Whack it – not the best way to hit the boards

Last Lap of the 1958 Tour de France Original caption: Editor’s notes: Paris, July 19, 1958. 45th “Tour de France” (Brussels-Paris). Dramatic fall of the French rider Andre Darrigade (who’d already won 5 laps) on the Parc des Princes track, at the arrival of the 24th and last lap disputed between Dijon and Paris. He slams into a track official who was too close to the track.

But the accident pictured above was severe. On 19 July 1958 the Tour finished at the Parc des Princes in western Paris. The 70-year-old sécrétaire-général of the stadium, Constant Wouters ran across the grass in the centre of the ground to prevent photographers encroaching on the track. The journalists hid the riders and Wouters from each other and Darrigade rode into Wouters as he stepped on to the track. Darrigade was lifted from his bike and turned round and Wouters thrown into the air. Both fell heavily and were taken to hospital.

Wouters was treated at the nearby Boucicaut medical centre but died on 31 July.

Darrigade cracked his skull and broke ribs. He was able to return before the end of the meeting to take a lap of honour.

Friday bike poster: pantani

Read yesterday that the mafia have been implicated in pantani being thrown out of giro. Doctored a medical as they needed hi. Out as they had put large bets on him not completing the race …. So this Friday I celebrate him as the magical, lonely, manic and magical man he was.

Sport and your chances of dying ….

Infographics! Man they’re cool (even if this one is more US centric). This one is wild, illustrating your chances of dying from doing anything from skiing to playing football to smoking to driving. Which activity do you think is the most deadly? Scroll down…

Eeeeek Dublin is a scary place to cycle when bus drivers are this idiotic

After one if its drivers was caught on video encroaching in a bike lane and then telling a cyclist he’d run him over, an Irish bus company has launched an investigation into the incident.

Dublin Bus has said it is investigating a complaint after a cyclist uploaded a video to YouTube that showed the bus entering a mandatory cycle lane. After rier Liam Phelan comes alongside the bus, the driver can be seen saying: “Just go in front of me, I’ll run you over, no problem.”

The incident allegedly happened on the morning of May 28 on Arran Quay, the busy one-way street that passes through Dublin’s centre on the North bank of the River Liffey.

“I’m not ashamed to admit i was a bit shaken by this encounter,” Phelan said in the captions on his video.

In a statement to theJournal.ie, Dublin Bus said it had recieved a complaint about an incident on May 28 involving a cyclist.

The company said: “All incidents or accidents are investigated fully and if any breaches are found, appropriate action is taken internally.”

Dublin Bus also said that all of its drivers are “trained to the highest standard”, with refresher courses every two years.

“All training undertaken by Dublin Bus includes a strong emphasis on cyclist safety, and in particular how drivers should at all times be aware of cyclists moving in and around their vehicles,” it said.

“This includes the importance of maintaining proper road position to afford adequate space to cyclists and raising awareness around the checking of blind spots where cyclists might suddenly appear.”

29er’s no longer going to be made – The Web Monkey Speaks: Please Don’t Kill The 29er

i love my Lynskey 29er – it is the most versatile and fastest hard tail I have owned ….

this from DIRT

I’ll just cut to the chase here: If you are a product manager in the bike industry, I’m begging you, don’t kill off the 29ers in your line-up.

I understand that 26 is dead. I know that you could make the greatest mountain bike in the world and not sell a single one of them if they were equipped with “old” 26er wheels because 650b/”27.5” is now Jesus Chris’s Official wheelset of choice. I get that. I’m not really happy about it, but I’m a realist and I understand that the battle for the hearts of the masses has been won. 650b has effectively kicked sand in the face of 26 and strolled off with his girlfriend.


But let’s not also kill off 29ers. Not yet. Please.

I’d never have predicted that I’d one day defend the 29-inch wheel size. For years, I was not a fan. Or, to be more accurate, I hated the things. I’d ridden 29ers since 1999 and had never been impressed by their sluggardly handling. Most of them simultaneously annoyed and bored the hell out of me—riding one was the cycling equivalent of being trapped in a supermarket and being forced to listen to James Taylor butcher Marvin Gaye’s How Sweet It is for an eternity.

