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Council update on cycle lane's "excellent progress" interrupted by... motorist driving into segregated infrastructure; Alaphilippe heads off on two-hour training ride AFTER Dwars Door Vlaanderen; Our new favourite pro cyclist + more on the live blog

It's Thursday and Dan Alexander is in the hot seat for all your live blog needs...
30 March 2023, 07:57
Council update on cycle lane's "excellent progress" interrupted by... motorist driving into segregated infrastructure

This scene must have missed the cut from Little Britain... the local councillor proudly showing off his hard work... meanwhile in the background (at around 40 seconds)...

Perhaps there's another clip of him praising the bin men, meanwhile behind they lob rubbish into people's gardens? This bit of live blog council gold came was spotted by reader Mike who thought we might like the delicious irony of the council "extolling how safe the new segregated cycle lanes are".

"Just look for the OpenReach van in the background about 40 seconds in, for a clear demonstration of the safety of this new lane," he promised and boy did the video not let us down.

I've called it a segregated lane due to the councillor's wording, and I think I already know the answer to this, but can a segregated lane really be segregated if the driver of a great big van can go straight into it and have to swerve out to avoid inadvertently mowing down an innocent council official? Yeah, as I said, I think I know the answer...

"Our plans to improve cycling and walking along the Shinfield Road are progressing well," the council says, although based on the comments, the locals aren't so sure...

One reply called it dangerous, while someone else said it is "the most confusing cycling lane in the area".

"On the road at bus stops, on the pavement in other areas, on a half pavement in other areas, and then at the top going to Shinfield your forced directly into the traffic light just before the traffic lights, and your probably fall off looking over your shoulder before you hit by a speeding car beating you to the narrow section at the traffic lights?" 

Now that sounds familiar...

30 March 2023, 15:09
Insync Bikes to cut jobs and leave Manchester headquarters due to "huge erosion" in demand
Insync Bikes (via press release)

The bad news from the bike industry keeps on coming...

The Manchester Evening News reports that jobs will be lost at Insync Bikes, with the company also set to leave its Manchester headquarters after racking up losses of almost £4 million.

The news comes after a "huge erosion" in demand during 2022, an asssessment backed up by the Bicycle Association's findings that UK bike sales fell to their lowest level in 20 years last year.

According to account filed with Companies House, Insync made a pre-tax loss of £3.7 million for the year to 31 March 2022. A statement from the board suggested post-Covid supply chains "presented some challenges"...

"2022 saw the group incurring losses on account of high upstream and downstream inventories across bards and channels. This has resulted in serious margin erosion coupled with socio-economic factors," it read.

"The group continues to receive unwavering support from the group, with £4.85m of equity being introduced by Hero Cycles during the financial period under review."

Insync is to seek a further £3 million cash injection from Indian parent company Hero Cycles during the next 12 months.

Elsewhere in the bike industry in recent times...

> Bike industry turmoil continues as Forme bikes and Lake cycling shoes distributor enters liquidation

> Specialized slashes jobs in latest sign of cycle industry downturn

> Zwift makes fresh wave of redundancies with 15 per cent of workers laid off

> Look mum no hands! announces closure of Old Street cycle café

> Halfords says cycling market is down 20 per cent year on year

> Cycling industry layoffs: Strava and Wahoo cut 15% of workforce

30 March 2023, 13:51
Dylan van Baarle OUT of Tour of Flanders

The Omloop curse continues. No male rider has ever won the Opening Weekend's main event and the Tour of Flanders in the same season. The only woman to do it? A certain Lizzie Deignan in 2016. The men's wait will definitely be going on to 2024 (at least) as Jumbo Visma have announced Dylan van Baarle is out of this Sunday's second Monument of the season.

I guess Jumbo will have to settle for the Van Aert, Laporte, Benoot trident... it's a tough life... 

30 March 2023, 11:59
Adrian Chiles strikes again
Adrian Chiles

Don't worry, we're safe...

No cargo bike ramblings today either...

30 March 2023, 11:56
Wout van Aert "almost killed" after receiving "harrowing" punishment pass from horn-blaring lorry driver
30 March 2023, 10:27
"Less than optimal": How your disc rotors shouldn't look...

