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It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, but not in a good way: French officials slammed for sticking Christmas tree in the middle of trans-European bike route; Leknessund shows off icicles on eyelashes in -24C training ride + more on the live blog

It’s a fresh start to the week, Adwitiya on duty for Monday’s roundup of everything going on the world of cycling
04 December 2023, 13:46
“There are behaviours they allow for cyclists, but they would never accept these things for cars”: Cyclists slam French city council for putting a Christmas tree in the middle of a bike path

I'm sure enchanté wasn't the word on most French cyclists' lips in Cabourg after seeing this quite extraordinaire sight, a giant Christmas tree sitting smack in the middle of a cycle lane, in front of a resort's casino in the seaside city in the department of Calvados.

And this is not the first time cyclists have had to deal with the presence of a Christmas tree not really where they'd want it. France Bleu reports that the officials were guilty of the same act last year as well. The city officials said that there was no other solution than, *checks notes* placing the giant, estranged tree in the middle of the road, um sorry, no the cycle path because of wiring issues.

Dérailleurs du Calvados, a cycling group from the department said mockingly: "In Cabourg, they decided not to change last year's "good" practices: they put the Christmas tree back on the bike path!"

Christmas tree in the middle of cycle lane in Cabourg, France (image credit: Dérailleurs du Calvados)

As expected, cyclists are raging. Fransescu Garoby, president of Dérailleurs du Calvados raised the question that would a spruce have been pitched up in the middle of a road instead? He answered his question himself: "A priori, no."

He added: "There are behaviours that local authorities allow for cyclists, but they would never accept that for cars, or motorised vehicles in general. This shows that cycling as a means of everyday transport has still not become a serious solution in the eyes of the elected officials. They continue to consider it a hobby."

To put the cherry (or, star) on top, the route on which the tree was placed is on La Vélomaritime, the EuroVelo 4 cycle route which goes through Normandy in France. Garoby said: "It is a major route which crosses all of Europe, from Roscoff in Brittany to Poland. This track therefore runs along the entire coast of Calvados. And in general, it is a local route, used by local residents."

04 December 2023, 17:12
Egan Bernal accidentally leaks new Ineos Grenadiers kit

This is the moment where your live blog uploads a pixelated picture of a leaked new kit and asks for your thoughts on it, so please let me know how do you find this picture shared, and then also swiftly deleted by Egan Bernal on Instagram.

Ineos Grenadiers new kit (Instagram: @eganbernal)

My two cents? I think it looks rather neat!

04 December 2023, 16:24
Drunk driver charged with killing world Masters champion Ethan Boyes while speeding in a cycle lane
Ethan Boyes (credit - USA Cycling)

In April this year, world Masters track champion Ethan Boyes was killed after being struck head-on by an allegedly speeding motorist while riding in one of the park’s cycle lanes. Now, prosecutors in northern California have charged an elderly man of striking and killing Boyes while drunk behind the wheel.

81-year-old San Francisco resident Arnold Kinman Low was indicted last week with involuntary manslaughter and operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California said in a statement.

Earlier, it had been reported based on the accounts of several eyewitnesses online that the cyclist was riding in the non-segregated cycle lane on Arguello Boulevard in the Presidio, near what Biking in LA described  as a “treacherous” junction, when a “speeding” motorist heading northbound “swerved” across the road and into the bike lane.

A 10-time US national champion throughout his career, the late North Carolina-born sprinter holds the World’s Best Performance record for men aged 35-39 in the Kilo, set in 2015, as well as a number of national records.

Following the tragic collision, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition – a non-profit public-benefit organisation created to transform the city’s streets and neighbourhoods into “more liveable and safe places by promoting the bicycle for everyday transportation” – had called for immediate changes to be made to better protect people riding their bikes in Presidio national park.

Cycling activists in San Francisco have long campaigned for changes to be made to Arguello Boulevard in Presidio, an area which falls under the jurisdiction of the park’s governing body and not the city authorities.

