“Cycling madness” – Highland road safety campaigners warn of chaos due to event clash

Concerns expressed over next month’s Deloitte Ride Across Britain route taking in A82

by Simon_MacMichael   August 30, 2014  

Deloitte Ride Across Britain 2014

Residents and businesses in the Scottish Highlands have expressed concerns over potential disruption to traffic on the A82 as a result of two cycling events taking place in the area next month – one of them the Deloitte Ride Across Britain – with a road safety campaigner describing the clash as “cycling madness.”

Some 800 riders will take part in what is the fifth edition of the Deloitte Ride Across Britain, a nine day fully supported ride that the length of Great Britain that this year runs from Land’s End to John O’Groats and which will follow the A82 Glasgow to Inverness road, passing through there on Friday 12 and Saturday 13 September.

According to the Aberdeen Press & Journal, the same weekend will also see more than 260 cyclists heading along the road in the opposite direction as they take part in the Rat Race Coast to Coast event from Nairn to Ballachullish.

The A82 heads northeast after Fort William and follows the northern shore of Loch Ness as it heads towards the Highland capital, passing through Drumnadrochit on its way – home to the Glenurquhart shinty team.

The side will be playing a cup final in Inverness against Kingussie on the Saturday with 3,000 fans expected to attend, which critics of the clash between the two cycling events say may add to the potential traffic chaos and affect the safety of riders and other road users.

Brian Murphy, chairman of road safety campaign group the A82 Partnership, said: “The A82 struggles to cope with the existing levels of traffic, including cyclists, at the moment, and I fear for the safety of both the cyclists and other road users.

“People get frustrated when they get caught behind large numbers of cyclists and start to take risks by trying to overtake in all sorts of daft places.

“This is cycling madness,” he went on.

“We have spoken on a number of occasions to Deloitte and to the organisers, Threshold Sports, but they are not interested in mitigating the negative impact this event will have on the economy of the west Highlands or the impact on normal traffic.”

He added: “Just to add to the fun, Glenurquhart play Kingussie in the Camanachd Cup Final at Bught Park in Inverness – an event which will draw a crowd of at least 3,000, predominantly from around Loch Ness and Badenoch.”

The latter lies on the A9 which runs south from Inverness towards Perth and passes through Kingussie, the most successful team in the history of shinty and, indeed, any sport, acording to Guinness World Records - and it's likely that most of the fans heading to the final would be coming from there and not using the A82 at all.

Lesley Benfield, chief executive of the Lochaber Chamber of Commerce, said that sporting and charity events gave a boost to local businesses.

“However,” she continued, “they also need to be carefully planned and their potential disruption to the local community carefully considered.

“In these cases, local people and businesses are very concerned at the severe impact on travel when the roads are already busy with visitors, with the potential not only for serious delays but also road safety issues.”

Nick Tuppen, commercial director at Deloitte Ride Across Britain organisers Threshold Sports – co-founded by Olympic champion rower turned adventurer James Cracknell – said: “We are working with the key local authorities to minimise disruption as much as possible and will continue to do so until the event has passed through the area.”

Meanwhile, the Coast to Coast event, which involves running, cycling and kayaking, is billed as a two-day challenge but offers participants the opportunity to attempt it in one day.

A spokesman for the organisers of the Rat Race Coast to Coast event, which includes running, cycling and kayaking, commented: “Our route design and consultation with authorities and stakeholders has ensured a route that interacts very little with the A82.

“We have deliberately kept the route off busy sections of the A82 such as Fort William-Ballachulish, Fort William-Fort Augustus and Fort Augustus-Inverness.”

Earlier this year, there were partial of full road closures along the A82 when it formed part of the route of the inaugural edition of the Etape Loch Ness, which took in a loop encompassing what is Great Britain’s deepest body of inland water and one of the country’s most spectacular locations.

27 user comments

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The grand total of people moving for these events does not add up to 10% of the City's commuter traffic, and given that they are not all going to arrive across 1 hour, this is a storm in a quaich!

Also, Inverness drivers seem to cope with 9,100 runners for the Loch Ness Marathon running events without a massive problem.

posted by Trull [62 posts]
30th August 2014 - 14:50

8 Likes

Desperately have the urge to make a correction. Loch Morar is the deepest loch in the GB. Loch Ness does though have the greatest volume!! Pedant urge now over.

