Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

news

"There’s nothing inspiring or bada** about this": Former pro cyclist urges riders to "respect their brains" after Stefan Küng's crash; Mountain bikers run into "nice man" King Charles on Scottish trail; Welsh 20mph petition scandal + more on the live blog

The sun’s out but it feels like the winter sunshine already, bear with Adwitiya on the live blog as he tries to figure out how to get the heating on
21 September 2023, 14:12
"He's walking while everyone else is driving": "Anti-establishment" mountain bikers run into "nice man" King Charles on Scottish trail

Well now that wasn't on my bingo card today!

Scottish mountain biker Andrew McAvoy runs the YouTube channel called McTrail Rider. He describes himself as "not a big fan of the royal family" and "anti-establishment", but couldn't help appreciating the monarch when he came across him on the trails in Balmoral.

McAvoy was with a few other riders when he saw the proceedings and black SUVs near the estate, predicting that there must be someone from the royal family around. As they rolled along the trail, McAvoy spotted a man with a jacket, a flat cap and a walking stick coming towards them.

"I think that's a minor royal", he said to himself — before realising it was the King himself.

Charles told them about his own escpades to the area with his late father and Princess Anne back in the day, and added that he was trying to "get more trees".

When asked if he was still on his summer holiday, Charles replied: "Yes. It is wonderful up here" (can't lie looks horrendous at this time but where does it not). He added that he liked walking because it was 'good for the soul', despite a disappointingly brisk Scottish summer this year.

He signed them off with wave and the usual remark you give to your usual mountain biker: "Don't fall off!"

Blimey! King Charles looking out for cyclists!

Well I'm bummed they didn't ask him to take their bikes for a spin, or better, Charlie didn't have a wee chat about cycling too. Ah well, you can ask for so much (as a cyclist that's not a lot these days).

McAvoy seemed impresses, stating what a "nice man" he was. He said: "Lovely man had time for us. I'm annoyed because I didn't want to care, but that was nice."

He added: "'He's a nice man. He's walking when everyone else is driving. I'm just perplexed. It'd be one thing to like see the King with everyone - he was just wandering down the trail on his own."

I don't know, seeing a man wander down the trail on their own shouldn't be such a bizarre thing right? But hey, silver linings and all.

21 September 2023, 14:09
21 September 2023, 13:06
Toms Skujiņš, bang on the money?

Latvian pro racer for Lidl-Trek, Toms Skujiņš, has something to say about the Stefan Küng crash, and if I may offer my insignificant opinion, I think he's spot-on.

Skujiņš added: "Many remember my crash in 2017 where I stumbled, but still somehow how got on a bike and barely rode away without hurting myself or others more. It's crazy to me that more than 6 years on we still make(even bigger) mistakes regarding riding with a concussion."

What do you think about his comments?

21 September 2023, 12:31
“Extreme, undemocratic, and dangerous”: Council scraps majority of low traffic neighbourhoods – despite “overwhelming” public support for cycling and walking schemes
Arnold Circus LTN (via Bob From Accounts on Twitter)

A residents’ group in East London has accused the local council of taking “the most extreme, undemocratic, and dangerous decision available”, after it voted to remove most of the borough’s low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) schemes – despite a series of consultations showing that residents are in favour of retaining the traffic-calming measures.

Last night, Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman, as a protest was staged outside the town hall, decided to scrap the walking and cycling initiatives introduced by the previous Labour administration in 2021 in Columbia Road, Arnold Circus, and Old Bethnal Green.

Read more: “Extreme, undemocratic, and dangerous”: Council scraps majority of low traffic neighbourhoods – despite “overwhelming” public support for cycling and walking schemes

21 September 2023, 12:29
Nathan Van Hooydonck and Jonas Vingegaard, 2023 Tour de France (Zac Williams/SWpix.com)
Tributes pour in for Nathan Van Hooydonck after Jumbo Visma rider forced to retire from pro cycling following car crash

Jumbo Visma announced yesterday that 26-year-old Nathan Van Hooydonck has been forced to call time on his career, a diagnosis of cardiac arrhythmia following last week's car crash meaning he has been fitted with an internal defibrillator.

