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Chinese bike-share scheme launches in rainy Manchester

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

Mobike dockless cycle scheme warmly welcomed in Manchester – and the bikes are well prepared for the weather

When China’s biggest public bike-hire operator chose Manchester as the location for their first smart scheme outside Asia, they were cautioned that the weather on the banks of the Irwell differed a little from the Yangtze.

“Everyone warned us about the rain,” said Richard Huang, head of international product at Mobike. He was sheltering under an alcove outside Marks & Spencer on Thursday morning as 1,000 of his silver and orange babies were released into the pot-holed streets of the sodden Cottonopolis for 50p a go.

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Water Wipeout: taking on the UK’s wettest, muddiest fun run

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

You don’t need to be a great athlete to complete this obstacle race in the Midlands, which is more about slipping and sliding than running. You just need to be up for getting dirty

I believe there’s a common mindset when signing up for an outdoor sports event taking place in the peak of summer: that the weather will be glorious. It’s why, as the rain falls down as heavy as if we were standing under a waterfall – rather than the bright yellow tarpaulin sheltering the registration desk that we’ve taken refuge beneath – glum expressions are being shared between my shivering teammates.

“Why are we doing this?” moans my sister Sophie’s boyfriend Felix, earning an elbow to the ribs from her. “It was sunny in the promo video,” whimpers my housemate Rach, as though good weather had been sold as a guarantee. “Anyone fancy a beer instead?” asks my partner Jamie, reminding me why I’ve never invited him to do one of these events before.

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Kilian Jornet: inside the mind of the world’s best mountain runner – video

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

Kilian Jornet, 29, is widely considered the world’s best ultra-distance and mountain runner. Last month, he conquered Mount Everest twice in one week without using supplemental oxygen or fixed ropes. A project called Summits of My Life has taken him to the peaks of Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, Denali and Aconcagua. We asked him what makes him tick and how it feels to be on top of the world

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Running fast: Steve Cram’s tips for a mile and beyond

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

The European record-holder advises changes to your workout that can build speed and are perfect for the summer

“What people don’t always understand,” explains Steve Cram, after watching me sprint as though my life depended upon it, “is that speed filters up as well as down.”

I am not a sprinter. In fact, I regard 5km races as a little on the short side. Yet Cram stresses that short and flat-out efforts can benefit even longer distance runners like me. Of course most of us know that interval training (sessions with reps at faster paces interspersed with easy efforts) are a vital part of getting faster when you run. But as Cram points out, many endurance athletes often neglect really hard efforts of 100m and 200m as they tend to focus on volume over pace – and that can be a mistake.

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Is TfL’s new cycling plan revolutionary or a waste of time?

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

A data map of 25 London cycling corridors could be crucial for future superhighways, but critics say it’s a distraction from getting the job done

Mike Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, once said “in God we trust; everyone else bring data”. London has moved towards the mantra of one man who transformed a city for cycling by using a major data analysis to show where cycling routes could be built to get the greatest number of people on to two wheels.

Transport for London (TfL) has taken census data, cycle counts, surveys and data from the city’s hire bikes to identify future urban development and growth hotspots and collision data. They have created a map of 25 corridors across London, along which the greatest number of cycling trips could be generated.

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How do we build an inclusive culture for disabled cyclists?

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

A new survey confirms the use of bicycles as mobility aids and the frustration felt when disabled cyclists are told to dismount

Last week, my charity Wheels for Wellbeing published the results of a national survey of disabled cyclists which is, to our knowledge, the first of its kind. The results largely confirmed our suspicions, including that disabled cyclists – though part of our cycling culture – remain excluded from it in a number of ways.

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How was your weekend running?

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

Too hot for racing for me, but plenty of others out there proving me wrong .. as always, share your running heroics and bemoan those nasty niggles below the line

Well, that was a bit warm, no? While many of you in warmer climes are used to such things, temperatures of over 30 celsius (87 Farenheit, for any Americans) in London are not a frequent occurence. Last time I ran a race in anything like that heat, I was in Barbados, and jumped pretty much straight from the finish line into the sea.

Having jogged a whole two miles, mostly downhill, to the start of yesterday’s Ranelagh Harriers Richmond 10km and still been more sweaty than if I’d done it in a sauna, I made the call that it was not a day for racing. Not that I’m on ‘racing form’ at the moment anyway, but in that heat it just felt like lunacy. Instead I decided to run it as a tempo effort. Judging by how many people I overtook on the second half (running at dead even effort) it was a sensible decision. Then again, the heat didn’t stop our own BTL regular David from nipping in under 36 minutes. Mega kudos and a bucket of ice for that man.

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Can you guess the city from its bike lane maps?

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

The web and app company Bike Citizens has trawled its database of cycle infrastructure to create these ‘naked’ cycle maps. Blue lines = protected bike lanes; grey lines = painted lanes. Can you identify the cities?

All images by Bike Citizens

Venice

Amsterdam

Birmingham

Barcelona

Lisbon

Chicago

Rome

London

Mexico City

Berlin

Rotterdam

Vienna

Boston

Miami

Chicago

Copenhagen

Edinburgh

Toronto

Oslo

Los Angeles

Cardiff

New York

York

Yokohama

Brussels

Manchester

Paris

Portland

Vancouver

Sao Paulo

San Francisco

St Petersburg

St Albans

Sydney

Florence

Basel

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What all urban planners should be asked: would you let your child cycle here?

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

For generations, Danish urban planners have made it a priority for children to be able to ride to school alone. The result is not just more social, cheerful, healthy children – but more social, cheerful, healthy adults

“I love to cycle. I’ve got no clue why,” says Emilie, a six-year-old Danish girl. She is with her friend Vilja, who’s the same age. “When I cycle, I can go to new places faster,” she says in a recent Danish campaign for cycling.

Even though it’s almost half a century ago, I would have said exactly the same at that age. When I was a child, my bicycle gave me freedom to move around with speed, ease and lightness. It gave me the feeling of being independent from my parents, as I did not need to ask them to drive me to my friends’ place or to school. I could just jump on my bike, and off I went. My childhood wasn’t very different from that of most other Danish kids.

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Obese women more likely to have babies with serious birth defects, says study

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

Increased risk of health problems including heart defects, digestive anomalies and malformations of genitals or limbs revealed by major study

Women who are obese when they conceive are more likely to have a baby with serious birth defects, a major study has found.

The research revealed a sliding scale of risk for health problems including congenital heart defects, anomalies of the digestive system and malformations of genital organs or limbs.

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