Saboteurs attack Wiggle New Forest Sportive (again)

Nails on road cause punctures for over 20 riders in third attack on New Forest sportive

by John Stevenson   April 14, 2014  

New Forest rider and pony (CC licensed by iNew Forest:Flickr)

Saturday’s Wiggle New Forest Sportive was marred by sabotage as more than 20 riders sustained punctures after protesters scattered nails on the road in the New Forest village of Bransgore.

This incident was the third time saboteurs have attempted to disrupt sportives in the New Forest. In October the Wiggle New Forest 100 was targeted and last April the Wiggle New Forest Sportive also suffered a tack attack. 

Fortunately there were no casualties in Saturday's incident. Organiser Martin Barden and local MP Julian Lewis both slammed the attack on the event.

The Daily Echo’s Michael Carr reports that Julian Lewis said top level talks were going on with Government ministers and national park chiefs to resolve tensions between residents and cyclists.

Lewis said: “It does not help anyone when people, however frustrated they feel, do something that could lead to a nasty accident or at the very least a nasty confrontation.

“I'm hoping that the cause of the provocation will sooner rather than later be sorted out but taking the law into one's own hands is not the way forward.

“Doing something illegal and dangerous is never the right thing to do.”

He added: “This whole issue is absolutely being focused on by local elected representatives' right up to Government ministers. I would appeal to the community to disassociate themselves from these actions.”

Sportives in the New Forest have been plagued by controversy as a small but vocal group of locals have campaigned vociferously against them.

Last week, posters appeared in villages along the route, condemning the event as "an abuse of our tranquil locality" and warning it "could put members of the public at risk" the event.

But one long-time opponent of the rides, New Forest Equestrian Association chairman Tony Hockley, decided to take part to see for himself what effect the riders had on livestock.

He said he had seen a herd of cattle “spooked” by riders, but said that on the whole cyclists behaved well.

He said: “There are a few cyclists who had that 'hell for leather' mentality - but that was a minority.”

“I did see some cyclists overtake on blind bends and narrow lanes, one even overtook me on a right hand turn on the wrong side of the road.

“Most of the riders rode in single file, and nearly all of them behaved very well.”

Martin Barden, director of event organiser UK Cycling Events said: “The New Forest Spring Sportive was a great success, with the participants enjoying wonderful weather conditions. The new route, event headquarters and additional marshals worked extremely well. The majority of locals residents where extremely supportive of the event, and the riders really appreciated them clapping and cheering them on as they completed the course.

“It was surprising and disappointing to see a handful of anti-cycling campaigners trying to disrupt the event again this year by throwing tacks onto the road on several occasions. Our support teams however, cleared these away before they could harm the riders, local drivers and new forest animals.

“It was great to see so many families taking part and riders cycling to raise vital funds for our national charity partner Prostate Cancer UK. We are also delighted to have donated £3,000 to the amazing local New Forest charity Oak Haven Hospice.

“We will as always continue to work with the local residents and authorities to refine the way our event operates in the future to ensure minimal disruption is caused.”

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I love how people live in an area think they own that area.

posted by stupegg [2 posts]
14th April 2014 - 15:10

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Did the Dorset Coastlet Audax on the Sunday, to avoid the Wiggle Ride; Dorset a much friendlier place to ride, even had cars giving way to let us across major roads. More hills too!

New Forester

posted by Forester [86 posts]
14th April 2014 - 15:18

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stupegg wrote:
I love how people live in an area think they own that area.

It's kind of a natural reaction, isn't it? Even people in big cities tend towards that way of thinking. And it's not always a bad thing - 'taking ownership' of the environment around us often means taking better care of it and can result in a nicer environment for everyone. For the most part, people don't get carried away with it, and recognize that public rights of way exist, particularly in a national park, and that everyone has to share the space. The problem in the New Forest seems to be that a small bunch of very vocal individuals have taken it upon themselves to decide who gets to do what in public spaces. Perhaps they would prefer to lose the national park status, and have the whole thing sold off for luxury flats and retail developments? Just a thought...

Good on Tony Hockley for getting in and seeing what it is really like though. Maybe he can help to calm the local disquiet and push for a bit more balance all round!

posted by step-hent [671 posts]
14th April 2014 - 15:27

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stupegg wrote:
I love how people live in an area think they own that area.

Well there's nothing wrong in taking pride and a feeling of stewardship in your area, seeing as you spend most of your time there. Go somewhere that doesn't happen and decide if you think it makes for a pleasant environment.

