As we head into the weekend, let’s take a trip down memory lane… down an extremely short cycle lane in fact, unveiled on the York Road in Leeds way back in 2001.
Ah, 2001… Blair and New Labour were still riding high, Beckham was single-handedly dragging England to the World Cup, and a certain Texan with a heart-warming story was on his way to a third straight Tour de France title.
And Leeds, apparently, was aiming for the title of ‘UK’s shortest bike lane’.
— Andrew Hutchinson (@AndyHutchYPN) May 19, 2022
I really enjoy how it drops straight into a puddle – purely, I imagine, for the added entertainment value…
Now that’s what I call infrastructure.
This morning’s story, about the thousand drivers a day breaking a new 20mph speed limit in Plymouth (despite the clear and obvious evidence that only cyclists speed through towns and cities), got quite a few of you talking in the comments.
Here are some of your thoughts:
One day it may dawn on drivers that it is the appalling standard of driving that is causing speed limits to be continually lowered.
The same with ever-increasing use of double white lines as numerous motorists demonstrate that they are incapable of judging how to overtake safely when it was previously allowed. Most traffic restrictions that councils and the HA bring in are evidence based (if only they'd apply some evidence to their approaches to cycle lane design).
The astonishment at 1,100 drivers exceeding the 20mph speed limit is hardly warranted; anywhere in the UK would get the same result. Drivers think that speed limits only apply to cyclists.
I've managed to retrain myself to drive at 20mph where those limits apply, and frequently find myself being tailgated and overtaken. Some of the roads with 20mph limits may be safe to drive at 30mph, but the speed limit is the speed limit. Some of the roads with the new 20mph limit definitely need it.
Twice recently I have experienced road rage for driving at the 30mph limit. In the first instance the guy drove the wrong side of a roundabout to overtake and in the second the guy roared past while giving me the bird only to pull in at a burger place about 300 metres further on!
But what about that cyclist I saw once ride on a pavement? Have you considered how that renders all drivers faultless in all situations?
I've found that, when I do drive (infrequently and in someone else's vehicle, as I don't own a car anymore) I am a lot more conscious of speed limits and road rules, compared to before I took up cycling. I think being a vulnerable road user makes one even more aware of why road rules need to be followed; I reckon all drivers should have a 'cycling experience' test before completing their practical driving test!
Ah yes, "bells & reflectors" - two of the 'Fatal Four' right there...
And just to get this straight in my own head – cyclists apparently both break urban speed limits AND constantly hold drivers up?
Driver: Sees you from far enough away to slow down, wind down the window and work out what they are going to yell at you.
Driver: I can't see you.
¡Manda la ley de la maglia Ciclamino! ¡Victoria para @ArnaudDemare !
El francés se impone en un esprint espectacular a Bauhaus y Cavendish
— Eurosport.es (@Eurosport_ES) May 20, 2022
Turns out I spoke too soon.
It had all looked so rosy for the leading quartet with 35 kilometres to go on stage 13 of the Giro d’Italia.
At that point Julius Van den Berg, Pascal Eenkhoorn, Mirco Maestri and Nicolas Prodhomme had three minutes and 40 seconds on the slow-awakening peloton, who looked to have ceded one of the final opportunities for the sprinters before Verona.
With twenty kilometres to go, the gap to the peloton was two and a half minutes; by ten to go, it was still over a minute.
Hesitation, however, is the thief of breakaway success, and so it proved again in Cuneo, as the front four were swallowed up in the final kilometre, when for so long the day looked within their grasp.
Loved the commitment of the break today in the Giro. Unfortunately the last drag with 2kms to go killed them off and their legs. #GiroDItalia
— Brian Smith 𝕆𝕃𝕐 (@BriSmithy) May 20, 2022
One rider who hasn’t hesitated at this Giro is Arnaud Démare; the Frenchman once again showing his strength on the slight rise to the line, to take his third stage of the 2022 Giro and the eighth of his career.
A fast-finishing Phil Bauhaus came in second to the flying maglia ciclamino, while Mark Cavendish – who briefly looked like he had the beating of Démare before running out of legs – rounded off the podium.
