Road Cycling

Pro cyclists De Gendt and Wellens on another epic end-of-year trip; LA Thanksgiving traffic; Bradford, Brum, Torbay – least cycle-friendly towns?; Best cyclist cafés; Dowsett, Argos catalogue model + more on live blog –

All the cycling news from this site and beyond…

live blog live blog

Live blog: 

Thomas De Gendt and Tim Wellens are doing their end-of-year bikepacking trip again …

The Lotto-Soudal pros are making an annual habit of this … click through to De Gendt’s Twitter feed for more videos of their journey.

Are Dorking, Chorley, Launceston or Worceter the nation’s worst town/city for cycling?

Hong Kong Track World Cup on after pause in protests

Reuters reports that the Hong Kong leg of the Track Cycling World Cup will go ahead this weekend after a lull in violence across the city.

“We did have some worries before like many other event organisers in Hong Kong, but the World Cup will definitely go ahead now as the overall situation seems to be improving,” said Hong Kong Cycling Association Chairman Leung Hung-tak. “We have prepared some contingency plans but we don’t think we have to use them.”

He added: “Some of our ticket sales have not been that encouraging, possibly due to the social unrest.”

Is Birmingham the nation’s worst town/city for cycling?

Sam makes a strong case, having suffered no fewer than five crashes in the last year…

I’d like to nominate Birmingham as the worst place in the UK to cycle.

There’s absolutely no infrastructure (save from one huge cycle lane that goes in a straight line vertically and one that goes in a straight line horizontally through the city) – which is ideal, but only if you’re going to where one of them goes.

Roads are either extremely narrow or extremely wide, which in my experience has me either being beeped at to move or close passed (on the narrow) or sped past with a car in each lane doing their best to induce cardiac arrest.

Last year I commuted by bike, covering 6,000 miles from north of the city to the south-east and suffered a broken arm, five crashes (a mix of being driven into once, some spills caused by people coming too close and forcing me into the kerb and my own good old fashioned stupidity).

I’ve noticed that for the most part, the prevailing attitude towards cyclists is that we are in the way and should be passed at any opportunity, no matter how dangerously. Though I do hasten to add that from my experience driving here, that applies to anyone going slower than the person behind’s desired speed, and I’ve had similar near misses in my car also (I don’t want to perpetuate the “us and them”).

Birmingham is making some progress, but none of the paths created join to anywhere (nor I think will they). To genuinely change I believe it needs to invest in infrastructure, but also put cycling on the map as a legitimate pastime for people other than hardcore cyclists through racing/clubs/events, thereby de-marginalising the cyclist and placing us back in the ‘actual human being’ pot with the rest of Birmingham’s residents.


Is Torbay the nation’s worst town/city for cycling?

Massive main roads are bad, but smaller roads can be bad too.

mr_pickles2 writes:

Hands down the worst place I’ve ever cycled is my home town’s area of Torbay in South Devon. I can imagine at least the nominated cities of Bradford and Leeds have roads that are for the most part wide: in Torbay, pretty much all the roads are one traffic lane in each direction and narrow, meaning that you end up with many people behind you who can’t pass easily…although the majority just go for it anyway beacuse giving a cyclist 40cm space is enough, right?

The area is also full of hills, with pretty much no flat parts at all except for two or so miles of seafront – great for building strength and stamina, but crap for when it’s hot and you’re cycling for transport (your slow speed also adds to the hatred from motorists behind you). There are no quiet back lanes or residential streets to avoid the main roads, and the “infrastructure” is either painted rubbish or shared paths – which are just ordinary pavements with some signs added, and one actually has a full steep flight of stairs on it with a handy “cyclists dismount” sign.

Motorists seem to hate anyone cycling, and I’ve had more and scarier close passes and near-misses than London, Bath and now where I live in Paris; I practically never had a ride that had no incidents with some w*nker. In my hometown of Brixham, there is literally no infrastrucure (painted or otherwise) at all, and the only flat route on the harbour front is strictly no cycling.

I’d take the cycling utopias of Bradford and Leeds over that anyday.

“That is just a giant parking lot”

Thanksgiving (motor) traffic in LA.

broken bike.jpg

Rear light that was “playing up a little” contributed to fatal collision

A cyclist who lost her life after being hit from behind in Herefordshire last year wasn’t seen by the motorist because her rear light was out.

