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Cyclists raise alarm over "some of the most inexplicable cycle infrastructure we've ever seen"; Julian Alaphilippe raced classics with fractured knee; Camp-egg-nolo fans? Family of starlings builds nest in bike basket + more on the live blog

Welcome to the Friday live blog, your one-stop shop for everything happening in the world of cycling as we head towards the weekend... Dan Alexander is in the hot seat for all your news, reaction and more...


12 April 2024, 07:49
Cyclists raise alarm over "some of the most inexplicable cycle infrastructure we've ever seen"

Disabled people's cycling organisation Wheels for Wellbeing has warned of "some of the most inexplicable cycle infrastructure we have ever seen" lurking in Cardiff...

Cardiff cycle lane barrier (Wheels for Wellbeing/Twitter)

[Wheels for Wellbeing]

The group's campaigns and policy manager Dr Kay Inckle was riding along the route when all of a sudden... she couldn't, the cycle lane dividing orcas and wands turning in on themselves, blocking off further forward travel and accompanied by a painted arrow diverting users towards the pavement at the pedestrian crossing.

Cardiff Cycle City responded to Wheels for Wellbeing's post, saying: "This has been on our radar for several years now, along with the boarded-up underpass with no adequate alternative route for cycling." They also asked Cardiff Council and the council's head transport figure if "there are plans to fix this?"

While for some cyclists this may fortunately just be an inconvenience, perhaps with a bit of danger sprinkled in, for those riders using adapted cycles, tricycles, cargo bikes or other larger models it could be much worse. The high kerbs as far as the eye can see, plus the route up onto the pavement at the crossing narrowed by the traffic light poles, could be problematic for some riders.

Cardiff cycle lane barrier (Wheels for Wellbeing/Twitter)

One cyclist, Roger Merriman concluded, "I'm not sure how your supposed to use that to be honest!" Another pointed out the irony of the construction site seemingly the cause of the dead end being a... "working in partnership with Transport for Wales" project...

12 April 2024, 16:09
Key cycle route reopens – a month after being closed for two years due to construction work and cyclists diverted onto "accident black spot"
12 April 2024, 16:00
"My hands are a bit softer nowadays": Tom Pidcock still struggling with blisters post-Roubaix
Tom Pidcock hand post-Roubaix (Instagram/Tom Pidcock)

Tom Pidcock's hands weren't in a great way post-Roubaix, the Ineos Grenadiers rider showing off these painful blisters on his Instagram. Well, they're not much better now, five days on and ahead of Amstel Gold Race...

"My hands are still sore," he said today. "I guess that's a lesson that you can't just drop into Paris-Roubaix, that you even need to prepare your hands. Normally I have no problems with these things, but I didn't ride my mountain bike or do any of the other cobbled classics so my hands are a bit softer nowadays."

"Amstel is a great race and I love racing there, so I hope to go one better this time. As for the Ardennes, these were a big goal of mine from the start of the year so I'm really looking forward to getting stuck in, together with the team. It's always a really nice time of the year."

12 April 2024, 15:15
"Watered down" cycling and walking scheme "putting bus times before cyclists' lives", claim road safety campaigners
12 April 2024, 14:22
"I'm not very concerned with that": Mathieu van der Poel has not looked at Amstel Gold Race startlist, bullish about chances of repeating 2019 success
Mathieu van der Poel wins 2019 Amstel Gold Race (picture credit Amstel Gold Race)

In a career of astounding victories, Mathieu van der Poel's jaw-dropping 2019 Amstel Gold Race comeback remains right up there. The race looked gone, Julian Alaphilippe and Jakob Fuglsang surely heading for a two-up sprint, but Van der Poel had other ideas. Launching a one-man effort, the Dutchman led a train of top-level pros simply clinging on as he powered the final kilometres, never asking anyone for a turn, he reeled in the escapees, lead out the sprint... and, of course, won it. To this day, still one of the most ridiculous performances I can remember watching.

Well, he's back for another shot at the Dutch one day race... and he's pretty confident...

"Who I consider my main rivals? As you know, I'm not very concerned with that. Neither have I looked at the participants list yet. It may sound cliché, but I mainly go by my own strength and that of our team," he said today ahead of Sunday's race.

Matthieu van der Poel at Paris Roubaix 2024 (Zac Williams/

[Zac Williams/]

"My victory in 2019 is one I will never forget. The spectacular outcome still appeals to the imagination, besides it was also my first really big win on the road. Those are moments you cherish. That I finished fourth there in 2022 proves that the course in Dutch Limburg suits me particularly well. It's a bit like a mini Tour of Flanders, with lots of turns and steep hills, but without cobblestones.

"The past few weeks everything went exceptionally well, with wins in E3 Harelbeke, Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. It's great to win these monuments, especially in the rainbow jersey. It's now a matter of keeping up that high form for another ten days."

