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Driver – in untaxed car with expired MOT – mounts pavement on wrong side of the road… then chastises six-year-old for cycling on same footpath; ‘Want your child to cycle to school? Dress them for battle’; Ayuso’s Super cool Colnago + more on the live blog

It’s Tuesday and Ryan Mallon’s back with all your latest cycling news and views on the live blog
04 October 2022, 08:36
“You couldn’t make it up”: Driver – in untaxed, SORN-registered car with expired MOT – mounts pavement on wrong side of the road… then chastises six-year-old for cycling on same footpath

It’s been quite the start to Cycle to School week.

Yesterday on the blog, a Northern Ireland government site was accused of “victim blaming” after encouraging schoolchildren to “be bike smart” – and illustrated this important road safety message with a photograph of an extremely narrow, painted cycle lane…

Then, in the afternoon, a parent and child were cycling home on the School Street on the Leahurst Road in Lewisham when an approaching motorist parked his car by mounting the pavement on the wrong side of the road:

As he exited his vehicle – which is comfortably taking up half the footpath – the driver casually remarks in the direction of the young cyclist and his father, “Shouldn’t be on the pavement, should he?”

Unsurprisingly, both the cycling parent in the video and Twitter were highly critical of the irony-free driver, accusing him of “entitlement”, “cognitive dissonance”, “hypocrisy”, and of embodying “car culture”.

“The drivers are at it again,” wrote Mark Hodson, one of the two officers who devised West Midlands Police’s renowned close pass operation, in response to the video. “Having committed the offences of driving on the pavement and obstruction, objects to the child cycling on the pavement, for which there is a specific discretion to allow due to the danger posed by offending drivers.”

It gets worse, however…

A number of inquisitive souls decided to check the parked car’s tax and MOT details. It turns out that the driver – unhappy at the thought of a six-year-old riding his bike on the pavement – is nevertheless quite content to drive and park on that very same pavement a vehicle with an expired MOT and one which is currently registered as off the road:

As I said, Cycle to School week has started well…

04 October 2022, 16:35
“Even those driving illegally have an extreme sense of entitlement”: Reaction to this morning’s untaxed, uninsured, pavement-mounting, child-chastising driver

Plenty of you had something to say about this morning’s story on the motorist – driving a car with no insurance, MOT or tax, and which is currently registered as off the road – who mounted the pavement on the wrong side of the road, only to chastise a six-year-old child cycling home from school for riding on the same, now-greatly diminished footpath.

(And breathe…)

road.cc reader gazza_d argued that the “car needs crushing” and the entitled motorist in question “needs a big fine”, while ChrisB200SX noted that the driver “needs an attitude adjustment”.

Over on Facebook, David wrote: “Hopefully the untaxed and expired MOT vehicle is clamped and removed soon, with the driver gaining points on their licence for that error. And additional points plus fine for poor driving/behaviour.

“Whether they’ll learn and change from such a self-entitled perspective is sadly unlikely.”

“The self-entitlement of motorists summed up in a 10 second clip,” wrote Rog. “Has a pop at a six-year-old while committing a very similar but far more dangerous crime without a hint of irony.”

Paul agreed, writing: “Yes, even those driving illegally have an extreme sense of entitlement.”

“Pretty much sums up driver entitlement and misguided post-war transport policy all in one go. ‘This bit is full so I'll drive over here now’,” said Andrew.

Meanwhile, on Twitter, the emojis were out in force:

04 October 2022, 16:08
Everyone in Belgium right now: ‘I’m not crying, you’re crying’
04 October 2022, 15:37
There’s something quite sinister about the Tour of Lombardy's latest rebrand…

‘Falling leaves’ just sounds so much more wistful, and less like a Hitchcock film… 

04 October 2022, 15:02
Tadej Pogačar lays down marker for Il Lombardia defence with strong sprint win at Tre Valli Varesine

It seems that the reports of Tadej Pogačar’s demise are greatly exaggerated…

While many cycling fans rushed to their keyboards to speculate that the two-time Tour de France winner, who turned 24 less than two weeks ago, was a spent force after his second place to Enric Mas at Saturday’s Giro dell’Emilia (I know, right?), the Slovenian superstar proved today that he’s bang in form, just in time for the defence of his Tour of Lombardy title at the weekend.

The UAE Team Emirates rider took advantage of Movistar’s work for the soon-to-be-retiring Alejandro Valverde, launching a monstrously long sprint to see off the 42-year-old Spaniard, who was forced to settle for third in the penultimate race of his career, and runner-up Sergio Higuita.

I’m not sure that too many will bet against the Slovenian adding to his two monument victories in Como on Saturday…

Meanwhile, on slightly flatter terrain further north, Christophe Laporte cemented his status as the favourite for Sunday’s Paris-Tours by charging away from breakaway companion Rasmus Tiller on the cobbled climb of the finish to win Binche-Chimay-Binche, the fifth win of the world road race silver medallist’s stellar debut season with Jumbo-Visma.