Poursuite derrière l'échappée, mise en place du train, victoire : une joie proportionnelle à tout le travail effectué aujourd'hui ! pic.twitter.com/uJX4KhyhyU
— Équipe Cycliste Groupama-FDJ (@GroupamaFDJ) May 20, 2022
For what could have been a dull transitional week on the Giro, the last four days have seen relentless, restless racing, a fitting prelude to the race’s mountainous denouement, which starts in earnest this weekend.
The sprinters, meanwhile, have only one more chance to make their mark on the race, next week in Treviso (I’ll be there too, just to make you jealous) – which perhaps explains the panic that arose within the hitherto snoozing peloton this afternoon.
The RideLondon organisers can’t catch a break, can they?
(Quite like the Giro peloton today… Although I probably shouldn’t speak too soon on that.)
After doing their best to recover from some self-inflicted PR disasters this week, from safety cars to time pauses and car sponsorship deals, the organisers have received yet more flak this morning – for not including a bag drop for entrants.
Oh good, you can afford to provide a bag drop now.
— Ryan Waters (@ryanwaters48) May 20, 2022
I wouldn't hold your breath. I tweeted them about NO BAG DROP, they never replied. Doing 100 mile with a back pack on will be something new.
Wonder if the is any where to get change at the end, or has this been scraped to?
— Bernie Bee (@posh1500) May 20, 2022
The bag drop fiasco appears to be something of a long-held grievance for entrants travelling to RideLondon this year:
Exactly. Can’t even get a refund yet the event *I* registered for was based on my previous @RideLondon experience. This is far from it! I would not have paid for no bag drop, no rider area at the end, a safety car and god knows what else they’ve taken away
— Gemma (@GG_jemma) May 16, 2022
@RideLondon tell us how NO BAG DROP works for thousands of participants, travelling from all over, scrambling for storage at 6am?! No exhibition and a basic service, where’s the very high £90 entry cost been spent??? #fixit
— Matthew Davies (@LittleMattVelo) May 8, 2022
It never ends, does it?
As you may have noticed throughout GCN’s coverage of the Giro, fitness and recovery tracker Whoop has been keeping tabs on the riders as they take on the stresses and strains of a three-week grand tour.
Whoop’s stats, which chronicle a rider’s sleep performance and how much strain they are under during a stage, give a revealing insight into that mysterious element of grand tour success: recovery.
It’s one thing being ready for a one-day classic, where you can leave everything on the road, it’s another being able to repeat the feat day after day during a stage race.
For instance, Whoop’s data for Stefano Oldani, the winner of yesterday’s stage from the break into Genova, shows that it wasn’t just his fast finish that enabled the Alpecin-Fenix rider to take his first pro victory ahead of Lorenzo Rota and Gijs Leemreize.
As you can see below, Oldani’s ability to recover during the Giro’s surprisingly fast and stressful second week teed him up perfectly for his shot at glory in his home tour (though his sleep, understandably, took a bit of a hit following his win).
Oldani’s teammate and breakaway partner, Mathieu van der Poel, was in dire need of Monday’s rest day, according to Whoop’s data, but has recovered well as he aims for a second stage win in the next day or two.
Although road racing - as we all know - is never an exact science, and the sprinters’ carefully tuned recovery could come to naught if the peloton doesn’t catch the breakaway today…
We are sad to confirm that @romainbardet has abandoned the #Giro. After becoming sick during yesterday’s stage, his condition worsened overnight and despite all efforts, he is no longer in a position to continue the race.
— Team DSM (@TeamDSM) May 20, 2022
Sad news for fans of panache and boyish looks everywhere, as Team DSM confirms that Romain Bardet has abandoned the Giro d’Italia during today’s stage 13 between Samremo and Cuneo.
Bardet had looked in fantastic form throughout the Giro (even combining an impressive showing on Blockhaus with lead out duties two days ago), and this morning sat in fourth place on the GC, trailing pink jersey Juan Pedro López by 14 seconds, and only two seconds behind João Almeida and Richard Carapaz, arguably the Frenchman’s biggest rivals for the overall win.
With the general classification so delicately poised, many onlookers were intrigued to see how Bardet, who last stood on the final podium of a grand tour at the 2017 Tour de France, would fare in the Giro’s final week after such a strong start to the race.