Wagon wheelers rolled over rocks with greater ease, sure, but for many years, they seemed to suck the soul out of riding. and while there are plenty of other reasons to ride a bike, I’ve never really given a damn about anything other than fun. Riding for fitness? If I wanted to be healthy I’d just stop eating bacon and drinking beer.

So 29ers and I were not a match made in heaven. But about five years ago the bike industry got serious about the wheel size and a much larger group of engineers and designers began fiddling with the larger wheels; in doing so, they wound up creating legitimately fun 29ers—bikes that not only monster-trucked over obstructions, but which also possessed some of the liveliness of the 26-inch wheel. The Santa Cruz Tallboy is the model that immediately comes to mind as the first 29er that rocked my world, but there have since been plenty of others and that’s because the market matured.

It takes years of product development for any technology to come into its own. Those first suspension forks sucked by today’s standards. Early disc brakes were nothing shy of scary. But after enough years of trial and error, you wind up with products that truly deliver on their potential. Cue the image of monkeys cranking out copies of Romeo and Juliet—it’s just a matter of numbers and time.

And that’s right where we stand with 29ers. This segment of the mountain biking universe is just growing out of its overweight, acne-riddled, 8-sided-dice-rolling ugly adolescence and is coming into its own. Frame geometry is largely dialed now. Single-ring drivetrains are enabling manufacturers to shorten chainstays and accommodate big tires. You may not have liked the 29ers of the past. I understand why—I didn’t either—but have you ridden the Yeti SB95 or the Santa Cruz Tallboy or the Specialized Enduro 29er? These are just a few of the big-wheel bikes that blow conventional wisdom about 29ers right out of the water.

In short, we are on the verge of bringing 29ers into their own and, yet, I’ve heard product managers asking themselves whether they should cut 29ers out of their lines altogether and simply replace them with 650b.

Seriously? Now? We’re going to toss the 29er onto the funeral pyre right when its come into its own?

There are a few companies (Giant comes to mind) who have struggled to make their suspension designs really mesh with the largest wheels. I understand why those companies are embracing 650b, but those companies are vastly outnumbered by the ones who are considering shelving 29 because it’s suddenly no longer hip.

This bums me out to no end. I understand the logic. This is business after all. Those companies keep the lights on by selling bikes—not unicorns, rainbows or beer-soaked high fives. If no one wants to buy your 29ers, you’d be a fool to keep cranking out the big wheelers while ignoring 650b. And, yes, I like a lot of the new 650b bikes. Giant Trance Advanced SX? Brilliant. Kona Process? Fantastic. GT Force? Damned good.

So, fine, make some 650b bikes. They’re, to paraphrase Mugatu, so hot right now. But when it comes to 29ers, take a stand. Be bold. You don’t have to stock one in every model and size, but let’s not give up on the breed altogether. Twenty-niners aren’t for everybody and every style of trail, but in some applications, they have no equal. And, dammit, after all these years, we’ve finally gotten a good crop of the damn things. It’d be a shame to see them packed off to the glue factory simply because something slightly cooler just happened to show up.

US judge throws out case against Strava

A judge in San Francisco has dismissed a lawsuit against Strava brought by the family of William ‘Kim’ Flint, killed when he collided with a car on a downhill stretch of road while apparently trying to reclaim his King of the Mountain (KOM) status on the social networking and ride-tracking site.

Judge Marla Miller said: “Mr. Flint assumed the risks of bicycling and that the defendant [Strava] has shown that bicycling is an inherent risky activity,” reports Bicycle Retailer

Flint’s parents had claimed that the 41-year-old was using Strava at the time and that Strava’s app encourages dangerous behaviour and fails to warn users vying for KOM status that the road conditions are unsuitable for racing.

Strava had denied all liability, and in a statement issued yesterday, company spokesman Mark Riedy said: “The death of Kim Flint was a tragic accident and we reiterate our sincere condolences to the family.

“We are extremely gratified by the judge’s ruling, which demonstrates there was no case against the company.

“Every cyclist is responsible for their own safety and the safety of those around them.

“We ask all athletes to exercise common sense when they are running and riding and to encourage good behaviour within the community.”