The Belgian team's loyal domestique participated in this year's Tour de France where he was key to helping Jonas Vingegaard defend his maillot jaune for a consecutive year, and also raced in the Tour of Britain (I have a bittersweet memory of seeing him there, in what will tragically be his last outing as a pro cyclist).

> Jumbo-Visma’s Nathan Van Hooydonck “in life-threatening condition” after falling ill and crashing car

After winning the bronze in yesterday's European TT championship, teammate and fellow countryman Wout van Aert was emotional when asked about Van Hooydock, saying that it was "really unfair".

He said: "I have a lot of trouble accepting it. This is very sad news, sad but at the same time good: I am very happy that Nathan was able to fight until the end. This is obviously the most important thing. His life held only a thread last week. I hope that he will soon be able to return to a normal life and enjoy fatherhood.

"It's a hard blow for him to no longer be able to indulge in his passion. Having to stop his career in such a way is really unfair, he who has already experienced so many misadventures."

Van Aert also said that he has now lost "his best teammate" and "one of his best friends in the peloton". He also retweeted a picture of a Jumbo Visma rider wearing "Nathan" on the team's iconic triple Grand-Tour winning jersey on the last stage of the Vuelta.

Jonas Vingegaard also shared a post on social media today, saying: "My dear friend and bodyguard. Even though I’m gonna miss having you by my side in the bunch, I’m most of all happy you can continue your life together with your wife and baby ❤️ Thank you for all the great memories we have together."

21 September 2023, 08:30
Stefan Kung crash at European time trial championships (GCN)
Is finishing races covered in blood "inspiring" and "bad a**"? Former pro cyclist urges riders to "respect their brains" and raises awareness on concussion after Stefan Küng's horrible time trial crash

Phil Gaimon, former pro rider for Garmin-Sharp and Cannondale (now EF Education-EasyPost) has spoken out against the idolising by some people of Stefan Küng's bloodied and bruised end to what could have been a fantastic showing at the European time trial championships yesterday.

Switzerland's time trial specialist Küng had been in contention for a third European TT champion title after passing the second intermediate time check in third place, less than a second off Wout Van Aert’s time, though almost half a minute down on the flying young British rider Josh Tarling.

> Former UCI chief calls for crackdown on “crazy” head-down time trialling after Stefan Küng’s bizarre crash straight into barriers at European Championships

However, towards the end of his ride, Küng – riding in the extreme, head-down aero position favoured by most modern time triallists – misjudged the slight change in direction on the road and failed to spot the row of encroaching barriers in front of him.

As far as images having the power to evoke strong emotions in fans go, the images coming out of the incident were certainly shocking and jarring.

But Phil Gaimon, who's had his fair share of experience with concussions and crashes during his pro cycling career, has now spoken out to dissuade fans from idolising this sort of stuff and called for more rider protection.

Stefan Kung after crash at European time trial championships (GCN)

He wrote on Twitter: "I’m seeing way too many people calling this brave or hardcore. I'm not blaming Kung at all for doing what he's trained for (and his head just took a hit), but there's nothing inspiring or bad ass about this photo.

"I remember crashing in a category 3 race, catching back on, winning covered in blood, and feeling proud and tough for it. I also remember introducing myself to a former teammate at the Tour of California team presentation (he of course knew me well and thought I was joking).

This was in 2013, just two months after Gaimon had suffered a bad concussion, and in between he had been second overall at the Tour of Gila. He said that it "worked out apparently but scares the shit out of him in retrospect", adding that multiple head injuries at the same time "can make you a vegetable".

He continued: "I think it's a combination of getting older and how science has progressed on concussions but I'm really not afraid of broken bones or road rash at all anymore, however I am scared of a brain injury that comes back to haunt me when I'm 60.

"Respect your brain and spread the word on concussions. I’m not going to give medical advice but look into warning signs and recovery protocols."

After the incident yesterday, former UCI president Brian Cookson called on cycling’s governing body to crack down on the "crazy trend" of riding head down in time trials. He argued that the crash was a result of Küng’s head-down riding style, which he claims should be banned by the sport’s world governing body.

