Like this site? Help us to make it better.


Drivers blast “genius” cyclists for ignoring bike lane – but locals describe it as “not fit for purpose”; Is this the narrowest cycle lane in the world?; Mark Cavendish, The Movie: Coming soon; Councillor’s Lycra lobby tweet slated + more on the live blog

It’s Tuesday (yep, still only Tuesday), and Ryan Mallon’s here with all the latest cycling news and views on the second live blog of the week
07 February 2023, 09:19
Drivers blast “genius” cyclists for ignoring bike lane – but locals describe it as “not fit for purpose”

Ah, the old ‘why aren’t you riding in the cycle lane?’ chestnut, able to migrate seamlessly from passing car windows to social media posts...

As anyone who has ever stumbled onto the live blog – or read our feature on the use of cycle lanes, or, if we’re honest, ever ridden a bike within a 50-mile radius of some rudimentary ‘infrastructure’ – will know, cyclists are not obliged to use bike lanes for all sorts of reasons: from the lack of protection a narrow strip of paint provides to the amount of debris and hazards (often car-shaped) that they tend to collect.

> Why don't cyclists use cycle lanes?

So, cyclists may not be obliged to use cycle lanes – but that doesn’t stop some motorists from complaining when they don’t.

Last week on the live blog, we reported that sports presenter and son of Rob Reiner, Jake Reiner, received an almighty social media backlash after posting a video of an “unacceptable” group of cyclists riding next to a fairly substandard bike lane in California.

Today, we’re taking a 15-hour flight (in the most environmentally friendly sense, of course) to Sydney, where a Reddit user lambasted some cyclists for “holding up traffic” in the city’s Marrickville suburb over the weekend.

Drivers criticise cyclists for not riding in Sydney bike lane (Reddit)

“After watching these geniuses ride slowly down the whole length of the street next to the bike path as cars were stopped behind them, I can see why people get p***ed  off,” the user wrote.

In the now-deleted post, the motorist – who noted that they took the photo from the passenger seat of the car – claimed that they are usually in support of bike paths, but that their truly harrowing, traumatic experience (I may be exaggerating) has swayed their opinion.

While a quick game of anti-cycling bingo ensued in the comments – “dressed like they’re in the Tour de France”, “should be illegal to not use a bike path”, and “inconsiderate” all popped up out of the machine – most Reddit users leapt to the defence of the cyclists, with locals pointing out that the bike lane in question just isn’t up to scratch.

“This bike path has stop signs at every intersection for cyclists instead of having priority as you do using the main road,” one user pointed out.

“That is the worst bike path in Sydney,” another claimed. “It has four junctions where you have to give way in every direction and can’t see oncoming traffic.

“It switches between going onto the pavement and road. Then about 40 metres from where they are in this pic it just stops, and you have to cycle across a busy road.”

“Yeah, a lot of these bike lanes are not fit for purpose and are far more dangerous than riding on the road,” said a local.

As if to underline the point, another Reddit user posted a photo of the bike lane in question – completely blocked by a parked car:

So, tell me why cyclists don’t use cycle lanes again?

07 February 2023, 09:56
Leith Walk's new narrow advisory cycle lane (credit - Alan Brown)
Is this the narrowest cycle lane in the world?

I can sense a theme developing on the live blog this morning…

After Edinburgh unveiled its brand-new “unicycle lane” on Leith Walk at the weekend – described by one local cyclist as a “death-trap” and “narrower than a pair of handlebars” – it seems that the search is now on to find the UK’s most slender piece of bike infrastructure.

Now, there’s a reality show premise I can get behind…

> “Is that the unicycle lane?” Cyclists blast new painted cycle lane that’s “narrower than a pair of handlebars”

First to audition is active travel activist and part-time Snake Pass trespasser Harry Gray, with this belter from Manchester:

Alexa, translate Moordstrookje for me…

But just as the standing ovation for Gray’s submission died down, Belfast then sneaked its way into the judge’s hearts with this 50cm-wide cracker:

It turns out – perhaps unsurprisingly, it is the UK after all – that there’s plenty of contenders for the crown. It’s going to be a close-run thing:

Even stupidly dangerous cycle lanes from further afield were joining in on the fun, including this dodgy-looking balancing act from Virginia:

Now, it’s over to you: Do you know any promising young (or old) bike lanes striving to become the world’s narrowest piece of cycling infrastructure?

