Recently in Cycling Category

space4cycling

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space4cycling-3

Earlier this evening, while the House of Commons debated the Get Britain Cycling report, the LCC organised a massive cycle ride around the Houses of Parliament. The demonstration of something like 5000 cyclists was to make the case for road planning and traffic infrastructure to properly take cyclists into account. This certainly hasn't happened to date.

Here's a video I shot of the evening, including some lovely views of thousands of cyclists crossing Westminster Bridge into the bright sunlight.

Space For Cycling from Adam Bowie on Vimeo.

(And yes - it does seem like someone "abandoned" their Bentley in the middle of the street towards the end of the ride)

And here are a few more photos from the evening.

space4cycling-2

space4cycling-1

Some more here.

London Surrey Classic

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London Surrey Classic 2013-1

London Surrey Classic 2013-7

London Surrey Classic 2013-13

London Surrey Classic 2013-30

Some photos from Sunday's Prudential London Surrey Classic men's road race. Some more photos over on Flickr.

Alpe d'Huez

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Alpe D'Huez

In anticipation of today's double ascent of Alpe D'Huez, I made this T-shirt last night.

I did make a Ventoux one prior to the weekend too - no photos yet though.

Olympics Day 5 - Wiggo

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OK. I didn't get to watch anything live today. It was a busy work day - but more of that later tonight.

However I did manage to catch Bradley Wiggins' awesome time trial ride. Coming 10 days after his victory in the Tour de France, he's clearly an outstanding athlete.

Wonderful

Men's Road Race-31
Bradley leading the charge in the men's road race on Saturday, trying to catch the leaders.

Brad
Bradley in Paris just over a week ago has he won the Tour de France.

Olympics Day 1 - Men's Road Race

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Men's Road Race-32

Up early today for the first Olympic action with the Men's Road Race departing from Central London at 10am. I got to Richmond Park an hour ahead of that and roughly twenty minutes' later, the peleton arrived. They weren't really racing at that point, and looked like a big colourful cycling club out for a Sunday run in the park.

Men's Road Race-10

A little later, after a refreshing beverage at a nearby hostelry, we returned, via the inevitable deer, to take up different positions to see the return of the racers.

Men's Road Race-16

By this point there was a considerably dangerous group who'd gained a minute of the peleton. Ordinarily that would be a relatively straightforward gap to breach, but essentially the GB riders were being left on their own to do the work. Even the German team who wanted to put Greipl in the bunch sprint weren't really going for it. As a result, the breakaway group of roughly thirty were sharing the pain more successfully and maintained their gap.

Men's Road Race-27

There was some drama when around 200m from us (and out of sight), Fabian Cancellera crashed on the corner at Richmond Gate.

In the meantime, the GB team gave everything they could. At the point they passed us, Brad was giving it full gas on the front with Chris Froome and David Millar having been dropped having done all they could.

Men's Road Race-33

But it was not to be, and Alexandr Vinoukorov won fairly comfortably against Colombian Sky rider Rigoberto Uran. A little disappointing given his fairly unapologetic background in doping. Unlike David Millar, he has not come back full of remorse.

Nonetheless, it was a fun day in lovely weather in the park. More photos are on Flickr here.

A side note is that I understand that there were problems with the TV coverage. I was mostly reliant on radio and they too had very little timing information. Unlike, say, the Tour de France, where timing information is excellent and ever present, there was a real paucity in this race. From what I've read subsequently, it appears that for whatever reason, the GPS equipment wasn't working, hence the lack of information. Let's hope that they fix it for the Women's Road Race on Sunday.

The race coverage is provided by OBS - Olympic Broadcast Services. They in turn subcontract it to various countries. I assume that they give cycling to the French, but I really don't know.

What's not the OBS's fault was the terrible coverage from the BBC reporter on the Ten O'Clock News that I caught when I got back home. They included a bit of an interview with an upset Mark Cavendish was rude to the reporter, asking him if he understood cycling. Unfortunately, from his report, it was clear that he didn't. I know it's not easy to explain both the tactics and tell viewers what happened in a sport which they might not be familiar with. But his report was utterly misleading.

And it was also disappointing that he repeated that all too familiar mantra that we "expect" to win medals. Well guess what, it's called "sport". And that means that we don't know in advance what the outcome of any given fixture will be. If we did, then it wouldn't actually be any fun watching the action. Our athletes are undoubtedly under tremendous pressure. But that's doesn't mean that we should report lack of medal success as some kind of dismal failure. While the nation might have thought that it was a given that Cav would win today, unlike a stage race, a single day's racing introduces many uncertainties. And reporters like everyone else need to understand that.

Le Maillot Jeune

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Brad

What an extraordinarily wonderful day.

Bradley Wiggins wins the Tour de France in Paris. The first Briton ever to do so in 109 years of the race and 99 editions of it. Chris Froome, another Brit comes second. Mark Cavendish makes it three out of three on the Champs Elysees.

I just had to be there. So a plane ride later (even factoring in an overnight stay in a nice little hotel, it was cheaper than a packed Eurostar), and getting sunburnt in The Tuileries, and I found myself in Paris for the great day.

Brad, Cav, Bernie & Edvard

Roll on the Olympics next week!

Smithfield Nocturne

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Smithfield Nocturne - The Leaders

A great fun evening yesterday watching criterium cycle racing around Smithfield Market. Lots more to process and upload, but his was my favourite.

The Big Ride

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Watch in HD over on Vimeo

Yesterday, I joined several thousand others riding around some closed streets of Central London as part of the LCC organised Big Ride. In the week before Londoners vote for who should be the next Mayor, this was a massive protest to ensure that the person who does sit in that office realises that this is a real issue.

