Well now that wasn't on my bingo card today!
Scottish mountain biker Andrew McAvoy runs the YouTube channel called McTrail Rider. He describes himself as "not a big fan of the royal family" and "anti-establishment", but couldn't help appreciating the monarch when he came across him on the trails in Balmoral.
McAvoy was with a few other riders when he saw the proceedings and black SUVs near the estate, predicting that there must be someone from the royal family around. As they rolled along the trail, McAvoy spotted a man with a jacket, a flat cap and a walking stick coming towards them.
"I think that's a minor royal", he said to himself — before realising it was the King himself.
Charles told them about his own escpades to the area with his late father and Princess Anne back in the day, and added that he was trying to "get more trees".
When asked if he was still on his summer holiday, Charles replied: "Yes. It is wonderful up here" (can't lie looks horrendous at this time but where does it not). He added that he liked walking because it was 'good for the soul', despite a disappointingly brisk Scottish summer this year.
He signed them off with wave and the usual remark you give to your usual mountain biker: "Don't fall off!"
Blimey! King Charles looking out for cyclists!
Well I'm bummed they didn't ask him to take their bikes for a spin, or better, Charlie didn't have a wee chat about cycling too. Ah well, you can ask for so much (as a cyclist that's not a lot these days).
McAvoy seemed impresses, stating what a "nice man" he was. He said: "Lovely man had time for us. I'm annoyed because I didn't want to care, but that was nice."
He added: "'He's a nice man. He's walking when everyone else is driving. I'm just perplexed. It'd be one thing to like see the King with everyone - he was just wandering down the trail on his own."
I don't know, seeing a man wander down the trail on their own shouldn't be such a bizarre thing right? But hey, silver linings and all.
Latvian pro racer for Lidl-Trek, Toms Skujiņš, has something to say about the Stefan Küng crash, and if I may offer my insignificant opinion, I think he's spot-on.
One of my favourite swannies never let the DS put spare helmets in the race follow cars. Even actively would take them out when he saw them there. Why? Because if you're helmet is broken from a crash, you probably shouldn't be riding.
— Toms Skujiņš (@Tomashuuns) September 21, 2023
Skujiņš added: "Many remember my crash in 2017 where I stumbled, but still somehow how got on a bike and barely rode away without hurting myself or others more. It's crazy to me that more than 6 years on we still make(even bigger) mistakes regarding riding with a concussion."
What do you think about his comments?
A residents’ group in East London has accused the local council of taking “the most extreme, undemocratic, and dangerous decision available”, after it voted to remove most of the borough’s low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) schemes – despite a series of consultations showing that residents are in favour of retaining the traffic-calming measures.
Last night, Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman, as a protest was staged outside the town hall, decided to scrap the walking and cycling initiatives introduced by the previous Labour administration in 2021 in Columbia Road, Arnold Circus, and Old Bethnal Green.
Jumbo Visma announced yesterday that 26-year-old Nathan Van Hooydonck has been forced to call time on his career, a diagnosis of cardiac arrhythmia following last week's car crash meaning he has been fitted with an internal defibrillator.
The Belgian team's loyal domestique participated in this year's Tour de France where he was key to helping Jonas Vingegaard defend his maillot jaune for a consecutive year, and also raced in the Tour of Britain (I have a bittersweet memory of seeing him there, in what will tragically be his last outing as a pro cyclist).
After winning the bronze in yesterday's European TT championship, teammate and fellow countryman Wout van Aert was emotional when asked about Van Hooydock, saying that it was "really unfair".
He said: "I have a lot of trouble accepting it. This is very sad news, sad but at the same time good: I am very happy that Nathan was able to fight until the end. This is obviously the most important thing. His life held only a thread last week. I hope that he will soon be able to return to a normal life and enjoy fatherhood.
"It's a hard blow for him to no longer be able to indulge in his passion. Having to stop his career in such a way is really unfair, he who has already experienced so many misadventures."
Van Aert also said that he has now lost "his best teammate" and "one of his best friends in the peloton". He also retweeted a picture of a Jumbo Visma rider wearing "Nathan" on the team's iconic triple Grand-Tour winning jersey on the last stage of the Vuelta.
Not out of context, just a very nice thing to share. pic.twitter.com/E8CiA3CAL7
— Cycling out of context (@OutOfCycling) September 17, 2023
Jonas Vingegaard also shared a post on social media today, saying: "My dear friend and bodyguard. Even though I’m gonna miss having you by my side in the bunch, I’m most of all happy you can continue your life together with your wife and baby ❤️ Thank you for all the great memories we have together."
Phil Gaimon, former pro rider for Garmin-Sharp and Cannondale (now EF Education-EasyPost) has spoken out against the idolising by some people of Stefan Küng's bloodied and bruised end to what could have been a fantastic showing at the European time trial championships yesterday.
Switzerland's time trial specialist Küng had been in contention for a third European TT champion title after passing the second intermediate time check in third place, less than a second off Wout Van Aert’s time, though almost half a minute down on the flying young British rider Josh Tarling.
However, towards the end of his ride, Küng – riding in the extreme, head-down aero position favoured by most modern time triallists – misjudged the slight change in direction on the road and failed to spot the row of encroaching barriers in front of him.
— O País Do Ciclismo (@opaisdociclismo) September 20, 2023
As far as images having the power to evoke strong emotions in fans go, the images coming out of the incident were certainly shocking and jarring.
But Phil Gaimon, who's had his fair share of experience with concussions and crashes during his pro cycling career, has now spoken out to dissuade fans from idolising this sort of stuff and called for more rider protection.
He wrote on Twitter: "I’m seeing way too many people calling this brave or hardcore. I'm not blaming Kung at all for doing what he's trained for (and his head just took a hit), but there's nothing inspiring or bad ass about this photo.
