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Jeremy Clarkson "anti-cycling" column "peddles hate for easy money"... but does anyone actually care any more?; Coolest man in Flanders — Arnaud De Lie pops a wheelie on the Kemmelberg's cobbles; Weekend round-up + more on the live blog

It's the start of a new week on the live blog, Dan Alexander is here for all your Monday news, reaction and (hopefully) entertainment...

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27 March 2023, 09:58
Jeremy Clarkson "anti-cycling" column "peddles hate for easy money"... but does anyone actually care any more?

Welcome to anti-cycling bingo with your host... Jeremy Clarkson...

Jeremy Clarkson on BBC The One Show

The former Top Gear host is back from his Christmas on the naughty step having penned the single most complained about column in the UK press regulator's history. Moving on from Meghan, Clarkson's possibly suffering from writer's block this week, dropping back to an old favourite...

Jeremy Clarkson Sun column

You'll probably be quite bored by the TV loudmouth's latest thoughts on cycling (you really have heard it all before), we even saw someone suggest it's like they've got an AI to write an anti-cycling article in the style of Clarkson because he was on holiday.

Bike lanes, Highway Code, "anti-capitalism with handlebars", Stasi camera cyclists, gEtTiNg In DrIvErS' wAy, lycra... it's a near full house on the anti-cycling bingo front. Has a more tired line ever been written than, "They are just pedalling around to annoy people who've worked hard and bought themselves a car"?

But does anyone actually care any more?

Anyway, let's not spend too much time on the column because from the reaction it seems the public has worked out the Clarkson "cartoon character"...

One person sharing one of his pieces on social media this weekend suggested "Clarkson makes much more sense when you realise he's a middle-class liberal who invented a right-wing blokey character to sell columns and TV shows".

Likewise, Abingdon councillor Nathan Ley said he was just "playing to the gallery". "Most of the time I just ride a bike — with a basket — slowly, to get to work, the shops, and school drop off," he added. "This frees up more space on the road for your Chelsea tractor, and makes me less likely to take your space at a hospital. Get a grip, man."

27 March 2023, 15:50
Are robots coming for Clarkson's job?
27 March 2023, 15:39
Two weeks out... the cobbles of Roubaix look perfect (-ly wet)

A repeat of 2021?  

Sonny Colbrelli Merida Reacto Paris-Roubaix-5 (Credit Alex Broadway/SWpix.com)
Sonny Colbrelli Merida Reacto Paris-Roubaix (Credit A.S.O._Pauline Ballet)-2
27 March 2023, 15:31
Australian cycling charity shares picture of Melbourne bike lane-blocking planters
Melbourne Trobe Street bike lane (Bicycle Network)

You've heard of low-traffic neighbourhoods, but what about low-traffic bike lanes? Someone in Melbourne decided these planters should be stuck slap bang in the middle of one of the city's cycle lanes.

"April 1 is still days away," the Bicycle Network charity said. "Some of the largest hazardous bollards we have ever seen have appeared in the La Trobe Street bike lane. And they have trees in them! All jokes aside, City of Melbourne needs to act quickly and remove them."

27 March 2023, 13:41
The best video you'll see today

Sorry, Arnaud, I know you wheelied up the Kemmelberg, but this is our favourite vid on today's live blog...

27 March 2023, 13:09
Former Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey talked out of retirement by Dave Brailsford
Dave Brailsford press conference 2021 - via Bioracer 3

According to the Daily Mail, Welsh international midfielder Aaron Ramsey was considering quitting football after Wales' group stage exit at the World Cup. The man credited with encouraging the now-Wales captain to keep at it? Dave Brailsford...

The former Team Sky and Ineos Grenadiers boss is now trying his hand at football, as part of the Ineos sporting empire, with French Ligue 1 club Nice, and told Ramsey to take an extended Christmas break, encouraging him to reconsider any retirement thoughts.

Since former coach Lucien Favre's sacking in January, Ramsey has been revitalised, helping new coach Didier Digard (of Middlesbrough 2008-10 'fame') improve the club's fortunes, climbing the league table and reaching the quarter finals of the Europa Conference League.