Let us know in the comments!

07 February 2023, 16:50
‘The Narrowest Cycle Lane in the World’ Awards: Your Nominees

Plenty of worthy nominees in today’s comments section for the much-coveted 2023 Narrowest Cycle Lane in the World prize (the winner of which, in case you were wondering, earns themselves a terrifying close pass).

Brooksby nominated this painted shrug of the shoulders in Bristol, on the way to the Clifton Suspension Bridge, which helpfully gets even narrower as you approach the bend:

Narrow cycle lanes 1 Bristol


Nniff suggested a few contenders – first, the A24:

Narrow cycle lanes 2 A24
Narrow cycle lanes 3 A24


And then this baffling bit of abruptly-curtailed infra in Croydon, which – although not the narrowest – nniff reckons should be included purely for “sheer failure to grasp the concept”:

Narrow cycle lanes 4 Croydon
Narrow cycle lanes 5 Croydon


Finally, there’s this oldie but a goldie (which I’m sure has featured on the blog before) from Biker Phil:

Live blog Narrow cycle lanes 6


Now, all we need is Ben Affleck looking bored and we’ve got ourselves an award ceremony!

07 February 2023, 16:11
“The money is there, so there are no more excuses”: Liverpool’s cycling infrastructure being “left behind”, says city’s walking and cycling commissioner

Liverpool is being “left behind quite badly” when it comes to its infrastructure, according to the city’s walking and cycling commissioner Simon O’Brien.

O’Brien, an actor and television presenter, pointed out to the Baltic Triangle Podcast this week that most journeys in Liverpool are less than 5km, yet half are taken by car – while only two percent of all journeys in the region are cycled.

“The historic way of encouraging people to cycle in Liverpool and the surrounding region has been to paint a white line on the floor and say ‘there you go’. That is not acceptable anymore,” O’Brien told the podcast.

“They are now doing it in Manchester, they are now doing it in Leeds, they are now doing it in Birmingham. So, Liverpool city region is really getting left behind quite badly on this kind of stuff.

“Leicester, as a city, has transformed itself with its cycling and walking infrastructure in the past five years, so it can be done if there is the political will and money to do it.”

In recent years, the Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, has committed to the creation of a 600km network of new and upgraded walking and cycling routes, while last month Liverpool City Council announced that it was pressing ahead with plans to develop a new ‘mobility strategy’ designed to make it easier to access the city centre without a car.

But O’Brien says change isn’t happening quickly enough, and that Liverpool should capitalise on the additional funding set aside for cycling through Active Travel England.

“Always, you were going to different councils and they will say ‘yes, we really want to do this and we know we should be doing this but we just haven’t got the money’. That’s not the case anymore,” he said.

“Liverpool city region has received, and will continue to receive, different tranches of investment if you show the willingness and the plans that will make it easier and safer to cycle and walk. So the money is there, it now needs the political will.

“So, my message is that we have to do it, we have to do it quickly, and we have to get going right now. The money is there, so there are no more excuses.”

07 February 2023, 15:53
Say it ain’t so, Campagnolo…

Are you for or against the apparent demise of the Campag thumb lever?

> Is Campagnolo about to ditch thumb lever on wireless groupset?

07 February 2023, 15:18
Rein Taaramäe mentors and gifts equipment to local riders while on training camp in Rwanda

As well as kitting out local riders head-to-toe in Intermarché-Circus-Wanty gear, the 35-year-old Estonian spent his three weeks in Rwanda sharing his experiences as a veteran of the peloton and a three-time grand tour stage winner, and offering advice to his training companions on how to improve as a cyclist.

“I think he’s the right person to do it. He has had his ups and downs during the career and he has learned and experienced a lot,” his wife Hanna said on Twitter.

