Forum home Road cycling forum Pro race

Does the uk deserve Le Tour?

MartinGTMartinGT Posts: 475
edited January 2014 in Pro race
I was out riding yesterday with some lads. In the cafe we were chatting about the Tour start here in Yorkshire.

One of the lads said that we really don't deserve it as a nation given the attitude of the drivers and the amateur set up that is BC and what they really do (or don't in most cases) for cycling in the UK.

What are people's thoughts on here?

At the end of the day it does mostly come down to money like, but I would like to think having the Tour here would change the opinions of cycling and cyclists. However, I just think I am being silly. Yesterday I had an old dear in a car shouting and beeping because we were riding two abreast (on a wide enough road), she passed us, only to stop less than 500m down the road at some traffic lights. We had another women trying to come through on a narrow bridge this time we were riding single file, but still not enough room for us and the car.

I just cant wait for the people around Leeds to realise that the roads will be closed off for a VERY long time and its not just a case of a rolling road block ala ToB.

We have lack of cycling infrastructure, we have lack of respect on the roads by motor vehicle users, our national cycle federation does little for cycling promotion and safe cycling promotion.

its going to be great to see on TV, beemed out to millions of people. Having the creme de la momf Rodders of the cycling world in our country and hopefully an event off the back of it. But is this papering over the cracks?
«1

Posts

  • RichN95.RichN95. Posts: 25,479
    Yes, we do.

    As a nation we have a proven track record of being very good at hosting major sporting events. And past cycling events have been amazingly well attended. Britain is now a major player in pro cycling and also one of Europe's major economies.

    Your experiences witrh traffic pottering around on your bike are irrelevant. They have nothing to do with pro sport, just as those drivers are not connected to the World Rally Championship.
    Twitter: @RichN95
  • I would say the behaviour of drivers is irrelevent to a bicycle race; as the roads will be closed anyway ;). What's more important is the strength of cycling in the UK, both racing and otherwise, and considering what we have to put up with; we're doing ok!
  • MartinGTMartinGT Posts: 475
    RichN95 wrote:
    Yes, we do.

    As a nation we have a proven track record of being very good at hosting major sporting events. And past cycling events have been amazingly well attended.

    Your experiences witrh traffic pottering around on your bike are irrelevant. They have nothing to do with pro sport any more than those drivers are connected to the World Rally Championship.

    Aye, good points.

    the Olympics were absolutely fantastic IMO I would have given the volunteers a special SPOYT award to them, because without them, it wouldn't have been possible.
  • I see that a quick morning post at the Clinic gave you the idea for this thread. :wink:

    All I can say is that my experience of BC has been far better than yours, but my experience
    relates more to the track and cyclocross.
    The local town has an excellent festival of cycling, each year, which is extremely popular.
    TV coverage of the crit, last year etc. The Junior Tour of Wales is another annual event held
    locally.

    However, there certainly is an issue with road usage in the UK.
    I suspect motorist malpractice is as much to do with the roads being over-crowded and under constant repair.
    We seem to have no time in the UK and that's not just in terms of the roads.
    Then there is the issue with race policing, which has certainly had a destructive influence on the calendar.

    Bottom line though is the bottom line.
    It isn't a case of whether we deserve it or not, but that the ASO see it as a most lucrative business decision.
    "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.
  • ProssPross Posts: 29,582
    What is your problem with British Cycling exactly? I'm struggling to think of a more successful sporting organisation in the UK (rowing possibly?) and they have built from a virtually non-existent base 20 years ago. OK, they could probably do more for the grass roots of the sport but the same could be said for virtually all sports organisations. They are a results driven organisation and calling them amateur is laughable given their professionalism is the envy of many sports.

