Boris Johnson’s Colin the Caterpillar cake, Taylor Swift’s feud with Damon Albarn, and Watford appointing their 155th manager of 2022 – it’s hard to tell the difference between news and satire these days.
But that didn’t stop spoof site NewsThump taking on the Highway Code revisions. Their article on the new guidelines, originally published in July last year (now Mr Freeman, don’t claim that you didn’t see it coming), is doing the rounds again on social media and is brilliantly headlined: New Highway Code rules ‘could see cyclists lording it over drivers in further brazen attempts not to be run over’.
The article reads: “The new ‘hierarchy of road users’ puts more responsibility for road safety on more dangerous modes of transport, which drivers insist will only further embolden cyclists in their never-ending quest to avoid being squashed by a metal box weighing over a tonne.”
It then quotes what I presume is a fictional motorist called Simon Williams (though judging by some of the articles published this week in the press, it’s hard to tell), who says: “Barely a week goes by without angry cyclists complaining about me not giving them enough room, or cutting them up, or not seeing them when I pulled out at the junction – do we really want more of that whinging?
“I think I speak for all road users when I say we’ve had quite enough already of selfish cyclists insisting we try to do more not to kill them.
“If they want to be safer on the roads, they should buy an Audi like I did.”
Great stuff, though in many ways not too far removed from the typical road.cc article… (runs and hides from the editor)
Not sure this would have went down too well back in the US Postal days, eh JV?
Maybe it’s time for another debate, exploring the complex contours of cycling culture...
Yesterday we had wave or no wave; so naturally today’s big question should be: shave or no shave?
Absolute scenes on FB, ‘Dave’, in a group complaining about Highway Code updates, demanded cyclists should pay road tax, then someone posted the DVLA search of the car in Dave’s profile photo showing expired MOT & VED. Discussion deleted, wish I’d taken a screen shot. 😂
— LawrenceCairnsSmith (@lozcs) January 24, 2022
Nick Freeman: “I saw a picture of Chris Boardman cycling the other day. He wasn’t wearing a helmet or a hi-vis jacket. It doesn’t send out the right message”. This picture?! It’s daylight and if you can’t see him, hand in your driving license, do not pass go at Barnard Castle… pic.twitter.com/KEni7OGIDY
— Rory McCarron (@CyclingLawLDN) January 25, 2022
While Chris Boardman hopes that his new role as interim commissioner of Active Travel England will inspire “a quiet revolution”, some aren’t as convinced.
The anti-revolutionary in chief, Nick Freeman, has spent much of this week criticising the new Highway Code revisions, claiming they will result in “carnage” and warning that “our roads are going to be much more angry and much more dangerous” under the new guidelines.
This morning, the lawyer commonly known as Mr Loophole directed his ire at Boardman – or more explicitly, an image of Boardman riding his bike almost a decade ago.
He said: “I saw a picture of Chris Boardman cycling the other day. He wasn’t wearing a helmet or a hi-vis jacket. It doesn’t send out the right message.”
What do you think? Does Freeman have a point here? What kind of ‘message’ should cyclists convey on the roads?
The response on Twitter was, naturally, divided:
That red jacket looks pretty high-viz to me. I usually wear a red jacket, arguably more distinctive than the plethora of high viz paint etc elsewhere, like the ambulance just behind CB.
I do always wear a helmet, mitts/gloves and use flashing lights even in day time. https://t.co/RtmDZm0Nyy
— Martin P Wilson, PhD researcher in Art/Media, UoN (@MdashPix) January 25, 2022
It sends out the perfect message. As @tricyclemayor is always saying, you don't need loads of specialist equipment. But if you're in Greater Manchester you'll need a waterproof jacket! https://t.co/f9nAKYKlkZ
— Rachel Wise (@therachelwise) January 25, 2022
Helmets are only a few % lower than seat belts in preventing injury and death. They should absolutely be worn.https://t.co/KBbRMXHYJn
— OKinOK (@OKftl) January 25, 2022
Exactly. When you pick up the bike, you assess the risk of conflict that you may come into. If people are advocating that you need a helmet/hi vis all of the time, regardless of use, then clearly roads in the UK are far too hostile and this is the problem that needs changing.
— Rory McCarron (@CyclingLawLDN) January 25, 2022
Incidentally, an uncropped version of the photo Freeman is alluding to features a certain under-pressure Prime Minister…
Especially when.... pic.twitter.com/GWGBMiPCRK
— The UK LTN Résistance (@ioisours) January 25, 2022
The most highly anticipated moment of the 2021-22 cycling off-season has finally arrived… and to be honest I’m a bit underwhelmed.
It’s safe to say that the new EF Education-EasyPost and EF Education TIBCO-SVB men’s and women’s team kit – launched nearly a month after most squads had unveiled their 2022 jerseys – has divided opinion.