07 February 2023, 14:48
Zwift Scotland World Glasgow
“It’s about as Scottish as Braveheart!” The reviews are in for Zwift’s new Scotland world

Ahead of this month’s UCI Cycling Esports World Championships (more on that on an upcoming podcast), and in homage to the upcoming Glasgow-centric mega worlds taking place in August, last week Zwift launched its brand-new Scotland world.

The new tartan-themed virtual indoor cycling world includes five routes, three of which will be used for the Esports worlds – the Rolling Highlands, City and the Sgurr [rocky peak to all you anglicisers], Glasgow Crit Circuit, Loch Loop, and the Muckle Yin – and includes plenty of classically Scottish castles, fens, lochs, and beinns.

However, as Glasgow-based Suvi pointed out in her Tech of the Week update from the weekend, the world is not supposed to be a factually accurate representation of Scotland – instead it is simply inspired by “Glasgow and Scottish landscapes”. So, if you’re tootling along on Zwift and start wondering how the Giant’s Causeway ended up in Edinburgh, that’s why.

Zwift Scotland World NI

Am I in Co. Antrim?

While the world is currently only open for events and races until early March, the reviews have started flooding in – and, surprise, most of them revolve around the extent to which the routes can be described as “Scottish”.

“Having just completed all the roads in the new Zwift world, I have to say it’s about as Scottish as Braveheart!” says Keith, a member of the Zwift Rider Facebook group.

“I wish Zwift had called it something else, because it’s a great course, and the two decent climbs are fantastic. But sticking a few castles, random Glasgow landmarks, deer, Highland cows, and even Nessie(!) doesn’t make it Scottish!”

Zwift Scotland World

Lars was rather more enthused, however, writing: “Scotland is great! I did all the Scotland route yesterday including Glasgow. Though I have never been to Glasgow, I did live a couple of years as a child in Scotland near Edinburgh. And it felt good to come home.

“I love the hills – not mountains – and therefore a great variation in up/down as you travel around. The open grassy landscape is nice and nostalgic to ride in. Really good.”

Nobody has mentioned yet whether it feels as cold riding Zwift’s version of Scotland as it does in real life…

07 February 2023, 14:09
Can rim brakes make a comeback? Join the healthy(ish) debate over on the forum

The never-ending brake discussion continues… 

07 February 2023, 13:27
‘Ah, but can you do it on a cold February morning?’
07 February 2023, 12:58
Councillor accused of “othering and dehumanising” cyclists after “overly sensitive lycra lobby” tweet

Another week, another local councillor engaging in a spot of anti-cycling bingo…

This time, it was the turn of Liam Billington, a Conservative councillor for the Stalybridge South ward in Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council, who decided – for some strange reason – to spend his Sunday morning on Twitter, lambasting what he colourfully described as the “overly sensitive lycra lobby that throw tantrums if you don’t worship at the altar of ‘active travel’.”

Cheers for that Liam.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, Billington’s tweet – which prompted accusations of othering, stereotyping, and dehumanising cyclists, as well as trivialising calls for increased road safety – attracted such a barrage of criticism that the councillor was forced to deactivate the replies:

Is that what the kids call being ratioed?

07 February 2023, 12:34
Jacopo Guarnieri: Cycling’s biggest hipster?

My favourite pro cyclist strikes again:

However, the other member of Lotto Dstny who can actually remember buying tapes, Thomas De Gendt, doesn’t reckon the Italian’s old school ways will catch on with the team’s young Spotify merchants like Arnaud De Lie…

07 February 2023, 11:58
Cycleway gritter trial in Welwyn Garden City (Hertfordshire County Council)
New specially designed cycleway gritter to be trialled in Hertfordshire

While most of this morning’s blog has focused on the clear safety and quality issues associated with some cycle lanes, we’re not going to turn our attentions to an altogether more positive bike lane-related development in Hertfordshire.

Hertfordshire County Council announced this week that a new gritter, specially designed for cycle paths, is being trialled as part of the new cycling and pedestrian improvement works in Welwyn Garden City’s town centre.

According to the council, the vehicle sprays the cycle path with a brine solution, rather than rock salt, as this is the preferred product for treating cycleways. The town’s Hunter Bridge cycleway has been added to the year’s gritting schedule on a trial basis, to allow the council to monitor how best to keep the area’s cycle lanes open and safe during the winter.