Strava had maintained that when Flint became a member of the site on 7 October 2009, the terms and conditions he agreed to electronically included a clause absolving Strava from liability for claims arising from a member’s use of the site.

While many Strava users log their rides to gauge their own personal progress against their training goals, it’s the competitive element introduced by the KOM leader boards that has seen the company attract criticism.

Strava sued by family of dead cyclist

Now this is ridiculous – only in the US could this happen. Man whose KOM status was beaten goes out to reclaim title and dies whilst racing dangerously and illegally …. Yet at 41 his family thinks he is not responsible for his own death. It is tragic the loss but what a retarded response trying to shift the blame for a person’s death when it is his own pride that killed him. Is that not one of the seven deadly sins??? Story below

William “Kim” Flint was a 41-year-old electrical engineer who died in a cycling accident in the summer of 2010. It appears he was descending a road in the Oakland Hills in California, braked hard and lost control and the crash proved fatal. The family of a William Flint is now suing Strava, who’s website allows bikers and runners to compare their times on routes.

The family of 41-year-old William Flint sued the Strava website for negligence on Monday in San Francisco, alleging it encouraged him to speed. Flint was doing at least 10 miles above the 30-mph limit on a hill in Berkeley’s Tilden Park two years ago when he braked to avoid a car and his bike flipped over. The Oakland man reportedly had learned someone else on the Strava site had clocked a better time.

Strava timed segments are very popular with cyclists since you can race yourself and others at any time. Any ride can contain an Individual Time Trial just like they do in the Alpe D’Huez of the Tour de France. But imagine if the Tour de France hosted a time trial down the Alp D’Huez. Such is the equivalent of the dark side of Strava. They allow downhill segments and can motivate riders to ride fast and take risks down a road or mountain downhill section.

Strava does not create these segments so they assume no responsibility for the damage they can cause. But they are enabling downhill racing on dangerous road sections and mountain singletrack trails where there is two-way traffic. And just as Strava can motivate a rider to pedal as hard as they can up a hill, Strava can influence a rider to descend faster than they’ve done before.

The William Flint accident occurred on June 19, 2010 while descending down Grizzly Peak in Tilden Park, Berkeley, CA. Reports say that he was the KOM record holder for that descent and someone beat his time before the accident. In the past two years, Strava has become widely popular and many cyclists have used it regularly for their road and mountain bike rides. Since then, Strava has designed in a reporting system where users can flag a segment as dangerous. After a certain threshold, the segment may be removed by Strava.

Is the company to blame, is technology at fault or the user?

Cycling accidents will always happen on roads and trails. But if a technology company is enabling downhill Time-Trial races on roads and trails, does the number of accidents and fatalities increase? Does the company bear any responsibility?

Andy Irons Autopsy Result

Kindly released by his family:

the great man



We have received the final autopsy and toxicology report filed in connection with Andy’s death on November 2nd, 2010, from the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office in Forth Worth, TX.

The family apologizes for the delay in the release of this information. The injunction filed last December was to allow Andy’s widow, Lyndie, who was then eight months pregnant with Andy’s son, Andy Axel Irons, to give birth in peace. Please understand that this decision meant that the family did not learn the cause of Andy’s death until May 20th, and only after a second delay was requested by an attorney in Dallas, without the family’s knowledge or consent, to provide time for the 13-page toxicology report to be interpreted by two independent forensic experts – a process that took several weeks, but also enabled the family to fully come to terms with the unexpected root cause of Andy’s death.

The autopsy concludes that Andy died a natural death from a sudden cardiac arrest due to a severe blockage of a main artery of the heart. Dr. Vincent Di Maio, a prominent forensic pathologist in San Antonio, TX, who has consulted on many high-profile cases, was asked to review and explain the autopsy results to the family. He states: “This is a very straightforward case. Mr. Irons died of a heart attack due to focal severe coronary atherosclerosis, i.e., ‘hardening of the arteries.’ He had an atherosclerotic plaque producing 70%-80% narrowing of his anterior descending coronary artery.This is very severe narrowing. A plaque of this severity, located in the anterior descending coronary artery, is commonly associated with sudden death.”

