STRIKING THE RIGHT NOTE FOR CYCLING
Whilst last week’s Tube strike wreaked havoc for London’s commuters, meaning over-crowded buses and long delays, others were more resourceful.
Cycling shops in the capital reported a surge in interest from novice cyclists dusting off their bicycles and commuting to work on two wheels.
Though there does not seem to be any notable increase in the sale of new bikes, “our workshops, sales of parts and accessories, tyres, chains and cassettes have increased significantly due to so many people pulling their bikes out of the shed,” Cycle Surgery’s Mike Cunningham told Cycling Weekly.
“I think the combination of the strike coming mid-June, when people are saving for their holidays in July and August, bike week starting, the threat of more disruption and the current decent weather will see us and other London bike shops see a steady uplift over the next couple of weeks leading to a really good period of trading at the end of the month.”
Peter Robson of Condor Cycles’ comments reflected the general trend: “Generally speaking we’ve always had an upsurge in sales with strikes in the past.”
However, Robinson underlined how difficult it is to measure the impact of the strike over a period of a few days: “it’s not quite translatable. Most people will come in with an existing bike wanting a lock, a mudguard, new tyres or with a mechanical problem”.
The Tube strike saw the streets of London flooded with cyclists and Trafalgar Square even had guarded cycle parking facilities to cater for the surplus two-wheeled commuters.
Meanwhile, the London Cycling Campaign organised BikeTubes, guided group rides into the centre of the city and its dedicated website was inundated with hits.
“Keep up the good work Bob [Crowe] and Boris [Johnson] is what I say,” said Cunningham.
“Who needs to spend marketing money when the two of them make cycling the only option to get around London?”
BIG WIN FOR BLYTHE IN GERMANY
Adam Blythe took his first win of the year, and one of the biggest of his young career, on Saturday at the Thuringen-Rundfahrt.
Blythe snatched the final stage of the 2.2 ranked stage race, a 141km stage into Hildburghausen ahead of Andreas Stauff (Kuota-Indeland) and Michael Van Staeyen (Rabobank Continental).
The Briton was neck-and-neck with Stauff in the narrow, cobbled run-in to the line, but held off the German to take the stage by about half a wheel’s length.
It was a fine way to finish the race for Blythe, who had had a run of bad luck throughout the race with a series of punctures scuppering his chances in the bunch sprints.
Blythe finished the race 58th overall, whilst Stefan Denifl (Austrian National Team) took the win.
Above: Adam Blythe (left) sprints to his first win of the season in Germany
FLEEMAN BACK IN TRAINING
Britain’s Dan Fleeman (Cervélo), who crashed in the recent Bayern Rundfahrt requiring the insertion of a screw into the bone of his wrist, is recovering well and is back in training.
Fleeman crashed during stage two of the race, when a car entered the race and headed for the bunch. Police stopped the car, but it was too late for Fleeman to avoid it and he hit the floor. In addition to his wrist break, Fleeman suffered a deep cut to one of his fingers.
Since then, he has received an opertation and phisiotherapy on the injury and has just had his stitches removed.
“Ouch! Having the stitches out was more painful than the crash or the opertation,” Fleeman wrote on his Twitter feed.
The Cervélo professional is hoping to return to action in time for the National Championships on June 28.
HAMMOND OUT OF ACTION
Roger Hammond (Cervélo), who was scheduled to ride the Delta Tour Zeeland, has had to withdraw from the race.
Hammond has torn several muscles in his back although will be hoping to return to action before the Ster Elektrotoer.
Meanwhile, Britain’s Jeremy Hunt was fifth in the prologue of the Delta Tour Zeeland and held his position to finish the race fifth overall.
NATIONAL CYCLE NETWORK IS CUTTING CAR TRAFFIC
Sustrans announced last week the latest figures for cycling and walking on the National Cycle Network and, for the first time in the Network’s 14-year history, it carries more than one million journeys every day.
In 2008 a total of 386 million trips were made on the Network – half by bike and half on foot – just under a third of the 1.2 billion passenger journeys made on Britain’s railways in 2007/08.
The popularity of the National Cycle Network for journeys to work or school continues to rise, with 96 million commuter journeys and 17 million trips to school made over the year. If these commuter trips had been made by car (given the average car occupancy in the UK of 1.6 people) there would have been an extra 60 million car journeys made on our roads at peak hours.
The National Cycle Network reinforced its “No Carbon Necessary” credentials by enabling over of a third of its users to leave their car behind – 134 million journeys were made by people who could have used a car but chose not to.
New sections and links are constantly being added to the 12,000-mile long Network but the number of journeys being made is growing faster than its length. Every pound spent on developing it brings around £35 worth of benefits compared with most other transport schemes which deliver ratios of around three to one.
Nearly three quarters of people Network users asked say that the National Cycle Network is helping them to increase the amount of physical activity they take.
“We face a low carbon future, escalating fuel costs, and an obesity time-bomb that is set to devastate not just our health but also our economy,” said Malcolm Shepherd, Sustrans CEO.
“While the National Cycle Network is not the only solution to these issues, these figures surely prove it should sit high on the list. And when we read that the National Cycle Network’s value for money far outweighs all other transport schemes, perhaps the Network and cycling and walking in general have earned the right to benefit from proper and consistent investment and promotion.”