12 April 2024, 13:42
Critical Mass turns 30! Bumper birthday ride planned this weekend in London
Critical Mass 30th anniversary ride (Eventbrite)

Hundreds are expected to take part in this Sunday's 30th anniversary event celebrating three decades of Critical Mass rides in London. Setting off from Southbank, under Waterloo Bridge at 12pm, the event will mirror many others seen in the English capital and around the world — cyclists riding in a large group, highlighting their equal right to the road and the fact we should all be able to use the road safely.

There's a feature in today's Guardian about the event, but as the Critical Mass website explains: "Critical Mass is not an organisation or group, but an idea or tactic, Critical Mass allows people to reclaim cities with their bikes, just by getting together and outnumbering the cars on the road." Simon will be on the ground this Sunday, so look out for all the best photos and a blog piece in the near future...

12 April 2024, 13:10
"We really need to address the issue of safety in professional cycling": Ineos boss Sir Jim Ratcliffe appeals to UCI for "real action" after "yet another horrific crash"
Sir Jim Ratcliffe (

Ineos Grenadiers owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has penned a letter to the UCI calling for "real action" after "yet another horrific crash" at a pro race. Comparing the sport's situation to Formula 1, where "the governing body set out to transform safety regulations" following the death of Ayrton Senna 30 years ago, Ratcliffe says "very few changes" have been made in cycling.

"As recently as last week, we had yet another horrific crash involving three of the world's top cyclists," Ratcliffe continued, referencing the crash that has put Jonas Vingegaard's Tour de France defence into question and also saw Remco Evenpoel and Primož Roglič injured.

"Even whilst training, top riders are at serious risk, indeed Ineos Grenadiers have had two horrendous accidents in recent years both involving Tour de France winners," Ratcliffe explained. "Chris Froome experienced a compound fracture of his femur on a recon ride and Egan Bernal broke his neck and many other bones on a training ride. Both were lucky to be able to even get back on a bike.

"Cyclists are always going to push things to the limit as they are elite sportsmen and that is why action is so important. In June, the UCI announced the formation of SafeR, a specialist entity to oversee all aspects of cycling safety. For the first time, the sport will have a dedicated safety body whose sole concern is to make the sport safer, reducing risks to riders and spectators whilst losing none of the thrill of racing. This is what Formula 1 has done so well over the past 30 years and I would hope that we now see the same in cycling.

"I applaud the UCI for taking the issues on board and agreeing to support the establishment of SafeR. We now need to see real action to ensure the safety of the sport."

12 April 2024, 12:46
"Cyclists see themselves as the centre of the universe," says actress Patricia Hodge in rant questioning why police "never" stop red light-jumping cyclists
12 April 2024, 10:52
Meanwhile in Edinburgh... "rather terrifying" and "unforgivable"... the reviews are in for these bizarre bike lane-blocking racks

This bike lane's a bit too Grand National for our liking... but I guess it gives you somewhere to lock your bike while you wait for an ambulance...

 It's fair to say it's not getting great reviews, the specialist personal injury service for cyclists, Cycle Law Scotland, calling it "unforgivable".

12 April 2024, 10:24
"Why they need to block the end of the lane off is a mystery": Local knowledge + reader reaction to Cardiff's "inexplicable" dead end bike lane

wycombewheeler: "Diverted onto the pavement which is narrow exactly at the point where pedestrians will be waiting to cross. And for what? So the construction traffic can pull out without looking, how they are being allowed to use the pedestrian crossing as their access is beyond me."

LeadenSkies: "From what I can see, it appears they have closed the underpass that was the continuation of the route for pedestrians/ cyclists to allow for construction work but haven't provided / signed up any alternative route so now you just hit an effective dead end?"

Mr Hoopdriver: "The paint on the road says 'afterthought'."

12 April 2024, 09:50
Evans Cycles announces 30 days complimentary insurance when buying a bike or getting a service
Evans Cycles Leeds Station (1).JPG

Evans Cycles and bike insurance provider Sundays have announced that customers getting an in-store service or buying a bicycle from the cycling retailer will now get 30 days complimentary insurance. As always, have a read of the T&Cs, but Sundays says it will offer Evans customers accidental damage cover, malicious damage cover, replacement bicycle hire reimbursement and theft cover.

Kyle Baird, UK Head of Distribution at Sundays, said: "The Sundays team is immensely excited to be partnering with one of the longest standing and most iconic names in the cycling industry. By offering a period of free insurance, we're able to provide peace of mind for their new bike customers and help riders get back on their bikes as quickly as possible after an incident. 

"Our partnership with Evans Cycles represents a significant step forwards in our commitment to providing comprehensive protection and support to cyclists nationwide."