    As for the motorist argument, there were 282 cyclists killed on Italian roads in 2011 compared to 109 in the UK. France, again a similar population, had 141 cycling fatalities. I accept that cycling rates are probably significantly higher in these countries although I don't think they are anywhere near the rates in places such as Denmark or The Netherlands. The simple fact is that despite apparent anti-cycling behaviour in the UK the roads aren't really any worse for us than they are in 'traditional' cycling countries.
  • MartinGTMartinGT Posts: 475
    Pross wrote:
    What is your problem with British Cycling exactly? I'm struggling to think of a more successful sporting organisation in the UK (rowing possibly?) and they have built from a virtually non-existent base 20 years ago. OK, they could probably do more for the grass roots of the sport but the same could be said for virtually all sports organisations. They are a results driven organisation and calling them amateur is laughable given their professionalism is the envy of many sports.

    As for the motorist argument, there were 282 cyclists killed on Italian roads in 2011 compared to 109 in the UK. France, again a similar population, had 141 cycling fatalities. I accept that cycling rates are probably significantly higher in these countries although I don't think they are anywhere near the rates in places such as Denmark or The Netherlands. The simple fact is that despite apparent anti-cycling behaviour in the UK the roads aren't really any worse for us than they are in 'traditional' cycling countries.

    Having tried organising races, competed in races etc getting correct points awarded, getting safety certs signed etc. Its a NIGHTMARE.

    The National RR's prior to Glasgow and after Pendle were a farce and nothing short of laughable from a an organisation that deliver us gold medals on the track.
  • They are indeed results-orientated at the Elite level because thats the basis for the funding from UK Sport.

    The track, the track...always the chip on the shoulder about the track

    Last 4 Road Worlds:

    1 gold in Mens RR
    3 silvers in Mens ITT
    1 gold in Womens ITT
    1 bronze in Womens ITT
    2 golds in Junior Womens RR
    1 bronze in U23 Mens RR
    1 gold in Junior Womens ITT
    1 silver in Junior Womens ITT
    1 bronze in Womens ITT


    BMX World titles for Reade and Phillips

    I'll give you the success of the Athertons, Danny Hart etc has been achieved via different routes

    The fact is that the success of British cyclists across all codes, has led to more people taking up cycling. And that can only be a good thing. The growth in popularity of the sport is unmatched by any other country right now.

    Remind me again: why would Britain not 'deserve' the Tour?
  • I would say the behaviour of drivers is irrelevent to a bicycle race; as the roads will be closed anyway ;). What's more important is the strength of cycling in the UK, both racing and otherwise, and considering what we have to put up with; we're doing ok!

    I agree. There is an absurd spat going on between Vine and Clarkson about this anti British attitude to cycling. Perhaps has having the tour here will help a little to change things.

    I am fortunate to live in an area where cyclists get less abuse than most, but still, compared to Majorca where I ride a lot it is abysmal here.

    In Palma the traffic stops for you as if you are a mother with a pushchair. No games to see who wants to push their legal rights furthest. Cars just give way. Unfortunately that's not what happens in the Uk.

    It takes a long time to change attitudes though, and no amount of campaigning will help. The only thing that will change the uk is simple legislation that says cars give way to bikes.

    Won't happen though. Vote loser.
  • FJSFJS Posts: 4,820
    Yes, Britain and Yorkshire certainly deserve a Tour de France start. Ignoring the fact that these decisions are not based on 'deserving', the audiences at the grand depart in London, the Olympic road races and the Tour of Britain, yes, very much so.
    Britain has also had much less tha its fair share of international races (e.g. road world championships, world tour races, etc.), considering the performance of British cyclists the past few years.
    And, races like the Tour of Britain are fairly popular with riders, because of the organisation, quality of hotels, etc.
    Add to that the recent experience with organising big events, and yes, fully deserved.
  • FJSFJS Posts: 4,820
    Pross wrote:
    The simple fact is that despite apparent anti-cycling behaviour in the UK the roads aren't really any worse for us than they are in 'traditional' cycling countries.
    With this I do not agree at all. Attitudes to cyclists of a significant majority of drivers is abysmal in the UK, and roads significantly worse. Has nothing to do with deserving the grand depart though
  • Aside from the fact that the UK has hosted Le Grand Depart before as well as the Tour on other occasions before, I'm not sure you can really make a link between cycling as a sport and cycling as a mode of transport.

