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“Driving a car at me isn’t the solution”: Cyclists debate filtering through traffic; “Imagine listening to Sean Kelly”: Cycling commentator sends fans into hysterics with pony sounds; Chris Morris backs Brixton Cycles fundraiser + more on the live blog

After a day of incessant tea slurping and biscuit munching with all the road.cc personnel, Adwitiya is back to give you an extra dose of cycling news on this end of the week live blog
09 February 2024, 09:06
“Driving a car at me isn’t the solution”: Cyclists debate filtering through stationary traffic on the left after driver moves car to block cyclist

The hot topic of the day seems to be filtering, and whether it's a safe practice.

Right off the bat, some may say that it's perfectly safe — after all, it's perfectly legal to do so a cycle or a motorbike rider in the UK — that is, until you come across a motorist who's red from being stuck in the traffic and seeing cyclists zip past.

This is what cyclist who goes by the name of BADPASSHERTS on Twitter claims happened to him, on a route that he said he filters through twice a day everyday as part of his daily commute. "She turns her car into me as I’m filtering past," the cyclist wrote.

And there were some people who were downright against the practice of filtering and accused cyclists of being hypocrites for "not giving motorists 1.5m of space when passing them" (it's social media, what did you expect?). But some cyclists have also raised eyebrows at the safety aspect of the behaviour and questioned if there's enough space in the first place between the never-ending row of cars and the kerb for the cyclist to move through.

"If she tuned her car into a cyclist on purpose, that is not on. But that is a very very tight gap to be squeezing down," said one person, while another said: "I learned early on cycling to never undertake a vehicle. It’s a death wish not understood by many cyclists." Another cyclist said: "I always wait, it’s a lot safer when you have people like that around."

What is your take on this? Should cyclists continue filtering and report drivers like these, or is it a no-no for you?

09 February 2024, 17:04
Cyclists filtering through traffic: Your thoughts

The setting sun can bring only one thing on a Friday, and it's the weekend (maybe a pint or two, too?). But before we get there, here's a roundup of all the reaction and thoughts from road.cc readers on cyclists filtering through stationary traffic...

Car Delenda Est: If it's at a red light it's much safer to filter to the front unless the lights change at a bad time or someone decides to drive at you.

Miller: What's the point of being on a narrow, nimble bike and behaving as if you were a 2m x 5m block of metal? That's all the disadvantages of a car with none of the advantages. Of course cyclists are going to filter. The gaps you'll use or, conversely, not use, are down to your personal risk threshold and as I see every day, different people have different takes on that.

ChrisB200SX: I filter down the side which seems the safest in the situation.

We all make our own judgement on when a gap is too much risk for us, doesn't matter has small the gap looks (as long as it's actually big enough), the driver must not maneouvre dangerously. If it's deliberate like the video, that's just psychopathic and assault. It's all fairly clear in the Highway Code.

bensynnock: Filtering is actively encouraged at many junctions by the presence of a cycle lane leading up to an advanced stop box.

Watching that video though, I felt that there was very little space on the left to ride through there and I'd probably prefer to ride in the middle of the road then through that. I often find that vehicles will be at different positions on the road so it isn't always easy to filter on one side and you have to weave in and out which drivers dislike even more.

Oldfatgit: I'll always try to filter to the offside, and only filter nearside if there is an escape route ... for this very reason.

There is no excuse for what that driver did - road rage, pure and simple - and they should be prosecuted for it as they deliberately caused a collision. There was no need for the driver to change their line other than as a "fuck you ... you're not getting I'm front of me".
However ... we all know the chances of a successful prosecution, so I'm wondering if there is any percentage in - or even if you can find out - sending video footage to the drivers insurance company?

OnYerBike: If we had proper infrastructure the whole problem would go away!

In the situation of the video, I would probably have been doing the same thing, and I would be reporting the driver. It was certainly inconsiderate, if not downright dangerous - the cyclist is already alongside the car when it starts to move, so very little time for the cyclist to react. 