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posted by joemmo [790 posts]
14th April 2014 - 15:29

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The photo attached to this story is of me! I rode this event a few years ago and remember being very respectful of the animals I encountered due their unpredictable nature. It is unfortunate that someone thought it necessary to sabotage what is a great event and a shame those responsible don't seem to speak up and have some sort of dialogue with the organisers to see if any compromises can be made to stop nail scattering ruining an otherwise enjoyable event?

R J Summers

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posted by Rob 105 rider [9 posts]
14th April 2014 - 16:39

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Why for fecks sake are they dragging Ministers into the row.

It's simple.
Bikes are non polluting
Bikes are healthy
Bikes don't use all the bloody space.
Bikes don't kill the wild animals.
Bikes are legally using the roads.

Tell the idiots and dinosaurs to STFU.

Stupid stupid people

posted by gazza_d [195 posts]
14th April 2014 - 18:20

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Mental!

I've never had a collision with a horse or other form of livestock. However, it is my considered opinion that it would hurt me quite a lot. Therefore, as a general rule, I tend to avoid such scenarios. Anyone else? Just me then!

Also, on the few occasions that I have been down to the New Forest, it seems to be a lovely place, spoiled only by the sheer volume of cars, caravans, campers and the like. I'm not being judgemental - I was one of the cars! Just saying....

posted by Jimbonic [107 posts]
14th April 2014 - 18:45

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Jimbonic wrote:
Mental!

I've never had a collision with a horse or other form of livestock. However, it is my considered opinion that it would hurt me quite a lot. Therefore, as a general rule, I tend to avoid such scenarios. Anyone else? Just me then!

Also, on the few occasions that I have been down to the New Forest, it seems to be a lovely place, spoiled only by the sheer volume of cars, caravans, campers and the like. I'm not being judgemental - I was one of the cars! Just saying....

Last time the missus and I ventured down to that neck of the woods (I crack myself up...), it was lovely. Spoiled, of course, by the cacophony of the internal combustion engine.

I wrote to the New Forest .. whatever they're called. The folk who administer it. I asked why cars weren't banned, because quite obviously, they were not obeying the speed limit, they were not obeying the most basic rules of courtesy, and they were a menace to people and animals alike.

*tumbleweed*

Oh, wait... cars bring people.. people spend money... residents get that money.

*slaps forehead*

Silly me.

'It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning' (Henry Ford)

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posted by cyclingDMlondon [211 posts]
14th April 2014 - 19:12

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nm

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [657 posts]
14th April 2014 - 19:54

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Rob 105 rider wrote:
The photo attached to this story is of me! I rode this event a few years ago and remember being very respectful of the animals I encountered due their unpredictable nature. It is unfortunate that someone thought it necessary to sabotage what is a great event and a shame those responsible don't seem to speak up and have some sort of dialogue with the organisers to see if any compromises can be made to stop nail scattering ruining an otherwise enjoyable event?

You're the one on the ... left?

posted by SteppenHerring [177 posts]
14th April 2014 - 20:02

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If I were to sprinkle magnetic ball bearings in the path of an equestrian event I would expect to feel the full force of the law upon me. Tacks on a sportive route and no-one bats an eyelid.

posted by drfabulous0 [292 posts]
14th April 2014 - 20:44

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Did the Rapha Hell of North (London) event on Sunday, lots of proximity with walkers and cyclists.

You'll have to check with the organisers, but it seemed to me that there were no problems with c.400 cyclists, often off-road.

posted by ChairRDRF [118 posts]
14th April 2014 - 22:20

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parksey wrote:
Dozens of these events, whether Wiggle/UKCE-organised or otherwise, take place up and down the country every weekend without hitch, so why is it only the New Forest ones that seem to have this vociferous oppositon and the resulting problems?

Genuinely interested to (try and) understand this...

There was also similar "tacks on the road" incidents at the Etape Caledonia in Pitlochry a few years ago. No matter where a sportive is held there will be someone who ain't gonna be happy!!

posted by BigYell [4 posts]
14th April 2014 - 22:39

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Please see attached a copy of my e-mail to Wiggle who enquired as to how my ride had gone:-

Exceptionally well organised Wiggle ride in the New Forest today, sadly spoilt by the actions of some so called "protestors". They chose to deliberately place drawing pins in the road to stop the cyclists ruining the peace and quiet in their villages. Having two punctures at the same time is a pain in the arse, nothing more than that, although it could have been highly dangerous for me if one of those tyres had blown. Their stupidity is beyond belief as those same drawing pins could have gone into the feet of the wildlife that make their precious villages beautiful and so tranquil. The moronic protestors do not deserve to live in such a stunning setting and need to go and get a life!!!