04 October 2022, 14:14
Legendary Puy de Dôme to make long-awaited return to Tour de France?

To continue one of the key themes of today’s live blog – unrepentant 1960s, 70s and 80s cycling nostalgia – we turn to one of the Tour de France’s most mythical climbs, the Puy de Dôme.

The Massif Central’s iconic volcano – the scene of some of the Tour’s most memorable moments, from Anquetil and Poulidor’s legendary shoulder-to-shoulder battle in 1964 to the famous punch from a spectator that effectively ended Eddy Merckx’s Tour reign – has lain dormant in road racing terms since the Grande Boucle last visited in 1988.

By the late 1980s, the continued expansion of the Tour into a global behemoth, with its cavalcade of vehicles and infrastructure, had made hosting the race on the Puy de Dôme a logistical nightmare, a difficulty only enhanced by the construction of a rail line to the summit in 2012, further shrinking the already narrow road.

In June, however, it was reported that the seemingly impossible task of bringing the Tour back to one of its most emblematic climbs was being actively investigated by the race’s organisers.

“The dream becomes bigger today,” Christian Prudhomme told local newspaper La Montagne of plans for the Puy de Dôme to host the Tour in 2024, the sixtieth anniversary of Poulidor and Anquetil’s iconic duel and the same edition that is purported to finish in Nice to avoid a clash with the Paris Olympics.

“There’s a lot of emotion for us because it’s a dream that we’ve had in our heads for years,” Prudhomme said. “This corresponds to our desire to give the mountains back to the champions. As we have shown in recent years by going to classified sites or sites that are difficult to access.

“There is a political will for the return to the Puy de Dôme. It’s a real challenge.”

“It is a dream that we had in our heads for years. The Puy de Dôme is a myth, our emblem of the Auvergne. I always thought it was a mistake to deprive oneself of the potential to come here,” said regional president Laurent Wauquiez.

While those June reports suggested that the Puy de Dôme’s long-awaited return would take place in 2024, rumours are currently circulating on Twitter that the savage slopes may well make an appearance even earlier:

One French Twitter account also claimed last month that “several clues seem to indicate that the 2023 Tour de France will make an extended visit to Auvergne: first in Puy-de-Dôme, then in Allier.”

With the route presentation of the 2023 Tour, which will start in Bilbao on 1 July next year, due to take place on Thursday 27 October, we won’t have long to wait until we know for sure whether we’ll be basking in some golden-era cycling nostalgia in July…

04 October 2022, 13:32
‘Interesting’ anti-cycling Facebook comments, part 657
04 October 2022, 12:59
Clinical Wiebes storms to 23rd win of season at Binche-Chimay-Binche

While the British football media has been prattling on about Manchester City forward Erling Haaland’s ruthless efficiency in front of goal, on the road Lorena Wiebes has been showcasing some clinical, world-class finishing of her own throughout 2022.

The Dutch sprinter stormed to victory at today’s Binche-Chimay-Binche, beating Marjolein van ‘t Geloof and Uno-X’s Anniina Ahtosalo after yet another perfect lead out from her DSM teammate and former British champion Pfeiffer Georgi.

As GCN’s Dan Lloyd pointed out on Twitter, the win was European champion Wiebes’ 23rd of the season – from only 50 days of racing.

That staggering 43 percent win rate – which included a clean sweep of all three stages and the GC at the RideLondon Classique – puts Wiebes’ remarkably prolific year up there in terms of dominance and efficiency with Marianne Vos’ 2012 and Eddy Merckx’s 1970 and 1972 seasons.

Clinical.

04 October 2022, 12:18
Worcester no cycling signs.PNG
Worcestershire cut off from cycling and walking funding after Active Travel England gives County Council ‘level zero’ rating

Worcestershire County Council has been barred from accessing funding for cycling and walking schemes after Active Travel England said that it has “not demonstrated the minimum levels of local leadership and/or delivery track record that we require”.

Worcester News reports that the county council was handed a ‘level zero’ rating by the new government body, below the ‘level one’ standard – given to local authorities deemed to have shown “some local leadership and support with basic plans and isolated interventions” – the council awarded itself when ranking its own performance regarding active travel.

The miserable rating is also miles away from the highest ‘level four’, bestowed upon councils which have an “established culture of active travel” and “highly supportive” policies which help reduce car trips.

The embarrassing ranking in Worcestershire comes after two previous active travel funding bids fell far short of expectations, with the county council receiving just over half of the £1.3 million it had bid for, and means that Active Travel England will be “withholding funding until improvements are made” and that the council is banned from making any new bids.

> Worcestershire again misses out on funding after highways boss said lockdown cycling was “just a phase”

“Our funding is limited and we need to invest it in areas where we are likely to achieve our long-term outcomes,” Active Travel England said in a letter to the council.

“Unfortunately, we have assessed that the evidence you have provided does not demonstrate the minimum levels of local leadership and/or delivery track record that we require.”