Transport is actually one of the few things the Mayor has real power over. Most other things fall either under Parliament, or our locally elected councils. But cycling infrastructure is one thing that can be improved. And I don't just mean painting a few roads blue. I mean thinking about designing roads and streets from the perspective of those who aren't in cars. That's actually a radical rethink, as anyone who's ever tried to cross the road at King's Cross might realise.

In the last week we've had the chairman of mini-cab firm Addison Lee busily back tracking on some of the views he made clear in his company magazine regarding cyclists. He also wants his cabs to use bus lanes, where taxis, buses, motorcyclists and of course cyclists already reside. He's managed to lose a government contract over that.

But the point is that too many people don't really understand that our streets are for all of us.

Anyway, I don't want to get too preachy here, but do take the time to visit sites like the LCC or ibikelondon for more.

(Incidentally, I wrote "several thousand" above, because I'm really not sure how many people came. I heard rumours of 10,000 but I'm not convinced. It was awfully wet, and I know quite a few people will have thought better given the weather. Anyway, whatever the truth, it certainly was a lot of people.)

Tour Du Danger

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On Saturday, around 300 cyclists took part in the Tour Du Danger, a cycle tour of London's most dangerous junctions. This came less than 24 hours after a second cyclist had been killed at a junction in Bow which forms part of the Cycling Superhighway to the Olympic site.

This was a protest at the inadequate way that the Mayor's office and TFL are planning road junctions for all London's users - motor vehicles, cycles and pedestrians.

Organised by a pair of London a pair of">cycling bloggers, this was an excellent opportunity to show the various powers that be, that cyclists are a significant London community, and the old ways of dealing with traffic planning need to change.

To understand the full extent of the anger that has led to this kind of action, you only have to go back as far as Wednesday last week, when Boris Johnson responded to a question:

"Though I have to tell you ...sometimes I just go round Elephant & Castle because it's fine. If you keep your wits about you, Elephant & Castle is perfectly negotiable." (via London SE1)

This is a road junction that's seen 89 cyclist casualties within two years. Thanks Boris...

The event was excellently organised, and superbly marshalled by volunteers who made sure everyone was very safe as they toured the cycling blackspots of the capital.

The tour included a trip around King's Cross, an area I know very well as I cycle through it most days. Just a month ago, a student from Central Saint Martins, who have just moved to their new site behind King's Cross, was killed right around here.

Tour Du Danger - King's Cross

Here's some video footage from the event.

(Now in HD, so do make it full screen! Apologies for poor editing, but it's my first attempt to use Sony Vegas)

And a few photos from Le Tour...

Tour Du Danger - Hyde Park Panorama

(Click through to the big version)

Tour Du Danger - Hyde Park Corner

Tour Du Danger - South of the River

A couple more here.

Scooter Takes Out Cyclist

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I've been a cyclist for years to a greater or lesser extent. And for the last 12 months or so, I've been regularly using a Brompton as part of my London commute, meaning that I get to avoid using the tube. Over that time, I've been lucky enough not to have had - or seen - any major incidents. Nor, indeed, minor incidents.

Yesterday that changed.

It was the final stage of the Tour of Britain, which took place in two parts. A time-trial in the morning, and then after a gap of a few hours (during which there were a couple of charity events), a criterium race in the afternoon. I've been going to see the London stage of these races since the Tour returned to our calendars. I usually bring my camera and take a lot of photos of cyclists going past me very fast.

Anyway, I'd watched the time-trial, and had gone out in search of lunch (and a top, because it's quite chilly all of a sudden isn't it?).

Then I cycled down The Strand on my Brompton, which I was using to get about. My plan was to drop down to Victoria Embankment where the criterium, which was due to start shortly, would lap around. The Strand was pretty snarled up. It always is, but the road closures caused by the cycling probably didn't help.

But that's par for the course if you're a motorist in London. Embankment's used for lots of events on lots of days of the year and motorists just need to avoid those days - usually Sundays.

Anyway, I was following a group of other cyclists in the bus lane of The Strand which was pretty empty. A guy in racing gear who'd taken part in the charity ride joined the lane with a friend also on a bike. At that point a motor scooter who didn't really look and cut in from the traffic to the much emptier bus lane. Motorcycles and scooters are allowed to use bus lanes alongside cyclists as part of an experimental scheme.

There was a little alteraction between the cyclist and the scooter rider. But they got over it. The scooter driver had not looked properly before dropping into the bus lane.

Then another scooter rider decided to get in on the action for an unknown reason. He was riding very close to the aforementioned cyclist crowding him and pushing him towards the curb. The cyclist - a largish male - was rightly agrieved having already experienced one scooter coming too close to him, and he wasn't afraid to shout at this new scooter driver to tell him not to crowd him.

The scooter driver took offence at this, and then in the most malicious piece of riding I've ever experienced directly, he pointed his front wheel at the back wheel of the cyclist and deliberately hit him.

With complete inevitability the bike slid from under the cyclist, and he had to leap off to avoid ending up on the tarmac - or worse - under the wheels of the scooter.

I saw all of this - aghast - from a few metres behind. I jumped off and shouted out the number plate of the scooter to ensure I didn't forget it - LK55 EOJ.

I couldn't get my phone out fast enough to get a photo or video of the rider. But I did record a voice memo of the number plate. I passed it on the cyclist and his friend who immediately reported the incident to the police on the phone.

Fortunately, nobody was hurt. But the rider of the dark scooter - LK55 EOJ - was criminally dangerous in deliberately attempting to knock someone off their bike.

I passed on my details in case a witness statement is needed. I trust that the police will follow this up and arrest the driver of the scooter.

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