I tend to prefer filtering on the right, but in the video it appears to be quite a narrow road with frequent oncoming traffic, so in that situation I might well choose to filter on the left. 

I won't always filter - if there are only one or two cars at a set of lights, and I know it might be tricky for them to overtake me on the following stretch of road, I'll just take primary position behind them. In that situation, filtering ahead would be of little benefit to me (I'm going to get through the lights anyway and can't see that it would affect safety) so seems inconsiderate. Unless of course the drivers were "MGIFs" and overtook despite the red light ahead, in which case I'll merrily make my way past.

09 February 2024, 16:16
Anti-doping (CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED by Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious)
Doping could be "European football’s dirty little secret”, but is it cycling’s albatross around the neck?

It's not that serious, but watching this clip of Man United legends Gary Neville and Roy Keane talk about doping with such conviction, of course the conversation had to turn towards cycling.

Some have theorised the pair to be talking about Dr Agricola and Juventus, and maybe even Barcelona under Guardiola, calling doping as "European football's dirty little secret", but cycling, with cases of doping known far and well, it's interesting how you-know-who's impact on the sport and people's perception towards it still leaches into the present day.

But as much as Armstrong was involved in the EPO doping scandal, it was a sign of the times that so many professional cyclists were left with a big black stain, no one knows how many more were truly involved in rigging the game.

Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel at the 2009 Tour Down Under (licensed CC BY 2.0 on Wikimedia Commons by Paul Coster)

Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel at the 2009 Tour Down Under (licensed CC BY 2.0 on Wikimedia Commons by Paul Coster)

Case in point: Team Sky's former doctor Richard Freeman, who was banned from all sports for four years less than six months ago, for ordering testosterone gels at the Manchester Velodrome 13, yes, 13 years ago.

The sad part of the reality is that stories of doping still get injected into today's stream of cycling news (forgive the language). Just yesterday, we reported on the live blog about the many doping stories which have broken out lately, from Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale rider Franck Bonnamour’s dodgy blood profile to spindly Dutch climber Antwan Tolhoek turning very old school, by testing positive for anabolic androgenic steroid and being slapped with a provisional suspension.

> Cycling, spawning doping stories like it’s 1999, or 2009, or…: Former Jumbo-Visma and Lidl-Trek Antwan Tolhoek pops steroid positive, as Nairo Quintana’s old doctor faces criminal charges for ‘possession of a prohibited substance or method

Amsuing as it is, on the same day, it was revealed that everyone's favourite Colombian (I'm sorry, Bernal) Nairo Quintana’s former doctor is set to go on trial in France later this year for alleged criminal doping offences following an investigation which saw the Colombian’s hotel room raided during the Tour de France.

Meanwhile, another longstanding doping investigation, Operation Ilex – focused on the activities of Quintana’s compatriot Miguel Ángel López – has faced calls from a public prosecutor to be partly shelved, despite a recent report related to the investigation claiming that many cyclists are still trying to game the anti-doping system.

So my question is, with so much bad rep garnered in the last two decades, and the current scenarios indicating that the pros have maybe not learnt their lessons, can cycling ever move past the doping links?

09 February 2024, 15:50
"It's a Mads Pedersen show!": Danish sprinter records back-to-back wins in first two stages at the Tour de La Provence
09 February 2024, 15:38
The bad news keeps coming: 2023 was the worst year for bike sales since 1985, according to Bicycle Association report
Bike shop (Credit: Manny Becerra via Unsplash)

2023 has dealt another significant blow to the bike industry, with Bicycle Association, the national body representing the market in the UK, revealing that last year was the worst in terms of sales, with numbers falling to the lowest they’ve ever been in almost 40 years, and further warning that the decline is likely to continue if there is no support from the  Government.

In a members-only meeting of the organisation in Birmingham on Thursday, details of the yet-to-be made public Market Data Report were revealed which showed that the UK’s cycling market value fell a further six per cent, following the already cataclysmic 18 per cent decline in 2022 amidst the post-pandemic downturn.

