Couple warn fellow riders after discovering booby-trap at weekend

A woman from Newcastle-upon-Tyne has warned fellow cyclists to be vigilant after she and her husband spotted fishing wire strung across a popular cycle route at neck height.

Denise Hewitt was on a bike ride with her husband Alan at the weekend when they spotted the hazard at Walker on National Cycle Network (NCN) route 72, also known as Hadrian’s Cycleway.

They immediately alerted cyclists approaching from the opposite direction about the wire, which was strung between two posts across the route.

“The cycle path was busy as it always is on a Sunday,” Mrs Hewitt told Chronicle Live. “Something just caught my eye, and my husband was riding in front of me towards it.

“I just shouted at him to stop, there’s something in the path, and he warned cyclists coming the other way.”

They removed the obstacle and rode to The Cycle Hub on Newcastle’s Quayside to alert other riders.

The venue has asked anyone with information to pass it on to them so they can let police know.

“This was a deliberate act to hurt someone,” Mrs Hewitt said.

“The average cyclist goes between 8-12 mph - if you hit anything at that speed or faster it could have caused damage and knocked you off your bike.

“It was a transparent wire, we were lucky to have seen it. That really could have been nasty, that was intended to do serious harm.

“Now this wire is down, it does not cause a threat,” she added. “But I want others to know in case someone puts more up.”

Katja Leyendecker, chair of local cycling campaign NewCycling, said: “This seems to happen every now and then. I think it’s a small group of people who really hate cyclists for some reason, I don’t know why.

“They have taken action and endangered human lives, it’s just sick.

“Cyclists have literally been strangled by these wires before,” she added.

She added: “The outcome could have been tragic, it could have resulted in death.”

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.