Mamma mia...

30 March 2023, 09:52
"I'm pleased at the progress we've made": The view from the council
Reading cycle lane (Reading Council)

Cllr Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Councillor for Climate Strategy and Transport...

I'm pleased at the progress we've made so far on our work to introduce a fully segregated new cycle lane along the Shinfield Road. The segregated cycle lane links to key centres of employment in Reading, such as the Royal Berkshire Hospital, The University and, of course, the Town Centre itself.

 As part of our wider Climate Emergency Strategy, this work underlines the council's wholehearted commitment to tackling poor air quality which we know exists in parts of Reading. It has never been more important to create realistic alternatives to the private car, not only in terms of tackling congestion and air quality but also for the residents and local communities who live on key routes.

 The work on the Shinfield Road precedes our now approved plans to implement further cycling and walking improvements stretching from Berkeley Avenue along the Bath Road to Castle Hill, then running over the IDR to Castle Street, as well as our recent decision to make permanent the fully segregated cycle lane along Sidmouth Street.

We have achieved significant improvements in other areas, including the routes on Redlands Road and Christchurch Road, delivered as part of the first phase of funding. We have also just submitted our bid for Tranche 4 funding to the Department for Transport – and we should find out if we’ve been successful by the end of March. This funding would then enable us to make improvements at the junction of Sidmouth Street and Queens Road to provide safer cycle links through to Kennet Side.

30 March 2023, 09:30
Alaphilippe heads off on two-hour training ride AFTER Dwars door Vlaanderen
Julian Alaphilippe (Zac Williams/SWpix)

After Christophe Laporte's Dwars door Vlaanderen win as the rest of the peloton headed off to their hotels for a warm shower and some scran, Julian Alaphilippe, fuelled by superstition, headed off for another two hours of training.

The story, first reported by Cyclingnews, is that the former world champion is "old school" and "superstitious" and possibly just wanted some punishment for Soudal-QuickStep's continued lack of success in the races they used to dominate.

"I'm off to train," the Frenchman said at the finish. "I've still got two hours to do."

The comments were backed up by team boss Patrick Lefevere who added: "There is progress with a view to Sunday" and pointed out his superstitious rider rode an extra 40km after the 2021 Primus Classic, a week before winning his second rainbow jersey.

Can the last-minute cramming land Alaphilippe another big one?

30 March 2023, 09:11
Dwars door Vlaanderen hero Oier Lazkano shows his ruthless side... at the dinner table

Oier Lazkano. Chances are that name was new to you too yesterday. The 23-year-old Movistar rider spent all day in the breakaway, looked to have lost his chance for a podium when caught by the group containing the leaders, went on the attack again and held off the peloton by no more than a second, to the delight of every cycling fan watching...

> Christophe Laporte secures back-to-back cobbled classics wins at thrilling Dwars door Vlaanderen, as second-placed Oier Lazkano steals the plaudits with phenomenal ride

Teammate Matteo Jorgenson wasn't surprised, however, having witnessed "king" Lazkano's tenacity and "intensity" first-hand... at the dinner table...

Oier Lazkano steak (Matteo Jorgenson/Twitter)


30 March 2023, 08:43
REVIEW: Supersapiens Glucose Monitoring System Subscription
30 March 2023, 08:32
London's most literal floating bus stop...

'Hi, mate, yeah they just want one of those floating bus stops on Park Lane... yeah, you know the ones, I'll leave it to you, you know what I mean...'

'No problem, boss...'

Floating bus stops have been the hot topic of late, first with the Sunday Telegraph being accused of using divisive rhetoric in "death trap" floating bus stops article. Then, a week later, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said "more needs to be done" as he pledged to "raise awareness" among London cyclists for improving safety of floating bus stops. Bloody hell, Sadiq, flooding the things until their impassable is a bit extreme...

Oh, also last weekend, London's cycling chief said he was "punched in the face" by cyclist he confronted for not waiting for pedestrian at floating bus stop.

Dan joined 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, 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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