That had already sparked some debate, with people pointing out that the top three riders in all UK time trial championships would have to be disqualified if they applied that rule.

But now perhaps Gaimon's point calls for another discussion, and it's one we have already had earlier this year during the Giro: Does pro cycling needs to ditch its obsession with "hardness"?

> Opinion: Why pro cycling needs to ditch its ‘hardness’ obsession

GCN commentator and everybody's favourite pro cycling analyst Carlton Kirby, who was on the mic during yesterday's race said at the time of the crash: "Concussion protocols and the like.. that’s a terrible picture of a real athlete and he’s finishing the job he’s almost programmed to do.

"It was going so well and it’s ended in disaster, and it’s straight to medical facilities once he crosses the line. Such a shame for Stefan Küng, what a brave rider!"

If commentators continue to label actions and images like these as "brave" and a "real athlete", do you think cycling fans, sitting from the couches of their homes can let go of the "hardness"? Do we all need a moment to realise that athletes don't need to put their lives on the line, or do you think cycling should go on as it has in the past, complete with strongman personalities and idols made out of stone?

> Podcast: Have pro cyclists ‘gone soft’? Perceptions of elite sport (and us mortals) discussed + Simon samples Drum & Bass On The Bike!

Let us know what you think in the comments!

21 September 2023, 11:18
Hundreds protest outside Tower Hamlets council against decision to scrap LTNs
21 September 2023, 10:56
Meet Travis the human and Sigrid the cat, the viral sensations who have just switched to an e-bike
Travis and Sigrid

If you’re a TikTok-er or active on other social media, you may well have seen videos of Sigrid, a delightful feline passenger being ridden around on her owner’s bikes. Sigrid, a deaf Norwegian Forest cat, and her owner, Travis Nelson, have been taking the internet by storm over the last few years since Nelson decided to take her for a ride during Covid.

> Meet Travis the human and Sigrid the cat, the viral sensations who have just switched to an e-bike

I, for one, absolutely the adore the white furry little catto and have a smile on my face everytime I across their videos, so here's me sharing some of my joys with you.

21 September 2023, 09:57
20mph zone picture IAM.jpg
Petition to overturn 20mph speed limits in Wales reaches record signatures... but most of them don't even live in Wales

A petition to oppose the blanket 20mph speed limit in Wales has reached a record number of signatures, however people have pointed out that most of the signatories do not live in Wales, and some not even in the UK!

After news of wacky conspiracy theories taking hold of the hive mind, with this one Twitter account doing some insane mental gymnastics to say that the Russell Brand sexual assault accusations have been manufactured in an attempt to stop using cars!

The world we live in, ladies and gentlemen!

> Wales becomes the first UK nation to introduce blanket 20mph speed limit in built-up areas… and the conspiracy theories are already rolling in

Now, the BBC has reported that the petition to overturn the 20mph speed limit in Wales has become the most-signed petition to reach the Senedd in the history with 320,000 signatures as of Wednesday night. However many were quick to point out the discrepancies in the regions from where the petition was deriving its horde of signatures.

Signatories included people from India, Kenya, Japan, Oman, Pakistan, Phillippines, the USA and the Vatican, just to name a few.

Just this morning, BBC has another story up, stating the claims from the owner of a beds and mattresses company in Llanelli (beautiful place, by the way), who believed the decision is "destroying companies and putting so much stress on people".

However, the chief executive of one driver training school said he believed the decision should be considered UK-wide.

21 September 2023, 09:28
The debate rumbles on following Stefan Küng's shocking injury update

Two hand fractures, a crack in his cheekbone and a concussion.

That's the update on Stefan Küng's injuries coming from Het Nieuwsblad after the Swiss specialist's arresting crash at the European TT championship.

Is anger a fair emotion at how Küng was allowed to go on? Are TTs inherently more dangerous due to a lack of medical staff on the track as opposed to a road race? Should the team be penalised for not stopping him and seeking immediate medical help? Has the debate come more alive due to the striking images of a bloodied rider with a broken helmet? What does it say about the human condition that makes us seek a thrill like this?

