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Tony Blackburn calls for RideLondon to be replaced by “event for car owners” – because “there are more of us and we pay to go on the roads”

The veteran DJ’s comments come less than two months after he criticised 20mph speed limits and claimed that motorists were being “overtaken by cyclists”

As thousands of cyclists, from families to pro racers, take to the streets of London on their bikes today as part of RideLondon’s festival of cycling, veteran DJ and TV presenter Tony Blackburn has claimed that the mass participation events should be replaced next year by an event “for car owners” – because “there are more of us and we do pay to go on the roads”.

The former BBC Radio 1 DJ and Top of the Pops host was replying to a tweet from London mayor Sadiq Khan, who described RideLondon as the “world’s biggest city bike festival”, after organisers confirmed that 50,000 riders would take part in today’s mass participation events, including the RideLondon-Essex sportive and the family-friendly FreeCycle, which took place over eight miles of traffic-free roads in central London earlier today.

That festival of cycling ends later this afternoon with the finish of the third and final stage of the RideLondon Classique on the Mall, with Lizzie Deignan – making her return to British roads following the birth of her second child – sitting in second place overall heading into today, behind American Chloe Dygert.

However, cycling’s one-day takeover of central London has appeared to irk 80-year-old Blackburn, who tweeted this morning: “How about having an event next year for car owners in London instead of cyclists? After all there are more of us and we do pay to go on the roads.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the DJ’s tweet has been widely criticised online, with one cyclist replying that “every day is an event for car owners, Tony”.

Others questioned Blackburn’s claim that motorists pay to use the roads – an allusion to Vehicle Excise Duty or, as it’s often mistakenly referred to as, ‘road tax’ – with Twitter user Phil asking Blackburn to “direct me to where you pay, and what you pay”.

“Cyclists very often are car owners. So are many marathon runners at a marathon ‘event’,” wrote CyclingInASkirt. “How much more do you pay exactly to use the road than either of these? You’re aware general taxation pays for roads – which we all pay – aren’t you?”

> 'Road tax' is coming... but not for cyclists

Blackburn’s tweet comes less than two months after another post in which he criticised what he views as Britain’s “ridiculous obsession with 20mph speed limits everywhere”.

He continued: “Who is it that decides that we motorists now are overtaken by cyclists?”

Of course, the winner of the 2002 edition of I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here isn’t the first to take aim at RideLondon’s annual use of the roads.

> Town council says “restrictive” RideLondon sportive not wanted – because locals “can’t get out of their own road”

Back in January, a local council in Essex claimed that the majority of locals “don’t particularly want” the sportive to return to the town this year as residents “can’t get out of their own road” during the popular mass ride event, which moved to the county for 2022 following seven editions in Surrey.

Members of Ongar Town Council also argued that the apparent benefits of hosting the sportive – particularly for local businesses – were unfounded, and that the money made available to charities thanks to the event could be exceeded if all households in the area donated a “pound or two”.

Despite the concerns of DJs and some local authorities, this year’s RideLondon – which marks the tenth anniversary of the event – has continued to prove a success, attracting a record 25,000 participants for the 30, 60, and 100 mile sportive rides, and the same number for the closed roads family ride through London.

The glorious sunshine and sight of thousands of cyclists riding through the centre of London prompted a much more upbeat and enthusiastic tweet from Olympic champion and Active Travel England chief Chris Boardman:

And, naturally, one sarcastic reply aimed at a certain Mr Blackburn:

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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51 comments

Avatar
STiG911 | 11 months ago
6 likes

'We do pay to go on the roads' 

Says the owner of an electric car. Twat.

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peted76 | 11 months ago
2 likes

Tony Blackburn is very, very old.. and frankly with that sort of thinking should be forced to retake his driving test.

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eburtthebike | 11 months ago
9 likes

Coincidentally, this just popped up on fb:

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MissyChrissy replied to eburtthebike | 11 months ago
2 likes

Living in a part of Manchester where the roads are frequently crammed with football supporters (in cars, coaches, taxis and on foot) twice a week, as well as having thousands of runners pound past my home three times a year, I get this.

Do I complain? Of course I do, I'm English. 

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MissyChrissy | 11 months ago
7 likes

The man's an irrelevance, his day is over. It's only through posting this rubbish that people know he's still alive.

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Morgoth985 | 11 months ago
5 likes

Look on the bright side.  We can have the pleasure of picturing the old fool sitting inside fuming all day long while thousands and thousands have a lovely time in the sunshine out on their bikes.

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lio | 11 months ago
1 like

Well, there's no cure for being a... can't bring myself to say it (but there's definitely no cure for it).

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marmotte27 | 11 months ago
1 like

At his age, should having a small one really still matter that much to him?

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ooldbaker | 11 months ago
0 likes

Has Just posted

"This idea of a car day in London was meant to be a joke but people didn’t seem to get that I was joking. Obviously a Car day in London would bring everything to a halt."

I personally believe it was meant as the joke he says. He was never one for making controversal comments.

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eburtthebike replied to ooldbaker | 11 months ago
3 likes
ooldbaker wrote:

I personally believe it was meant as the joke he says. He was never one for making controversal comments.

Or jokes, obviously.

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MissyChrissy replied to ooldbaker | 11 months ago
8 likes

He wasn't joking. He was shown to be a bike-hating tit, and now he's pretending it was all a big joke. Guess what Tone, I don't believe you.

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EM69 | 11 months ago
0 likes

Average at what he does/did but like the rest of his ilk give the impression of being intelligent until they open their mouths.

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Daclu Trelub | 11 months ago
8 likes

Tony Blackburn? Isn't he dead yet?