"I remember crashing in a category 3 race, catching back on, winning covered in blood, and feeling proud and tough for it. I also remember introducing myself to a former teammate at the Tour of California team presentation (he of course knew me well and thought I was joking).
I’m seeing way too many people calling this brave or hardcore. I'm not blaming Kung at all for doing what he's trained for (and his head just took a hit), but there's nothing inspiring or bad ass about this photo. pic.twitter.com/t2MdNNFwOm
— Phil Gaimon (@philgaimon) September 21, 2023
This was in 2013, just two months after Gaimon had suffered a bad concussion, and in between he had been second overall at the Tour of Gila. He said that it "worked out apparently but scares the shit out of him in retrospect", adding that multiple head injuries at the same time "can make you a vegetable".
He continued: "I think it's a combination of getting older and how science has progressed on concussions but I'm really not afraid of broken bones or road rash at all anymore, however I am scared of a brain injury that comes back to haunt me when I'm 60.
"Respect your brain and spread the word on concussions. I’m not going to give medical advice but look into warning signs and recovery protocols."
After the incident yesterday, former UCI president Brian Cookson called on cycling’s governing body to crack down on the "crazy trend" of riding head down in time trials. He argued that the crash was a result of Küng’s head-down riding style, which he claims should be banned by the sport’s world governing body.
That had already sparked some debate, with people pointing out that the top three riders in all UK time trial championships would have to be disqualified if they applied that rule.
— Brian Cookson OBE (@BrianCooksonOBE) September 20, 2023
But now perhaps Gaimon's point calls for another discussion, and it's one we have already had earlier this year during the Giro: Does pro cycling needs to ditch its obsession with "hardness"?
GCN commentator and everybody's favourite pro cycling analyst Carlton Kirby, who was on the mic during yesterday's race said at the time of the crash: "Concussion protocols and the like.. that’s a terrible picture of a real athlete and he’s finishing the job he’s almost programmed to do.
"It was going so well and it’s ended in disaster, and it’s straight to medical facilities once he crosses the line. Such a shame for Stefan Küng, what a brave rider!"
If commentators continue to label actions and images like these as "brave" and a "real athlete", do you think cycling fans, sitting from the couches of their homes can let go of the "hardness"? Do we all need a moment to realise that athletes don't need to put their lives on the line, or do you think cycling should go on as it has in the past, complete with strongman personalities and idols made out of stone?
Let us know what you think in the comments!
— London Cycling Campaign (@London_Cycling) September 20, 2023
If you’re a TikTok-er or active on other social media, you may well have seen videos of Sigrid, a delightful feline passenger being ridden around on her owner’s bikes. Sigrid, a deaf Norwegian Forest cat, and her owner, Travis Nelson, have been taking the internet by storm over the last few years since Nelson decided to take her for a ride during Covid.
I, for one, absolutely the adore the white furry little catto and have a smile on my face everytime I across their videos, so here's me sharing some of my joys with you.
A petition to oppose the blanket 20mph speed limit in Wales has reached a record number of signatures, however people have pointed out that most of the signatories do not live in Wales, and some not even in the UK!
After news of wacky conspiracy theories taking hold of the hive mind, with this one Twitter account doing some insane mental gymnastics to say that the Russell Brand sexual assault accusations have been manufactured in an attempt to stop using cars!
The world we live in, ladies and gentlemen!
Now, the BBC has reported that the petition to overturn the 20mph speed limit in Wales has become the most-signed petition to reach the Senedd in the history with 320,000 signatures as of Wednesday night. However many were quick to point out the discrepancies in the regions from where the petition was deriving its horde of signatures.
And all the welsh ones aren’t even close to a majority.
But you won’t mention it was signed by multiple people from other countries will you? pic.twitter.com/eyjU0GYLRm
— Anthony Jones photographer (@AntJphoto) September 20, 2023
Signatories included people from India, Kenya, Japan, Oman, Pakistan, Phillippines, the USA and the Vatican, just to name a few.
Just this morning, BBC has another story up, stating the claims from the owner of a beds and mattresses company in Llanelli (beautiful place, by the way), who believed the decision is "destroying companies and putting so much stress on people".
However, the chief executive of one driver training school said he believed the decision should be considered UK-wide.
Two hand fractures, a crack in his cheekbone and a concussion.
That's the update on Stefan Küng's injuries coming from Het Nieuwsblad after the Swiss specialist's arresting crash at the European TT championship.
Translation: “After his fall during the European Championships time trial, Stefan Küng suffered two hand fractures, a crack in his cheekbone and a concussion. The Swiss will not start the mixed relay and should end his season according to HNB”
I have no words except anger. https://t.co/Ko3klM7pOp
— Katie (@medicinexthings) September 21, 2023
Is anger a fair emotion at how Küng was allowed to go on? Are TTs inherently more dangerous due to a lack of medical staff on the track as opposed to a road race? Should the team be penalised for not stopping him and seeking immediate medical help? Has the debate come more alive due to the striking images of a bloodied rider with a broken helmet? What does it say about the human condition that makes us seek a thrill like this?
I'm here all day, and as your amiable host at the helm of this live blog after some time, I will be reading your comments. So feel free to discuss!
Meanwhile, here's some discussion points from social media...
It was clear from the state of his helmet that there was a huge likelihood of concussion. The organisers should’ve intervened if the team didn’t.
It does show the risk of ITTs - it isn’t possible to have a medical team close enough to every rider, as there is with a road race.
— Jason Good🌻 (@JasonGood) September 21, 2023
Küng — is King. My hero
— Андрей Лысаков 🇰🇿🇷🇺 (@poopmDX) September 21, 2023
angry for what? It's his problem
— Peter Salon (@PetoSalon) September 21, 2023
Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.