Tuesday, June 28, 2011

David Millar Laps Richmond Park

Cycling Weekly reports that David Millar set an unofficial time trial record for a circuit of Richmond Park, clocking 13 minutes and 35 seconds around the 6.7 mile circuit, which averages just shy of 30MPH. It's a little better than my personal best which is a sedate 21 minutes, but I have a couple of years on Mr Millar, my bike has a couple of kilos on his, I've never taken any performance-enhancing drugs (other than a couple of strong espressi and some Night Nurse), and I don't try too hard down the hills. I think that accounts for the seven-minute difference.

You may be aware that, like other parks, Richmond Park is intended for leisure pursuits. Rather than salute this sporting achievement, the killjoys at the Parks authorities, it seems, have got the BBC to take down the video of this, as Millar exceeded the 20MPH speed limit. In a recent Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson drove from dusk to dawn to cross the width of Britain, from Land's End to Lowestoft ("Car vs God"). It wasn't clear if he had to break any speed limits to do so, but he certainly had to put in a very long shift at the wheel. The Highway Code has a couple of things to say about this:

"avoid undertaking long journeys between midnight and 6 am, when natural alertness is at a minimum"
"plan your journey to take sufficient breaks. A minimum break of at least 15 minutes after every two hours of driving is recommended"

Now it could be argued that Top Gear is an entertainment show and the whole thing was fictionalized. But that is certainly not clear from the programme. So why is it OK for Top Gear to conduct an apparent motorised time trial on public roads, in breach of the Highway Code, but not for the BBC to film a cyclist doing the same thing?

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