Unfortunately, a stomach bug has scuppered the 31-year-old’s Italian renaissance, and despite struggling through yesterday’s stage while sick, Bardet was forced to pull the plug on the road to Cuneo, disappointing expectant cycling fans (and former teammates) everywhere:
Hope its not to important ! Sorry to see you leave the giro!
— nicholas roche (@nicholasroche) May 20, 2022
— Belinda (@reallyspoketome) May 20, 2022
— Belinda (@reallyspoketome) May 20, 2022
— Benji Naesen (@BenjiNaesen) May 20, 2022
What a huge blow. Romain Bardet abandons the Giro with reported stomach problems. I was so excited to see him fully in the mix. What a shame.
— Orla Chennaoui (@SportsOrla) May 20, 2022
Although I do agree with Katy that the Bardet boke replay was a tad unnecessary…
— Katy M, Giro Edition (@writebikerepeat) May 20, 2022
"Most cyclists deliberately do things on purpose so they can post it on YouTube."
— Stupid shit people say on Facebook about cycling (@AntiCyclingFB) May 20, 2022
The Twitter account 'Stupid shit people say on Facebook about cycling' regularly keeps us entertained and horrified all at once, and this one might just top the lot so far. Plenty of cyclists have chipped in with their opinion on this gem already...
yup, would be great to have a viral on YouTube with thousands of likes when i'm 6 feet under
— 🚵 Hannah (@CyclistHannah) May 20, 2022
It's true. I pay my mates to close pass me whilst on their phones then shout abuse at me. Totally worth it for the clicks.
— Crispo (@bigcrispo) May 20, 2022
Thank you so much for yet another well informed, reasoned and valued opinion on cyclists. Don't know what I would do without your gems of wisdom. Keep 'em coming, always a pleasure to hear from reasonable minded drivers.
— Steve Toczyski (@Chisky48) May 20, 2022
Of course, whoever made this comment on Facebook does have some stiff competition in the form of the admin of a certain farming advocacy page...
On 5th June 1944, Richard Stoodley's father Lance Corporal Robert ‘Bob’ Stoodley, then 20, was one of four who took off from RAF Harwell near Didcot bound for Normandy. After successfully completing their D-Day mission, Corporal Stoodley was captured and taken on a brutal 23-day train journey to Stalag IV-B, one of the largest prisoner-of-war camps in Germany during WW2.
Thankfully Corporal Stoodley escaped in 1945, and 78 years later it's his journey to the camp that son Richard will recreate by bike, starting on 5th June of course. Richard plans to ride around 90 miles a day, on a route "that will take in as much of the [original] route as possible even though some can only be the best estimation", arriving on the former site of Stalag IV-B 21 days after departing Normandy.
Unfortunately Stoodley Sr. passed away last year, with Richard adding: "I am doing this for myself but also for my Dad who turned 97 in May 2021 but unfortunately left us 3 months later in August that year. We spent hours talking about the trip and planned so much of it together."
Over £3,000 has already been raised for the Support Our PARAS charity - you can find out more and donate on Richard's JustGiving page here.
Driving to work - just passed Egan Bernal out for a spin. Our sport is beautiful - there was last year’s Giro champion just pedalling through the traffic by a garden centre all on his own.
— Ned Boulting (@nedboulting) May 20, 2022
When he’s not shopping at Dobbies (other garden centres are available), the 2019 Tour de France winner is remaining tight-lipped about a possible return to racing in July or August. Watch this space…
In Dublin’s fair city, where the bike lanes aren’t too pretty…
Molly Malone will hopefully be able to wheel her wheelbarrow more safely through Dublin’s broad and narrow streets in the future (okay, I’ll stop now), as a recent survey has found that 71 percent of the city’s residents are in favour of the creation of more dedicated cycle lanes.
The 2021 Walking and Cycling Index, produced by sustainable transport charity Sustrans and published during this year’s Bike Week, which runs until Sunday and features 600 events across Ireland, found that 25 percent of Dubliners cycle at least five days a week.
However, only 18 percent of women, compared to 33 percent of men, said they cycled regularly in the city.
The survey of over 1,100 residents also concluded that people would feel more inclined to cycle, walk or wheel their way around Dublin if the city’s existing active travel infrastructure was improved.