    I'm not sure motor traffic is going to start treating cyclists any differently because of a few sporting successes. The two things are different and sometimes I think seeing cycling as only a sport is actually a problem in the UK. Most people around the world who cycle do so for the functional purpose of getting from A to B. The more people that saw cycling as a valid form of transport in the UK, the safer (perceptionally safer rather than say statistically safer) it might be.

    Personally I do think many UK road users have a problem with seeing bicycles as road users who have a right to be there and to whom they have a duty of care. Having ridden in London, the south and Yorkshire over the years and then the Netherlands, I know which is by far the better, where I feel safer etc. and which I think has a considerably better quality of life in part because of the treatment of cyclists as both sports people and general traffic. However, I recognise that this is based on nothing than my own personal experience and anecdote means s*d all. Cycling is still a very safe thing to do in the UK.
    Correlation is not causation.
  • FJS wrote:
    With this I do not agree at all. Attitudes to cyclists of a significant majority of drivers is abysmal in the UK, and roads significantly worse.

    I have a new curse for the very occasional bad driver I meet here: Je rijd zo als een Engelsman!
    Correlation is not causation.
  • dsoutardsoutar Posts: 1,746
    MartinGT wrote:
    I just cant wait for the people around Leeds to realise that the roads will be closed off for a VERY long time and its not just a case of a rolling road block ala ToB.

    Leeds is the new Surrey !

    Joking aside I don't see the connection completely although I wish it were so. Maybe if these things happen often enough people might eventually start adopting a different mindset although even if it were to happen I do think it could take a generation.

    However it might just be a case of too many people, too many cars, not enough roads. And that ain't going to change
  • TheBigBeanTheBigBean Posts: 14,011
    I think there is a legimate question to ask which is how should those that campaign for better / safer cycling in the UK make the most of the tour being here. There's probably another forum for that sort of question though.

    You only have to look at reports from Box Hill residents complaining about increased cycling to realise there is a some way to go.
  • TMRTMR Posts: 3,986
    MartinGT wrote:
    I was out riding yesterday with some lads. In the cafe we were chatting about the Tour start here in Yorkshire.

    One of the lads said that we really don't deserve it as a nation given the attitude of the drivers and the amateur set up that is BC and what they really do (or don't in most cases) for cycling in the UK.

    What are people's thoughts on here?

    I agree. The attitude of drivers towards cyclists in the UK is disgusting. There are far too many idiots behind the wheel that really need to sort their anger issues out. The furore from the general populace when the roads are closed for the Tour will be immense.

    You can add to this the fact that there isn't anything like sufficient spending on the maintenance of the roads. I'd really like to see tax revenue from fuel and the vehicle excise license ring fenced.

    In summary, I believe the UK is a pathetic, mickey-mouse, shadow of it's former self and no, we don't deserve the Tour. But I'm glad we have it nonetheless.
  • FJSFJS Posts: 4,820
    dsoutar wrote:
    However it might just be a case of too many people, too many cars, not enough roads. And that ain't going to change
    The UK isn't any more densely populated than Belgium, Netherlands or North-West Germany
  • But we have significantly less cycling per head of population, much of that area of the world cycling is a normal every day activity that most do to at least some extend, in the UK this isn't the case which results in conflict.
  • tailwindhometailwindhome Posts: 16,668
    UK maybe. England no.

    Send it over our way
    Believe that a farther shore
    Is reachable from here.
    Believe in miracles
    And cures and healing wells
  • rayjayrayjay Posts: 1,384
    I think it's more about how much money can be made. Cycling obviously has a big following in the UK.

    If Belgium born Wiggo rides and that other GB fav Kenyan, Chris Froome ride I'm sure the fans will be out in their thousands :)

    I am born in London and was appalled how London centric the Olympics were. Its good to see great sporting events going outside of London.