The new EF kit is pretty good, but it's not exactly groundbreaking enough to wait until late January for a reveal. 🤷♂️
— Freddie Shires (@fshires) January 24, 2022
Another EF jersey photo!
It's not an awful design but it's not a world-beater either. pic.twitter.com/hpvMhsmNY2
— Mathew Mitchell (@MatMitchell30) January 25, 2022
EF is a total 0/10
— Quicklink Podcast (@QuicklinkPod) January 25, 2022
What do you think – “yeah!” or “meh”?
In any case, the team held cycling Twitter's attention for most of January with this long-drawn-out reveal. Which I suppose is the whole point, really.
You can read more about the new EF kit, designed by Rapha, here:
Trudy Harrison, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, yesterday laid out the government’s vision for Active Travel England, a new body headed by former Olympic Individual Pursuit champion Chris Boardman and tasked with implementing the Gear Change strategy introduced in July 2020.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Harrison said:
This government is investing a record amount in active travel to help deliver our priorities for a healthy, safe and carbon-neutral transport system. [Active Travel England] will work to ensure that this, and wider transport investment, is well spent, and will help raise the standard of cycling and walking infrastructure.
ATE will manage the national active travel budget, awarding funding for projects which meet the new national standards set out in 2020. It will inspect finished schemes and ask for funds to be returned for any which have not been completed as promised, or which have not started or finished by the stipulated times.
ATE will also begin to inspect, and publish reports on, highway authorities for their performance on active travel and identify particularly dangerous failings in their highways for cyclists and pedestrians.
In these regards, the commissioner and inspectorate will perform a similar role to Ofsted from the 1990s onwards in raising standards and challenging failure.
As well as approving and inspecting schemes, ATE will help local authorities, training staff and spreading good practice in design, implementation and public engagement. It will be a statutory consultee on major planning applications to ensure that the largest new developments properly cater for pedestrians and cyclists.
ATE’s establishment follows the government’s unprecedented commitment of £2 billion for cycling and walking over this parliament and comes in the wake of our ambitious Gear Change strategy to transform active travel.
The agency will become fully operational later in 2022.
I am also pleased to confirm the appointment of Chris Boardman MBE as the first Active Travel Commissioner for England. He will take the helm on an interim basis to spearhead the establishment of ATE.
This underlines this government’s ongoing commitment to boosting cycling and walking and to building back greener from the pandemic.
When his appointment as interim commissioner of ATE was announced on Saturday, Boardman said that the agency’s creation represented an opportunity to create “a legacy we will be proud to leave for our children and for future generations,” and that “it’s time for a quiet revolution.”
Elsewhere on the cycling infrastructure front, the BBC reported that Plymouth City Council has been awarded £80,000 to conduct a feasibility study into socially prescribed walking and cycling. The scheme will provide local community groups with off-road cycling and walking activities, and could eventually lead to an expanded programme including adult cycle training, group rides, and bike maintenance courses.
Oxford City Council also announced today that a new cycle path has been installed at Seacourt Park and Ride, which the council hopes will “encourage more active travel journeys in and out of Oxford”.
An audit conducted by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in November “confirmed the strength and quality of the UCI’s anti-doping programme”, cycling’s governing body said in a statement today.
The audit covered all areas of the UCI’s anti-doping programme, including governance, budgeting and reporting, intelligence and investigations, education, the Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) programme, results management and data protection.
WADA’s report described the UCI’s programme as “highly functioning” and praised the collaborative relationship between the governing body and the International Testing Agency (ITA).
The audit was the first conducted since the UCI transferred control of its anti-doping duties from long-term partner the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) to the ITA.
The UCI had worked with CADF since it was launched in 2008 under the umbrella of WADA. Becoming an independent entity in 2013, CADF helped the UCI establish a series of anti-doping policies such as the biological passport and whereabouts programmes.
However, the move to ITA, a group with close ties to the International Olympic Committee, in 2021 formed part of UCI President David Lappartient’s aim to restructure how anti-doping in cycling was organised. Lappartient cited Operation Aderlass – a scandal involving cyclists and nordic skiers – as evidence that cycling would be better served by an anti-doping agency that works across multiple sports. CADF officials claimed, however, that the UCI President was instead looking to exert greater personal influence over the anti-doping side of the sport.
The UCI’s statement said that the positive result of November’s audit “confirms that the transition from the CADF to the ITA has been a success and enhances the protection of clean riders.”
Andrew Talansky may want to delete his social media permanently now. The former Next Big Thing has become the butt of a joke in cycling circles thanks to his outspoken views on the Covid-19 pandemic.
On Friday, the ex-Garmin rider tweeted that, after turning off his smart phone for a few days, the pandemic (or “scamdemic” as he calls it) simply disappeared.
