If you're on social media, you don't even need to follow certain media outlets, or their columnists or presenters, to know that "cyclists" - that catch-all group spanning kids riding to school to the likes of AA president Edmund King - are blamed for all kinds of ills.
And with cycle lanes and low traffic neighbourhoods apparently becoming the latest front line in the so-called culture wars, it's hardly a surprise that a certain breed of 'shock jock' might target people who choose to undertake certain journeys by bike.
Step forward and take a bow, Talk Radio's Cristos Foufas, who tweeted this seasonal message over Christmas:
It’s been stressful for a while. Labour versus Tory, Remain versus Leave, deal versus no deal, even lockdown versus everything open.
Now we’re approaching 2021, can’t we all just unite and do all we can against the one common enemy we can all agree on?
He was quickly called out on the tweet on social media, with one user flagging it up to Edmund King and asking if the AA was happy advertising on Talk Radio.
— Damian Clark (@dclarkuk1) December 27, 2020
He's subsequently said that he does not see “all cyclists as the enemy,” which begs the question, why lump all “cyclists” in the same group in the first place, as he did?
Foufas has insisted he was joking, which has echoes of The Sunday Times insisting that Rod Liddle's column earlier this year in which he said he was tempted to stretch piano wire across roads at head height to target cyclists was not meant to be taken seriously.
The problem, however, is that such comments DO fuel anti-cycling rhetoric, and DO encourage aggression against people riding bikes (most of whom, on other days, or for other journeys, might be using a car).
Pro cyclist Winner Anacona has undergone an operation for facial injuries after coming off his mountain bike at the weekend while training in his native Colombia.
French sports daily L’Equipe reports that the Colombian rider’s Arkea-Samsic team said in a statement: “Our rider underwent an operation on his face, with aesthetic stitches inserted on the outside of his eyelid.”
According to the statement, Anacona did not lose consciousness, although it added that he also needed stitches inserted in his left knee.
“Practical examinations also revealed lesions between the ribs, as well as a contusion to the kidney, which caused a temporary haematuria as a result of the impact.”
Anacona has been a key support rider for Nairo Quintana for several years, joining his compatriot at Movistar in 2015 and moving with him to Arkea Samsic at the start of 2020.
He made his UCI WorldTour debut with Lamore-ISD in 2012 and two years later landed a stage win at the Vuelta a Espana.
His other professional victory came with Movistar at the 2019 Vuelta a San Juan Internacional in Argentina, where he won a stage as well as the overall title.
An e-scooter rider was arrested in London's Hyde Park on suspicion of drunk-driving after he fell off, according to a tweet from the Metropolitan Police Service's team that polices the Royal Parks.
The tweet added that the scooter rider had been carrying his dog, which sustained a broken leg in the incident, and was said to be recovering after being taken to a vet for treatment.
Rider of e scooter came off in Hyde Park last night. Had been drinking and was carrying his dog. The dog suffered a broken leg. Rider arrested drink driving and the dog was taken to the vet. Rider charged drink driving and no insurance. The dog is recovering.
— Royal Parks Police (@MPSRoyal_Parks) December 27, 2020
While a number of towns and cities throughout the UK are trialling e-scooters for public hire and subject to strict rules under a government pilot scheme, privately-owned e-scooters are not legal for road use here.
An electric bike belonging to a 90-year-old who served in Korea has been stolen from outside an Asda supermarket in Totton in Hampshire – the second time the owner has suffered such a theft.
The Freego Hawk bike, similar to the model pictured above but in white with black panniers, was taken from the bike shed in the store’s car park at around midday on Wednesday 23 December, reports the Advertiser & Times.
Six years ago, an identical model had been stolen from Derek Stevens, for whom it was his main form of transport since losing his driving licence due to poor eyesight.
Hi son Derek, who has done the main shopping for his parents during the pandemic, with his father doing smaller, top-up trips, told the newspaper: “It brings a tear to your eye because it’s so bloody sad to have it happen again.
“He’s got a lock for the bike, knows how to use it and used it. But that’s not much of a deterrent these days for someone with an angle grinder in their rucksack,” he added. “He’s not able to walk very far so his only alternative is buses or taxis, but in this situation with Covid you don’t want to get too close to anyone.”
