Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Tony Blackburn insists "joke" idea to replace RideLondon with "event for car owners" wasn't a serious suggestion

The famous DJ claimed a car event would be more suitable as "there are more of us and we pay to go on the roads" — later adding that "people didn't seem to get that I was joking"...

Veteran radio personality Tony Blackburn has backtracked on his weekend comments about RideLondon, stating that "obviously" replacing the sportive with a "car day" would "bring everything to a halt".

The former BBC Radio 1 DJ had suggested that perhaps the mass participation event should be replaced next year by an event "for car owners" as "there are more of us and we do pay to go on the roads".

Attracting much criticism, and calls that every day is a car day in London, Blackburn last night clarified that his comments were "meant to be a joke".

"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," he said. "Obviously a car day in London would bring everything to a halt."

Blackburn had a day earlier replied to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan's tweet wishing everyone taking part good luck, and celebrating the fact that more than 25,000 cyclists would take part in Sunday's sportive, a similar number expected for the family-friendly FreeCycle on traffic-free central London roads.

"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?" Blackburn asked in his "joke".

Cycling cartoonist Dave Walker was one of the many to reply to the comment, sharing his cartoon about the event.

Cycle Brentwood, an advocacy and advisory group dedicated to getting more people cycling within Brentwood Borough, also replied to the DJ, saying: "Yes, let's have a 'Drive London Day' to celebrate the health and environmental benefits that cars bring to our cities."

It is not the first time Blackburn's views on roads policy and transport have made headlines as, ironically on April 1, he asked his followers "how about less money for this ridiculous obsession with 20mph speed limits everywhere?" and "who is it that decides that we motorists now are overtaken by cyclists?"

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

Despite the comments from a veteran DJ and some concerned locals, Sunday saw thousands of cyclists take to the closed roads of London and Essex in glorious early summer sunshine, the day's events capped by Charlotte Kool sprinting to victory on the final stage of the RideLondon Classique to secure overall victory ahead of Chloé Dygert.

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

Add new comment

24 comments

Avatar
hutchdaddy | 11 months ago
1 like

Tony Blackburn was one of the few older Radio djs that John Peel had any time for, so he gets a thumbs up from me. As long as he doesn't come out with any further tripe like that.

Avatar
IanMSpencer replied to hutchdaddy | 11 months ago
1 like

He and Lisa Tarbuck are the only R2 shows I listen to now.

Tony is a nice bloke but truth be told is a bit dim when it comes to worldly events and doesn't think some of his off the cuff quips through so it is no surprise he puts his foot in it every now and again. I guess I filter out anything that isn't music related (and quite a few of his repetitive anecdotes - though Blackburn Bingo* is a household game).

*Flowers in the Rain/M40 favourite motorway/Warwick not Warwick - when I met her/The Frank Sinatra anecdote

Avatar
kinderje replied to IanMSpencer | 11 months ago
0 likes

He does tend to mention his gripe against 20mph zones fairly regularly. Other than that have to agree with you that I enjoy listening to him on Sounds of the Sixties. Can't agree on Lisa Tarbuck though, her chat and silly voices grate with me and I have to turn off. Sorry.  1

Avatar
exilegareth | 11 months ago
2 likes

Oh dear. It doesn't matter what Tony Blackburn thinks. No-one employs him for his wit or his wisdom; he's just a faiuled crooner who turned out to have good taste in soul music and an accceptable line of patter for the kind of people who actually listen to DJs. Kind of like the Rylanm of his generation but with less gayness. Should his foolishness merit an article? No.

Avatar
marmotte27 | 11 months ago
4 likes

About as funny as if Boris Johnson called for a Rich White Male History Month...

Avatar
IanMSpencer | 11 months ago
2 likes

Somewhat ironic that he made that comment in reation to an event that took over a small part of London while at the same time the whole of Monaco was going through its week-long remodelling and sealing off of roads to host F1 - which would seem to be the ultimate event for car owners.

 

Of course they attempted to bring F1 to London. Would he have been up in arms if they had succeeded?

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to IanMSpencer | 11 months ago
2 likes

See also:

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to Rendel Harris | 11 months ago
2 likes

Sorry text is a bit small: Savile Row closed June 15th and 16th for a "classic car concours".

Avatar
tootsie323 replied to IanMSpencer | 11 months ago
2 likes

It seems that anything that closes roads which isn't for a car event brings uproar. I was marshalling for a local half-marathin event recently, where the roads were closed for it. The amount of complaining I had from people whose mornings were apparently ruined beggared belief.

Avatar
Organon | 11 months ago
3 likes

Former 1970's Radio 1 DJs don't have the best track record, best keep your head down Tony.

Only joking.

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Organon | 11 months ago
2 likes
Organon wrote:

Former 1970's Radio 1 DJs don't have the best track record, best keep your head down Tony.

Only joking.

When the various scandals were breaking, I kept expecting Blackburn to be involved as he always seems overly smarmy, but maybe he's actually an alright guy - just not the best person to be talking about cycle events.

Avatar
OldRidgeback replied to hawkinspeter | 11 months ago
1 like
hawkinspeter wrote:
Organon wrote:

Former 1970's Radio 1 DJs don't have the best track record, best keep your head down Tony.

Only joking.

When the various scandals were breaking, I kept expecting Blackburn to be involved as he always seems overly smarmy, but maybe he's actually an alright guy - just not the best person to be talking about cycle events.

Yes, he has a terrible sense of humour and has been mocked for it for decades. But he isn't an unpleasant person by all accounts. He's maybe not the cleverest. I know people who have worked with him and they say he's ok, which is more than can be said for a lot of the old school DJs from his generation.

Avatar
bendertherobot | 11 months ago
2 likes

Blackburn has tweeted very positively about the London Marathon, its participants and charidee raising (mate).

