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Best of the live blog 2022: Terrible cycling takes, laughable cycle lanes, Highway Code changes, monster climbs, mechanical mishaps, pineapple pizzas + much more

A year's worth of live blog entertainment, scandal and debate in one place...

2022 in the cycling world — where to start? Highway Code changes, Grant Shapps going off-brief, cycling licences, number plates, the usual talk show and tabloid hysteria about people riding bicycles, British Cycling's greenwashing scandal, BBC's Panorama tackling road rage, an enthralling spring and summer of racing and so much more — it's certainly not been quiet...

That's without mentioning all the steep climbs, viral videos, mechanical mishaps, online debates, ignominious infrastructure, reaction and discussion that keeps you coming back to our live blog in your thousands.

We thought we'd fill the post-Christmas pre-New Year void with a handy round-up of all the biggest stories from the 254 days of live blogging to bring back some old favourites, touch on the hot topics and relive the best moments of 2022 to stave of the festive boredom.

So, grab a brew or something stronger and take a trip down memory lane...

The headline acts

Highway Code (Department for Transport)

We've certainly not been starved of major stories these past 12 months. It was, after all, a year that began with the new Highway Code changes protecting vulnerable road users introduced to a backdrop of tabloid clickbait, radio ranting and tedious Twitter 'debate'.

And of the various days of live blog coverage the Highway Code changes garnered, British pro Jake Stewart's comments about cycling in the UK being "doomed" struck a particular chord with our readers.

> "Cycling in the UK is doomed" – Groupama-FDJ rider Jake Stewart responds to critics of Highway Code changes

"Daily I have to make the decision to put my life in the hands of people like this... just to do my job," the FDJ fast man said. "Too many have to make that decision to ride their bike for fun or to get around. Society is broken."

Into the spring and summer the days lengthened, in a seemingly never-ending heatwave, but at least the Highway Code chatter had cooled... that was until a certain Grant Shapps went rogue.

Grant Shapps (via YouTube)

Against the direction of his government's leadership the then-transport secretary took to the Daily Mail (who else?) to call for stricter laws for cyclists — number plates, licences, registrations were all touted — before a swift U-turn.

On the live blog Cycling UK told us Shapps' desire to introduce a new 'causing death by dangerous cycling' law was "the wrong answer to a rare problem" and there should be a wider review of road traffic offences and penalties.

Come October, the summer sun dispelled, the heat was on British Cycling. A new 'partnership' with oil giants Shell brought widespread criticism...

> British Cycling mercilessly slammed for eight-year Shell deal

BBC Panorama

Not long after, BBC Panorama doing a 'Road Rage: Cars v Bikes' episode meant unlike the leaves our live blog traffic certainly wasn't falling... cue anti-cycling bingo, questionable statistics and a mixed reception for the investigation.

Anyway, no shortage of eyeballs on that one...

Panorama trending Twitter

With the live blog winding down for Christmas there was just time for health secretary Steve Barclay's driver to nearly take out a passing cyclist while pulling away from a berating Steve Bray. Just another normal day in British politics, eh...

That's the serious stuff done, time for some live blog favourites from the past 12 months...

Mechanical mishaps, quad-shredding climbs, perfect karma...

Whitby Donkey track (Paul Johnson, Twitter)

We love a new monster climb on the live blog, this one in April came to our attention in the week of April Fools' Day — no pranks here, just eye-watering cobbled slopes...

> Stupidly steep hills: could you ride up a 50% gradient?

Talking of April Fools, as ever the bike industry delivered. From the Stelvio banning disc brakes to Ribble's unicycle and Cancellara's comeback, our April 1st live blog had it all.

Ribble unicycle April Fool's

We almost added the Brighton resident calling bike hangars in the city 'woke' to the list, then remembered that one actually happened... it's those pesky lentil-eating storage facilities taking up car-parking spaces again.

As for the list of cycle lanes we've seen this year that could be mistaken for April Fool's gags...

Another bad bike lane (@geoffallard/Twitter)

> "This has UK written all over it": Another why cyclists don't use the cycle lane classic

Sad cycle lane (Paul Baker/Twitter)

> Painfully bad cycle lane makes us laugh (you'll cry if you don't)

And don't forget this classic...

Longridge cycle lane 2 (screenshot via Lancashire Post)

> "That was really exciting!" Longridge local tries out Lancashire's 'shortest cycle lane'

You get the idea, the live blog is our official home of crap cycling infrastructure. We also love a mechanical mishap or home engineering ingenuity...

So, when 100 Climbs author Simon Warren spotted a way to save €738 on CeramicSpeed's €739 aero oversized pulley wheel system we were all ears. What followed was an utterly brilliant way to (possibly) save the same 2.5 seconds over a 25km time trial, all for the price of... well, a can of coke...

