Etape Cymru route to change after locals object to lack of access to villages

Saboteurs who scattered tacks on route of 2013 event never caught

by John Stevenson   March 24, 2014  

FM_Image_Etape_Cymru_2013_Event_1

The route of this year’s edition of the Wiggle Etape Cymru sportive is to be changed following concerns raised by local people. Tacks were scattered on the route of last year’s event in an attempt to sabotage the closed-road event.

According to the Daily Post’s Gary Porter objectors claimed the event’s road closures last year left them stranded in their homes.

Last year, police described the tack-scattering incident as “Very disappointing.” As well as several riders suffering punctures, a safety motorcycle marshal had to stop.

Nick Rusling, CEO of event organisers Human Race, said the attack could have caused riders serious injury. “It’s not a sensible way of showing dissatisfaction towards the event,” he said.

A police investigation was launched, but the saboteurs were never found.

After talks between event organisers Human Race, residents and local councils, members of Denbighshire’s cabinet will meet on Tuesday to consider changes to the route for this year’s event on September 14 .

The changes will focus on providing ways for residents of the villages of Llandegla, Bryneglwys and Graigfechan to get in and out.

The 100-mile ride starts and finishes in Bangor-on-Dee and goes up the Horseshoe Pass, along the lower slopes of the Clwydian Hills and back down the Dee Valley.

The organisers have promised to notify all those likely to be affected and to appoint a part-time local engagement officer to promote the event and liaise with the communities.

Aside from the sabotage attempt, last year’s Etape Cymru was well-received. Human Race said the event attracted 1,700 riders and resulted in a total of about £500,000 being spent in the area.

12 user comments

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Have no strong opinion about what is really a 'sporting' story rather than a cycling one, but can't help but observe that motorists and their high speeds, plus a lack of provision for anyone else, means many country roads are 'closed' to anyone not in a car, pretty much all of the time.

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [664 posts]
24th March 2014 - 15:29

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I live and cycle in the area and most weekends in the summer the roads are mad busy with cars and motorbikes so the thought of no traffic I feel is a bonus.
Using the excuse they couldn't get out of their homes is bullshit, being inconvenienced one day a year and knowing months in advance is no big deal and anything you needed to do I am sure can be done either side of the event. Most of the yokals have never been out of their villages for years anyway. Maybe they are scared of the outsiders!!! ( Which is quite common in North Wales)

Chadders x

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posted by chadders [73 posts]
24th March 2014 - 19:28

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I think more effort should be put into encouraging local people to participate and understand why cycling is such a great sport and social activity. Perhaps making opportunities so locals can raise money for local charities and schools. Working with the tourist board to promote how much the increase of visitors to the area helps local businesses and boost the local economy as well as showing locals how to take advantage of this opportunity.

posted by CycleTeej [2 posts]
24th March 2014 - 20:10

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Llandegla has a mountain biking centre that's heaving all year round and cycling clubs come from miles away to ride the horse shoe pass so no need to encourage cycling locally. The problem is the New Forest syndrome tourists are welcome but only if they don't cause an inconvenience, like I said I live in the area.

Chadders x

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posted by chadders [73 posts]
24th March 2014 - 20:31

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On a positive note, as someone who lives about 5miles from the route, apart from the tacks my experience riding last year was of great support by locals. Lots of clapping and the odd saucepan...ide highly recommend it!

posted by 02curtisb [59 posts]
24th March 2014 - 21:39

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"Stranded in their homes."

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posted by nowasps [246 posts]
24th March 2014 - 22:59

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Quote:
Most of the yokals have never been out of their villages for years anyway. Maybe they are scared of the outsiders!!! ( Which is quite common in North Wales)

Until you said this, your post was quite sensible. As a local yokal (sic), I find this statement quite offensive and indicative of an attitude that can only have a negative impact (An attitude which is quite common in The Ignorant).
Signed up and looking forward to riding local (closed) roads.

Not being party to the discussions with the locals, surely better communication and planning is order of the day. I've lived in areas (outside North wales) where cycle races were common sights and rolling road blocks minimised disruption to the local populace.

KalaBlinds 'cos we all need our beauty sleep.

posted by don simon [144 posts]
25th March 2014 - 8:05

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I'm also a local, albeit ex (now living in England) and the route is on the roads I rode throughout the first half of my life. Any closed road event is going to have a knock on effect for locals and the telling them their excluded from the event, stay indoors or Buggar off somewhere else for the weekend won't help. It's getting them involved in it in a party atmosphere kind of way. It looks like Etape Cymru manages that to an extent. It needs to continue and develop in that manner to succeed year on year, else end up in the state the New Forest sportives seem to be in.

posted by bikerdavecycling [71 posts]
25th March 2014 - 8:59

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I think the smartest move over the next three years, would be to release a generous number of low-cost/free tickets to people living on the route in recognition of the inconvenience. Incentivise local participants who in turn will encourage local support. Also, saboteurs will attract less support if they're risking the lives and effort of the neighbours.
I'm also an ex-local, BTW!

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posted by dafyddp [147 posts]
25th March 2014 - 9:32

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I'm local too (this thread is beginning to sound like an episode of the League of Gentlemen), and have ridden the event for the past two years.

I work at the local hospital, and quite a lot of colleagues at work were actually affected by the road closures. While they all supported the event, many told me that they had received no formal notification of the closure and if I hadn't told them of the event the first they would have known was when they woke up on Sunday morning (perhaps to go into work) to find a traffic cone (with a note attached) in the middle of their drive.

One thing that struck me was that most of the route was a loop, so local residents were generally only inconvenienced for part of the day. Granted, those living further round do endure a longer road closure as the field inevitably starts out quite compact but then strings out as the route wears on and the slower riders take much longer to get round. However, the first / last 15 miles or so were an out-and-back section meaning that those residents really were inconvenienced all day. I think things could have been significantly improved for those people by using one route out of Bangor-on-Dee and another route back to Bangor-on-Dee.

I did suggest this to the organisers shortly after last year's event.

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posted by Gasman Jim [51 posts]
25th March 2014 - 11:26

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Just looking at the price of the kit and bikes these days it's not surprising that there is resentment . It's become a willy waving contest for the fairly well off second homes brigade and it's alienating the rural public, especially in some rural areas where people still live and work. I am not defending bad behavior but you do have to try and understand it.

posted by MKultra [212 posts]
25th March 2014 - 16:38

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don simon wrote:
Quote:
Most of the yokals have never been out of their villages for years anyway. Maybe they are scared of the outsiders!!! ( Which is quite common in North Wales)

Until you said this, your post was quite sensible. As a local yokal (sic), I find this statement quite offensive and indicative of an attitude that can only have a negative impact (An attitude which is quite common in The Ignorant).
Oh you poor sensitive soul, meant tongue in cheek! I am also a local and you know what the attitude of some villagers is to anything that causes even the slightest inconvienience.
My statement could cause a negative impact and makes me ignorant as opposed to what a being yokel!! (A joke a joke!!!)

Chadders x

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posted by chadders [73 posts]
25th March 2014 - 20:16

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