Veteran radio personality Tony Blackburn has backtracked on his weekend comments about RideLondon, stating that "obviously" replacing the sportive with a "car day" would "bring everything to a halt".
The former BBC Radio 1 DJ had suggested that perhaps the mass participation event should be replaced next year by an event "for car owners" as "there are more of us and we do pay to go on the roads".
Attracting much criticism, and calls that every day is a car day in London, Blackburn last night clarified that his comments were "meant to be a joke".
"This idea of a car day in London was meant to be a joke but people didn't seem to get that I was joking," he said. "Obviously a car day in London would bring everything to a halt."
Blackburn had a day earlier replied to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan's tweet wishing everyone taking part good luck, and celebrating the fact that more than 25,000 cyclists would take part in Sunday's sportive, a similar number expected for the family-friendly FreeCycle on traffic-free central London roads.
"How about having an event next year for car owners in London instead of cyclists after all there are more of us and we do pay to go on the roads?" Blackburn asked in his "joke".
Cycling cartoonist Dave Walker was one of the many to reply to the comment, sharing his cartoon about the event.
Hi Tony, A drawing you might enjoy. pic.twitter.com/X2QcrCcXJV
— Dave Walker (@davewalker) May 28, 2023
Cycle Brentwood, an advocacy and advisory group dedicated to getting more people cycling within Brentwood Borough, also replied to the DJ, saying: "Yes, let's have a 'Drive London Day' to celebrate the health and environmental benefits that cars bring to our cities."
It is not the first time Blackburn's views on roads policy and transport have made headlines as, ironically on April 1, he asked his followers "how about less money for this ridiculous obsession with 20mph speed limits everywhere?" and "who is it that decides that we motorists now are overtaken by cyclists?"
Despite the comments from a veteran DJ and some concerned locals, Sunday saw thousands of cyclists take to the closed roads of London and Essex in glorious early summer sunshine, the day's events capped by Charlotte Kool sprinting to victory on the final stage of the RideLondon Classique to secure overall victory ahead of Chloé Dygert.
Ford RideLondon might be over from another year, but the memories from it will last a lifetime.
The world's greatest festival of cycling celebrated the bicycle and everything that's great about it, and we couldn't have done it without you. See you in 2024 ❤️#RideLondon pic.twitter.com/xDjvkqENXR
— Ford RideLondon (@RideLondon) May 29, 2023
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote 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 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.