Thoughts from category: Sports

on your bike


This is Ben. Ben works for Cycle Training UK, who teach people how to use their bikes safely and cycle with confidence on the roads. And if you live or work in London, quite a few local authorities subsidise the training. Which means it's free.

Seeing as that cycling proficiency test was probably a while ago now and the playground you did it in lacked speeding cars and buses, it's a great way to improve your cycling technique and gain some confidence on the roads.

You get 4 hours of one-to-one tuition, during which you learn all about assertive road positioning and how to slow down traffic with your eyes. Your instructor will also teach you how to use your gears properly, check if your bike is roadworthy and will even accompany you on your ride to work to make sure your route is as safe and swift as possible.

Plus if you're good, they'll give you a shiny set of badges to prove your roadworthiness.

This sort of scheme is available in towns and cities up and down the country. So why not have a look on your local council website to see if you can get some free training and a set of posh new badges to impress your mum.


Back in '89, it was Cycling Proficiency. Now they're calling it Bikeability. How times change.

what mad people do


At 6am BST on Monday 16th July, some fit/insane people will attempt to complete l’Étape du Tour. It's a stage of the Tour de France that anyone can apply to race in, but it isn't one of those flat stages where everyone pedals along in a nice happy peloton, swigging red wine and eating Camembert. No, it's more like one of those spiky stages where you have to pedal up mountains, then fly down the other side, then grunt your way up another incline, etc.

All in all, there are five big climbs, including one that lasts for 19.2km (ouch), so we doff our caps to our friend Paul, who is broadcasting his attempts to complete the stage at


On Monday itself, his site will have a link to Google Earth so that you can fly the route that he's done, and cyclist's-eye photos taken from the handlebars updated live every five minutes, so if you fancy doing the Étape from the comfort of your desk, follow Paul's progress. And if you find yourself in a giving mood, sponsor Paul to the tune of a few quid right here - he's pedalling in aid of The Grove Hospice in St. Albans.