Appreciate that this kind of thing is beyond your control, but my Epic training ride had to become a Standard ride, due to loss of momentum and getting cold again after about 30 -40 mins into my ride and then having to get to the feed station on low pressure tyres. There actions are so dangerous and whilst they lead to only inconvenience for me and having to buy two new inner tubes at the feed station, it could have been so much worse. I hope it made one sad protestors day.

Can't really add anymore to that

Cheers

Eric

posted by Ericviv101 [1 posts]
14th April 2014 - 22:57

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ChairRDRF wrote:
Did the Rapha Hell of North (London) event on Sunday, lots of proximity with walkers and cyclists.

You'll have to check with the organisers, but it seemed to me that there were no problems with c.400 cyclists, often off-road.


+1 to this. I did the same event, at one point there was a traffic jam of about 6-8 of us up a bridleway behind two horses being ridden two abreast, there was no honking of horns, no rude gesticulation and no swearing, just a polite "excuse me please". One of the riders explained that they were riding 2 abreast for safety, as one horse was nervous and would kick if passed on the narrow path, so we patiently waited for them to go single file on a wider part of the track and passed them slowly with "thank you"s and "have a nice morning"s in both directions.

Saw quite a few horses on the ride and every time riders slowed in plenty of time, rode single-file and gave them plenty of room.

posted by jamesv [6 posts]
15th April 2014 - 6:48

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I have to agree. The locals I came across were pleasant and polite.

There was a little needless honking from a couple of cars but who's to say they were locals?

It seems the whole problem is caused by a very few small minded residents.

I had a great day and I'll be doing next year for sure!

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posted by chrisp1973 [57 posts]
15th April 2014 - 7:08

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From the areas local paper, it seems the Police are making enquiries - http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/11148681.Police_hunt_for_saboteurs...

Of course that's very unlikely to catch anyone, but they're at least sending the right message.

posted by bikebot [486 posts]
15th April 2014 - 9:29

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cyclingDMlondon wrote:

*tumbleweed*

Oh, wait... cars bring people.. people spend money... residents get that money.

*slaps forehead*

Silly me.

IF the new forest residents, some of them I should say, could ban outsiders they would. That they are generally incomers goes over their heads!

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posted by mrmo [1064 posts]
15th April 2014 - 10:50

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I'm sure I've had things to say about Tony Hockley in the past, but fair play to him for going to the trouble of actually taking part and giving an objective assessment Applause

posted by David Portland [88 posts]
15th April 2014 - 10:53

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BigYell wrote:
There was also similar "tacks on the road" incidents at the Etape Caledonia in Pitlochry a few years ago. No matter where a sportive is held there will be someone who ain't gonna be happy!!

Didn't the same thing happen on the Welsh one last year, too? Tacks on the road, and signs being moved/removed.

posted by brooksby [88 posts]
15th April 2014 - 10:54

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brooksby wrote:
BigYell wrote:
There was also similar "tacks on the road" incidents at the Etape Caledonia in Pitlochry a few years ago. No matter where a sportive is held there will be someone who ain't gonna be happy!!

Didn't the same thing happen on the Welsh one last year, too? Tacks on the road, and signs being moved/removed.

Yep. I rode that one too and luckily my tyre blew out as I crossed the finish line.

You'd think that people in a remote and economically-deprived corner of the country would welcome some out of season visitors, and for the most part, you'd be right!

But it only takes one idiot to drop nails on the road, and it makes all teh locals look unwelcoming.

posted by MrGear [85 posts]
15th April 2014 - 12:15

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There's a little bit of me sort of wishes (though I applaud him for having taken part) that Tony Hockley had been one of those who punctured. Having him be personally angry at the saboteurs would have been interesting!

posted by Al__S [520 posts]
15th April 2014 - 14:59

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"taking the law into one's own hands" is a really stupid thing for that policeman to say. What law are these tack-spreaders taking into their own hands? What illegal or anti-social behavior are they attempting to thwart or punish?

We know what riles these people. They are reasonably happy with cycling so long as it knows it's place, as a quaint anachronism of old maids bicycling to church or a transport of last resort for the urban poor, plus johnny foreigner with his third-rate 'bicycling monarchy'. Apart from a blip in the 70s, the British Anti-Cycling League could be quietly confident that cycling would eventually die out in this country (helped on its way by the British motorist) and there was no risk at all that a right-thinking Briton might be expected to ride a bike for any other purpose than a 'gruelling' stunt for charity.

