couldn't see a mention of illegal driving.
Too many cars would be unpleasant - either worrying about the number behind you trying to pass or constantly pulling in to let them by.

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IanMK replied to Hirsute | 5 months ago
2 likes

Thanks. Exactly my point. Holidays are supposed to be relaxing and pleasurable. If it's not, you're not going to do it.
By contrast, we've also done the Camel trail, which was great fun. Plenty of coffee, cake and fish and chips along with all the photo opportunities.

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I love my bike replied to Hirsute | 5 months ago
1 like

It was in the quote from Jerry Rebbeck, from the Elterwater-based holiday cottages company Wheelwrights “People are often driving over the speed limits on the country roads . . .

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chrisonabike replied to I love my bike | 5 months ago
2 likes

In one sense you're logically correct.  Even NL there are vastly more kilometers of road / street than cycle path.  Note however (as David Hembrow spells out) this is not necessary for the majority of time spent cycling not to involve interaction on streets with motor vehicles.

However I don't think we will be motivated to get politicians to mandate driving is more strictly / effectively policed UNTIL we have a much larger fraction of people who cycle occasionally.  I think it's as much or more important that certain bad and/or illegal driving behaviours are considered socially unacceptable

As always it needs people's emotions to engage their interest.  For that it needs their children, parents or friends to be cycling to focus attention on risks!

AFAIK nowhere has managed to get any distance towards that (mass cycling) without the provision of a network of "good enough" cycle infra going where people might want to cycle.  (There are lots of other things needed also of course).

I think humans are humans.  So I suspect there are strong cost-benefit limits on how much policing can do to fix "compliance". (And do we want a society of hundreds of thousands of extra police?)  I also think that we are extremely unlikely to have "mass motoring" and not have lots of humans who get angry or are intolerant of others, speed and park badly, crash into each other, cyclists and pedestrians, large illuminated bridges...

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HoarseMann replied to IanMK | 5 months ago
2 likes

Yep, the B5285 over Hawkshead Hill is not a nice ride. I've done it once - too busy and too fast.

The trouble with the lakes (as with most hilly areas), is these roads are busy because they're the only viable route due to the terrain. Any alternative usually involves more climbing and greater distance on a worse surface.

As you were on MTBs, the nicer route would have been through the Grizedale forest, using the fire roads and bridleways. I'm not surprised you didn't find the off-road route though, as it's not signed and would take quite a bit of map trawling to discover it.

Whilst traffic is a big issue in the lakes, it's not practical for most people to cycle as an alternative due to the challenging terrain.

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IanMK replied to HoarseMann | 5 months ago
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Electric hire bikes could be a game changer if the roads were better.
Looking at the map again I can see how you could get across Grizedale but as you point out the route would not be as direct (or paved) and probably well over 200m of climbing compared to around 150m if you follow the road.

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brooksby | 5 months ago
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Road casualties have become normal in Britain. But there is another way (Peter Walker, The Grauniad)

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2023/sep/12/road-casua...

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Poll after poll has shown that the biggest reason for people not wanting to cycle is perceived danger. And anyone who has dared to ride a bike on unprotected roads will soon discover that a large part of this danger comes from pure illegality, not least the vast proportion of drivers who speed, especially on residential roads.

This neatly leads us to the other factor highlighted by the report, and its reaction to it: the howls of outrage if people politely suggest that people could perhaps be less of a danger to others when they drive.

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stonojnr replied to brooksby | 5 months ago
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I don't follow the point he is making that the polls show its perceived danger that stops people cycling.

But then follows it up with well actually when you do cycle youre exposed to this real, not perceived,danger all the time and here are some horrific examples of how that might literally impact you.

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Sriracha replied to stonojnr | 5 months ago
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I know people who would cycle, but they don't. So they have never experienced any real danger. It is their perception of danger which prevents them doing so.

Edit: for the avoidance of doubt, I'm not using the word "perception" to imply that their fear is illusory or ill-founded.