    I'm sure it will be fantastic.
  • RichN95.RichN95. Posts: 25,479
    rayjay wrote:
    I am born in London and was appalled how London centric the Olympics were. Its good to see great sporting events going outside of London.
    You do realise that Olympics are awarded to cities not countries, don't you?
    Twitter: @RichN95
  • rayjayrayjay Posts: 1,384
    RichN95 wrote:
    rayjay wrote:
    I am born in London and was appalled how London centric the Olympics were. Its good to see great sporting events going outside of London.
    You do realise that Olympics are awarded to cities not countries, don't you?


    You do realise that events can and are held elsewhere :roll:

    Move on
  • RichN95.RichN95. Posts: 25,479
    rayjay wrote:
    RichN95 wrote:
    rayjay wrote:
    I am born in London and was appalled how London centric the Olympics were. Its good to see great sporting events going outside of London.
    You do realise that Olympics are awarded to cities not countries, don't you?
    You do realise that events can and are held elsewhere :roll:
    Move on
    Only out of necessity - basically football and sailing, sometimes rowing.
    Twitter: @RichN95
  • And horsey things a la Beijing.
    Correlation is not causation.
  • ProssPross Posts: 29,582
    MartinGT wrote:
    Pross wrote:
    What is your problem with British Cycling exactly? I'm struggling to think of a more successful sporting organisation in the UK (rowing possibly?) and they have built from a virtually non-existent base 20 years ago. OK, they could probably do more for the grass roots of the sport but the same could be said for virtually all sports organisations. They are a results driven organisation and calling them amateur is laughable given their professionalism is the envy of many sports.

    As for the motorist argument, there were 282 cyclists killed on Italian roads in 2011 compared to 109 in the UK. France, again a similar population, had 141 cycling fatalities. I accept that cycling rates are probably significantly higher in these countries although I don't think they are anywhere near the rates in places such as Denmark or The Netherlands. The simple fact is that despite apparent anti-cycling behaviour in the UK the roads aren't really any worse for us than they are in 'traditional' cycling countries.

    Having tried organising races, competed in races etc getting correct points awarded, getting safety certs signed etc. Its a NIGHTMARE.

    The National RR's prior to Glasgow and after Pendle were a farce and nothing short of laughable from a an organisation that deliver us gold medals on the track.

    Really? I've found them (well, Welsh Cycling as my division) very helpful when I organise races. When entering races I've found the experience varies depending on the organiser. As for Nationals, I didn't think BC organised them directly and just award them to a preferred bidder (in the case of this year's race that's Monmouthshire County Council and Bill Owen from CC Abergavenny). BC just provide some event support as far as I'm aware (and take all the entry fees which is my pet peeve with them!).
  • rayjayrayjay Posts: 1,384
    RichN95 wrote:
    rayjay wrote:
    RichN95 wrote:
    rayjay wrote:
    I am born in London and was appalled how London centric the Olympics were. Its good to see great sporting events going outside of London.
    You do realise that Olympics are awarded to cities not countries, don't you?
    You do realise that events can and are held elsewhere :roll:
    Move on
    Only out of necessity - basically football and sailing.
    Rowing and canoeing as well


    Yes, That is a good point.

    Do you support a London team? Chelsea , Arsenal .Spurs. Fulham . QPR. West Ham, Crystal Palace. Millwall,
    Leyton orient etc and Wembley stadium.



    thanks
  • ProssPross Posts: 29,582
    FJS wrote:
    Pross wrote:
    The simple fact is that despite apparent anti-cycling behaviour in the UK the roads aren't really any worse for us than they are in 'traditional' cycling countries.
    With this I do not agree at all. Attitudes to cyclists of a significant majority of drivers is abysmal in the UK, and roads significantly worse. Has nothing to do with deserving the grand depart though

    I don't disagree regarding attitudes but that fortunately doesn't appear to translate into casualties on the road against similar sized countries where cycle racing is a traditional sport.
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 23,203
    Interesting question from Martin...