The coalition had said in a statement: "One traffic fatality is one too many. Last year, we experienced the most traffic fatalities on SF streets in a decade. This is unacceptable considering the city’s Vision Zero goal of ending traffic-related death and serious injuries by 2024 is just a year away. More action must be taken by the City to address safety on our streets."

04 December 2023, 14:49
A new Strava feature without subscription?! Strava introduces messaging - you can now communicate with your friends on the app
strava hero

Strava has launched a new in-app messaging feature saying it is an "efficient avenue for athletes to coordinate adventures, connect for inspiration or tips, share their journey, and more – all within a unified platform".

We've been testing the beta version of the messaging at the office for the last couple of weeks and have enjoyed how easy it makes sharing routes with others. This feature might just be the best way for clubs and cycling groups to communicate ride plans and chat with each other without having to add everyone based on their phone numbers.

The new messaging feature offers direct (one-on-one) and group messages. This feature is available for all Strava users, not only those with the app's paid Subscription. Users can also customise the messaging feature based on their desires – for example, they can set their preferences on who can invite them to a group message or who can message them directly. 

> Strava introduces messaging - you can now communicate with your friends on the app

04 December 2023, 13:18
But who would use all the bike racks on a cold, wet day in December?

The kids are alright...

What a joyous sight and feeling to know that the future generation is making the right decisions and choosing to pedal their way to the school, so here's me doing my part, hopefully doing enough to encourage you all to get on the bike for a spin along with your little ones this week!

04 December 2023, 12:35
16-24s rely less on cars and use range of travel options, including cycling – but miss out on work, study and social opportunities
Cycle parking - Cyclehoop big bike © Simon MacMichael.jpeg

New research from Sustrans and the University of the West of England (UWE) Bristol says that young people will be left behind and denied access to work and educational opportunities, as well as social events, unless their needs are taken into account when planning transport policy.

The findings come at a time when there has been a sharp fall in the number of young people obtaining a full driving licence, with just one in four of those aged 17-20 currently doing so, compared to half of the same age group around 30 years ago.

The Sustrans and UWE Bristol research, which was funded by the Health Foundation, focused on people aged 16-24 and found that they make 21 per cent fewer trips than other working age adults, ie 25-64s, and that the gap has widened during the past two decades.

Read more: > Young will be left behind unless their transport needs are met, says new report from Sustrans and UWE

04 December 2023, 11:51
Transport Action Network gets green light for active travel fundraiser (image: Chris Todd)
Campaign group seeking more donations to fight Government's active travel funding cuts

Transport Action Network, a campaign group helping to press for more sustainable transport in England and Wales, has launched a fundraiser titled "Stop the cuts to walking and cycling" aiming to raise £40,000 to challenge the UK Government's decision to slash the active travel budget for England in March.

The camapaign says: "We believe that by making ad hoc announcements, ministers have tried to unlawfully bypass the framework set by Parliament. By cutting funding, there is now a stark and inevitable inconsistency between the active travel objectives and the funding to achieve them.

"Ministers appear to have failed to take into account the impacts on climate and air pollution targets. Also, their legal duties to make facilities more accessible for people with disabilities and cycling more inclusive for children, older people and women."

> "Depressing" decrease in cycling traffic due to government's "flawed" decision to slash active travel budget, says Cycling UK

If Transport Action Network (TAN) wins the case, they say that the government's decision to cut the funding by two-thirds over the next two years, which was recently labelled "flawed" by Cycling UK, would be rescinded, setting an important precedent about the transparency needed for funding as well as they adequacy to meet the cycling and walking objectives.

"MPs have done their best to ask Parliamentary questions about the exact funding position but ministers have been evasive in their answers. So bringing a legal case is really our only option," said TAN.

TAN's legal team is led by David Forsdick KC, a highly ranked environmental lawyer, instructed by Leigh Day solicitors. The campaign has so far raised just over £28,000, with the fundraiser going on for 4 more weeks. A full hearing is due in early 2024.