Many of Talansky’s former colleagues in the peloton took the opportunity to poke fun at the American, with Thomas De Gendt tweeting: “He is correct. I stayed off social media and haven’t read any news about Pogacar. If he isn’t real, he cannot hurt me.” Pog himself even weighed in, adding to Talansky’s embarrassment (not that he feels embarrassment of course).
We knew it wouldn’t be too long before the ever-entertaining Jacopo Guarnieri chipped in, and yesterday the Groupama–FDJ leadout man didn’t disappoint, showing off his newfound meme-making skills at Talansky’s expense. A weekend well spent, I reckon.
Please stop me pic.twitter.com/i4ziUeUUGs
— Jacopo Guarnieri (@jacopoguarnieri) January 24, 2022
Never stop, Jacopo.
The 2021 Tour of Britain has been chosen as a finalist at this year’s Event Production Awards. The EPAs are held to recognise excellence in the delivery of outdoor and live events.
It is the third time in four years that the race has been nominated in the Sporting Event of the Year category. The two other nominees for the Bournemouth 7s Festival and the Weston Beach Race.
Last year’s Tour of Britain had an estimated roadside crowd of over a million spectators, while an average daily audience of 423,000 watched ITV4’s live coverage, a 31% increase on the 2019 figures.
Won in dominant fashion by Wout van Aert, the race is perhaps now best remembered for the interaction between Van Aert’s Jumbo-Visma teammate Pascal Eenkhoorn and young fan Xander Graham, who was able to keep up with the breakaway for a short spell, earning a bottle (and a place on the American Jukebox team) in the process.
While the Tour of Britain has never won at the EPAs, the Women’s Tour was named 2018’s Sporting Event of the Year. The 2022 awards ceremony will take place in Hammersmith on 17 February.
As news of Egan Bernal’s training accident filtered through to a shocked cycling world yesterday, teammates, rivals and compatriots rushed to express their support for the current Giro d’Italia champion and 2019 Tour de France winner.
The Ineos Grenadiers rider collided with a parked bus while training in Colombia. He underwent successful spinal surgery on Monday and remains in intensive care. His injuries include a fractured femur, fractured patella, dislocated fractures in his spine and a collapsed lung.
Bernal’s Ineos teammate Daniel Martinez, who was also part of the training camp in Colombia, took to Instagram to share a poignant image of the two riders at last year’s Giro. He wrote: “Today more than ever wishing him the best, that he recovers soon and returns to give a show as he knows how to do.”
Es horrible leer de la caida de Egan. Todo equipo @INEOSGrenadiers y el deporte esperanzas noticias buenas. Otra recuerda de el peligrosos de los caminos.
We are all hoping you are ok @Eganbernal. So scary to read this news. A sad reminder how dangerous our training can be.
— Tao Geoghegan Hart (@taogeoghegan) January 24, 2022
My thoughts are with Egan and his family today ❤️ pic.twitter.com/cbJ0YeJzfq
— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) January 25, 2022
Egan, I wish you all the strength and motivation for a speedy recovery, you will come back stronger Champ! 👊🏻❤️
Egan, te deseo toda la fuerza y motivación para una pronta recuperación, volverás más fuerte campeón! 👊🏻❤️ pic.twitter.com/mpKQLKR77B
— Remco Evenepoel (@EvenepoelRemco) January 25, 2022
I'm sending @Eganbernal my warmest wishes for a speedy recovery. Egan, I look forward to seeing you bounce back stronger than ever and sharing the road with you wherever we race!
— Peter Sagan (@petosagan) January 25, 2022
Bernal’s compatriot Nairo Quintana wrote: “I send my colleague Egan Bernal a hug of strength, I am aware of what this type of situation entails, I also know that it is always possible to get up and continue with more strength. Speedy recovery.”
Envío a mi colega @EganBernal un abrazo de fortaleza, soy consciente de lo que conlleva este tipo de situaciones, así mismo sé que siempre es posible levantarse y continuar con más fuerza. ¡Pronta recuperación!
— NairoQuinCo (@NairoQuinCo) January 24, 2022
We’re waiting 🤞 Heal well Amigo! pic.twitter.com/R1Wo0XlGPx
— Michał Kwiatkowski (@kwiato) January 25, 2022
Praying for the best possible outcome for @Eganbernal. 🙏
— Jonathan Vaughters (@Vaughters) January 24, 2022
The Colombian footballer Radamel Falcao, who had spells at Manchester United and Chelsea, also tweeted, “A quick and successful recovery for Egan Bernal. All of Colombia is with you in this painful moment. Let's protect and take care of cyclists on all roads in Colombia.”
— Radamel Falcao (@FALCAO) January 24, 2022
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.