He says his father, who served in Korea and Egypt in the 1950s and later became a scoutmaster, has managed to obtain a replacement bike to enable him to travel independently again.
Anyone with information about the theft is asked to contact should contact Hampshire Police on 101, quoting crime reference number 44200484209, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
A law coming into force in France on 1 January will make it compulsory for all new bicycles to be security marked with a unique number that links them with their rightful owners, in a bid to halt bike theft.
Bikes being sold second-hand, including through online marketplaces such as Bon Coin, will also need to have a number engraved on the frame from 1 July next year so that details of the new owner can be lodged, reports France 3.
Details of the type, make, model and colour of the bicycle, as well as the name of the owner and their telephone number and email address, will be held on a central database, enabling the Gendarmerie to trace ownership of stolen bikes.
Bikes sold prior to the end of this year will be exempt from the new laws, as will children’s bicycles with wheels with a diameter of 16 inches or less.
However, France’s national bike users’ federation is urging people who previously had their bikes security marked to update their details in line with the new system.
More than 400,000 bicycles are reported stolen in France each year, with a further 150,000 found abandoned, but the lack of security marking means that only 2 or 3 per cent ever find their way back to their owners – hence, the new system that aims to trace ownership and, ultimately, thwart the thieves by making it more difficult to sell on stolen bikes.
Infrastructure projects often lend themsleves to timelapse filming treatment, and here's a cool one from California of a $21.4-million cycling and walking bridge being put in place.
The website For Construction Pros reports that workers spent three days operating round the clock to put the bridge in place while minimising disruption to the busy rail corridor that runs beneath it.
Planned since the 1980s, the bridge is in Emeryville, which lies between Berkeley and Oakland on San Francisco Bay, and is home to Pixar Animation Studios.
A DPD delivery driver has been filmed knocking a penny farthing rider from his bike in Stoke Newington, north London, with the video posted to Instagram.
He said: “I have been informed by the person that shot the video that the van stopped and details were exchanged.
“I have identified the bike as one that I manufactured and am now in the process of contacting my customers to find out who the rider was.”
A cyclist in Belgium who allegedly used his knee to knock a five-year old child out of his way on a snow-covered path could face up to one year in prison, according to a report in Het Nieuwsblad.
The newspaper’s report contains video of the incident, which happened on Christmas Day, shot by the child’s father and posted to Facebook, although it subsequently appears to have been removed from the social network.
The incident reportedly happened close to the Baraque Michel inn near Liege, with the surrounding countryside being a popular tourist destination and one of the highest points of the country.
The video shows the girl, named Neïa and wearing a red snowsuit, walking with her mother and another child when a cyclist on a cyclo-cross bike appears from behind them and shouts a warning, his left knee apparently moving out as he passes the child, who is knocked to the ground.
The rider, aged 61, presented himself to police on Sunday following a witness appeal and reportedly faces up to a year in jail for intentional assault and battery to a minor.
Prosecutor Vanessa Clérin said: “He was interrogated and subsequently received a summons to appear before the correctional court in February.”
When interviewed by police, he insisted that he had not pushed the child out of the way on purpose and indeed had been unaware he had hit her, Clérin said.
Het Nieuwsblad said that the cyclist called Neïa’s parents to give his version of events and urge them to retract their complaint.
The girl’s father, Patrick Mpasa, a soldier, said: “He asked us to withdraw the complaint, but showed no regret for what he did.
“What's more, he accused me of being aggressive. He claimed that he had not seen that Neïa had fallen, that he would otherwise have stopped … I have the impression that he thinks it is normal.”
He continued: “A lot of people tell me that I should have beat up that cyclist, but I didn't want to heat things up even more in front of my children, in front of the other passers-by. I don't want a witch hunt, just an apology.”
He said that the fall had resulted in Neïa experiencing pain in her back and wrists.
“She fell on her forearms,” her father said. “At first we were afraid that she had broken something, but fortunately that is not the case. She does ask herself questions: she said that this man is a bad guy. Why did he do that?”
The cyclist has been summonsed to appear before a criminal court in February.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.