Manchester United star Daley Blind is reported to have raised concerns at Old Trafford by riding around the north western city without a cycle helmet – and what’s more, on a bike that is not street-legal under UK law. But an article on Mirror.co.uk about Blind's riding habits has caused bemusement in his native Netherlands.
The 25-year-old, who was born in Amsterdam and rose through the ranks of home-town team Ajax, posted a picture of himself on the bike to Instagram earlier this month, saying: “My bike from Amsterdam arrived at the right time.”
But according to the Mirror, he risks a reprimand from the team’s manager, Louis van Gaal, for riding around without a helmet.
The report, originally published in the Mirror’s sister newspaper, the Sunday People, cited “a United source,” who said: “Traffic is crazy in Manchester and cyclists are always taking a tumble.
“These are not the sedate streets alongside the canals of Amsterdam.
"They are clogged with buses, vans and taxis and Daley needs to take extra care.
"A helmet would be a sensible start.”
Blind’s bike is equipped with a coaster brake, which is operated by pedalling backwards.
Under UK law, however, for such a bike to be legal for riding on the road, it would need at least a separate front brake.
Robert Frith, a bike shop owner the Sunday People spoke to, also questioned the suitability of a coaster brake for a city such as Manchester.
“He should get a model with two brakes and not the coaster type of bike, where you pedal backwards to stop, as I don’t believe this has enough stopping power for use on the roads,” he said.
“It is fine for a canal towpath or a park, but not for using on the streets of a busy city like Manchester.”
The Mirror’s report has been met with a certain degree of bemusement in the Netherlands, where the vast majority of cyclists – those engaged in cycle sport the most notable exception – choose not to wear a helmet.
Noting the reference to Blind being more used to the “sedate streets” along the Dutch capital’s canals, Powned.tv said: “Presumably, reporters from the Mirror have never taken a bike ride in the centre of Amsterdam.”
Dutch Twitter users also chipped in.
One, Sgt Buzzkill, said: “Yo English people, you can trust blind with a #bike. #Amsterdam is a jungle, if you can ride there, you can ride anywhere.”
Another, Harry Dupa, said “Ha ha ha, funny British.”
In 2007, learning that disc jockey Gijs Staverman from the Q Music radio station planned to commute by bike each day from his home in Amsterdam to work in Hilversum to help lose weight, Van Gaal suggested the pair ride the 30km journey together.
Their trip raised more than €20,000 for a charity Van Gaal supported, and an article on the radio station’s website shows the pair on their Dutch-style bicycles, with not a cycle helmet in sight.
That suggests that Blind needn’t worry about getting a dressing-down from his compatriot and manager any time soon – of more concern to van Gaal may be whether cycling may impede the Dutch international’s recovery from the injury he sustained in the Manchester derby the weekend before last.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.