12 April 2024, 09:15
"You not cycling anymore?"... "Nah, got a family of starlings that have set up camp on my bike..."

One cyclist in Galway has a pretty unique excuse for not getting out on their bike at the minute — a family of starlings have borrowed their bike basket for nesting purposes. The Irish Mirror went to find out more, reporter Darragh Mc Donagh posting this video on social media...

Several residents have been keeping an eye on the starlings' progress, Áine Ní Fhaoláin telling the newspaper they seem to be "happy" with their bicycle basket base.

"The mum is on them a little bit more now. The first time I saw them, they were without the mum. They're lovely little things – they're tiny, absolutely tiny," she said. "The thing I was a little bit concerned about is that there are a lot of seagulls around. But I don't think there's anything we can do about it. We can't move the nest, so we just have to let nature take its course. Luckily, there are no cats around, which would have been a much greater threat.

"I have a feeling people have been leaving their bikes alone to let the birds have some peace. And whoever owns the bike that they've nested in hasn't moved it. It could be an abandoned bike, but someone has put a note above it that says 'Nest in basket, please do not touch'."

The starlings run Hatch-inson tyres and a Camp-egg-nolo groupset presumably? They're apparently big Lotte Ko-peck-y fans... and Andrew Feather supporters come hill climb season too...

12 April 2024, 08:47
"Tired of people talking about me through problems": Julian Alaphilippe raced classics with fractured knee
Julian Alaphilippe (Zac Williams/SWpix)

[Zac Williams/SWpix]

Julian Alaphilippe has revealed that he completed his classics campaign with a fracture in his left knee. Speaking to Le Parisien, the two-time world champion said he hadn't spoken about it publicly sooner because he's "tired of people talking about me through problems".

The injury was sustained in a crash at Strade Bianche in March, Alaphilippe going on to complete Tirreno-Adriatico, finish ninth at Milan-San Remo, and race E3 Saxo Classic, Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Tour of Flanders.

The Frenchman has been omitted from Soudal Quick-Step's Amstel Gold Race line-up.

"I should have taken care of myself," he said. "I didn't want to say it because I didn't want people to think I was making something up. I suffered a lot from that fall in Strade Bianche. My morale was damaged because I had good legs before and because it is a competition that I really enjoy. This fall was a big blow to me, and I had pain in my left knee."

12 April 2024, 08:09
8 upgrades I've made to my road bike to make it better than a new one

Dan is the 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 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


dubwise | 1 month ago
1 like

So Ratboy mentions Froome and Bernal, does he not realise their serious injuries were caused by themselves and not something on the race route?

bobbinogs replied to dubwise | 1 month ago

Yepp, I was going to say exactly that. IIRC, Froomedog crashed whilst riding a TT bike downhill in gusty conditions and no hands on the handlebars...and Bernal had his head down and cycled straight into the back of a stationary bus whilst training. I don't see how those have anything to do with the pro tour.

Rendel Harris replied to dubwise | 1 month ago

dubwise wrote:

So Ratboy mentions Froome and Bernal, does he not realise their serious injuries were caused by themselves and not something on the race route?

I'm certainly no fan of the man but yes he does realise that, he says that they received their injuries whilst training; he goes on to make it clear that he's mentioning them to demonstrate that professionals will always push things to the absolute limit, even in training, and that's why courses need to be made safer.

mikewood | 1 month ago

Re blistered hands at PR. Did anyone else notice MVDP go straight on the drops everytime he went onto the cobbles? Probably a big influence on him not ripping his hands to shreds as it effectively dampens out more vibrations

Rendel Harris replied to mikewood | 1 month ago
1 like

mikewood wrote:

Re blistered hands at PR. Did anyone else notice MVDP go straight on the drops everytime he went onto the cobbles? Probably a big influence on him not ripping his hands to shreds as it effectively dampens out more vibrations

Interesting point, I didn't notice, to be honest, but looking back at it yes he did and that does make perfect sense for easing hand pain. I would guess it wouldn't suit everybody though, in order to maintain balance and control on the drops over the cobbles you'd have to have excellent upper body strength, which of course MVDP has, I would guess that slighter riders would find riding on the drops over the pave more difficult?

mikewood replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
1 like

I think the recent improvements to his training to help his back has focussed on core strength so that all fits together. In basic terms, his back wasn't strong enough to maintain stability when his glutes tried the rip his pelvis out when dropping watt bombs

Hirsute | 1 month ago

Transport East Survey (Norfolk, Suffolk or Essex)

Help the future of travel and transport in the East with our Travel Behaviour Survey! We want to understand the journeys people are making to shape decisions on future transport investment. The survey is live until 17 April - take part here:

says 20 mins to do

(over 30 minutes needed and they distinguish between bike and ebike which are widely separated on the options)


bensynnock | 1 month ago

I could sit at a junction for a few minutes and count dozens of cars running red lights.