04 December 2023, 11:18
Best and worst London cycling lanes? A story in two parts...

Embankment cycle lane vs Westminster bridge cycle lane. Which one would you ride on?

04 December 2023, 10:51
🎄🚲 It's Tree By Bike time!

It's December, snow's here (at least for some), the carols (I mean, Mariah Carey) are abound, it could only mean one thing... it's Tree By Bike time again!

04 December 2023, 10:21
Have Spesh truly knocked it out of the park and built the supreme race bike for 2024?
04 December 2023, 10:03
Here's your weekend round-up, just how you requested
04 December 2023, 09:18
Andreas Leknessund with icicles on eyelashes
“-24C and still smiling”: Andreas Leknessund shows off icicles on eyelashes during an extreme weather training ride

Brrrr....

I know it's getting really cold here in the UK (your live blog host has now also been blessed with Cardiff rains), but at least we don't have to go out for rides in -24 degrees Celsius!

Spare a thought for Andreas Leknessund, a holder of the maglia rosa jersey at this year's Giro d'Italia and a stage winner at Tour de Suisse, who's not just battling the usual demons on his bike, but also the frigid weather.

The 24-year-old Norwegian who'll have a bit of a homecoming next season as he dons on the yellow and red of Uno-X, his country's newly-qualified World Tour status team for which he has ridden before as a youth, seemed to be completely unfazed by the chill and grinned from ear to ear as he showed off the temperature first, and then the icicles formed on his eyelashes.

I'll be honest, I've been finding it difficult these last few days to build up the courage and head out on the saddle, but I think still faring quite well (better than I thought I would). But out in -24? I'll gladly stay indoors sipping my whisky.

But surprisingly, after seeing multiple races being abandoned due to treacherous weather conditions this year, fans went ahead and asked if riders could train for weather conditions like this, what's stopping them from racing in 7 degrees and rain (calling this year's Giro weather as just rain seems like quite the euphemism in my opinion...)

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

Rain lashing down at Giro d'Italia stage 10

It does call for concern at whether this sort of riding is even beneficial or not? I don't know, I'll let the pros (or the readers of this live blog) decide...

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.

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63 comments

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mattw | 2 months ago
0 likes

Donation made to support the Transport Action Network case - I encourage others to do the smae, if you are able.

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mitsky | 2 months ago
8 likes

And in other news... it takes getting to 29 points on your licence for the "exceptional hardship" claim to no longer work...

"Bianca Williams banned from driving with 29 penalty points"
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-67613292

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Hirsute replied to mitsky | 2 months ago
0 likes

I added that one to "drivers and their problems" thread.

Not sure exactly where the 'central London athletics track' is but anything in central london is quicker by bike and it could be part of her training !

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giff77 replied to mitsky | 2 months ago
3 likes

That's nothing. There's a bloke out there with 68 and still driving with 6 others on 50 plus. 

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mitsky replied to giff77 | 2 months ago
0 likes

Wow.
I wonder how any car insurance company justifies covering them.
It could be that the drivers are simply rich enough to pay whatever it is.
Or maybe, if they can't get insurance then they'd be driving illegaly.

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mattw replied to mitsky | 2 months ago
3 likes

That seems distrubingly similar to the "try and deceive the police, try and deceive the Court, then deceive yourself to avoid having to take responsibilty" standard operating procedure.

Bianca Williams lives in Maida Vale.

In recent years millions have been invested in the early morning to late night floodlight athletics track at Paddington Recreation Ground, which is a few minutes' walk away.

There's even a gym and fitness studion on sight.

https://www.everyoneactive.com/centre/paddington-recreation-ground/

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Hirsute | 2 months ago
2 likes

I've found some footage of the theory test which shows the difficulty.
https://youtu.be/2MrrzatTGcE?si=nWLfcssj59Kay0uR

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brooksby | 2 months ago
1 like

Why is the Westminster Bridge cycle lane so bad?  Is it poor signage in general or  particularly ignorant tourists?

