Over the festive period we have been rounding up some the fantastic racing we have seen this season, from the inaugural Tour de France Femmes to the World Championships.
However, as we all know, there is a lot more to cycling than whatever Tadej Pogačar or Annemiek van Vleuten are doing, and so we thought it would be worth reminding you of some of the biggest non-pro stuff we have covered this year.
There was the change to the Highway Code back in January, lots of tech stories, and bike news involving Joe Biden and Jeremy Vine too, among all sorts. Sit back and let us take you through the cycling year.
Highway Code changed
Changes to the Highway Code came into place in England, Scotland and Wales, and there were startling levels of hyperbole and vitriol over what the update actually meant.
Column inches, news channels and phone-in radio stations were used to decry the new rules, accompanied by high levels of anti-cycling sentiment. The reaction to the fairly tame proposals is what led Groupama-FDJ’s Jake Stewart to tweet that “cycling in the UK is doomed”.
In the Daily Mail, Richard Littlejohn wrote that transport policy “has been captured by single-issue, anti-car fanatics, hell-bent on bankrupting businesses and causing the maximum possible inconvenience to the travelling public”.
Most of the changes will not affect road users too much, and simply codify things that have already been general practice for cyclists for years. Here is Cycling Weekly‘s myth-busting guide to the new code.
Emily Bridges blocked from racing
Emily Bridges, the trans woman cyclist, was denied the right to compete at the British National Omnium Championships in March after a ruling by cycling’s governing body, the UCI.
A statement (opens in new tab) released by British Cycling said that “under their [the UCI’s] current guidelines Emily is not eligible to participate in this event”.
Bridges was due to take part in the Championships, but the UCI has officially said that the reason her participation is not allowed as she is still registered with them as a male cyclist, and therefore cannot compete as a woman until her male UCI ID expires.
Earlier in the month, Bridges had spoken to Cycling Weekly about the difficulties of being a trans woman trying to compete as a cyclist.
Specialized’s welds cause a stir
Back in March, Specialized’s welds caused a lot of debate, with the prominence in the field of view that makes the welding around the new Allez Sprint’s head tube stand out so noticeably to some.
Cycling Weekly spoke to Specialized and a couple of frame builders to work out what the hell was going on with the new bikes.
In February, a gang stole an entire truck-load of Shimano components – enough to fit out 10,000 bikes. The company targeted was Bike Fun International (BFI), the largest bike producer in the Czech Republic which assembles over 150,000 bikes each year.
The stolen goods amount to a reported €10 million in value, with expensive e-bike components the primary target.
BFI and the authorities believe that the criminals had the original Shimano (opens in new tab) distribution facility under surveillance and – after seeing the company’s truck loaded with the goods – proceeded to follow the truck after it set off.
Are bikes too aggressive?
In June, Nicole Oh looked at the quandary of whether bikes are set up too aggressive for ordinary people.
“With the changing demographic of cyclists, is there now a discrepancy between the bikes the cycling industry is guiding customers towards, and the bikes that actually suit their bodies and riding needs? After all, no human being is naturally designed to fold their body into an aggressive racing position without a fair amount of effort and training, and, is that really what leisure riders need or want?”
Decathlon unveiled its vision of the future – and it’s far from the sensible, practical and low-priced product we’re more accustomed to seeing from the French sports superstore chain.
The ‘Magic Bike’ is a concept e-bike (opens in new tab) and as far we know only exists in the virtual world of its own Magic Bike website (opens in new tab). However, Decathlon (opens in new tab) says that its first concept bike “embodies our first ideas to help current and future commuters in their daily commute.” With the Magic Bike, or B’Twin Concept _01 to give it its working title, it aims to “test different technologies and ideas, submit them to you to challenge them, collect your opinions whether or not you practice cycling in your daily life or in your leisure time.”
Joe Biden falls off bike
It’s a tough job being US President, with every move scrutinised.
This is what Joe Biden found when he tumbled from his bike after getting his foot caught in his pedal cage when coming to a standstill. At the time, the surrounding press appeared very concerned for Biden’s health, but he got back to his feet without any injuries. Since then, videos have emerged on social media of people deliberately falling off their bikes in the same location in an act now known as ‘Bidening’.
Later, an image circulated on social media, depicting a screenshot of a Google Maps location that supposedly showed the location where US President Joe Biden had fallen off of his bike in the US state of Delaware.
On Google Maps, a ‘historical landmark’ on the Delaware coast appeared with the name ‘Brandon Falls’. However, ‘Brandon Falls’ is not an official US state-sanctioned landmark.
Jeremy Vine in HGV row
Jeremy Vine is a Cycling Weekly staple, regularly calling out bad cycling infrastructure and the car-centric culture of the UK.
Back in May, Vine was subject to a petition (opens in new tab) called ‘Remove Jeremy Vine from the BBC’ on change.org, with the intention of removing cycling safety advocate and BBC presenter, Jeremy Vine, from his role with the UK national broadcaster.
The petition appears to relate to a cycle ride Vine completed with Detective Chief Superintendent Andy Cox and other police officers from the Met, as part of the JustGiving campaign: The Andy Cox Challenge 2022 (opens in new tab). Aimed at raising money for RoadPeace – a charity supporting people affected by road crashes and also campaigning for safer roads – Vine completed the ride to raise awareness of the campaign.
During the ride, Vine, who is filming using a helmet-mounted camera, captures a Waitrose HGV close-passing a police officer. The 57-year-old posted the video of the incident to Twitter (opens in new tab) on May 21, with Waitrose subsequently replying to the original tweet, stating it is investigating what happened.
Later, Waitrose said it had spoken to the driver, and viewed the footage, and is “confident” that its driver “used the correct positioning while travelling on a narrow lane.”
Cost of cycling crisis
In October, we asked whether we are heading for a ‘cost of cycling crisis’.
If you are one of those lucky people with a level of disposable income as the cost of living crisis fast approaches, a cursory look at a bike retailer will tell you that shopping for bikes and its related accoutrements is very possible, unlike the deep days of lockdown. Sure, it might take a while longer to get hold of something specific, like a Shimano 105 (opens in new tab) cassette – I’m speaking from experience here – most things, from the customer’s point of view, anyway, are readily available.
Now the pandemic may not be literally over, with Covid still a serious issue for many around the world, but for most life has returned to some kind of normality. There are no legal restrictions, mask wearing is optional, and some even have returned to the office. As we press forward into the next crisis, however, for some in the bike industry things are still proving difficult.