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Who'd have thought it? Highway Code changes working wonders (+ has driving improved?); "Where's *insert your local town*?": Tough day at the office for Tour of Britain admin; Should you resit driving test at 60?; Good ol' days + more on the live blog

Your midweek blog is up and running...Dan Alexander is back behind the keyboard for Wednesday's edition...
06 April 2022, 14:04
"Why's the race not visiting my cul-de-sac?": Tour of Britain route reaction (+ some exceptional reader local knowledge)

Happy with the Tour of Britain route?

BalladOfStruth would have been (12 months ago): "Stage six pretty much goes right by my house... about two months after I'm due to move to the other side of the UK."

captain_slog's looking forward to stage three: "ToB was brilliant last year and this year's north east stage is looking very promising: starting from one of the country's greatest cathedrals, heading up into the stunning scenery and challenging roads of Weardale and the Pennines before returning to finish at the mouth of the Wear itself. Ha'way the lads!"

Wingguy reckons we're in for a cracker on the penultimate stage too: "In support of the Tour of Britain, I grew up cycling around the Dorset hills. In my opinion the route they've put together from West Bay is absolutely fantastic and a showcase of some of the best roads, climbs and views that amazing road bike destination has to offer.

"From what I can see it drops down the steepest 'classic' Abbotsbury hill into the town. There's no shortage of sharp and steep in the Purbecks to and from Corfe, then I'm pretty sure it climbs to the top of Bulbarrow from Milton Abbas, descends the long north ridge and then back up and over the steep east side. Lovely!"

kil0ran agrees: "Sitting here impatiently to go all fanboi over the Tour of Britain route announcements. Get tharselfs down to the New Forest for the weekend of 11th/12th - finish in Ferndown on Saturday, camp overnight, ferry from Lymington and get ready for the world's biggest ever set of echelons to form on the run back to the Needles. 

"Needles Battery finish, never was a finish more appropriately named. It's Great Orme part two and will decide the race. 20% bits." We might have to check if that account belongs to race director Mick Bennett...we're sold.

But if you want an in-depth look at where the final stage might be won, kil0ran has kindly broken it down to sports director detail...

For the Isle of Wight good spots will be:

Cowleaze Hill out of Shanklin will wake things up. 7% for 1.6km, 12% at the top. Lots of space to watch there.

Ventnor - Spyglass Inn on the esplanade all the way up ZigZag hill. About 100m vertical ascent in under a km, including 25%+ bits. Really narrow and about 40kms from the finish so will be tricky to cover an attack. Only three more climbs including the finish after that. This is part of the segment (go left at the top rather than right)

Niton Down will also be good on the way back, a long drag (3km at something like 5%) into a headwind followed by a steep descent (by UK standards). Plenty of space to watch there.

And then you've got 20kms of the Military Road which will either be glorious if the weather's good or echelon madness if it's not. Prevailing westerly will be hitting them on their left shoulder all the way along there, there's zero cover from the wind.

Final selection could be on on Compton Down east of Freshwater. Benign climb in good weather but a really steep descent could let the front few get away.

The steepest part of the final climb is at the beginning as they turn into Alum Bay. I'd imagine the car park will be used for team buses so it's one to cycle too but there are public loos for spectating. Halfway up it turns right and flattens before a short 10% section. Think mini Planche des Belles Filles. On reflection, not as tough as the Great Orme.

Take the ferry from Lymington to Yarmouth and stay near the finish. Plenty of campsites for bikepacking. I've stayed at Grange Farm in Brightstone a few times, you can see the race pass there in the morning and then have a leisurely ride up to the finish whilst the race heads inland. If you fancy a hill climb competition whilst you're there the road down to the beach is getting on for 30%, you can barely walk it.

Stick 11 September in your diaries... 

Thanks to all for the local knowledge.

06 April 2022, 13:43
Meanwhile on Twitter...

Apparently I should have gone into stand up...

Back to the comments here I go...Daveyraveygravey reckons any improvement was short-lived: "There was a brief time when the changes were first published where things were better, but it's gone back to the previous appalling level now."

SurreyHiller added: "I think there are different subsets of drivers.  Those that overtook well, and continue to do so having made no changes to the way they drive. Those who overtook before the changes which were technically 'close' but had made some effort are now a little further out.

"Those who drive like idiots continue to do so (and continue to get reported to Surrey Police with a fairly high conversion to at least a warning letter) with close passes still being close. Get this a lot on my commute because people are in such a hurry.  

"Have also seen a rise in really nice wide passes, almost completely on to the other side of the road, but in doing so nearly having a head on collision with something clearly coming the other way. Or, in Monday's commute, something coming round the blind bend.

"So in summary there are some drivers that are considerate, some that don't give a rat's arse and never have and some that are trying but just aren't very good at it."

06 April 2022, 13:38
Three police officers assaulted after arresting man for bike theft

Three police officers were assaulted after they arrested a man for a bike theft in Winchester city centre on Saturday. The patrolling officers stopped a group of males, who were carrying items believed to be linked to a report of a theft.

A stolen bicycle was later found, leading to one of the men being arrested. However, the Hampshire Chronicle reports the man attempted to flee, assaulting an officer to the face and knee in the process.

A spokesperson for Hampshire Constabulary said: "One of the men, a 22-year-old from Winchester, attempted to run away and assaulted an officer to the face and knee in the process. He was not seriously injured.

"The man also assaulted two more officers, the first received a minor injury to her finger and the second, a male officer, was not injured. The 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of two counts of assaulting a person thereby occasioning them actual bodily harm and common assault of an emergency worker.