I'm here all day, and as your amiable host at the helm of this live blog after some time, I will be reading your comments. So feel free to discuss!

Meanwhile, here's some discussion points from social media...

Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

Add new comment

57 comments

Avatar
HoarseMann | 10 months ago
9 likes

...

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to HoarseMann | 10 months ago
4 likes

Chapeau (or is it Fedora, or RHEL?)!

Best of the day - I bet you'd have received more but for 504 Gateway Timeout...

Avatar
ktache | 10 months ago
5 likes

Weather woman Laura this morning was warning about the butt end of storm Nigel's imminent arrival...

Avatar
Hirsute | 10 months ago
5 likes

Drove back from the garage and got stuck behind a very slow cyclist going uphill. I gave them a good beep to speed them up.
When she got home I'm not sure she was entirely convinced that I was encouraging her to pedal harder !

Avatar
andyk | 10 months ago
1 like

I don't know all the stats to be fair but it feels like cycling is becoming one of the most dangerous sports out there!

With what's at stake, TT'ers are gonna ride with their head right down,  at the road directly below and not that far ahead, they know by various means where major obstacles (roundabouts, turns) are, but the inset barriers at Drenthe were poorly marked, especially when they're part of a what appears a long clear and open straight - they are way less obvious.
In such cases where barriers suddenly come in sharply, why don't they just put temporary spray paint or strong adhesive markings on the actual road 100 meters, then 50 meters out from the obstacle to help warn riders to alter their line?? Or even some alarm/sound warning on approach?? They use lots signs along the route anyway but these can be up high which is not conducive to TT riding - road markings or sound warnings would help a lot.

I know it's the same for every rider, but it's too easy/simple and arguably hypocritical for people to say that they shouldn't keep their head down, since every stakeholder wants to see exciting competitive races,  super fast times, and riders at their very best; and with what's at stake and the money now in cycling, the riders/teams are gonna do everything they can to win, seeking every advantage they can, striving for optimal aero, so these organisers have a responsibility to protect the riders and do all they can to make it safer.

Avatar
Rendel Harris | 10 months ago
6 likes

"Bad a**"? Obviously I can't speak for the entire readership but I reckon most of us could probably handle seeing the word "ass" written in full - particularly as it is anyway in your screenshot of Gaimon's tweet...

Avatar
levestane replied to Rendel Harris | 10 months ago
2 likes

Yes, nowt wrong with Equus asinus.

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Rendel Harris | 10 months ago
3 likes

Rendel Harris wrote:

"Bad a**"? Obviously I can't speak for the entire readership but I reckon most of us could probably handle seeing the word "ass" written in full - particularly as it is anyway in your screenshot of Gaimon's tweet...

Avatar
melliott | 10 months ago
2 likes

Shimano are recalling Ultegra and Dura Ace 11-speed cranksets. In North America at the moment, but may be world-wide https://bike.shimano.com/en-US/information/customer-services/recalls-and...

Avatar
melliott | 10 months ago
2 likes

Shimano are recalling Ultegra and Dura Ace 11-speed cranksets. In North America at the moment, but may be world-wide https://bike.shimano.com/en-US/information/customer-services/recalls-and...

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to melliott | 10 months ago
5 likes

melliott wrote:

Shimano are recalling Ultegra and Dura Ace 11-speed cranksets. In North America at the moment, but may be world-wide https://bike.shimano.com/en-US/information/customer-services/recalls-and...

That's cracking news!

Avatar
wtjs replied to hawkinspeter | 10 months ago
2 likes

That's cracking news!

That's my boy. Keep the pressure on (not on the cranks, obviously)

Avatar
wtjs replied to melliott | 10 months ago
2 likes

Shimano are recalling Ultegra and Dura Ace 11-speed cranksets. In North America at the moment, but may be world-wide

This is a sensible commercial move- people like me, who have always been very pleased with Shimano kit, can now consider Ultegra again- or any other bonded Shimano product

Avatar
eburtthebike | 10 months ago
4 likes

"A petition to oppose the blanket 20mph speed limit in Wales has reached a record number of signatures, however people have pointed out that most of the signatories do not live in Wales, and some not even in the UK!"