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stonojnr replied to Sriracha | 5 months ago
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Yet the point Walker links with it is "anyone who has dared to ride a bike on unprotected roads will soon discover that a large part of this danger comes from pure illegality"

Dared to ride a bike on the road? But the danger is only a perception ?

No thats experience of reality from those that do cycle, which validates those who perceive cycling as dangerous as maybe having a point.

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hawkinspeter replied to stonojnr | 5 months ago
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stonojnr wrote:

Yet the point Walker links with it is "anyone who has dared to ride a bike on unprotected roads will soon discover that a large part of this danger comes from pure illegality" Dared to ride a bike on the road? But the danger is only a perception ? No thats experience of reality from those that do cycle, which validates those who perceive cycling as dangerous as maybe having a point.

It can certainly feel dangerous to cycle on a busy road, but statistically, it's slightly safer to cycle for a km than it is to walk a km (probably due to less time being exposed to all those autonomous cars that drive into people and things). Whilst there is real danger on the roads, it tends to be magnified in the minds of non-cyclists as it's easy to imagine situations where you get hurt.

Even though cycling is a relatively safe activity, it would be easy to make it safer still (and save lives) by getting the police and courts to remove the known dangerous drivers.

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wtjs replied to hawkinspeter | 5 months ago
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 Whilst there is real danger on the roads, it tends to be magnified in the minds of non-cyclists as it's easy to imagine situations where you get hurt

There definitely is real danger, with disaster lurking milliseconds away. Yesterday, I was returning from the Lakes on the bike below. I was descending towards Lancaster at about 25mph down hill coming from Nether Kellett. There's a very rural crossroads and I saw a white Jaguar approaching fast from my left and not slowing at all while turning left onto my road. The driver came within a few feet of ploughing straight into me- she was no doubt looking to her right, but only looking for large vehicles with 4 or more wheels

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stonojnr replied to wtjs | 5 months ago
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Had similar experience last week, but with a roundabout. Im on the roundabout heading straight over, spot a car approaching fast in from my left, naturally expecting the driver to slow down and stop.

And they just kept coming, I don't know how we both stopped in time or avoided the collision in the end, it happened so quickly, and my camera captured nothing of it really

but I thought it was game over, at the speed they'd have hit me side on, if the impact with the car didn't finish me, launching into the trees on the other side of the road would have.

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OnYerBike replied to stonojnr | 5 months ago
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Whilst there is no doubt a degree of actual danger, I would argue that you are in fact demonstrating Sriracha's point nicely.  

Objectively, cycling is not that dangerous. Recent statistics report 26 KSI per billion miles among cyclists; the same as among pedestrians. Yet few people perceive walking to be nearly as dangerous as cycling.

Cycling (and walking) is a higher risk than the risk to car occupants (3 KSI/bn miles) but even so, I would argue the difference in perceived risk far exceeds the difference in actual risk. It is very normal to commute 20+ miles per day (https://www.sme-news.co.uk/new-survey-reveals-large-regional-differences...) and most people do so without batting an eyelid or feeling the slightest bit imperiled. And yet based on those statistics, the actual risk is the same as cycling 2.3 miles - a journey many would be put off doing because of the perceived danger. 

The evidence available also suggests that on balance, the health benefits of cycling outweigh the risks - it is more dangerous to not cycle.

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stonojnr replied to OnYerBike | 5 months ago
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I'm not debating the perception or objective stats for cycling.

I'm saying I didnt follow the point Pete wrote in his article where he states polls show there is a perception of danger to cycling, but then immediately acknowledges the roads are dangerous to cycle on, because theres alot of driving illegality, not least speeding.

So how can it be just a perception problem ? if we are accepting at the same time people "could perhaps be less of a danger to others when they drive"

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quiff replied to stonojnr | 5 months ago
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I think it was just imperfectly expressed. I took it to mean "some people are put off cycling because they perceive it to be dangerous; and those who try it find that it is actually dangerous" - though the stats people are referencing suggest it's actually not.