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HoldingOn replied to brooksby | 2 months ago
0 likes

I would be interested to know that too, but also - I don't fully understand these "Lime bikes" (I am not London based and have only ever been there once)

There were two in the other video, parked on the path with no one around. Can you just stop cycling anywhere and walk away from them? (assuming you leave them where they aren't causing an obstruction) If you don't need to leave them in designated spaces, how do you find one to use? Is it pot luck? Are there organised hunting parties that scour the streets hoping to spot a Lime bike for hire?

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mitsky replied to HoldingOn | 2 months ago
3 likes

I've not used them myself, but it is app based.
The app tells You where the nearest one is, lets You unlock it for a fee and when You're done You get the app to "lock" the bike.

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OldRidgeback replied to brooksby | 2 months ago
1 like

Pedestrians, not just tourists, step into it in front of you without looking. Cycling there means you have to have your wits about you. My wife could go that way but uses the next bridge, Lambeth Bridge, along for her commute instead.

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Adam Sutton replied to brooksby | 2 months ago
1 like

Tourist trap most likely, for the houses of parliament. They were in the bus lane too, bloke selling balloons and then the notorious ice cream truck.

Not cycled Westminster bridge, but in my experience the other bridges like Waterloo are not like this.

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Steve K replied to brooksby | 2 months ago
2 likes

brooksby wrote:

Why is the Westminster Bridge cycle lane so bad?  Is it poor signage in general or  particularly ignorant tourists?

Northbound (which isn't actually North, but that's how I think of it - towards the Houses of Parliament, anyway) is ok generally.  But the other way is a nightmare.  That side of the bridge has various stalls and tourist stuff on it, so lots of tourist hanging around rather than just walking.  Plus the lane is single direction and single file, with (ironically) very good segregation - which means there is nowhere to go if someone steps into it.  And, of course, there is a self-fulfilling bit about it.  Cyclists know it's rubbish, so use the bus lane instead; so pedestrians see it empty and step into it.

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Dnnnnnn replied to Steve K | 2 months ago
2 likes

brooksby wrote:

 Northbound ... is ok generally.  But the other way is a nightmare.  That side of the bridge has various stalls and tourist stuff on it, so lots of tourist hanging around rather than just walking.  Plus the lane is single direction and single file

Exactly this. It's striking how much worse the southbound side is - much more so than the actual infra would lead you to expect.

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Rendel Harris replied to brooksby | 2 months ago
6 likes

brooksby wrote:

Why is the Westminster Bridge cycle lane so bad?  Is it poor signage in general or  particularly ignorant tourists?

It's mainly tourists, that's by no means at its worst, in the summer it is absolutely jammed with them. It's absolutely infuriating when there's such a simple solution, all they have to do is move the bollards from the outside of the cycle lane to the inside and put a line of chains between them. Cyclists would still be protected from the road by the raised kerb and the tourists would still be protected from any potential terrorist car attack by the bollards. I've written to every authority I can think of suggesting it but all I've ever received is "we are aware that there is a problem" replies.

Usually avoid it like the plague, I rode up it in February, not to be provocative (before certain trolls jump on me for it), just to get a video to show the authorities the extent of the problem: https://twitter.com/Rendel_Harris/status/1625201075249721344

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OnYerBike replied to brooksby | 2 months ago
3 likes

The bridge is very busy with pedestrians, particularly tourists, given its central location near key attractions. As such, it gets quite congested - not helped by tourists stopping to take photos or selfies or the assorted vendors and grifters who take up space and attract a crowd. Those pedestrians then tend to spill out into the cycle lane to get past each other (often without looking), and feel comfortable doing so given the space is protected from motor traffic by the large kerb and bollards. It is also not especially busy with cyclists - as per the above video, most knowledgeable cyclists don't bother with the lane. This creates a self-reinforcing situation (pedestrians use cycle lane --> cyclists don't use cycle lane --> pedestrians more likely to use cycle lane).