Dr. Di Maio continues: “The only unusual aspect of the case is Mr. Irons’ age, 32 years old. Deaths due to coronary atherosclerosis usually begin to appear in the late 40’s. Individuals such as Mr. Irons have a genetic predisposition to early development of coronary artery disease. In about 25% of the population, the first symptom of severe coronary atherosclerosis is sudden death.” He concludes: “There were no other factors contributing to the death.”

Andy had a grandmother, 77, and a grand-uncle, 51, both on his father’s side, who died of congestive heart failure.Looking back, Lyndie recalls that Andy complained of chest pains and occasional intense heartburn for the first time last year, and also recalls a holistic health practitioner, whom he sought out in Australia for vitamin therapy,offhandedly mentioning he “had the heart of a 50-year-old.” In addition, Andy contracted Typhoid Fever five years ago, which can result in damage to the heart muscle.But Andy shrugged it all off and led no one to believe he was in ill health.

The official autopsy report, prepared by Tarrant County Chief Medical Examiner Nizam Peerwani, MD, lists a second cause of death as “acute mixed drug ingestion.” On this point, Dr. Peerwani and Dr. Di Maio diverge. In a letter sent to Arch McColl, a Dallas-based attorney acting on behalf of the family, Dr. Di Maio questioned Dr. Peerwani’s decision to list the finding “Acute Mixed Drug Ingestion” under “Cause of Death” because he believes “it was not the cause of death and did not contribute to the death. The Manner of Death is in fact labeled Natural.” Dr. Di Maio goes on to say that the drugs cited, Alprazolam (Xanax) and methadone (an analgesic drug commonly used in the treatment of chronic pain), are in “therapeutic levels” and notes that benzoylecgonine is an “inactive metabolite,” which Gary H. Wimbish Ph.D., DABFT, a forensic toxicologist consulted by the family, has explained is a breakdown product of cocaine. Wimbish states that the benzoylecgonine present in Andy’s blood at 50 ng/ml “is consistent with the use of cocaine at about 30 hours prior to his death.” In addition, Wimbish agrees with Dr. Di Maio that that the amount of Alprazolam present in Andy’s blood “is consistent with a common therapeutic regimen.”

Dr. Peerwani’s report also cites the presence of a trace amount of methamphetamine. Lyndie insists Andy was not a methamphetamine user, so it is likely the substance was present in the cocaine he ingested. But again, Dr. Di Maio believes that none of these drugs was the cause of, or contributed to, Andy’s death.

As we are not doctors, we have no choice but to accept that two respected pathologists have come to different conclusions about a secondary contributing cause of death. However, the family would like to address the findings of prescription and non-prescription drugs in Andy’s system. Andy was prescribed Xanax and Zolpidem (Ambien) to treat anxiety and occasional insomnia – a result of a bipolar disorder diagnosed by his family doctor at age 18. This is when Andy first began experiencing episodes of manic highs and depressive lows. The family believes Andy was in some denial about the severity of his chemical imbalance and tended to blame his mood swings on himself and his own weaknesses, choosing to self-medicate with recreational drugs. Members of his family, close friends, and an industry sponsor intervened over the years to help Andy get clean, but the effort to find balance in his life was certainly complicated by his chemical makeup.

Finally,as has been reported, Andy was suffering from severe flu-like symptoms while in Puerto Rico to compete in the Rip Curl Pro Search leg of the ASP World Tour just days prior to his death. Andy was unable to leave his bed and for the first time in his Pro career, withdrew from a contest. He was put on an intravenous drip for hydration and strongly advised to seek further medical treatment. Against doctor’s advice, Andy left for Kauai, Hawaii, to be with his wife, telling the doctor: “I just wanna go home.”

Though Andy’s illness is not addressed in the autopsy (which only tested for and ruled out suspected Dengue Fever), Andy’s weakened condition clearly contributed to the tragic circumstances of his death, adding more stress to an already gravely compromised heart.

Having defied the odds so many times before, Andy may have felt that getting on a plane while dehydrated and wracked with fever, and choosing to meet up with acquaintances during a short layover in Miami, was nothing out of the ordinary. His strong-willed personality was part of what made him such a formidable surfer and champion. Like others who face down extreme danger, Andy seemed to feel bulletproof – as if nothing could take him down.But traveling while sick and suffering from an undiagnosed heart condition, was more than even Andy could overcome.