> 2023 saw the worst bicycle sales in the UK since 1985, reveals Bicycle Association report

09 February 2024, 13:58
"But can you carry a ten-foot ladder on a bicycle?"
09 February 2024, 12:38
Handing down the sentence, Judge Caroline English said: “This offence is quite obviously so serious that nothing other than an immediate and substantial custodial sentence can be justified.”
09 February 2024, 12:03
Brixton Cycles fundraiser
Comedian Chris Morris big ups Brixton Cycles fundraiser, asks people to "do what you can"

A legendary cycle shop and a legendary satire specialist teaming up wasn't on my bingo card this morning, but for once, I'm not complaining.

The Brass Eye star Chris Morris, after years of entertaining the British crowd with his deadpan and postmodern comedy (that's how I'd describe his immaculate style), has appeared in a video posted by the 40-year-old cycling co-op shop on Instagram to promote the crowdfunding campaign launched last week on its GoFundMe page.

"It's a fantastic place. It's a co-op, a community asset. Twenty-seven years ago, they build that," said Morris, wearing a hi-vis cycling kit and helmet inside the Brixton Cycles shop, and pointing to white, steel framed bike with beautiful leather bar-tape and a Brooks saddle, along with mudguards and panniers.

He continued: "They've been looking after it ever since. Whenever I come to pick it up from a service it's so well tuned, it's like a musical instrument. The idea that this place won't be here for at least another 40 years is upsetting… it's wrong. So please, do what you can. And if you have already, thank you."

Brixton Cycles was founded all the way back in 1983, and today, it stands as the oldest and most resilient of all the workers-owned co-operative bike shops that popped up all over the country in the 1980s, winning London Cycling Campaign’s Best Small Bike Retailer award in 2014.

But the shop was hit by a massive power outage in the final few weeks of last year, costing the shop around £30,000 and bringing its worst financial year in the last two decades to a bitter end.

However last week, the shop once again turned to the crowdfunding method to ensure its survival. 

> Iconic London bike shop Brixton Cycles launches fundraiser after three week-long power outage brings business “to our knees”

On its GoFundMe page, it said: "Towards the end of 2023, the lights went out, literally. A three-week external electrical fault brought us to our knees. Our insurance has covered some of the loss of earnings and the damaged equipment but not all of it. We kept our doors open and did our best to repair bikes with the aid of head torches, but we are, in all honesty, struggling to bounce back.

"Now we are asking humbly for some help. Our target amount is 30k. This corresponds with about 3-4 weeks of loss of earnings from our power outage. This amount would help us to get through and bounce back.

"We have served the community for 40 years and would love to continue to do so and be at the heart of Brixton’s independent shopping experience."

As of now, the shop has managed to draw in close to £23,000 from almost 750 donations in just five days, leaving the shop short of £7k more to reach its target. So in Morris' words, do what you can!

09 February 2024, 11:48
Parents angry that children are being taught to cycle in middle of lane and other “risky behaviour” by cycling instructors, says Bikeability
Cycling instructor teaching kid how to cycle

Despite record numbers of schoolchildren being taught to cycle in the UK, fewer young people are riding their bikes regularly due to concerns from parents about the behaviour of motorists on the road and the lack of safe, protected infrastructure, Bikeability has warned.

Bikeability's chief executive also said she had received complaints from parents that children were now being taught “risky behaviour” by cycle instructors based on the revised Highway Code, and were teaching them to cycle in the middle of the lane to make themselves more visible to motorists when approaching junctions, traffic islands, or while riding on narrow roads.

> Read more: Parents angry that children are being taught to cycle in middle of lane and other “risky behaviour” by cycling instructors, says Bikeability

09 February 2024, 11:09
Eamon Ryan - via wikimedia commons
“We’ll see a tipping point where there’s a massive increase in cycling and walking as a mainstream form of transport”: Irish Transport Minister makes strong statement on country’s active travel

A lot of words for nothing, or hope for some actual change?

Eamon Ryan, the Minister of Transport for Ireland from the Green Party, has spoken about his hopes and fears regarding the planet, climate change, and how active travel can make things a little bit better.