It's usually three every phase of the lights. The first might be excusable - the lights have turned amber just as they got to them, but the second one definitely has time to stop, and the third one just goes through a fully red light.

Add to that the drivers who think that the yellow hatchings are advisory, that no right turn doesn't apply to them, that 20 mph really means 30+, that 30cm is 1.5m, that they only need to give way to oncoming traffic if it's bigger than them, that MSM stands for maneuver, signal, mirror.

When the police start to do something about all of that I'll take it upon myself to head down to the police station and report myself every time I run a red on my bike... which is never.

mitsky replied to bensynnock | 1 month ago

"... dozens of DRIVERS running red lights."

the little onion | 1 month ago

Did the starling's build their nest on a monocoque frame?

john_smith replied to the little onion | 1 month ago

Sounds as though they're planning to put all their eggs in its one basket, at any rate.

eburtthebike | 1 month ago

Cyclists raise alarm over "some of the most inexplicable cycle infrastructure we've ever seen"

Don't they get out much?

NotNigel | 1 month ago

Absolutely awful news.  5 year old girl killed after being hit by HGV driver.

OnYerBike | 1 month ago
1 like

Causewayside's not great for cycling (despite being laughably labelled as the "Quality Bike Corridor"). However, I'm not convinced those are bike racks - I think they are demarking a space for wheely bins. 

brooksby replied to OnYerBike | 1 month ago

Looking at the layout on the photo - are those sheffield stands actually bike parking or are they just using them to mark out the car parking spaces?

OnYerBike replied to brooksby | 1 month ago

No - I think they are marking a bin space (see photo of another Edinburgh street). The barriers have just gone in so I assume the bins will be delivered shortly. 

chrisonabike replied to OnYerBike | 1 month ago

Agreed - this is not uncommon in Edinburgh (albeit the council should confess they've given up on cycle provision here).

All moot anyway because just the other side, outside Tescos this is the constant situation (and indeed it's like this all over Causewayside):

chrisonabike replied to OnYerBike | 1 month ago
1 like

Causewayside is a mess and has been for years (decades?) e.g. see Dave McCraw's efforts.

Frankly it's just not suitable as "cycle route for the rest of us" - it's like a narrow UK "stroad" (people use it as a route and also for access / residential / shopping (with unloading) etc.)  Nor could be unless they got rid of either a) most parking or b) two-way access for motor vehicles.  Neither seem to be an option council will consider.

I think they should give up the pretence, just set it back to (pretty rough / pot holed...) road and fix this at "network level".  Look at the routes people need to take more generally (flows).  There are some nearby parallel possible routes:

- the "quiet route" (now with junctions upgraded) from the middle of the Meadows south (and joining this road just beyond Causewayside, if you wanted).  OK, it's not as direct and even worse some modal filters have recently been removed (there have been some odd battles here - not privy to all details).

 - OR fixing the parallel Newington Road (they already found some space for a covid-era lane)

- and/or even the Dalkeith Road.

brooksby | 1 month ago

After 30 years, Critical Mass is still fighting for cyclists on London’s roads (gRauniad)

wycombewheeler | 1 month ago

diverted onto the pavement which is narrow exactly at the point where pedestrians will be waiting to cross.


and for what? so the construction traffic can pull out without looking, how they are bing allowed to use the pedestrian crossing as their access is beyond me.

stonojnr replied to wycombewheeler | 1 month ago
1 like

It's Lloyd George Avenue, Google maps explains all, so not really that inexplicable at all

LeadenSkies replied to stonojnr | 1 month ago

From what I can see, it appears they have closed the underpass that was the continuation of the route for pedestrians/ cyclists to allow for construction work but haven't provided / signed up any alternative route so now you just hit an effective dead end?

brooksby replied to stonojnr | 1 month ago
1 like

No it doesn't. 

stonojnr replied to brooksby | 1 month ago

It's a tiny bit of cycle lane designed to give access to/from Bute Street to/from Lloyd George Avenue under the Butetown branch line, because the way round via Herbert Street isn't great and the cycle path asks you to dismount because its not that wide, not that anyone ever does.

They're modernising the Butetown branch line so the access there is currently blocked. That's all there is to it.

It's not a cycle lane designed to take you anywhere but under that railway bridge.

If you wanted to ride along Lloyd George Avenue to Cardiff Bay, you'd use the stonking great big fully segregated vehicle free tree lined cycle path route built alongside Lloyd George Avenue to the left of the pictures near the flats.

bobbypuk replied to stonojnr | 1 month ago

Based on the google maps that the diversion is there because otherwise you're riding head first into that oncoming bus

Mr Hoopdriver replied to wycombewheeler | 1 month ago

The paint on the road says 'afterthought'.

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