Coca-Cola can pulley wheel (Simon Warren/Twitter)

> How many watts could a Coca-Cola can pulley wheel system save you?

Less brilliant was this handlebar so wrecked by months of indoor training without a sweat towel that we speculated it was more deserving of an exorcist than a mechanic...

Handlebar nightmare (Credit: Stevil Kinevil/Twitter)

And how about this October favourite for a reminder to replace your rubber before you become the ridicule of the live blog?

Worn tyre (@trench_tales/Instagram)

> Is there any rubber left? The impossibly worn tyre that earned bike shop visitor a standing ovation from mechanics... after he only came in "for a tube"

We promised you karma and boy do we have some hilarious live blog tales to recall...

First up, back in March and the glorious report of the van driver in Doncaster who was revving his engine, tailgating and sounding his horn at a female cyclist. What the genius behind the wheel didn't take into consideration was that the poor rider on the receiving end might just be a plain-clothes officer from a Sheffield police force on a cycling course. 

Van driver intimidates female cyclist (credit: Sheffield North West NPT/Twitter)

The Sheffield North West force said they were only too happy to instruct the driver's employer on his attitude towards cyclists... Notice of Intended Prosecution in the post...

Or how about the raging Portland motorist trying to intimidate the city's answer to CyclingMikey enforcing traffic laws... only to blow out his tyre on the kerb...

Road rage driver blows out tyre (screenshot Twitter video/Tonyatwork)

> Perfect karma as raging driver trying to intimidate cyclist blows out tyre hitting the kerb

Terrible takes

Accompanying each major cycling story of the year has been the usual glut of 'debating' talk show hosts, broadcasters and C-list celebrities all competing for a slice of the limelight.

Congratulations Amanda Holden and Jeremy Kyle, we nibbled...

Amanda Holden says camera cyclists are 'asking for trouble' on BGT (via Britain's Got Talent, YouTube)

> Britain's Got Terrible Cycling Takes: Amanda Holden says cyclists with cameras are "asking for trouble"

Jeremy Kyle (Talk TV)

> "I get irrationally angry about cyclists": Jeremy Kyle and GB News' primetime anti-cycling bingo ranting

On the theme of terrible cycling takes it's time to address the elephant in the room — the biggest story of the year, numbers wise — courtesy of Durham Police's traffic unit schooling Sajid Javid...

Remember this?

Viral video debated on Jeremy Vine show (screenshot Twitter video/ @azb2019)

> Police mic-drop reply to those (including Sajid Javid) claiming five-year-old cyclist shouldn't be on the road

Oh go on then... one more terrible take to tide us over 'til the New Year...

It's got to be this guy...

Driver mounts pavement and chastises child for riding on same footpath (Greg N, Twitter)

> 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

Van der Poel offends Italy, Ryanair win the Tour de France, the next Pogačar?

We're a cycling website, not a racing site. Ryan aside, you'll probably never hear us talking about who won Circuit de Wallonie or other obscure race results, we prefer the more relatable side of pro cycling.

That means while you might not hear about Arnaud De Lie's Heylen Vastgoed Heistse Pijl win you will hear all about Alexandar Richardson riding from London to Brighton (and back) on a 40km/h training spin, Tom Pidcock's mind-boggling Sa Calobra time and Mathieu van der Poel's controversial pizza topping of choice...

Mathieu van der Poel pineapple pizza (Image: Mathieu van der Poel/Twitter)

> Where's the pineapple? Mathieu van der Poel offends Italy AGAIN

We couldn't mention Mathieu without his eternal rival Wout, could we? The Belgian and his national team compatriots made the live blog during the World Championships for this nice touch...

Belgian team cheer on Australian race (Twitter - velokicks)

> "Attack, attack!": Wout van Aert and Co cheer on Australian junior racers

Of the next generation there's a young lad from Northamptonshire making waves (and live blog headlines)...

Alec Perry Strava 200 miles

> The next Tadej Pogačar? 15-year-old boy from Northampton smashes 340km at 27km/h

It was a Tour de France for the ages, a new champion, spectacular drama... and Ryanair's social media manager stealing the show with a domestique-related gag... everything you need in a Grand Tour.

Closer to home it was one of those pesky cyclists not using a cycle lane in south west London that caught the attention... wait a second, I know that guy...

Sir Bradley Wiggins bike lane (screenshot via @carlton1512/Twitter)

> Pesky cyclists not using cycle lanes! Oh...that's Wiggo!

So, that was the year that was through the prism of the live blog... let us know what you liked, what you didn't, what you want to see more of, and other ways we can improve your live blog experience in 2023...

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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