    I guess I have 3 thoughts

    *On a Pro Cyclo sporting basis - Hells yes! We ve produced the last 2 winners (sort of) and the best sprinter of his generation. The British (??) Team is one of the best examples of how a cycling team should be run and on the front line of anti-doping (the sports biggest issue). In terms of that I'd say we re probably the number one nation, even the belgian's can't match us

    *On a grass roots cyclo-sport level - not so much. But I'd argue that other than the BeNeLux there are few others, france included, who are any better really. BC are too focussed on olympic sport and would do well to spread some of their expertise into getting women and children cycling. There are a selection (4 or 5 of each the grotty october weekend I was there) of MTB and road "sportives" with in 50km of most Belgian or NL towns every weekend, entry fees to which are commonly 2-E eus. There is no reason that BC could nt start supporting that kind of set up

    *On a non-competetive sport/commute basis - Clerly there are few places where cycling has grown so much over the past few years. I am astounded by how many cyclists there are on the road having been away for 3 years! I was at box hill last weekend, whch was a wet, cold, miserable sunday morning, and it was rammed with cyclists. Lord knows how there's even space to ride up it on an August Sunny day. I suppose BC could claim some inspirational value, but they ve not done anyting to REALLY influence that IMO

    However our roads are some of the worst to cycle on in W Europe. The total lack of respect that British people have for each other is a little heartbreaking to see now I'm back. It's like the granny in the car honking at the cyclists mentioned up-thread. There is no way to interpret that other than a really ugly form of, dare I say Thatcherite, selfishness. Jeremy Clarskon's nonsense recently is the same, although I suspect he knows what side his bread is buttered, and how to keep it so, and so is playing to the crowd a bit. At the end of the day though that requires a major cultural change so large that I'm not sure the BC's input would have any effect either way tbh. Sending Chris Boardman out to speak some words is about as mcuh as they can usefully do. On the other hand in central London I actually DO think a lower order Critical Mass has been achieved where 99% of drivers are now so used to seeing cyclists that we are, however grudgingly, accepted.
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • To be fair, they've set up the womens only Breeze Network, specifically to get more women on bikes. Female-guided rides during the week or weekends, different terrains, get women comfortable with their riding skills and riding in traffic etc, and just enjoying cycling - all that kind of thing. And when more women are cycling, they're more likely to get the family out on bikes too. Then there are the guided Sky rides - not the massed start ones, but small groups - through the week and at weekends - you just book the ones on offer in your area from whatever takes your fancy re distance, route, terrain etc. Lots of these are geared to families - a couple of my mates have taken their little terrors on them.

    BC have just started running women-only coaching courses as well.

    There are women-only sportives - the Cycletta ones, for example.
  • FJSFJS Posts: 4,820
    Pross wrote:
    FJS wrote:
    Pross wrote:
    The simple fact is that despite apparent anti-cycling behaviour in the UK the roads aren't really any worse for us than they are in 'traditional' cycling countries.
    With this I do not agree at all. Attitudes to cyclists of a significant majority of drivers is abysmal in the UK, and roads significantly worse. Has nothing to do with deserving the grand depart though

    I don't disagree regarding attitudes but that fortunately doesn't appear to translate into casualties on the road against similar sized countries where cycle racing is a traditional sport.
    Perhaps - I assume you refer to France and Italy? - although it would be interesting to see the actual stats for casualties/injuries per km/mile cycled.
    If you compare with Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Denmark, world of difference.
  • ddraver wrote:
    However our roads are some of the worst to cycle on in W Europe. The total lack of respect that British people have for each other is a little heartbreaking to see now I'm back. It's like the granny in the car honking at the cyclists mentioned up-thread. There is no way to interpret that other than a really ugly form of, dare I say Thatcherite, selfishness. Jeremy Clarskon's nonsense recently is the same, although I suspect he knows what side his bread is buttered, and how to keep it so, and so is playing to the crowd a bit. At the end of the day though that requires a major cultural change so large that I'm not sure the BC's input would have any effect either way tbh. Sending Chris Boardman out to speak some words is about as mcuh as they can usefully do. On the other hand in central London I actually DO think a lower order Critical Mass has been achieved where 99% of drivers are now so used to seeing cyclists that we are, however grudgingly, accepted.

    ^This.
    Correlation is not causation.
Sign In or Register to comment.