How long Brailsford will remain in the south of France remains to be seen, with the former British Cycling performance director reportedly trusted by Jim Ratcliffe to overhaul Manchester United should the Ineos billionaire's bid to buy the club from the Glazer family be successful.

27 March 2023, 13:03
Secret new tech! Garmin set to release solar-powered Edge 540 and 840 bike computers
27 March 2023, 11:17
"Real-world consequences": Cyclist "spat at for cycling with my children on an off-road designated cycle path" warns of real-world consequences for spreading "anti-cyclist rhetoric"... as Times publishes front page coverage of Celia Ward case

Elsewhere in the press this weekend...

The Sunday Times 26/3/23

Coincidentally the front page came just hours after one Oxford cyclist had warned of the "real-world consequences" of spreading "anti-cyclist rhetoric", saying she had been spat at while cycling with her children on an "off-road designated cycling path".

"Thank you to everyone for being so nice. I actually wasn't scared but I was absolutely furious. The rage and hatred in her expression really took me aback and there was no reason for it other than some entrenched hatred of the existence of bikes," Laura added.

"And obviously the awful case of Celia Ward, who was killed because of a similar incident, was very present in my mind." 

Earlier this month, Auriol Grey, the pedestrian convicted of causing the death of a 77-year-old cyclist by gesturing aggressively for her to get off the pavement was sentenced to three years in prison.

27 March 2023, 10:36
"It makes me angry and a little bit disappointed": Chris Opie speaks out about Wally Gimber incident which saw rider airlifted to hospital after going through car's rear windscreen
2022 Wally Gimber Trophy (Dulwich Paragon/YouTube)

Former Rapha Condor JLT, One Pro, Canyon Eisberg and Saint Piran rider Chris Opie has spoken out about the incident at last weekend's Wally Gimber Trophy which left one rider with a cut to his neck following a collision with a stationary vehicle.

Last Monday, we spoke to the rider injured's team and competitors at the race who told us how the National B-level event had been stopped after just 40 minutes due to the incident, with the rider involved recovering well after initial concerns about the severity of the injury.

Opie, who was also racing and documented the day on his YouTube channel, raised concerns, saying "everything about that race felt wrong".

> "Continuing as we are remains unsafe": Calls for British Cycling action as rider airlifted to hospital after collision with car during race

"It's barely even 10 years ago that Junior Heffernan lost his life in the Severn Bridge road race and we don't need to get close to repeating that. Unfortunately on Sunday we did," he explained.

"Because of the landing of the air ambulance the race couldn't continue, but I don't believe that should have been the deciding factor. The race shouldn't have continued anyway because of rider behaviour, traffic conditions and what was ultimately too much of an ambitious an circuit. It was a 20-kilometre circuit, that's a long way, there are a lot of junctions, lots of different environmental conditions, whether that's potholes, traffic, villages or access."

During the video, Opie touches on race briefings, rider attitude, rider behaviour, the "deterioration of hierarchy" with fewer big teams to road captain events, narrow handlebars, marshals controlling circuit access and just about every other conceivable factor. An interesting perspective from someone at the event...

27 March 2023, 08:02
Coolest man in Flanders — Arnaud De Lie pops a wheelie on the Kemmelberg's cobbles

As the saying goes... when life gives you a classic-ending puncture, make everyone's day by popping a wheelie on the rain-sodden steep cobbles of the Kemmel... or something like that.

It was a filthy day on the bike in Flanders fields, a point illustrated by a combined 131 abandons in the men's and women's races, Fred Wright calling the conditions "horrendous", while Jake Stewart was left to call his profession a "shit sport".

> Gent-Wevelgem leader takes wrong turn and strays off-course – but holds on to win 

De Lie was not one of the many riders to call it a day once off the back, the Belgian puncturing having been in decent shape the first time up the savage cobbled berg. On the second ascent, off the back and with little more to play for, the Lotto Dstny rider put his skills to the test... fatigue + soaked cobbles + testing gradients = a casual wheelie.