But that's all changed. Cycling has won all the arguments and is now universally acknowledged as a good thing: good for the person doing it, good for society in general, good for the environment. Even in this bike-forsaken country cycling is becoming recognised as something we should all be doing. These people are confused and affronted by that suggestion, it challenges not only their comfortable laziness but their lifelong perception of the natural order. The Wiggle sportive in Bransgore is like a civil rights march in 1960s Alabama. But these people are British, so they only throw tacks.

Crankwinder

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posted by Crankwinder [17 posts]
16th April 2014 - 10:54

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Crankwinder wrote:
"taking the law into one's own hands" is a really stupid thing for that policeman to say..........

To be correct, it wasn't a copper but the local MP, and it's the stupid sort of thing they say when they have no idea what they're talking about, which is most of the time.

Did Nightrider 2013 for Parkinson's UK, doing it again this year just for the fun of it and to raise more money.

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posted by jova54 [604 posts]
16th April 2014 - 12:05

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Is there a pub in the New Forest called The Slaughtered Lamb?

Wink

I'm a bit of an old skool kinda chap, so I'll stick with the Old Forest instead.

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
16th April 2014 - 12:54

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Crankwinder wrote:
"taking the law into one's own hands" is a really stupid thing for that policeman to say. What law are these tack-spreaders taking into their own hands? What illegal or anti-social behavior are they attempting to thwart or punish?

I thought exactly the same thing when I read it.

Another one that gets my goat is when a copper beats the shit out of someone, and he is said to have 'abused his power'.

How can one 'abuse' a 'power' that one does not have?

'It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning' (Henry Ford)

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posted by cyclingDMlondon [211 posts]
16th April 2014 - 13:04

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"taking the law into your own hands" means administering justice as you see fit. it almost exclusively means a disregard for the *actual* law. so it's entirely appropriate.

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7311 posts]
16th April 2014 - 13:53

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Dave Atkinson wrote:
"taking the law into your own hands" means administering justice as you see fit. it almost exclusively means a disregard for the *actual* law. so it's entirely appropriate.

This can be confusing. I would tend to disagree. I think 'taking the law into your own hands' refers to those occasions when a person is breaking the *actual* law, but there 's no officer around, or they are unwilling to act, and people take action to 'right a wrong'. Take for example, making a citizen's arrest. 'Taking the law into your own hands' is, in that sense, people adminstering justice as they see fit, but only because the officers on hand are unwilling to intercede or simply not present. Instead of 'taking the law into their own hands' I think I would use a different term. 'Vigilante justice' doesn't quite capture it for me either... On the other hand, a mob beating a uspected child rapist might be seen as 'taking the law into their own hands' and you might be right because in beating him up, they are committing a crime themselves... I just think it refers to people taking action that seems right to those involved, doing what the aauthorities 'should' do, and in this sense, I don't think it relates well with the actions described above...

posted by benji p [53 posts]
16th April 2014 - 14:15

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benji p wrote:
Dave Atkinson wrote:
"taking the law into your own hands" means administering justice as you see fit. it almost exclusively means a disregard for the *actual* law. so it's entirely appropriate.

This can be confusing. I would tend to disagree. I think 'taking the law into your own hands' refers to those occasions when a person is breaking the *actual* law, but there 's no officer around, or they are unwilling to act, and people take action to 'right a wrong'. Take for example, making a citizen's arrest. 'Taking the law into your own hands' is, in that sense, people adminstering justice as they see fit, but only because the officers on hand are unwilling to intercede or simply not present. Instead of 'taking the law into their own hands' I think I would use a different term. 'Vigilante justice' doesn't quite capture it for me either... On the other hand, a mob beating a uspected child rapist might be seen as 'taking the law into their own hands' and you might be right because in beating him up, they are committing a crime themselves... I just think it refers to people taking action that seems right to those involved, doing what the aauthorities 'should' do, and in this sense, I don't think it relates well with the actions described above...

The police do not 'administer justice'. That is the job of the courts.

The 'citizen's arrest' or 'any person arrest' as it's properly called, serves only to hold the person until a constable can assume custody.

'It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning' (Henry Ford)

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posted by cyclingDMlondon [211 posts]
16th April 2014 - 15:00

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I wonder how many lame animals there are wondering around the New Forest with tacks in their hooves as a result of this mind-bendingly stupid activity? The idiots who carry out this sort of activity just don't think of the ramifications of their actions whether that's a cyclist on the deck or a horse in pain. Stupid stupid stupid.

Sam

posted by zagatosam [26 posts]
20th April 2014 - 19:31

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