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"I'd get rid of every bloody bicycle lane – they drive me mad": Christopher Biggins' Radio 2 rant; Global warming on show at Flanders; Deliveroo strike; Fasted 500; Cycling boom: bicycle journeys up 47 per cent; Buoyancy Bikes + more on the live blog

Dan Alexander is here to take you through another sunny Wednesday on the live blog
07 April 2021, 15:32
Tadej Pogačar wins in the Basque Country

Tadej Pogačar beat Primož Roglič to win stage three of the Tour of the Basque Country. Just take a look at those gradients...

07 April 2021, 15:05
Cav third at Sheldeprijs as Jasper Philipsen wins

Cav went close to winning a first race since February 2018 at Scheldeprijs this afternoon taking third place. Deceuninck-Quick-Step had two on the podium with Sam Bennett second behind the winner Jasper Philipsen. The Alpecin-Fenix sprinter held off the Quick-Step charge in a sprint from a select front group, heavily controlled by Cav's teammates. Over in the Basque Country the riders are minutes away from a brutally steep final climb with prolonged stretches above 20 per cent. Tasty.

07 April 2021, 13:53
"I'd get rid of every bloody bicycle lane – they drive me mad": Christopher Biggins' Radio 2 rant

Christopher Biggins' BBC Radio 2 interview this lunchtime was a bizarre 20 minutes of listening. We need more laughter, he suggested. "I just love life, I love people, I love everything about life," he added...And then with the final line of his time on air, answering a question about whether he would go in to politics, he cracked...

"I wouldn't mind being mayor. Being Mayor of London would be fantastic. Certainly the first thing I'd do is get rid of every bloody bicycle lane. They drive me mad"...

It's not the first time the actor has spoken out against bike lanes. In October he penned a Mail on Sunday column titled, 'Your bike lanes will kill the London I love, Mr Mayor'. In the column he described himself as Mr Toad whizzing around London in his electric car and complained Sadiq Khan's bike lanes meant he had to allow two hours to get around...

"Cyclists take your pick. Drivers wait your turn. And all this while drivers pay tax, insurance and carry licence plates that mean we face fines if we break the rules. Cyclists? None of the above. Apart from the breaking the rules bit, which we see them do every day. So have the people who run London declared war on motorists? It’s a yes from me," Biggins complained. 

07 April 2021, 14:55
The home of the Chelsea Tractor really is Chelsea...but what's the need for an SUV in a city? Asks head of motoring organisation

The BBC picked up on some quotes from the head of the RAC Foundation who said motorists should think twice before buying a large SUV for use in cities. "It is right to question if suburban drivers need a car capable of ploughing over rivers, across fields and up steep hills just to pop to the shops," Steve Gooding said. 

His words follow research which showed that the 'Chelsea Tractor' really is most common in affluent, built-up areas such as Chelsea...The report found that three quarters of all SUVs sold in the UK are registered to people living in towns and cities. The largest SUVs are most popular in three London boroughs: Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith & Fulham, and Westminster. And, one in three new private cars bought in these areas is a large SUV.

07 April 2021, 16:07
Appeal for witnesses to fatal collision in Bridgwater
Avon & Somerset Police badge

Avon and Somerset Police are appealing for witnesses to a fatal collision on the A39 Bath Road in Bridgwater just before 11am this morning. A driver of a black Vauxhall Corsa was involved in the fatal collision with a cyclist who died at the scene. His next of kin have been informed but the man in his 40s hasn't yet been formally identified.

A 20-year-old man was arrested and remains in police custody on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and drug driving. Avon and Somerset Police has asked anyone who witnessed the crash to come forward by calling 101 and giving the reference number 5221073941.

07 April 2021, 13:05
How the Tour of Flanders demonstrates global warming
Tour of Flanders 2021 (via GCN/Eurosport)

The early spring landscape of Flanders is the backdrop at the annual battle on the cobbled climbs for the second Monument of the season. However, Pieter De Frenne, a botanist at the University of Ghent, is more interested in the trees than the racing. By making notes on specific trees along the route he can compare their leaf cover at the same point every year...and consequently whether species are reacting to climate change. Very clever.

"There are not many professional sports that are displayed on television annually, on the same routes, in the same places," De Frenne told the Wall Street Journal. "And it’s also exactly the right time, April, when the trees start to flush their leaves."

In 2018, researchers at the university published a journal with results finding that between 1981 and 2016, leaves were appearing on trees and flowers were blooming earlier... 

07 April 2021, 11:59
Deliveroo riders strike in London
07 April 2021, 11:03
Your thoughts on Humber Bridge being closed to cyclists
Humber Bridge

There's been a fair bit of confusion since the Humber Bridge was closed indefinitely to cyclists and pedestrians over the Easter weekend. A spokesperson for the Humber Bridge Board said: "Due to a recent incident, we have taken the decision to close the footways on both sides of the Humber Bridge for an indefinite period."