“Our planet is deeply in peril,” he said. “And there's real fear we have to act on climate change, because we don't you go over a tipping point where it turns into runaway climate change.”

> 20 per cent of Ireland's transport budget to be spent on cycling and walking under new coalition agreement in massive boost to active travel

Ryan added: “But there are also tipping points on the other side… I think we're going to see a tipping point in active travel with the money we’ve been spending, that billion euros we spent in the last four years. It reaches a certain point where it changes things on the ground.

“It makes it safe to cycle and when we make it safe to cycle, I'm absolutely convinced Dublin, just like Paris or London, is going to switch to cycling. And not just Dublin, Cork, Galway, Watford, Limerick, every town around the country. And we're very close to that point thanks to everyone in the NTA, designing it by good engineering putting networks together that connect jobs.

“That 82 per cent response yesterday in the consultation for change the city centre — I think the people are with this. Fingal and other councils around the country are starting to come around to reallocating space to making it safe to walk and cycle.

“It’s currently not safe. Talk to anyone who's cycling. It's not safe here to make it safe. And as we do that, it will change we will see a tipping point where there’s a massive increase in cycling and walking as a mainstream form of transport for a city. That's what we're celebrating here today.”

While the words are good, the reaction has been, less than ideal, let's say. People on social media are enraged, with even The Irish Times changing Ryan's words in their own tweet — from "a mainstream form" to "the main form" to perhaps make people continue believing that the governments are here to unleash the bane of cycling upon its people.

And it seems to have worked, judging by the response under the tweet: "Eamon Ryan says in the video "our planet is in great peril" as he packs his bags to head off to Brazil on a long haul flight," said one person, referring to Ryan's St Patrick's Day government trip. "All while the Greens plan 1950s Chinese style cycling for Irish people."

There's a lot more vitriol, but I'm going to spare you all that but it does propose an interesting and maybe even significant point. While I'd be the last person to trust a politician's words, maybe there is something hopeful on the horizon?

09 February 2024, 10:30
The Tour de France announcement you've all been waiting for...
09 February 2024, 10:04
“Imagine listening to Sean Kelly or Michael Wuyts instead of this!”: Commentator imitating pony over Alejandro "El Pony" Osorio’s win at Tour Colombia sends cycling fans into hysterics

Now let me get something straight: I am a huge, huge fan of Sean Kelly and he’s got nothing left to prove, whether it comes to cycling or commentating at the highest level.

…but, can Sean Kelly do a pony impression as good as this?

This crazy moment came when Mario Sabato, commentating over the final sprint of the third stage of Tour Colombia, contested by the newly crowned Colombian champion Alejandro "El Pony" Osorio and his late-breakaway amigo Rodrigo Contreras.

As Osorio latched on to Contreras’ wheel and put up a powerful sprint to get to the finish line ahead of the rest of bunch following in just behind the two breakaway riders, Sabato, commentating for Colombian television channel Deportes RCN, decided to sprinkle some of his own magic to elevate the moment.

Spanish-speaking commentators never cease to amaze me with their romps and frolics! I’ll be back, just going to watch that Messi goal against Getafe with Joaquim Puyal’s commentary…

PS. RCN will broadcast Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España with Sabato on the mic for free! Just so you know, now that GCN+ is no more...

> What’s the best way to watch live cycling following the closure of GCN+?

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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82 comments

Avatar
Wheelywheelygood | 5 months ago
1 like

You are obviously riding all wrong ,I suggest you take up the style of the highly  intelligent  chap we saw last week who decided it was better to ride down the wrong side of the road forcing others to move over to avoid him whilst holding a cup of coffee in his right hand and past the point at which the road became one way only. Apparently a lot of undertakers favour this style to increase their business 

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perce replied to Wheelywheelygood | 5 months ago
4 likes

Gosh. I feel your pain. One day last week, I think it was Tuesday but it may have been Wednesday, I saw a guy cycling with a big bass drum strapped to his back, and playing a slide trombone at the same time. He played the worst version of Summertime I've ever heard. I don't think he was concentrating because he was juggling three fire sticks with his free hand. And he was cycling uphill on a downhill stretch of road.

