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MP urges candidates to "be brave and take cycling out of the culture wars" during election; Cyclists slam Telegraph's quiet correction to story falsely claiming "death trap" cyclists hit "52mph" chasing London Strava segments; Giro + more on the live blog

Welcome to the Thursday live blog where Dan Alexander will be rounding up everything that's happening in the world of cycling today...


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23 May 2024, 12:52
"People want to cycle more. We just need to help them do it": Conservative MP urges candidates to "be brave and take cycling out of the culture wars"
Jeremy Corbyn bikesatpollingstations May 2016 (source - Twitter).jpg

With the election build-up already well underway, Conservative MP Trudy Harrison has penned a post on The House website titled, "Let's take cycling out of the culture wars". Beginning by explaining how moving more is one of her goals for 2024 and highlighting the physical and mental benefits of walking or cycling your commute, Harrison urged "every candidate standing at the next election to include walking or cycling on their leaflets".

"And this shouldn’t be seen as a war between left and right," she said. "We've come far under Conservative governments, mayors and councils. Some of our cities are unrecognisable from ten years ago. Roads on which only those without other options would have cycled now serve thousands a day.

"We also mustn't make it an argument between rural and urban areas. My Copeland constituency is blessed with lakes, rivers, fells and mountains, being situated within the English Lake District. But just as importantly, people and communities are connected by miles of public paths and bridleways, quiet lanes, coastal routes, and the start of the Coast to Coast, soon to become the 17th National Trail, which I completed with my husband last summer. 

"We proudly boast the UK's most popular challenge cycle route, Sustrans' Sea to Sea (or C2C) – from the Irish Sea at Whitehaven to the North Sea at Sunderland, some 138 miles. These networks provide huge financial and social boosts, bringing visitors and business to the area, and are also relied upon by locals for everyday journeys and escaping into nature.

"It is often assumed that cycling is divisive. But the recently published, independently researched Sustrans walking and cycling index shows that people want to live in healthier places.

"Most people use all modes of transport depending on the journey. Sustrans found that 58 per cent of people support more cycle paths protected from traffic and 62 per cent would like more low-traffic neighbourhoods, while 24 per cent say they want to drive less, with 50 per cent wanting to walk more, and 43 per cent to cycle more. This should reassure us to use the systems set up across government to help more people to change gear and get active.

"Let's be brave and take cycling out of the culture wars. I encourage every candidate standing at the next election to include walking or cycling on their leaflets; it might just attract people who don't currently feel spoken to. People want to cycle more. We just need to help them do it."

23 May 2024, 16:11
Shimano finally introduces new electronic 12-speed GRX Di2 gravel groupset
23 May 2024, 15:41
Tim Merlier sprints to stage 18 victory

A second stage win for Tim Merlier at this year's Giro d'Italia, the Belgian going head-to-head with Jonathan Milan and coming out the victor... by a bike throw.

Both of the race's strongest sprinters were slightly out of position and had to come from a few lengths back as the line neared, the pair almost side by side as they launched their final efforts, kicking clear of everyone else, Merlier simply half a wheel faster than Milan today.

Kaden Groves, Alberto Dainese, Caleb Ewan, Juan Sebastián Molano and Tobias Lund Andresen's barren Grand Tour continues, the two at the top seemingly in a different league. Sunday's final stage, in Rome, should give them all one more shot.

Will Merlier match Milan's hat-trick? Can the Italian bag number four and confirm superiority as the Giro's top dog? Will someone else break their duck? There's plenty of climbing to get through before we know the answers to those...  

23 May 2024, 15:08
*Smiles smugly*
23 May 2024, 14:35
British Cycling announces "powerful new partnership" with Lloyds Bank (although Shell deal remains)
British Cycling (Alex Whitehead/

British Cycling has announced a "major long-term partnership" which will see Lloyds Bank become the governing body's new "Lead Partner". Described as a multi-year commitment, British Cycling reports Lloyds will be the title partner of the returning Tour of Britain events to be held later this year and will also be a title partner of numerous other events including a national track league and urban cycling festival.

Lloyds will also be title sponsor of British Cycling's elite National Series and National Championship events. In short, if it's a British Cycling event, you can expect to see Lloyds' logo for the foreseeable. So too can you still expect to see Shell's, the oil giants' deal unaffected by this latest investment.

"As two British institutions, British Cycling and Lloyds Bank have a natural affinity and we share a commitment to supporting a more healthy, inclusive and prosperous Britain," the governing body's CEO John Dutton said. "In the last twelve months, a third of UK adults have ridden a bike and we want to see more people experiencing the joy of cycling.

“Through this partnership with Lloyds Bank, we can embark together on a journey to not only champion the sport but also harness its potential to deliver liberating experiences to families and communities nationwide. We are collectively committed to tackling social inequality and inspiring a nation to move together towards a healthier and more inclusive future."

Track star Katie Archibald may be fielding some calls from Soudal Quick-Step after this Wolfpack-worthy sponsor shout-out (check out yesterday's blog if you've got no idea what I'm talking about)... "British Cycling partnering with Lloyds Bank is really exciting as it means we can inspire even more people of all ages across Britain to get on a bike and experience the joy of cycling," Archibald said. "From world-class events to grassroots initiatives, it's clear that this new partnership will be a game-changer, bringing even more excitement and inclusivity to cycling."

Is it too facetious of us to suggest we're not exactly sure "excitement" or "inclusivity" are two words commonly associated with banking? Of course, we're just being a bit disingenuous, we get she means the investment...