So very much like the opposition to LTNs or any other measure to make your neighbourhood more civilised to live, play and work in.  There has to be some method of weeding out disinterested parties from petitions like that.

Avatar
60kg lean keen ... | 10 months ago
0 likes

To be clear, the  vast majority of people in Wales support 20MPH zones, just not how it has been done.  It is a mess, signage that is incomplete and totally conflicting, there seems to be no clear rules as to why some roads that are semi rural and go on for miles with fields on both sides are now down to 20mph. It is a complete joke. Local councils were supposed to do the work to get exceptions but have been completely useless and have not done or submitted this for review (there also seems to be no common framework as to how this was to be assessed!)  The police will soon be out with their cameras dishing out fines and points to a cash poor and fed up populus. It's even hard to ride a bike as now some are driving around at 15MPH and your only opinion is to overtake down the outside, risky and this does nothing for car to bike rider relations.  If it is to be done then do it properly and make sure you have all the boxes ticked before you go ahead, it can't be that hard can it? 

 

Avatar
HoarseMann replied to 60kg lean keen climbing machine | 10 months ago
9 likes

Sometimes it's better to make the change, then fix the issues, than try and identify all the issues up front. I think this approach applies here.

Whilst some effort has been put into identifying which roads need to stay at 30mph, there are just so many and some that you will only find out that 20mph is perhaps a bit slow once you try it.

It's also very unlikely that a change to reduce the limit is going to make things more dangerous, whereas delaying the reduction in the limit might have cost lives and created injuries that would otherwise have been avoided.

Avatar
HoarseMann replied to 60kg lean keen climbing machine | 10 months ago
1 like

[duplicate]

Avatar
Rich_cb replied to HoarseMann | 10 months ago
1 like

I'm not sure in this case. If it doesn't work well to start with the political momentum to scrap it will grow quickly. I can imagine this will now be a key wedge issue in the next Welsh elections.

I've driven through the centre of Cardiff today and the new limits are definitely confusing a lot of drivers, plenty of random braking going on. Some roads alternate between 20 and 30 multiple times for no apparent good reason.

The situation isn't helped by a lot of the new signs being obscured by foliage, council doing half a job as per.

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to Rich_cb | 10 months ago
0 likes

Rich_cb wrote:

I'm not sure in this case. If it doesn't work well to start with the political momentum to scrap it will grow quickly. I can imagine this will now be a key wedge issue in the next Welsh elections.

Mostly agree.  For one, the political shift has already happened as you mention.  This isn't new though - in fact it seems that the Westminster Conservatives have been headed in this direction across a range of "environmental" issues for a while now.  It's certainly been since the London by-elections (ULEZ fear, Rishi the Motorists' Friend).

It's maybe a tricky one to pull off in that they're effectively running against themselves and their policies in the past.  People have short memories though...

Not sure if this is just a desperate effort to stop Labour following them around (Starmer was still doing that post by-election...) or because they think it will have particular appeal to a particular demographic?

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to Rich_cb | 10 months ago
1 like

Rich_cb wrote:

I've driven through the centre of Cardiff today and the new limits are definitely confusing a lot of drivers, plenty of random braking going on. Some roads alternate between 20 and 30 multiple times for no apparent good reason. The situation isn't helped by a lot of the new signs being obscured by foliage, council doing half a job as per.

As for confusion - people still haven't caught up with the Highway Code changes yet... (Albeit that wasn't legal changes).

The public space needs to be extremely simple and standard for people to use.  Similar spaces should have similar rules.  (Like "cycle paths are always coloured {x} - everywhere in the UK" - where {x} is any colour clearly distinct from roads, footways and other spaces. Grr...)

Children should be able to understand and use it.  After all, almost no-one gets "training" after leaving primary school except for passing the driving test (once per lifetime currently).  So any infra should be self-explanatory, with as few signs / markings as required (the UK is dreadful for visual clutter), and it should guide people to the "correct" way of using it.