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Rendel Harris replied to perce | 5 months ago
4 likes

Just before Christmas I saw an entire symphony orchestra sharing a single unicycle ride straight through an orphanage for baby orangutangs. The bassoons were the only ones wearing helmets, only a couple of flautists had hiviz  and the lights were obscured by the conductor's tailcoat. To make matters worse they were playing excerpts from bloody Wagner. It's time this all-too-common menace was subject to a crackdown.

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perce replied to Rendel Harris | 5 months ago
4 likes

And I bet they rode the wrong way up a one way street.

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chrisonabike replied to Rendel Harris | 5 months ago
3 likes

Are you sure? If they were undertakers like the OP mentioned (cyclists are always undertaking) I would have expected a New Orleans jazz-type ensemble.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=alzPbV61sOM

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chrisonabike replied to Rendel Harris | 5 months ago
2 likes

OTOH the last lot I saw were on a bicycle but had a more military air.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WwJCohJGz4M

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carefulrider | 5 months ago
1 like

Re filtering - you are cycling too close to the car. That is unsafe and inconsiderate. I don't see why cars cannot hog the lane to prevent unsafe cycling in the same way that cyclists hog the lane to prevent unsafe driving.

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chrisonabike replied to carefulrider | 5 months ago
3 likes

Quite right, just think how traumatic a cyclist going past you in your motor is, and the consequences to you if they cocked up!
Sauce for the goose is sauce for the feather, after all!

Fortunately most motor vehicles are already big enough to "hog the lane" without any special effort by the drivers. And getting heavier, if not bigger.

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brooksby replied to chrisonabike | 5 months ago
3 likes

Quote:

Fortunately most motor vehicles are already big enough to "hog the lane" without any special effort by the drivers. And getting heavier, if not bigger.

I get held up by single occupancy motor vehicles on my commute all the time. B*stards! 
 

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Simon E replied to carefulrider | 5 months ago
4 likes

Is this yet another shadow account by 'our Nige'?

it certainly bears the hallmarks of a troll.

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wtjs replied to Simon E | 5 months ago
2 likes

it certainly bears the hallmarks of a troll

You're right. Guilty!

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mattw | 5 months ago
2 likes

A couple of controversies - Yay !

Ladder man. I think he's a bit of a dick, and I call that an unsafe load, which I think the police may be able to get him for, or cycling without due care. It's a tiny ladder and all he needs is a foldup one and a trailer, and he could do bigger windows.

Filtering & the blocking driver. I wouldn't be filtering up a gap so narrow, but the driver is the dick here. Tempting to have the pedal on the right high and keep it that way whilst the car moves left and the nutty driver dents her own door. That one's also without due care.

Fltering - I'm quite tactical and would only do it where I see a good benefit and a safe finish point. But then I utility cycle rather than commute.

 

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wtjs replied to mattw | 5 months ago
3 likes

I call that an unsafe load, which I think the police may be able to get him for

But they shouldn't, because they don't for illegal loads on motorised vehicles- such 'getting' woud be akin to the publicised 'drives to eliminate the Terror Cyclists' which the police/ hyper-junk press indulge in when they search for cyclists going through red lights while ignoring HGVs, for instance, charging through red lights at speed because 'everybody does it'

https://upride.cc/incident/g16dht_hgvtrainer_redlightcross/

This is an illegal load which, you won't be surprised to read, was ignored by Lancashire Constabulary- along with the close-passing of course

https://upride.cc/incident/bg61ugv_vwcaddy_closepassillegalload/

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Gimpl | 5 months ago
5 likes

Had a summer job in the 80's cleaning windows in Olney.  Used to wheel my double ladder around on my bike. That guy's an amateur 😂

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dou61e | 5 months ago
2 likes

With the greatest respect to Brixton Cycles, and wishing them all the very best in their efforts to weather the financial storm, Edinburgh Bike Co-op has a stronger claim to being the oldest and most resilient of the bike co-ops. Originally founded in 1977, I've been using them for around 10 years and have always found them well informed and helpful.