Why do third-rate celebs think their witterings are worth listening to?

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Off the back | 11 months ago
7 likes

Rather bigoted view from a guy still living in the last century. 
 

Tony Blackburn's only saving grace is he wasn't caught up in Op Yewtree like most of his BBC colleagues. 

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OldRidgeback replied to Off the back | 11 months ago
1 like

To his credit, he did champion Motown back in the day.

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eburtthebike | 11 months ago
14 likes

Tony Blackburn calls for RideLondon to be replaced by “event for car owners”

No need to organise that Tony, it happens 364 days every year.

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kingleo | 11 months ago
4 likes

The ride London organizers gave 1 million pounds to Essex County Council last year.

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LeadenSkies | 11 months ago
8 likes

Tony Blackburn, presenter of Sounds of the Sixties - music from 60 years ago presented by a DJ with attitudes even more out of date.

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hawkinspeter replied to LeadenSkies | 11 months ago
3 likes
LeadenSkies wrote:

Tony Blackburn, presenter of Sounds of the Sixties - music from 60 years ago presented by a DJ with attitudes even more out of date.

Hold on a minute, I'm a fan of some sixties music. The 60s/70s were a time of experimentation and creativity and there's a whole lot of music that didn't get the recognition it deserved at the time. However, I'd guess that Blackburn probably just plays the well known popular tracks - I haven't listened to him.

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LeadenSkies replied to hawkinspeter | 11 months ago
0 likes

Mate, I like plenty of 60s music, but that doesn't change the fact it was a long time ago! Or the fact that Blackburn's views are massively out of date.

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hawkinspeter replied to LeadenSkies | 11 months ago
4 likes
LeadenSkies wrote:

Mate, I like plenty of 60s music, but that doesn't change the fact it was a long time ago! Or the fact that Blackburn's views are massively out of date.

Say what you want about Blackburn, but leave the music alone.

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Cugel replied to LeadenSkies | 11 months ago
4 likes
LeadenSkies wrote:

Mate, I like plenty of 60s music, but that doesn't change the fact it was a long time ago! Or the fact that Blackburn's views are massively out of date.

From WikiP:

"Smashie and Nicey" are two disc jockeys working at Radio Fab FM, a parody of BBC Radio 1. Each sketch would involve the two talking a stereotypically, obsessively self-regarding disc jockey spiel: reminiscing about their careers, modestly shrugging off their many works of "charidee", and generally being bland and irrelevant......

The characters reference a stereotype of Radio 1 DJs at the time, in that they are egotistical, bland, and out of touch with their younger listenership."

Number One source for the often oleagenous oozings of this pair of comedy DJs from the 60s & 70s was The Blackburn, who seemed to have been poured from a large bottle of Virgin olive oil pressings into a sort of jelly mould before being animated with the spirit of a long-defunct Edwardian fairground dummy of the sort that gurned and emited poorly-recorded "jokes".

The creature was a peculiar irrelevance even in his heyday but has now become entirely atavistic. Probably owns a Triumph Stag he can no longer manage to drive (thank gawd).

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Clem Fandango | 11 months ago
3 likes

Tony who?

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Oldfatgit | 11 months ago
4 likes

Old radio DJ trying to maintain the coat tails of his popularity by playing to the Daily Fail etc galley.

Does anyone under the age of 35 even know who he is?

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TheAdebo | 11 months ago
21 likes

Tony is such a massive petrol head that he isn't aware of Formula E, which shuts down much of London for several days.

Or the London to Brighton car rally, which clogs up much of South London for the day.

Or the London Concors, which closes down Savile Row for the day.

Or...

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stonojnr replied to TheAdebo | 11 months ago
4 likes

They have an actual motor show on Regent Street every year and F1 turns up every so often and does burn out laps around Trafalgar square to promote a race thats held in Northamptonshire.

Does Tony even live in London ?

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BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP replied to TheAdebo | 11 months ago
5 likes

Some of the cycle lanes in central London were closed for weeks when your queen died and then again when your King did whatever it was he did in May. Was the DJ indignant about that? 

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hawkinspeter replied to BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 11 months ago
6 likes
BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP wrote:

Some of the cycle lanes in central London were closed for weeks when your queen died and then again when your King did whatever it was he did in May. Was the DJ indignant about that? 

Not my King/Queen - I never voted for them.

The incident in May was when we spent millions to give a billionaire a new hat. The BBC were all over it and impartiality was quietly forgotten.

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Gimpl replied to hawkinspeter | 11 months ago
0 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:
BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP wrote:

Some of the cycle lanes in central London were closed for weeks when your queen died and then again when your King did whatever it was he did in May. Was the DJ indignant about that? 

Not my King/Queen - I never voted for them.

The incident in May was when we spent millions to give a billionaire a new hat. The BBC were all over it and impartiality was quietly forgotten.

Fortunately we don't have to vote for them, they're a national institution that brings in revenue far exceeding what they cost. If you don't like it you can always emigrate - in fact I wish you would. 

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hawkinspeter replied to Gimpl | 11 months ago
7 likes
Gimpl wrote:

Fortunately we don't have to vote for them, they're a national institution that brings in revenue far exceeding what they cost. If you don't like it you can always emigrate - in fact I wish you would. 

They're a hangover from our imperial past and frankly an embarrassment that people would want to celebrate all the racism and atrocities that entailed from them. (https://historycollection.com/10-atrocities-committed-by-the-british-empire-that-they-would-like-to-erase-from-history-books/)

I would like to see some evidence of how much revenue that they bring in (rather than the money generated by property that they 'own') as the tourism figures are pretty much just guessed at as tourists don't usually visit purely for one reason.

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