The decision comes after several deaths at the bridge during March. As a sign of the confusion, yesterday a cyclist was told he could ride across on the carriageway by staff before being told he couldn't at the other end by police.  

This is the alternate route via Goole that Google Maps recommended...

Humber Bridge diversion.PNG

Several readers compared the situation to the Dartford crossing of the Thames which doesn't allow cyclists and the Tyne foot/bicycle tunnel which has been shut for maintenance. qwerty360 said in the Tyne's case, alternatives for cyclists had been arranged: "When the Tyne foot/bicycle tunnel is shut (e.g. for maintenance), they run a shuttle bus through the toll road tunnel.

"Something to do with the road authority, in this case the Humber Bridge Board which is why they can close the right of way, having a legal obligation to consider alternative routes as part of doing closures. In this case they could close a lane and use it as a foot and cycle path. Of course that would mean inconveniencing motorists. Both in Tyne and Dartford, the alternative routes are a fraction of the distance you have to travel here!"

Coinneach Canavan explained when works were done on the Erskine Bridge "one side was closed at a time to allow cyclists and pedestrians to use the other side."

4-caster added: "What is a pedestrian or cyclist expected to do? Go round by Goole? Or not commute to work? The Humber Bridge Board should provide a shuttle service to carry people who are banned from crossing the bridge through no fault of their own. It says on their website 'the Humber Bridge is currently open to all traffic, except for abnormal loads wider than 4 metres (13.1ft) or heavier than 44 tons.' Some people say that cyclists should catch a bus, but that doesn't help those who need the bike to reach their final destination."

07 April 2021, 10:14
Floating bike hire launches in the Norfolk Broads

A Norfolk start-up has taken cycling to the water...Laura Calver and her husband Simon are launching Buoyancy Bikes in Wroxham, on the Broads, to make cycling a water sport...They told the Eastern Daily Press their fleet works by mounting a bike on two pedal-powered hard-shelled floats with a fin connected to the handlebars...

The source of this idea?...Apparently it came to Simon in a dream. His wife said: "My husband woke up one day and said 'I wonder if you can get a water bike on the Broads?' He says it came to him in a dream. The Broads Authority told us there was something very similar back in the 1990s but it never really took off. So as far as we're aware, it's just us."

The bikes are made in China and will be rented out for £25 per hour. They've got a top speed of around 5mph and apparently bookings for the rides, available from April 24, have "gone crazy".

07 April 2021, 09:44
UCI releases statement condemning racist abuse of Arkéa–Samsic sprinter Nacer Bouhanni
07 April 2021, 09:22
Fasted 500: the Ramadan cycling challenge

A post shared by Fasted 500 (@fasted500)

You've probably heard of the Festive 500 already...The annual Rapha event involves riding 500km over eight days between Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Well, the Fasted 500 is similar and an extra challenge for Muslims observing Ramadan. Anyone who's suffered the dreaded bonk will know all too well how hard riding without the energy from food can be. So the Fasted 500, riding 500kms over 29 or 30 days while observing Ramadan and fasting during daylight hours, is an intriguing challenge...

In their own words, the Fasted 500 team want to "encourage more Muslims to keep active during Ramadan (and hopefully continue the habit afterwards!)" In addition to the satisfaction of completing the challenge, all riders who complete the 500km (310 miles) target can buy a Fasted 500 roundel, with all profits going to Cycling Sisters Bristol.

07 April 2021, 07:52
Scottish cycling boom continues as bicycle journeys up 47 per cent

The latest figures from Cycling Scotland found there were 47 per cent more cycling journeys recorded between 23 March 2020 and 22 March 2021 compared to 2019-20. Using 47 cycle counters across the country they found that cycle journeys increased by 68 per cent in April, 77 per cent in May, 63 per cent in June, 44 per cent in July and 33 per cent in August, compared with the same months in 2019.

STV reports that the numbers still rose through the autumn and into the winter with a 32 per cent increase in September, 22 per cent in October, 7 per cent in November and 4 per cent in December. A 14 per cent decrease in January has been put down to the particularly bad weather before cycle journeys rose again by 20 per cent in February and 52 per cent in March. 

Counters in Girvan, Callander and Dunoon recorded more than 100 per cent increases. Cycling Scotland's chief executive Keith Irving said: "It has been a horrendous year, but one of the few bright spots has been more people getting back on their bikes.

"To get even more people cycling, we need to invest more in infrastructure so people feel safe to cycle. We need more dedicated cycle lanes, separated from vehicles and pedestrians. We need to reduce traffic, especially on residential and shopping streets. And we need to increase access to bikes and storage to tackle the barriers too many people face so anyone, anywhere can enjoy all the benefits of cycling."

Dan joined as live blog editor last year. He has previously written about various sports including football and boxing for the Daily Express and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been a keen cyclist ever since and spends his weekends exploring the south of England on two wheels. 

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