27 March 2023, 08:54
BEST £1000 road bikes 2023 | our six favourite cheap road bikes

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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55 comments

Avatar
brooksby replied to Rendel Harris | 11 months ago
2 likes

Rendel Harris wrote:

Never miss an opportunity for my favourite Heisenberg joke:

Heisenberg was driving in Germany when he was pulled over by a traffic cop:

"Excuse me mein Herr but you were driving at 60 km/h in a 40 km/h zone."

"Tell me officer, what town are we in?"

"Frankfurt, mein Herr."

"Well if you know where we are you can't possibly know how fast I was going."

laugh

Avatar
brooksby replied to belugabob | 11 months ago
2 likes

belugabob wrote:
brooksby wrote:

Schrodinger's cyclist, innit? 

...or is it Heisenberg's cyclist? I'm not certain...

Upon reflection, Heisenberg actually fits better with the aim of my comment.  I stand corrected.

Avatar
belugabob replied to brooksby | 11 months ago
0 likes
brooksby wrote:

belugabob wrote:
brooksby wrote:

Schrodinger's cyclist, innit? 

...or is it Heisenberg's cyclist? I'm not certain...

Upon reflection, Heisenberg actually fits better with the aim of my comment.  I stand corrected.

It wasn't a correction - more of an enigmatic juxtaposition, wrapped in a paradox...🤔

Avatar
RDaneel replied to NotNigel | 11 months ago
11 likes

Cycling is no longer cheap and cheerful but cyclists are definitely anti-capitalists. His ability to contradict himself so frequently in one column is quite a feat. 

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Rendel Harris replied to RDaneel | 11 months ago
4 likes

RDaneel wrote:

Cycling is no longer cheap and cheerful but cyclists are definitely anti-capitalists. His ability to contradict himself so frequently in one column is quite a feat. 

That's one of my favourites, cyclists are simultaneously such failures that they can't afford a car and stupid overprivileged MAMILs spending what for some is a year's salary on a child's toy.

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Simon E replied to RDaneel | 11 months ago
4 likes

RDaneel wrote:

Cycling is no longer cheap and cheerful but cyclists are definitely anti-capitalists.

Do you know many cyclists? That description doesn't fit the vast majority of the ones I know, whether local commuters, fellow club members, in other local clubs and elsewhere.

I think you'll find that cyclists vary hugely. A handful of opinionated types commenting on road.cc are not representative of everyone who rides on 2 or 3 wheels; by describing all people who use a bicycle (or trike) in that way you are fooling no-one but yourself.

And cycling is still cheap. Perhaps you simply choose to read about expensive bikes, parts and clothing. In most places in the UK cycling is a lot cheaper than running a car or using public transport. Last time I did some sums it was about the tenth of the cost of running my old, basic hatchback.

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NotNigel replied to Simon E | 11 months ago
4 likes

I think RDaneel is just quoting what Jeremy Clarkson wrote.

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RDaneel replied to NotNigel | 11 months ago
5 likes

Indeed I was,  I should have been clearer (again! 😅) that that was the ridiculous level of contradiction in Clarksons column amongst the many. Not my thinking at all! 

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grOg replied to NotNigel | 11 months ago
0 likes

No; he was critiquing his writing; quite different from quoting..

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grOg replied to Simon E | 11 months ago
0 likes

Well said; very true.

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NickSprink replied to NotNigel | 11 months ago
5 likes

NotNigel wrote:

I do like how cyclists on roads hold motorists up but as soon as they mount the pavement they hit 50mph.

Drivers really should learn not to drive on pavements at 50 mph

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Legin | 11 months ago
5 likes

Re the picture of Clarkson on the bike, if you're a helmet you won't be needing a helmet......

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ShutTheFrontDawes replied to Legin | 11 months ago
2 likes

Yes I expect the anti-helmet brigade are quite happy and respect his right to not wear a helmet, while the pro-helmet brigade are quietly keeping their fingers crossed and hoping for the best (or perhaps worst).

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ChrisB200SX replied to ShutTheFrontDawes | 11 months ago
2 likes

ShutTheFrontDawes wrote:

Yes I expect the anti-helmet brigade are quite happy and respect his right to not wear a helmet, while the pro-helmet brigade are quietly keeping their fingers crossed and hoping for the best (or perhaps worst).