We are hoping that people will remember Andy for his very full life, which included his intense passion for surfing and the ocean, his astonishing achievements as a world-class athlete, and his devotion to the family and friends who love him dearly and miss him every day. Receiving the disturbing news about the cause of death brings back the shock and tremendous grief we first felt upon receiving word that Andy had passed.

We would like to thank everyone for their condolences and support over the last seven months. There was so much positivity in Andy’s professional and personal life, not least of which was how hard he worked to overcome his challenges. For this we remain forever proud of him.

This continues to be a very difficult time for our family and we appreciate the media’s respect for our privacy. We are grateful for the outpouring of love and support and will not have any immediate comment beyond this statement.

For those who wish to honor Andy’s memory, we ask that they consider making a donation to the Surfrider Foundation, a charity Andy supported, at surfrider.org.

— The Irons Family

Lorries and their blind spot to cyclists – From Road CC

After commuting with my 6 year old and seeing how a slower wobbly cyclist equates to quicker stream of traffic I have spent a lot of time thinking about the dangers or urban cycling. This article in Road.cc addressed some points particularly the problem with cyclists killed by HGV’s and larger vehicles in London.


picture courtesy LCC



The London Cycling Campaign (LCC) is urging Transport for London (TfL) to change the wording of a road safety poster aimed at making cyclists aware of the risk of passing lorries on the inside, the wording of which it says is misleading.

TfL’s poster says “All these cyclists are in the driver’s blind spot,” but according to LCC, a more appropriate slogan for the poster (shown above, and identical to the original in all respects bar the words used) would be “A safe driver should be able to see all the cyclists.”

Charlie Lloyd of LCC, himself a former lorry driver, commented: “The poster and the accompanying video give the false impression that a driver could not see any of the cyclists.”

LCC maintains that the oft-held belief that lorries have a “blind spot” next to them, explaining why they present such a risk to pedestrians and cyclists, is an erroneous one.

“We’ve succeeded in changing the type of mirrors fitted to all lorries in Europe so there is little or no blind spot close in on the left side of lorries,” continued Lloyd.

“The true risk areas that remain are immediately in front of the front-left corner and about 2m away to the left of the cab.” He adds.
”The most important step towards reducing lorry danger is to help drivers use their mirrors so that as they drive down the road they get a good view of every section where a cyclist or pedestrian may be.”

LCC, which has produced a safety card showing which areas around lorries are dangerous to cyclists, points out four ways in which its says the poster and video are, in its opinion, “misleading:”

“(1) An older (pre-2000) lorry was used without the updated mirror systems required by over 90% of the large lorries in London.

(2) A driver turning does not see a single image in their mirror; in reality the view is being constantly refreshed.

(3) The lorry in the poster would be unable to complete its turn without driving the trailer over the pavement. If it straightened, it would bring the cyclists into view (if it had the correct mirrors adjusted properly).

(4) The wide angle mirror is badly positioned: the law requires drivers to have mirrors correctly adjusted at all times.”

Lloyd, who has spearheaded LCC’s efforts to improve cyclists’ safety where HGVs are concerned, including its No More Leathal Lorries Campaign, told road.cc: “The campaigning around reducing the danger of large lorries is generating great interest from cyclists, transport companies and lorry drivers.

“Now we have a chance to move away from the simplistic view that blind spots cause crashes. We need to address careless driving and careless cycling.

“Everyone needs to be told about the dangers and develop strategies so a driver never turns into a ‘blind area’ and cyclists stay away from the side of any vehicle that could turn across them.”

Referring to recent reports that Mayor of London Boris Johnson is thinking about excluding lorries from Central London, Lloyd said: “It is brilliant that the Mayor is considering banning lorries and taking on our suggestion for consolidation centres to remove thousands of unnecessary lorry journeys.”

He added: “He is being forced to do this to reduce pollution, the UK faces a €300 million fine if London continues to breach air pollution limits.

“Failing to extend the Low Emission Zone to all lorries, dropping the environment fee scale for the Congestion Charge and getting rid of the Western Charging Zone have increased the risk of pollution.”