An unashamedly partisan look at some of the highlights across the cycling world in 2010 – in no particular (or chronological) order…
1. A new Danny MacAskill video is always something to get excited about – even for those who usually don’t give cycling a second thought. While Way Back Home doesn’t yet have the 17 billion (or something like that) hits of his breakthrough Inspired Bicycles clip, it showcases even more impressive developments in his riding.
2. Alberto Contador completed a hat-trick of Tour de France titles. The close-fought victory over Andy Schleck came despite Contador failing to notch up a stage win – though he is now one of only nine riders to take three or more overall Tour wins. However, Contador later admitted that he had tested positive for banned substance clenbuterol during this year’s Tour, blaming a contaminated steak. A ruling is now expected in mid-January.
3. Manxman Mark Cavendish wins an impressive five Tour de France stages – mostly due to his incredible sprinting performances. These brought the ‘fastest man on two wheels’ within a sniff of the Tour’s green jersey, and contributed to him being nominated for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award.
4. The Barclays Cycle Hire scheme kicks off in London in the summer. Known affectionately as Boris Bikes, the machines have quickly become a feature of the capital and are apparently something of a success – according to the cycling mayor himself.
5. In September, English downhiller Tracy Moseley won the UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Championships. Thirty-one-year-old Tracy took her first world champs title at the course at Mont Sainte Anne in Canada while riding for Trek World Racing – a goal she had been looking to achieve since racing as a junior in 1995.
6. Shanaze Reade became BMX world champion for the third time in July, after a victory at Pietermaritzburg in South Africa. The Cheshire-born BMX bullet – who is still only 22 – is also a track cycling world champ, having won a team sprint gold with Victoria Pendleton in 2007. (Image by owenbushell, re-published under a CC licence)
7. The UK’s cycling market is booming, according to the in-depth Project Velo report by Allegra Strategies. As reported by bikeradar.com, the UK market is now worth some £2.15 billion – having grown rapidly over the last couple of years. Evans Cycles even gets a mention as the fastest growing high street bike retailer.
8. Ride It! guest blogger Vin Cox was celebrating earlier this year after Guinness World Records recognised the enormous achievement of setting a new pace for cycling around the world. Vin made it back to the UK after his 18,000 mile+ journey on 1 August – some 163 days after setting out.
9. 2010 felt like a year when cycling took another big step centre-stage. This was evident in the rise of the MAMIL (middle-aged man in lycra). With some suggesting that a racing bike and some nattily tight kit has replaced the sports car as the vehicle of choice for those embarking on a mid-life crisis, it’s got to be a good thing. Right? Guest blogger Rob Spedding, editor of Cycling Plus magazine explained why it was far from a crisis…
10. We said this list was in no particular order, but sneaking in at number ten, as a slightly cheeky addition, June saw the launch of the Ride It! Blog…