23 May 2024, 13:46
'Dangerous cycling bill' will not be made into a law after UK general election announced by Rishi Sunak
23 May 2024, 13:38
"Haters gonna flag": Tadej Pogačar flagged (again)
23 May 2024, 09:46
A Thursday dose of envy-inducing Norwegian cycling infrastructure

Look at this masterpiece filmed by Stuart Baillie (StuInNorway on Twitter)... and I don't just mean the cycling in a kilt...

"The new missing segment in the middle of our cycle expressway opened today, so it would have been rude to not turn up to the opening suitable attired... Yes I'm cycling in kilt and jacket, including bow tie. The bridge over the motorway's going to make a huge difference." 

Excuse me while I nip to the shops on my cracked shared-use path covered with broken glass and give way signs at every turning... no, I'm not bitter.

23 May 2024, 09:35
"Stating the blindingly obvious, cyclists whether new or experienced will be less inclined to ride on the roads if there is perceived or real danger and more people will cycle less as that danger increases"
Cyclist in London cyclists dismount sign in background - copyright Simon MacMichael

Let's dive into some of your reaction to this.

> "The UK is travelling in the wrong direction": Cycling miles travelled down and car journeys up according to latest government stats

Pub bike: "My own experience is that for many years from the mid-2000s to around 2020 or so the roads seemed to get a little bit safer but since then they seem to have become more dangerous. I thought things got yet more dangerous after the changes to the Highway Code which should have had the opposite effect.   

"The 'Plan for Drivers' is just making things even worse. Stating the blindingly obvious, cyclists whether new or experienced will be less inclined to ride on the roads if there is perceived or real danger and more people will cycle less as that danger increases. These cycling miles figures do not surprise me, but they do sadden me."

Ryanbybike: "Actively encouraged by the government. I'm not surprised!" 

Live blog comment 30 May 2024
23 May 2024, 09:32
Mercian Cycles ceases trading and enters voluntary liquidation
23 May 2024, 08:41
Something tells me this is going to be a sprint
Giro d'Italia stage 18 2024 (RCS)

A well deserved easy day at the Giro, the sprinters and their teams emerging from hibernation to take the first of two more days where they can win. After today it's back to the mountains for stages 19 and 20, the latter of the two featuring a double ascent of the Monte Grappa, before the final stage in Rome.

Can anyone stop Jonathan Milan making it four? If the Lidl-Trek man does that'll mean half the stages of this year's race will have been won by him or Tadej Pogačar.

23 May 2024, 08:08
"The UK is travelling in the wrong direction": Cycling miles travelled down and car journeys up according to latest government stats
23 May 2024, 07:44
"Too late, damage already done": Cyclists slam Telegraph's quiet correction to story falsely claiming "death trap" cyclists hit "52mph" chasing London Strava segments... despite that being faster than Tour de France sprinters

If you missed it yesterday evening (apparently something was happening in Westminster) The Daily Telegraph amended its story claiming "death trap" cyclists are riding at 52mph in pursuit of London Strava segments, removing the dodgy GPS data 'evidence' that the newspaper now admits was "erroneous". 

Curiously, the Telegraph claimed (in its very quietly corrected story with statement added at the bottom) that Strava data "cannot be checked or independently verified", somewhat ironic given the story was in part the work of a journalist who is a former BBC fact checker. Apparently, a quick internet search to realise not even peak Sir Chris Hoy could ride at 84km/h (indoors in a velodrome with perfect conditions while motor paced by a derny), was beyond its staff's fact-checking capabilities.

Which is how we ended up with one of the UK's largest newspapers putting this on its front page on Friday.

Telegraph front page

As many pointed out last night, the quiet correction and change of the online headline will do nothing to address the thousands of people who read it in print or saw it online before the amendment.

"Oops, too late. Damage already done," one reader said on social media.

Matt Jackson: "You can bet this change in detail won't be widely published unlike the original 'attention-grabbing' headline…"

Duncan Mackay: "It appears to be one of those 'Sorry if you're offended...' apologies. Their 'correction' is worded in such a way as to imply that Strava are deleting rides, to cover up dangerous cycling. Rather than them just admitting that their 'journalist' hasn't actually done their job properly, because he/she was too busy trying to provoke outrage."

eburtthebike: "Telegraph: 'We are happy to clarify this point and correct the record.'

"No, they aren't.  They're happy to publish a correction that almost nobody who read the original pile of excrement will read, and most people who read it will still believe it."

 AidanR suggested the people on social media saying they would report the piece to IPSO (the Independent Press Standards Organisation that regulates many of the UK's newspapers and magazines) might have contributed to the correction. 

"What I would love to see, though, is corrections have as prominent a place as the original article, i.e. splashed across the top of the front page. A guy can dream..." he added.

fincon1: "The Daily Telegraph is now as bad as the Mail. I cancelled my subscription earlier this year after yet another anti-cycling article. Chris Boardman is right."

Last weekend, Boardman called the article "hate speech" and demanded the press has "just got to stop" labelling cyclists as killers off the back of one widely reported incident from 2022 that informed the government's acceptance of introducing a new dangerous cycling law... more on that and the impact the upcoming general election might have later...

Dan is the news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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morgoth985 replied to OnYerBike | 1 month ago

Good point.  I skimmed over the headline (too lazy, obv) but now that you mention it it does seem a bit harsh to label it "laziness" when there are so many and such high barriers to activity.  Some might be laziness but I bet a lot of it isn't.


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