"He has been released from police custody on police bail while our enquiries continue."

The three other men ran away from the scene but were also later found.

06 April 2022, 13:27
CyclingMikey picks up the pace...road offenders beware!
06 April 2022, 11:44
Positive signs since the Highway Code changes? We ask our readers...

A few of you have shared your (largely positive) post-Highway Code riding experiences...

Highway Code (Department for Transport)

Sir Chris Hoy reckons things have changed for the better, but do you agree?

kil0ran has a positive tale to tell: "It's encouraged me back on the roads for the first time in two years, following a road rage incident which sent me in the direction of trail and gravel riding. Only two rides in but both in rush hour and zero close passes. I'm colossally unfit at the moment and I've been surprised how willing drivers have been to hold back on the hillier bits of my routes. A definite improvement, let's see if it lasts."

TeaBasedOrganism thinks while the majority have improved, there is still a dangerous minority: "I feel like generally most peoples driving has got better, I definitely get less 'regular' close passes each ride than before. On the flipside, the really horrible drivers, the ones that were horrible before, are even worse. Absolutely the fault of the press coverage of the changes. Had a few instances while riding in a group of drivers shouting abuse, and on two occasions throwing fast food rubbish, while travelling in the opposite direction, so we weren't even in their way. They have just been so riled up about cyclists that they feel the need to be angry and borderline violent just based on our very existence. That is new behaviour (for me) since the changes and all the negative press, which is making me a bit lukewarm about them if I'm honest."

IanMSpencer reported similar: "I think the 99% are getting better, the 1% are just as bad, with a few more ideas for ranting. My pet hate is 'cyclists run red lights' which I have rarely seen, aside from pseudo pedestrian cyclists pottering around with their shopping or young lads being stupid, when I have seen so many motorists take stupid risks on a daily basis. In a typical week I will see someone overtaking a car already stopped to turn left at a red light. I wouldn't mind but the UK driver videos are full of examples, indeed, I think anyone who says 'But cyclists...' should be sent on a one day course where they have to watch 8 hours of UK dodgy driver videos."

One final one from Surreyrider who is less impressed: "Since the changes, I'd say more drivers (in Surrey at least) are aggressive, intolerant, impatient, anti-social and dangerous. Then there's a group that continue to drive just generally badly around cyclists (and, of course, another that remains considerate)." 

06 April 2022, 11:22
"Bars and tires have gotten too wide, batteries suck, road bikes are back, you heard it here first"

We're going back in time with the Bike Snob. Agree? 

06 April 2022, 10:54
Nearly one-in-three drivers believe people should re-sit their driving tests when they reach the age of 60, new study shows
Red Driving School

New research from Compare the Market found that almost a third of road users believe people should re-sit their driving tests when they reach the age of 60, increasing to more than 50 per cent at 70.

The view is held strongest in Northern Ireland, where 35 per cent of respondents held the opinion, while 31 per cent in Scotland and 28 per cent in Wales agreed.

One-in-three also said they wouldn't be able to repass their theory test. One-in-six said they wouldn't be capable of passing their practical test.

06 April 2022, 10:12
"Where's *insert your local town*?": Tough day at the office for Tour of Britain admin

It's national 'why isn't the Tour of Britain visiting my town' day. Prepare yourself @TourofBritain admin...things are about to get heated...

First up, aRe ThErE  aNy HiLlS oN tHe IsLe Of WiGhT?

Next, the Tour of England (with a wee bit of Scotland)...

At least someone gets the comedy value of route announcement day...

We'll have a more in-depth look at the route up shortly... 

06 April 2022, 08:44
Right on cue...

I'm a sucker for a's free! 

06 April 2022, 07:58
Who'd have thought it? Highway Code changes working wonders

January's Highway Code changes arrived to a backdrop of criticism and hysteria from certain sections of the press (and a loophole-loving lawyer)...

> Expect carnage and more danger...Mr Loophole rants about Highway Code changes to talkRadio's Mike Graham

It will cause chaos, carnage, collisions and casualties, some said, yet three months on — has much actually changed?

Not really, was the consensus when we asked readers over on our forum, with some saying they'd seen slight improvements, and fewer still saying they'd seen significantly better/worse driving.

So, when Jim's Wheels, a Twitter account documenting the experiences of a South Gloucestershire rider "bimbling around on my bike", shared a video titled "A driver who has read the Highway Code! Hurrah!", we thought we'd better take a look...

Some have pointed out the driver possibly only waited as they realised they'd committed a must get in front faux pas, pushing past only to turn straight across the cyclist's path.

Perhaps Andrew Buss summed it up best...

The video began the identity the driver a cyclist? Are they Dutch?

One reply summed up the disbelief on Cycling Twitter: "Well done that driver, the world didn’t appear to end, there was no catastrophic crash or whiplash." Who'd have thought it, eh?

A rarest of species, there's got to be space in the Natural History Museum for this clip...

Sir Chris Hoy recently had his say on how the Highway Code changes have improved his riding experience, saying he's had fewer close passes, although former UCI president Brian Cookson argued some drivers are still taking "unquantifiable risks".

> “Long may it continue”: Sir Chris Hoy says that he has experienced fewer close passes since the Highway Code revisions

"Anyone else noticed fewer close passes when out on your bike since the change in the Highway Code?" the retired track star said.

“Could be a coincidence, but I’ve just had an amazing couple of hours on the road and not a single scary moment! Long may it continue."

What do we reckon? Are the changes filtering through to road users? Have you experienced less close passes? Let us know in the comments...

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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