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Paul J | 2 months ago
5 likes

Have to say, I like riding in the cold, -5. As long as it's dry - and has been dry (no ice on roads). It forces you to ride more slowly, cause you can't really afford to sweat (least not until you're certain of being at your destination soon, regardless). The air is nice and crisp. The pace is easy-steady. It's really nice base miles.

Just make sure to have enough layers, and good protection for the feet and hands, and lovely.

Much better than rain!

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Steve K | 2 months ago
5 likes

As I got my first cargo bike this summer, I was really looking forward to picking up the Christmas tree on it.  And then Mrs K arranged for it to be delivered without speaking to me!

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Left_is_for_Losers | 2 months ago
5 likes

As all Englanders know...2C and wet is far, far colder than -24 in Norway! 

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essexian replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 2 months ago
9 likes

In Norway, they build their homes to be able to handle the cold. In the UK, we build homes so home builders can make huge profits, part of which they donate to the Tory Party.

In Norway, they have a fund paid for by their oil sales which helps the country as a whole afford the things required to manage a cold climate. In the UK, Mr Starmers best mate Mrs Thatcher sold off the UK oil production for a few quid so now we have thousands unable to pay their fuel bills/ heat their homes/afford to eat/drive on shit roads etc etc

In Norway, they have a working relationship with the EU. In the UK, we told them to get stuffed and now are now towards the bottom of any growth list you care to look at. 

Thus, in Tory UK, -2C is likely to kill you; whereas in Norway, its likely not to be much of an issue. 

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levestane replied to essexian | 2 months ago
4 likes

... but we are world leaders in tackling climate change.

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essexian replied to levestane | 2 months ago
3 likes

Yep. That gave me a good laugh this damp and cold morning as my Smart Meter reached £5 with half the day to go.

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to essexian | 2 months ago
1 like

essexian wrote:

In Norway, they build their homes to be able to handle the cold. In the UK, we build homes so home builders can make huge profits, part of which they donate to the Tory Party.

In Norway, they have a fund paid for by their oil sales which helps the country as a whole afford the things required to manage a cold climate. In the UK, Mr Starmers best mate Mrs Thatcher sold off the UK oil production for a few quid so now we have thousands unable to pay their fuel bills/ heat their homes/afford to eat/drive on shit roads etc etc

In Norway, they have a working relationship with the EU. In the UK, we told them to get stuffed and now are now towards the bottom of any growth list you care to look at. 

Thus, in Tory UK, -2C is likely to kill you; whereas in Norway, its likely not to be much of an issue. 

Thank you for your anti-tory diatribe. Good way to squeeze some politics in, well done. 

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essexian replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 2 months ago
2 likes

Typical Tory. No answers to the UK problems. 

Be gone with you and take the rest of the right with you. 

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to essexian | 2 months ago
1 like

essexian wrote:

Typical Tory. No answers to the UK problems. 

Be gone with you and take the rest of the right with you. 

We know when we are speaking to the uneducated and uninitiated, so we save our time by not pointlessly debating with losers

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perce replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 2 months ago
6 likes

Have you done the decent thing and married that milk bottle yet?

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chrisonabike replied to perce | 2 months ago
3 likes

Defend our traditions!  I would like to see the the fork publically named and shamed for having jilted the knife and eloped with the spoon.

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Clem Fandango replied to perce | 2 months ago
3 likes

STILL hasn't been cancelled either

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essexian replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 2 months ago
0 likes

Oh dear. Still no answers.

You sound so much like Mr Starmer... actually, Mr Starmer, is that you?

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to essexian | 2 months ago
0 likes

essexian wrote:

Oh dear. Still no answers.

You sound so much like Mr Starmer... actually, Mr Starmer, is that you?

🎣 

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