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posted by giff77 [1056 posts]
30th August 2014 - 15:15

5 Likes

I'm amazed that 800 cyclists are prepared to stump up £1600 for a "fully supported package" to ride LEJOG. I'd have thought that planning your own route, accommodation, etc was half the fun of doing it. Trundling along in a massive peloton, with support wagons fore and aft, doesn't sound terribly adventurous to me. Cycling is about freedom and self-sufficiency surely?

posted by Joeinpoole [262 posts]
30th August 2014 - 15:35

4 Likes

Joeinpoole wrote:
I'm amazed that 800 cyclists are prepared to stump up £1600 for a "fully supported package" to ride LEJOG. I'd have thought that planning your own route, accommodation, etc was half the fun of doing it. Trundling along in a massive peloton, with support wagons fore and aft, doesn't sound terribly adventurous to me. Cycling is about freedom and self-sufficiency surely?

I'd imagine for a sort of corporate sponsorship gig like this you'd be getting a pretty specific subset of cyclists taking part.

posted by Chuck [383 posts]
30th August 2014 - 15:40

5 Likes

This is nowt to do with nowt but does anyone know the location of the photograph that accompanies this story?
It looks heavenly

posted by Some Fella [766 posts]
30th August 2014 - 15:46

1 Like

“People get frustrated when they get caught behind large numbers of cyclists and start to take risks by trying to overtake in all sorts of daft places.

“This is cycling madness,” he went on."

So in other words, twats in cars will try and kill somebody, so cyclist to say off the roads.

How about dealing with the dangerous drivers, that's an idea isn't it.

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posted by Housecathst [59 posts]
30th August 2014 - 16:01

15 Likes

Joeinpoole wrote:
I'm amazed that 800 cyclists are prepared to stump up £1600 for a "fully supported package" to ride LEJOG. I'd have thought that planning your own route, accommodation, etc was half the fun of doing it. Trundling along in a massive peloton, with support wagons fore and aft, doesn't sound terribly adventurous to me. Cycling is about freedom and self-sufficiency surely?

Cycling is about whatever you want it to be about surely?

The ride serves a purpose - plenty of people have neither the time, experience, ability* to plan such a trip on their own or they don't have any cycling friends who are up for joining them at a particular time or they can't make the logistics work for them or whatever. So this is a way round that. Not everyone wants to ride it with a tent, making it up as they go; equally, not everyone wants to do it with 800 other riders. But the option exists and that's great.

*delete as applicable

It's not a massive peloton, it's no different to a Sportive. 800 riders set off over about 2-3hrs, riding 100 miles. The route goes up the eastern (not the main road) side of the loch and the Rat Race does the same but travelling south. Meanwhile, all the traffic uses the A82 on the western side of the loch.

This reads like another of those doom-mongering articles with people determined to be upset, very much like New Forest residents who are determined to make sure that they will be as angry as possible.

posted by crazy-legs [519 posts]
30th August 2014 - 16:40

31 Likes

Is Cycling Madness the little known sequel to Reefer Madness?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Azf320JDdqU

posted by farrell [1457 posts]
30th August 2014 - 17:22

3 Likes

"The A 82 partnership" exists to lobby for "upgrading" the A 82. In other words, they are road building pressure group based on the idea that you have to accommodate - and inevitably generate - lots of fast moving motor vehicular traffic.

posted by ChairRDRF [132 posts]
30th August 2014 - 17:40

4 Likes

Perhaps the spokesperson of the A82 Partnership could show us where it is written down that vehicles should have priority over cyclists on the UK's roads Thinking

posted by martib [40 posts]
30th August 2014 - 18:13

5 Likes

farrell wrote:
Is Cycling Madness the little known sequel to Reefer Madness?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Azf320JDdqU


I thought you meant http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oBg3Wf2Vs4

posted by truffy [330 posts]
30th August 2014 - 18:13

21 Likes

Someone needs to tell Brian Murphy that bikes are "normal traffic" and have been around a lot longer than motor vehicles.