But tweeted a 'joke' about Ride London.

It's a mystery as to why.

Avatar
Fignon's ghost | 11 months ago
4 likes

Only an arsehole would use vulnerable road users as "the joke".
Cretin.

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Fignon's ghost | 11 months ago
0 likes
Fignon's ghost wrote:

Only an arsehole would use vulnerable road users as "the joke". Cretin.

Whilst I agree, "cretin" is a word best avoided due to its medical background.

https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/cretin

Quote:

The English language has no shortage of cruel names for people, and one of them is cretin, which is what you’d call someone who is very, very dumb in the head.

Back before cretin meant “a stupid person,” it was a medical term for a physical deformity that came from a specific disease. Surprisingly, the root of cretin is the Swiss French word crestin, which means “Christian.” It seems that people back then wanted to remind themselves that even though cretins look unusual, they’re still humans who deserve kindness. Knowing this makes it hard to use cretin in a mean way, but there are plenty more rude words you could use.

It's unusual in that the original intention was to encourage sympathy with the afflicted (congenital iodine deficiency is the modern term) by labelling them as "Christian" in a predominantly Christian society, but the term ended up being used in a derogatory fashion.

Avatar
Cugel replied to hawkinspeter | 11 months ago
0 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

The English language has no shortage of cruel names for people, and one of them is cretin, which is what you’d call someone who is very, very dumb in the head.

Back before cretin meant “a stupid person,” it was a medical term for a physical deformity that came from a specific disease. Surprisingly, the root of cretin is the Swiss French word crestin, which means “Christian.” It seems that people back then wanted to remind themselves that even though cretins look unusual, they’re still humans who deserve kindness. Knowing this makes it hard to use cretin in a mean way, but there are plenty more rude words you could use.

It's unusual in that the original intention was to encourage sympathy with the afflicted (congenital iodine deficiency is the modern term) by labelling them as "Christian" in a predominantly Christian society, but the term ended up being used in a derogatory fashion.

That is a nice bit of history, worthy of a Foucault in the cultural-archeology revealing the origins of the term and the geneological examination of its subsequent evolution! An expanded history of that evolution - and reversal of meanings - would be interesting ....... .

But this is a forum about a certain kind of cycling, which might be better served by a Foucaultian forensic of things-bicycle rather than more general cultural constructs. I fear the Road.CC contributors will prefer other perspectives, however.  1

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Cugel | 11 months ago
0 likes
Cugel wrote:

That is a nice bit of history, worthy of a Foucault in the cultural-archeology revealing the origins of the term and the geneological examination of its subsequent evolution! An expanded history of that evolution - and reversal of meanings - would be interesting ....... .

But this is a forum about a certain kind of cycling, which might be better served by a Foucaultian forensic of things-bicycle rather than more general cultural constructs. I fear the Road.CC contributors will prefer other perspectives, however.  1

Well my advice is to avoid the word completely - it carries baggage and distracts from the original intention of calling Blackburn an idiot.

Avatar
Dogless replied to Cugel | 11 months ago
1 like

Didn't come here expecting Foucault chat at this time of day. My thesis was a foucauldian analysis of talk on forums (though not this one). I'd argue that you can't just look at this conversation in isolation, as it's a product and part of wider discourse around language and cycling.
As a participant though, yeah, don't use the word 'cretin', for the same reason we (hopefully) wouldn't say 'mong', 'mental' or 'moron'.

Avatar
Fignon's ghost replied to hawkinspeter | 11 months ago
0 likes

Thanks for the info. Your piece lacked the necessary bibliography. But I will take your word for it.

Let's settle on BLACKBURN = ODIOUS. Is that more suitable for home counties folk?

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Fignon's ghost | 11 months ago
1 like
Fignon's ghost wrote:

Thanks for the info. Your piece lacked the necessary bibliography. But I will take your word for it. Let's settle on BLACKBURN = ODIOUS. Is that more suitable for home counties folk?

"Odius" is a perfectly cromulent word. I wouldn't know about home counties folk (I'm in Bristol), but I can't see anyone (except for Tony) complaining about that.

Incidentally, I happened across a strange article as a conversation with some friends somehow got onto the topic of Angela Rippon: https://www.walesonline.co.uk/lifestyle/tv/tony-blackburn-recalls-lusting-after-23741155

Quote:

Tony recalled the occasion he took an ecstasy pill that he believed to be paracetamol – given to him by his late pal, the DJ Steve Walsh. He said: "I thought it was a headache pill but I suddenly went really hot.

"I went home, sat down and watched the Nine O’Clock News and really enjoyed it." He remembered finding the episode "lovely," stating: "Angela Rippon was doing it."

He continued: "But afterwards, the programme controller offered us this hash cake. And I thought, 'Why not?' It was the most fantastic time of my life. We had the most wonderful time.

"We got in this cab and every traffic light we stopped at that was red, we split ourselves laughing."

He joked to Danny Wallace and Phil Hilton on their Manatomy podcast that his fondness for traffic lights has continued to this day.

Avatar
Surreyrider replied to Fignon's ghost | 11 months ago
2 likes

Does Blackburn know the definition of joke? It generally includes words like 'laughter', 'amusement', 'humour'. None of those or the many other words you could use to define a joke apply to his comment, which shows him to be ignorant beyond belief. 

Avatar
OldRidgeback replied to Surreyrider | 11 months ago
2 likes

He is notorious for having a terrible sense of humour.

Avatar
Adam Sutton replied to Fignon's ghost | 11 months ago
1 like

Unless they're trans cyclists, then they're dair game here. Jesus get over yourselves.

Avatar
marmotte27 replied to Adam Sutton | 11 months ago
1 like

Do get a sense of perspective!

Latest Comments