The gritter trial comes in just as improvements to Welwyn Garden City’s active travel network enter their next phase – works to Hunters Bridge have just been completed, while a permanent two-way cycle route has been installed on Bridge Road, with other improvements, such as dedicated spaces for cycling and the introduction of a town centre 20mph limit, set to be introduced in the autumn.

“These developments to the town centre in Welwyn Garden City will significantly improve the cycling and walking infrastructure for local residents and visitors and I’m delighted that the works are progressing well,” says Hertfordshire County Council’s executive member for highways and transport Phil Bibby.

“I’m also pleased that we’re trialling a new gritter which will ensure that cycle paths will be safer to use when we experience colder weather.

“Our Corporate Plan sets out the vision for a cleaner, greener, healthier Hertfordshire. Providing safe and easy ways for people to walk and travel by bike is key to making this become a reality.”

07 February 2023, 11:40
‘Look Wout, another cool NFT you can flog’

Harsh, but fair…

> Wout van Aert is selling his three biggest wins – as NFT digital assets

07 February 2023, 10:59
2023 Mark Cavendish Wilier Filante Astana - 1 (1)
Mark Cavendish, The Movie: Coming soon to a streaming service near you

It’s safe to say that we’re in a golden era of fly-on-the-wall cycling documentaries. Movistar’s The Least Expected Day series (otherwise known as the greatest slapstick sitcom of all time) is now in its third, bonkers season, while Jumbo-Visma and Soudal-Quick Step all have similar docuseries coming on Amazon Prime.

And that’s before we even get to the big one – Netflix’s as-yet-untitled Tour de France show, which promises, just like its producers managed with Formula 1, to bring a whole new audience to the sport.

As someone who grew up hoping that the snooker would end early so we could catch the last 15km of that day’s Giro stage on Eurosport, and when classic racing docs like A Sunday in Hell felt like ghosts from a bygone era, rather than actual physical tapes, it can all feel a bit surreal.

> Netflix Tour de France documentary could take sport "to next level" says Patrick Lefevere

So, adding to that already heady mix of seemingly access-all-areas cycling programmes comes the Mark Cavendish Movie, currently in production and set to air on Netflix.

The news of a Cavendish doc, which we presume will focus on his quest to stand alone as the Tour’s greatest stage winner (along with his turbulent search for a team this winter and the aftermath of the violent robbery at his home and subsequent trial), was revealed by sports writer Matt Dickinson in a lengthy interview with the Manx Missile in the Times.

2023 Mark Cavendish Wilier Filante Astana - 21.jpeg

In the interview, Dickinson asks Cavendish if he believes that the first scene of his forthcoming Netflix documentary will feature him winning his 35th Tour stage.

“The goal is winning. Not one particular win, it’s winning,” Cavendish replied. “The Tour de France is what I’ve always set my career around, and from outside I’m well aware [what people will say]. We are at that point I can stand alone [from Merckx].

“Another win at the Tour is everything to people but, for me, it’s not one win, it’s two or three, whatever I can do.

“For me it is quite simple. I can continue riding my bike, I can continue winning, so why not do it? I love it. I love racing. It’s changed. The racing is not as enjoyable but I still love it.”

While Dickinson confirmed that a Cavendish doc is on the way – sending cycling fans scrambling to plan their now-packed TV watching schedule – the interview didn’t mention if the film currently has a title.

So here’s my suggestions: “Mark Cavendish and the Astana Redemption”, “A Manxman in Paris”, “Weekend at Vino’s”… and, if it had focused on Cav’s 2022 season, “Mark Cavendish’s July Off”.

I’ll leave the rest of the suggestions to you…

07 February 2023, 10:34
Howard Cox’s bad active travel takes, part 498

It seems that the Fair Fuel UK founder’s latest dubious response to the government’s newest round of active travel funding – which, as the likes of Ned Boulting noted in the replies, is only a drop in the ocean compared to the money spent on other driver-centric initiatives – has gone down well on Twitter:

> £200m available for cycling and walking travel schemes in England – with councils urged to prioritise safety of women 

Ryan joined 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.

Latest Comments