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posted by djpalmer32 [55 posts]
30th August 2014 - 19:02

6 Likes

crazy-legs wrote:
Joeinpoole wrote:
I'm amazed that 800 cyclists are prepared to stump up £1600 for a "fully supported package" to ride LEJOG. I'd have thought that planning your own route, accommodation, etc was half the fun of doing it. Trundling along in a massive peloton, with support wagons fore and aft, doesn't sound terribly adventurous to me. Cycling is about freedom and self-sufficiency surely?

Cycling is about whatever you want it to be about surely?

The ride serves a purpose - plenty of people have neither the time, experience, ability* to plan such a trip on their own or they don't have any cycling friends who are up for joining them at a particular time or they can't make the logistics work for them or whatever. So this is a way round that. Not everyone wants to ride it with a tent, making it up as they go; equally, not everyone wants to do it with 800 other riders. But the option exists and that's great.

*delete as applicable

It's not a massive peloton, it's no different to a Sportive. 800 riders set off over about 2-3hrs, riding 100 miles. The route goes up the eastern (not the main road) side of the loch and the Rat Race does the same but travelling south. Meanwhile, all the traffic uses the A82 on the western side of the loch.

This reads like another of those doom-mongering articles with people determined to be upset, very much like New Forest residents who are determined to make sure that they will be as angry as possible.

Except that the residents in that location are few and far between . The roads are relatively remote and nothing like as overpopulated by arrogant 4x4 drivers of the south east.

I agree cycling is about what you want it to be. Personally the whole corporate organisation thing isn't appealing to me. It smacks of self-serving charity rather than true altruism. If I had donated a £1 for every Facebook post of someone. completing their amazing 'life changing' 50k charity ride blah blah blah......

posted by vanmildert [48 posts]
30th August 2014 - 20:13

21 Likes

The A82 is horrible and I would not cycle on it for £1m.

posted by Beaufort [166 posts]
30th August 2014 - 22:22

4 Likes

"It's not a massive peloton, it's no different to a Sportive. 800 riders set off over about 2-3hrs, riding 100 miles. The route goes up the eastern (not the main road) side of the loch and the Rat Race does the same but travelling south. Meanwhile, all the traffic uses the A82 on the western side of the loch." - Crazy Legs.

Are you sure they are using the B- Road (I've ridden it and it is hillier but much much nicer) rathe than the A82? It sounded like they were planning on using the main road from the story.

posted by IHphoto [100 posts]
30th August 2014 - 22:51

26 Likes

IHphoto wrote:
"It's not a massive peloton, it's no different to a Sportive.

I guess you've made my point for me. The idea of doing a mandatory-helmet sportive is horrifying enough ... but doing it for 9 days ... and then paying nearly £2K for the 'privilege', including travel, is my worst nightmare. It's as if imagination (not to mention the internet) had never been invented. I was doing 100-mile per day trips between Youth Hostels, with a mate or two, when I was 15 in the mid-70's. It's not difficult, it is lots of fun and it can easily be done at a tiny fraction of the cost of the £200-per day RAB.

posted by Joeinpoole [262 posts]
30th August 2014 - 23:59

23 Likes

Some Fella wrote:
This is nowt to do with nowt but does anyone know the location of the photograph that accompanies this story?
It looks heavenly

Ironically I think it's on the A82 alternative on the east side of Loch Ness

posted by JohnnyRemo [68 posts]
31st August 2014 - 10:36

9 Likes

Issue is that we have nothing more than a pressure group of angry impatient drivers with a over-developed sense of entitlement being complete cry-babies at the thought of being delayed for a minute or two.

IF the A82 partnership was a serious and mature group, then they would campaign for safe separated cycling infrastructure as part of any upgrade... but they are not.

They are no more than the scottish branch of the Drivers Union/ ABD. Ignore them.

The cyclists have every right to be on the road

posted by gazza_d [215 posts]
31st August 2014 - 12:59

15 Likes

oh wait, is once more joeinpoole going "YOU'RE HAVING FUN THE WRONG WAY!" about people cycling? He's amazingly negative chap it seems. Lighten up fella. There's lot of different ways to have fun riding. Stop being captain negative every time something you don't fancy doing is mentioned.

posted by Al__S [551 posts]
31st August 2014 - 21:26

5 Likes

Joeinpoole wrote:
IHphoto wrote:
"It's not a massive peloton, it's no different to a Sportive.