Perhaps more accurate would be to say "some people are put off trying because they perceive it to be dangerous, and those that try are not necessarily persuaded otherwise". In my own experience for example, I count myself lucky to have had just three 'offs' in adult life (touch wood) - two novice unclipping fails involving nobody else, and one left hook where I was hit by a car. But add in the countless near misses, close passes, all of the things I'm trying to anticipate on the road (wet road markings, drain covers, potholes, broken glass etc), and I would probably say I still perceive it to be more dangerous than those few falls suggest.       

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chrisonabike replied to stonojnr | 5 months ago
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This is a common one to pick up on - if you're saying we should cycle because it's very safe, you can't then complain about dangers on the road!

David Hembrow explains this one pretty well in his article on three types of safety.

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chrisonabike replied to stonojnr | 5 months ago
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My longer take: yes, statistically, cycling is "safe" as these activities go.  This overlooks three aspects of human nature:

a) Cycling is seen by most as a very much "voluntary" activity - whereas driving is not as it's "normal transport".  Notice how many times you hear variations on "I had to drive ..."

b)  Someone being killed or injured or especially feeling that you could have been is extremely salient.  The arresting is what our stories (news, social media and other fiction) focus on / distill.  (Unless you're a fan of e.g. James Benning).

c)  The reasons that people verbalise are not always the whole truth.  (e.g. We may be surprisingly unaware of our own motivations.)  Yes - we're very sensitive to risk and try to reason about it.  But we mostly judge with our gut / intuition / feeling and then rationalise after.  There are two parts to this:

i) The social aspect - we don't see lots of cyclists, many people don't know cyclists.  Does your boss cycle?  Does anyone "bike-share" to work (and BTW in the UK it's often bizarrely "single file")?  See (a).  In the UK currently few "paths" lead to cycling.

ii) If somehow you find your way to being on a bike it's not the stats but how you feel.  Cycling can give you moments which feel much less pleasant than when walking / driving - see (b).

And maybe you're on a bike for the first time in years.  Cautiously cycling along when a bus rumbles by you, or a lorry's airbrakes go right next to you.  Or you get a puncture.  For a regular road cyclist, it's nothing* but it's different when starting out.  Hopefully you've got a pal to go with or at least share tales with!

* Actually your your arousal level has likely increased and you are mildly stressed.  Becoming a "regular cyclist" is partly just getting used to this feeling (not to say addicted...).

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brooksby replied to stonojnr | 5 months ago
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stonojnr wrote:

I'm not debating the perception or objective stats for cycling. I'm saying I didnt follow the point Pete wrote in his article where he states polls show there is a perception of danger to cycling, but then immediately acknowledges the roads are dangerous to cycle on, because theres alot of driving illegality, not least speeding. So how can it be just a perception problem ? if we are accepting at the same time people "could perhaps be less of a danger to others when they drive"

But wasn't his point - certainly in the quote I'd put - that people don't cycle because they think that the roads are dangerous.  Then admitting that the roads can be a bit dangerous.  Then pointing out that the roads are dangerous primarily because of the illegal and/or inconsiderate behaviour of the people in cars.  And then drawing attention to the howls of outrage when it's suggested that one way of fixing this might be to actually crack down on that illegal and inconsiderate behaviour.

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stonojnr replied to brooksby | 5 months ago
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Yes agreed, just seems an odd way to me to say the danger is perceived and then list all the ways the danger is very real.

I think it's because the road justice report Chris Boardman presented, mentions the perceived safety or danger aspect alot, but explains the perception is based on real examples of bad dangerous driving, which can be tackled by adopting the reports recommendations.

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brooksby | 5 months ago
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Quote:

risk destroying the sense of tranquillity and escape that this landscape has delivered for generations

I was under the impression that ship had sailed long ago...

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bobbinogs | 5 months ago
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JV certainly seem to have found a new way of improving the performance of a whole team such that they are now dominating races and blocking out all the top spots in a way not seen for, oooh, quite some time.  They've kind of killed things for me ATM, too much thinking that I am being 'had in a bag' (again).

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HarrogateSpa replied to bobbinogs | 5 months ago
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There is a high risk of making accusations of doping against teams and riders you don't like, and giving a free pass to those you do like.

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