Mike Rouse, the council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “It is disappointing that Active Travel England decided to override our fair and reasonable ‘level one’ rating and put us at ‘level zero’ instead, potentially cutting us off from funding opportunities.

“I have written to the new Secretary of State at the Department for Transport to voice my concern at this assessment, and I have invited her to come to Worcestershire, to hear our plans and see the difference increased government funding could make to the county.

“We felt we were able to rate ourselves at ‘level one’ for our performance, as we have delivered a number of schemes to improve cycling and walking routes and we have more proposals on the way. We spend more than £20m per year on active travel measures.”

> Extension of cycling ban in Worcester city centre 'an embarrassment'

This week’s news isn’t the first time that Worcestershire County Council have fallen short when it comes to active travel schemes.

In 2020, the council received only half of the money it bid for during the first and second tranches of emergency active travel funding, after its then-cabinet member for highways, Alan Amos, had described the rise in cycling during lockdown as “just a phase”.

Amos’s position on cycling had long been under scrutiny, after the councillor was one of the leading advocates for the 2018 ban on cycling in Worcester city centre.

Speaking at the time, he said that those who rode bikes in the area were “dangerous and selfish” and “wretched people”.

04 October 2022, 11:38
Remco debuts rainbow stripes at Binche-Chimay-Binche
04 October 2022, 10:58
Caption competition

‘What do you mean, road.cc placed you higher on their list of cycling's greatest ever seasons?

Shameless plug, I know, but it’s still a cracking photo…

04 October 2022, 10:27
“It’s ridiculously unforgiving for any cyclist”: The reality of cycling to school in Belfast

Here’s more Cycle to School Week content for you this morning, as university lecturer (and Spurs fan, but we’ll let him away with it after the weekend) Dom Bryan shared a rather revealing insight into the realities of riding a bike to school on a busy Tuesday morning in North Belfast:

Responding to Dom’s eye-opening video – in which he argues that certain junctions and road layouts make cycling for a child “almost impossible” – the Northern Ireland branch of Cycling UK tweeted: “It’s a miracle any kid cycles to school… This scenario is endemic across the country and needs to change. Safe, connected cycle lanes [are] required.”

Another cyclist praised the video and noted that there are “so many similar stories across Northern Ireland.”

However, the cyclist pointed out that there has been “no serious attempt by the Department for Infrastructure to improve cycling safety for urban and rural dwellers. Many good examples in Europe as to how this can be done. Not rocket science – just takes commitment to make the changes.”

> Sinn Féin minister “neglecting Northern Ireland’s future”, says Cycling UK

Last month on the blog we reported that Cycling UK had criticised Sinn Féin MLA and Minister for Infrastructure, John O’Dowd, for appearing to renege on a pre-election pledge to introduce an Active Travel Act in Northern Ireland.

Instead, as Bryan alluded to in the above clip, O’Dowd has decided to launch the third consultation in the space of a year concerning a trial cycle lane on Belfast’s Limestone and Cavehill roads, viewed by active travel advocates as key to delivering a proper cycling network in the city.

However, those campaigners have been highly critical of the Department for Infrastructure's approach to the project, which they say has been needlessly delayed through repeated consultations which fail to yield any new information.

According to Cycling UK, O’Dowd’s lack of commitment to active travel is “neglecting Northern Ireland's future” and “[locking] us all into a fossil-fuelled dark age”.

04 October 2022, 09:35
Juan Ayuso rides L’Eroica on 1970s Colnago Super

Now, on a lighter note, what do you get if you cross one of the sport’s most precocious talents (fresh from a debut Vuelta podium), some classy old kit, gravel roads and a Colnago Super from the 1970s?

Extreme cycling coolness, that’s what.

Gen Zer Juan Ayuso looked achingly cool and retro as he took part in L’Eroica over the weekend.

The 20-year-old rode the world-famous Tuscan vintage bike sportive, which served as the inspiration for the professional Strade Bianche race in the same region, on a classically beautiful fifty-year-old steel bike supplied by his UAE Team Emirates squad’s sponsor, Colnago.

Call me old-fashioned, but I believe all pro cyclists should still look like that. And that bike...

Which reminds me, ‘Dear Santa...’

04 October 2022, 08:58
‘Want your child to cycle to school? Dress them for battle’: More criticism of “victim blaming” road safety “nonsense”

This morning’s latest attempt to inspire families to cycle to school is brought to you by the government’s longstanding road safety campaign THINK!, which has drawn up a short “Cycling Kit List” to “make sure your family stay safe and seen while cycling”.

However, the safety checklist, which encourages children to wear a helmet and light-coloured clothing while cycling, has been criticised by police officer and road safety campaigner Mark Hodson, who described it as “victim blaming nonsense”.

Hodson also argued that “none of these things will save a child when they are hit by two tonnes plus of steel, piloted by an offending, cognitively distracted driver at speed” and that a lack of “suitable infrastructure” currently makes cycling to school safely “unthinkable”:

 In response to another Cycle to School week tweet from the Department for Transport yesterday, Hodson said:

Ryan joined road.cc as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.

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