I guess you've made my point for me. The idea of doing a mandatory-helmet sportive is horrifying enough ... but doing it for 9 days ... and then paying nearly £2K for the 'privilege', including travel, is my worst nightmare. It's as if imagination (not to mention the internet) had never been invented. I was doing 100-mile per day trips between Youth Hostels, with a mate or two, when I was 15 in the mid-70's. It's not difficult, it is lots of fun and it can easily be done at a tiny fraction of the cost of the £200-per day RAB.

But then these guys who have enough to pay £2000 for this probably have enough brain cells to have gone through that thought process and thought 'sod it , I want to do it in some comfort with someone looking after all the practicalities so I can just turn up and ride'.

posted by herlihy [9 posts]
31st August 2014 - 21:29

6 Likes

Some Fella wrote:
This is nowt to do with nowt but does anyone know the location of the photograph that accompanies this story?
It looks heavenly

Possibly the east Loch Ness road, passing Loch Tarff? (incidently the road I believe the marathon uses, avoiding impacting the A82)

posted by Niall [37 posts]
31st August 2014 - 21:33

4 Likes

Hmm, the thread is going off topic a bit thanks to the comments about the event itself. Simple one Joeinpoole: if you don't like it, don't do it. As I said in the earlier post, it's not for everyone but some people find it a challenge and an inspiration.

Or is that not allowed in your world?

Quote:
Are you sure they are using the B- Road (I've ridden it and it is hillier but much much nicer) rather than the A82? It sounded like they were planning on using the main road from the story.

No, they use the eastern side. The story is nothing more than an easy "whip the local news into an anti-cycling frenzy" released by one of those one-man-band campaigners - in this case one of those busy-bodies who spends his time writing letters to the council telling them to widen the A82 and signing it "Angry of Inverness".

posted by crazy-legs [519 posts]
31st August 2014 - 21:40

2 Likes

Doesn't it seem obvious why events such as this and Sportive s are so un popular and controversial. Almost all of these mass start events are for profit for the organiser and the organizer runsthe business on a shared public facility and pays nothing for use.
I am obviously a cyclist but wouldn't be at all impressed with my In ability to operate my daily life and travel on roads which I pay for so someone can make a profit.
We are in danger making matters worse for the regular guy who goes out for a ride with a few mates by the increase in these mass events.
Get out and ride.

posted by upinthehills [7 posts]
31st August 2014 - 22:04

4 Likes

Of course bikes are normal traffic, so are horses, but if I turned up in your neighbour hood and held a mass pony ride event I dont imagine that you would be holding quite the same opinion if that then meant you couldnt ride your bike.
Having the legal ablity to do a certain thing should not preclude a level of general concideration for others sharing your enviroment. If you can get on with other road users and find a way where we can share that valuable space that we both use then I think that we can only expect a back lash.
Many conficts exist because both sides believe firmly in their rights. Most are solved long after the conflict is over by talk and compromise.
We should start now and concider if we couldnt manage our use of shared space on a less confrontational way.

posted by upinthehills [7 posts]
31st August 2014 - 22:20

7 Likes

That'll be the 'South' side from Fort Augustus through Whitebridge and Foyers I assume? Smile

They'd be daft not to use that route, it's far more pleasant and the views are better too! Like others have said it sounds like the A82 partnership are stirring things up unnecessarily.

posted by leodhasach [6 posts]
1st September 2014 - 8:52

3 Likes

"“People get frustrated when they get caught behind large numbers of cyclists and start to take risks by trying to overtake in all sorts of daft places.

“This is cycling madness,” he went on."

So drivers taking risks is not 'driving madness' then?

posted by intherain [2 posts]
1st September 2014 - 12:27

1 Like

intherain wrote:

"“People get frustrated when they get caught behind large numbers of cyclists and start to take risks by trying to overtake in all sorts of daft places.

“This is cycling madness,” he went on."

So drivers taking risks is not 'driving madness' then?

Brian Murphy all but wrote:

Now, don't get smart with me, young man! Kids toys don't belong on the roads, roads are for cars!

Work harder. Buy a tank.

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posted by userfriendly [288 posts]
2nd September 2014 - 11:36

0 Likes