Is this "anti-helmet brigade" a straw-man? If not, who are they?

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eburtthebike replied to ChrisB200SX | 11 months ago
5 likes

ChrisB200SX wrote:

Is this "anti-helmet brigade" a straw-man?

The strawest of straw men, an invention of the helmet promoters to denigrate people who present them with facts.

Avatar
ShutTheFrontDawes replied to ChrisB200SX | 11 months ago
1 like
ChrisB200SX wrote:

ShutTheFrontDawes wrote:

Yes I expect the anti-helmet brigade are quite happy and respect his right to not wear a helmet, while the pro-helmet brigade are quietly keeping their fingers crossed and hoping for the best (or perhaps worst).

Is this "anti-helmet brigade" a straw-man? If not, who are they?

There certainly are some, on this very website even, that put forward rediculous arguments against wearing helmets. Even going so far as suggesting, on multiple occasions, that helmets kill people. Sometimes by strangulation and sometimes by forcing car drivers to drive dangerously. The causal relationship is, needless to say, tenuous.

Oh look, one of them has already replied to my comment  3

I love how, even though I called both groups 'brigades' you still pick up on it. Can't help yourselves, can you?

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eburtthebike replied to ShutTheFrontDawes | 11 months ago
1 like

Best stay away from fires: straw is quite inflammable.

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ShutTheFrontDawes replied to eburtthebike | 11 months ago
1 like

Whose argument am I distorting there? Did you or did you not say that helmets "must cause deaths" (I'm sure I can dredge up the comment and quote the whole thing if it helps your memory)? Did you or did you not copy a quote to this website that implied that a young girl's death was caused by her helmet (again, I expect I could find it to quote you verbatim if that helps)? Do you or do you not tell people that helmets do not prevent injuries at every opportunity you get (I'm sure I could find half a dozen or so examples to help your memory)?

You even take issue when someone says that cyclists should wear helmets, as per the highway code. And that is just a fact that no amount of your bleating can get around.

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grOg replied to ShutTheFrontDawes | 11 months ago
0 likes

Cycling Monkey is particularly vitriolic against helmet wearing; a bit like Jeremey Whine carrying on about not needing to wear hi-vis and reflectives..

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Mungecrundle | 11 months ago
9 likes

I don't understand why Jeremy Clarkson is at all surprised that every other person passing him calls him a c*** *. After all, he is highly recognisable and almost everyone will know who he is.

*His words, not mine.

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brooksby replied to Mungecrundle | 11 months ago
6 likes

Mungecrundle wrote:

I don't understand why Jeremy Clarkson is at all surprised that every other person passing him calls him a c*** *. After all, he is highly recognisable and almost everyone will know who he is. *His words, not mine.

I reckon that was the real reason that Boris Johnson gave up cycling...

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ChrisB200SX replied to Mungecrundle | 11 months ago
8 likes

Mungecrundle wrote:

I don't understand why Jeremy Clarkson is at all surprised that every other person passing him calls him a c*** *. After all, he is highly recognisable and almost everyone will know who he is. *His words, not mine.

Maybe he is surprised that it is only every-other person?

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peted76 | 11 months ago
2 likes

What a brutal race Gent Wevelgem was... who'd want to be a pro on days like that.

Jumbo are proving to be quite the unstoppable force this year! I hope there are pictures of WVA on a million aspiring cyclists walls, he's a great poster boy for the sport.

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Adam Sutton | 11 months ago
11 likes

The Clarkson thing reminds me of the documentary about George Michael, when the journos who hounded him were interviewed. When asked why they did not hold themselves to higher standards rather than peddle homophopbia and racism, the answer was "the guardian does that and they lose money" It may not be as bad today, but it is more about driving traffic to websites for advertising clicks. 

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Rendel Harris | 11 months ago
10 likes

One great thing to see in Gent Wevelgem, in addition to WVA's excellent sportsmanship and generosity in giving Laporte the victory, was that the Jumbo Visma squad all had their names printed on their rain jackets so that they were easy to identify even with their numbers covered up. Hopefully a step on the way to having rider names printed on jerseys, something I feel is long overdue.

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