The Hereford Times reports that Pauline Towell had lights fitted to her e-bike, but the rear light had started “playing up a little”, sometimes turning off by itself.

Towell’s lights had been working when she left the branch of Morrison’s where she worked at around 6.30pm on September 28, but the rear light didn’t seem to be working when she was later seen by off-duty constable Alan Conway.

Conway said he considered stopping to speak to her, but was unable to do so due to traffic.

Shortly afterwards, Towell was hit while riding on the B4224 near Fownhope.

Driver Harry Sturgess said he hadn’t seen Towell and only became aware of her when his passenger, Daniel Williams, shouted a warning.

Williams said he only spotted her when they were just metres away.

An oncoming driver said Sturgess could not have swerves out of the way as it would have meant hitting cars on the other side of the road.

A crash investigator concluded that Towell would have been very difficult to see due to a combination of factors, including her dark clothing and oncoming headlights.

Is Bradford the nation’s worst town/city for cycling?

Responding to John’s comment immediately below, the little onion writes:

I think Mr Stevenson is being kind towards Leeds here. It is worse than he says. 

But Bradford….. it makes Leeds look like Copenhagen. Truly, truly awful. Officially has the lowest modal share for cycling of any UK city (see stats here (link is external)). And this isn’t an accident or coincidence, but the result of a long period of sustained policy to make cycling as deeply unpleasant as possible.

Keep sending your nominations. Comment below, tweet us @roadcc or email us at info [at]

Is Leeds the nation’s worst town/city for cycling?

Our own John Stevenson nominates his home town as we seek to establish the worst place for cycling in the UK.

Cycle speed dating at Look Mum No Hands


Israel Cycling Academy to race on Factor Bikes in 2020

Israel Cycling Academy will ride Factor’s O2 VAM Disc and ONE Disc during the 2020 season, debuting at the Tour Down Under in January.

The team will also be running Black Inc. components, including the full range of wheels, seatposts, integrated barstems, computer mounts and bar tape. The bikes will also be equipped with Ceramic Speed bearings and oversized pulley wheel systems, Maxxis Tyres and Selle Italia saddles.

Rob Gitelis, Factor Bikes Owner said: “This is an exciting time for Factor as we make our return to the World Tour and we have a great team and partner in Israel Cycling Academy. We both share ambitions to compete on the world stage and do so with high performance bikes and equipment. ICA has been on an incredible journey and we are excited to be part of it. Factor is a global brand and the fact that the ICA has many nationalities represented within the team makes it a perfect fit.”

Sylvan Adams, Co-owner of ICA added:“Israel Cycling Academy is excited by our new partnership with Factor bikes. We will be riding their superior bikes to new heights in the World Tour next year. With the best equipment, we will reach for the top. Yalla, Factor, welcome to Israel Cycling Academy.”

Is York the nation’s worst town/city for cycling?

A nomination for York from the comments as we seek to establish the least cycle-friendly town in the country (see further down the page).

A bonus mention for “all major cities in Indonesia” as well. We’re primarily focusing on the UK, but we’re of course interested in tales from further afield too.

Cyclist cafés of the year

Velolife was named People’s Choice Café of the Year yesterday.

Here are the other winners.


No Cycling sign 3x2

Is your town the least cycle-friendly town in the country?

We reported yesterday how Stevenage had become the latest town to launch a ‘crackdown’ on cyclists riding in the town centre.

Neighbourhood Inspector Simon Tabert described Stevenage as “a very cycle friendly town” despite it being one of several to have implemented a Public Space Protection Order banning people from riding a bike in certain areas.

All the same, Stevenage isn’t an out-and-out cycling-unfriendly town. There are definitely worse places to (try and) ride a bike.

So where’s worse? We’d like to know.

Is your town the least cycle-friendly town in the country? Why?

There doesn’t need to be a ban. It could just as easily be as a result of poor infrastructure, bad attitudes or something else. If you think you’ve got a case and you’ve got examples, please send them our way.

Leave a comment, tweet us @roadcc or email us at info [at]

Congestion in Delft

Alex Dowsett was NOT a pastry chef

But he says he was a model for the Argos catalogue.