71 percent said they would support an increase in dedicated cycling infrastructure, while 76 percent would support the installation of more road crossings with shorter waiting times.
84 percent were also in favour of ’20-minute neighbourhoods’, where essential daily services and shops would be within easy walking distance.
Ireland’s Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said the results of the survey were “packed with good news” as they demonstrated that cycling and walking was an important part of life in Dublin.
“Crucially, however, this report is also helping us build a picture of what people need, gaps in infrastructure and how we can improve things further so that we can make it more attractive for even more people to choose walking, wheeling and cycling in years to come,” Ryan said.
It's been a busy week for the people behind RideLondon Essex, with a 22mph speed limit hastily canned and news that riders' times will be paused at feed stops ahead of the event next Sunday. Now, the sportive's organisers have announced that car giant Ford will be a major partner.
To be fair, Ford is pushing its 'Park the Car' initiative (noted on Tuesday's live blog) as part of the partnership, encouraging people to ditch the car and cycle or walk if the journey is under three miles.
For the pro event, the race director will also drive a Ford Kuga PHEV in the convoy, and the Ford Mustang Mach-E will be "the Official Electric Vehicle as part of the London 2022 RideLondon Classique support fleet."
This is all well and good, but then again Graham on Twitter may have a point...
Have you considered asking them to stop manufacturing the Ford Raptor which gets you 14mpg - that would be more effective ?
— GrahamO (@GrahamO) May 20, 2022
A couple of days ago on the blog, you may recall, we featured some sage (and misspelled) road safety guidance from Merseyside Police, advising people on bikes to “cycle like you drive”.
Many cyclists can exceed urban speed limits, yet brakes on pedal cycles can be weak. Think, if a child or elderly person were to unexpectedly step into your path, could you stop in time? Cycle like you drive, with curtesy, care and within the law #FatalFour pic.twitter.com/WdELsk9xpn
— Roads Policing Unit (@MerPolTraffic) May 18, 2022
According to the tweet (which, remarkably, remains up two days on – who had that in the pool?), “many cyclists can exceed urban speed limits”.
So, when riding in towns and cities, cyclists should adopt the behaviour and attitude of those famously law-abiding, careful and patient road users, motorists.
A new 20mph speed camera in Plymouth has detected more than 23,500 speeding drivers before it was officially switched on - including 1,100 in the first 24 hours alone. https://t.co/0MOuosmLut
— APPGCW (@allpartycycling) May 18, 2022
This is just incredible. The level of law-breaking among British drivers is off the scale. 23,500 *before it was switched on* ... https://t.co/fyYfklRUVz
— Jeremy Vine (@theJeremyVine) May 19, 2022
1,100 in the first day?! Must have been cyclists driving all those cars…
Of course, as with anything pedalling broadcaster Jezza Vine touches, the whataboutery merchants were soon out in force:
Here’s a question for you as your finger pointing , how many pushbikes are legal ? ie: bells and reflectors ? How many electric assist bikes are chipped to above the 16mph limit , how many private electric scooters are used in public illegally ?
— anthony dalby (@t50lby) May 20, 2022
Speed limits should apply to all road users and that includes cyclists.
— Nerd (@stillphone) May 20, 2022
And yet in the City of London cyclists think temporary 'sleeping policeman' don't apply to them. Straight over the handlebars. Coleman St. Moorgate.
— Basil Bushel, Esq. (@lazyfayre) May 20, 2022
Very hard to keep to a 20mph limit. Especially when 30mph is perfectly safe on a 20mph road. Been there and done it. 🤷♂️
— R⚽️ger Williams (@roger_lfc) May 19, 2022
Over 2 wks @HGWestLTN logged 15,504 vehicles exceeding 25mph on Hither Green Lane, a 20mph zone
🚫 17 were >50mph
🚫 211 at 40-50mph
🚫 6,756 at 30-40mph
🚫 9,419 at 25-30mph
Highest speed:56.89mph@MPSLewishamCntl just keep saying they haven't the resources to enforce the law😕
— Paul Howarth ♻️ 💉💉💉 (@PaulHowarthUK) May 20, 2022
But remember folks, cycle like you drive...
Ryan joined road.cc as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.