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ChrisB200SX | 5 months ago
7 likes

I filter down the side which seems the safest in the situation.

We all make our own judgement on when a gap is too much risk for us, doesn't matter has small the gap looks (as long as it's actually big enough), the driver must not maneouvre dangerously. If it's deliberate like the video, that's just psychopathic and assault. It's all fairly clear in the Highway Code.

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stonojnr | 5 months ago
1 like

Is that THE Chris Morris, allegedly according to People with money magazine, the highest paid comedian in the whole world ?

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Oldfatgit | 5 months ago
5 likes

Ladder on the bike ...
FFS ... just because you *can* doesn't mean you *should*.

Especially on a bike that has not been adapted or manufactured to be able to carry such an object.
The rider is irresponsible and a danger to themselves and especially to others ...

This type of dangerous behaviour should not be glamourised and should be condemned when ever it is encountered.

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Hirsute replied to Oldfatgit | 5 months ago
2 likes

Some people do daft things.
I watched a bloke earlier this week perched up a tree that was more of a shrub ie no central trunk, almost to roof level.
Using a electric power saw, no gloves, eye protection or fall protection.
Was trying to work out which garden to direct the ambulance to.

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brooksby replied to Oldfatgit | 5 months ago
6 likes

I think the longest thing I've carried on my bike was a new floor-mop.  I used cable ties to strap it along the length of my top tube, with the mop-head at the front.

It didn't go beyond the end of my carrier rack, but I did feel like I ought to have some sort of Monty Python-esque armour on…

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Oldfatgit replied to brooksby | 5 months ago
3 likes

I have an aluminium retractable walking stick that goes on my rack [its held on by a pump clamp - the under water bottle type things with a strap] and it sticks out maybe 50mm from the rear wheel.
The rubber on the foot gives it a somewhat artillery-like appearance and its always a source of mental amusement to me when I'm being tailgated to pretend it is.

I'm 54 for feck sake ....

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Backladder replied to Oldfatgit | 5 months ago
1 like

Oldfatgit wrote:

I have an aluminium retractable walking stick that goes on my rack [its held on by a pump clamp - the under water bottle type things with a strap] and it sticks out maybe 50mm from the rear wheel. The rubber on the foot gives it a somewhat artillery-like appearance and its always a source of mental amusement to me when I'm being tailgated to pretend it is. I'm 54 for feck sake ....

Do you fancy an upgrade?

https://gundeal.co.uk/unknown-walking-stick-.410-x-miscellaneous-items-for-sale-8469

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Oldfatgit replied to Backladder | 5 months ago
2 likes

Hmm... tempting 🤣
I used to fancy a sword stick, and it's only in the last few years that they have been made illegal

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Hirsute replied to brooksby | 5 months ago
6 likes

Did you use coconut shells too ?

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chrisonabike replied to Oldfatgit | 5 months ago
0 likes

A step too far, you think?  Would you have rung the police? (There's my coat...)

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Oldfatgit replied to chrisonabike | 5 months ago
1 like

Are we at risk of elevating this above the safe zone here?
Maybe we should rail against this kind of stuff at the feet; lock it down before it gets a chance to slip?

(my coat appears to be under yours)

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bensynnock | 5 months ago
4 likes

Filtering is actively encouraged at many junctions by the presence of a cycle lane leading up to an advanced stop box.

Watching that video though, I felt that there was very little space on the left to ride through there and I'd probably prefer to ride in the middle of the road then through that. I often find that vehicles will be at different positions on the road so it isn't always easy to filter on one side and you have to weave in and out which drivers dislike even more.

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Hirsute | 5 months ago
4 likes

On the park and ride in Oxford wishing I had my bike !
No wonder the council wants ltns and restrictions - the traffic is awful.

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bikeman01 | 5 months ago
9 likes

If that was me she would be looking for a new mirror as I rode off.

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andystow replied to bikeman01 | 5 months ago
0 likes

Same.

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