However - we're still fighting for any such changes both in general and in detail in each case.  Councils are struggling to get up to speed.  (Previously they only had to *talk* about this kind of measure - usually as a reassuringly jolly "ho ho don't worry,  we're hardly going to lower speed limits everywhere!" kind of way).  Given that the government has recently given the impression that it's at best postponing lots of these changes I'm betting plenty will just wait and see.

Avatar
Simon E replied to 60kg lean keen climbing machine | 10 months ago
3 likes

60kg lean keen climbing machine wrote:

some whining, entitled, self-pitying crap.

If you can't bring yourself to stick to the speed limits where they apply then please do everyone else a favour and send your driving licence back to DVLA in Swansea.

Avatar
ROOTminus1 replied to Simon E | 10 months ago
5 likes
Simon E wrote:

If you can't bring yourself to stick to the speed limits where they apply then please do everyone else a favour and send your driving licence back to DVLA in Swansea.

You'll have to accept that the delivery might take a little longer as the post van is doing 10mph less for a while, but you really won't notice the difference in the scheme of things 😂

Avatar
Miller replied to 60kg lean keen climbing machine | 10 months ago
3 likes

60kg lean keen climbing machine wrote:

The police will soon be out with their cameras dishing out fines and points to a cash poor and fed up populus.

Is that, like, the Earth police, or police in some parallel universe where traffic regs are enforced?

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to 60kg lean keen climbing machine | 10 months ago
2 likes

60kg lean keen climbing machine wrote:

It's even hard to ride a bike as now some are driving around at 15MPH and your only opinion [sic] is to overtake down the outside, risky and this does nothing for car to bike rider relations. 

You know, I reckon there might be an alternative to making a risky overtake down the outside if we think hard enough about it…them whatnots on the handlebars aren't just there for changing gear, they can be used for slowing down as well when necessary.

Avatar
Backladder replied to Rendel Harris | 10 months ago
2 likes

Rendel Harris wrote:

60kg lean keen climbing machine wrote:

It's even hard to ride a bike as now some are driving around at 15MPH and your only opinion [sic] is to overtake down the outside, risky and this does nothing for car to bike rider relations. 

You know, I reckon there might be an alternative to making a risky overtake down the outside if we think hard enough about it…them whatnots on the handlebars aren't just there for changing gear, they can be used for slowing down as well when necessary.

You have whatnots on your handlebars! I always knew cyclists in London were posh but this is exceptional! 

https://www.sellingantiques.co.uk/536612/georgian-mahogany-four-tier-wha...

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to Backladder | 10 months ago
3 likes

Backladder wrote:

You have whatnots on your handlebars! I always knew cyclists in London were posh but this is exceptional! 

https://www.sellingantiques.co.uk/536612/georgian-mahogany-four-tier-wha...

Well where do you keep your sherry decanter, humidor and dish of hors d'oeuvres whilst cycling, pray?

Avatar
Backladder replied to Rendel Harris | 10 months ago
2 likes

My whatnots are mounted on a pannier rack for improved handling and aerodynamics.

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Backladder | 10 months ago
1 like

Backladder wrote:

You have whatnots on your handlebars! I always knew cyclists in London were posh but this is exceptional! 

https://www.sellingantiques.co.uk/536612/georgian-mahogany-four-tier-wha...

I was taken aback by part of the description

Quote:

The whatnot has a single mahogany lined drawer with a cock bead to the edge and turned wood knob handles.

Avatar
mattw | 10 months ago
4 likes

This "most people not in Wales" claim seems to be untrue on the petition signatories.

The map analysis says 95% in Wales.

However, I think there is no verification on the address - so a lot of false postcodes may be going in.

Avatar
OnYerBike | 10 months ago
2 likes

Think you might have mis-read the BBC article linked.

Seb Goldin, chief executive of RED Driver Training, supports the 20mph limit and wants to "help encourage similar updates to speed limits across the rest of the UK".

Mark Jones, of Bzams Bed'z is responsible for the quote about "destroying companies and putting so much stress on people".

Pages

Latest Comments