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Says motorists are “held up every day of the year” by cyclists and sees road closures as “an indignity”

One of the men alleged to have held up and attacked riders taking part in the Tour o’ the Borders sportive has claimed that he was attempting to stage a peaceful protest but was grabbed by a “bearded hooligan”. He also suggested that the men he was with were shoulder-charged by other cyclists.

A number of riders reported men with sticks blocking the Tour o’ the Borders route at around the 26km mark last Sunday. Several said that the men had swung at cyclists.

Deadline News reports that 60-year-old John Marshall has admitted to being the “ring leader” of the group of farmers.

“Four of us organised it. I don’t want to name the other three but I was the ringleader. We waited until the police bike and tour car had gone round.

“We blocked off the road and had draining rods in our hands but they were basically touching the ground so we weren’t appearing violent. It was meant to be a peaceful demonstration so they would stop and we could have dialogue.”

He said: “We tried to shout at them that we were pedestrians and one of them shouted ‘morning’ thinking we were there to support.

“I started to say we were pedestrians again but they started to push through. Two of us got shoulder-barged and I got grabbed so I shouted back at the guy who I could only describe as a bearded hooligan.

“From what I saw nobody touched the ground, nobody was pushed except for ourselves. For them to say what they have – I hope they can back it up.”

Marshall believes that motorists are “held up every day of the year” by cyclists and sees the road closures for the sportive as an added insult.

“We’ve been getting more and more abuse from them when we’re just trying to go about our daily lives, and for the cyclists to suddenly shut off the road is a bit of an indignity as they get the police to monitor the event and it’s basically a waste of police time.”

He says the police investigation into the confrontation is also a waste of time for “what is basically a storm in a teacup.”

Nevertheless, he remains unhappy with the event’s impact.

“I had to have words with the organisers last year because they’d taken up the whole junction – you should still be able to get two articulated lorries round it side by side so to shut off the whole junction last year was regrettable.”

He also questioned the nature of the sportive.

“The other thing is that they were racing – it’s supposed to be a ‘tour’ and it even says on the pamphlet ‘this is not a race’. If they were just touring they would’ve been able to stop and have dialogue.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

77 comments

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burtthebike [1037 posts] 2 weeks ago
28 likes

Wow!  Clearly deluded to the point of insanity.  Should the police be asking for him to be sectioned rather than looking at him as a criminal?

Obstructing the highway is a crime, and definitely if it is done deliberately.

Great that although everyone else was wasting their time, these farmers had so much spare time they could indulge in pointless road-blocking, both illegal and stupid.

Is in-breeding a problem around there?

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1961BikiE [379 posts] 2 weeks ago
22 likes

If it was intended to be peaceful why did they have draining rods in their hands? Raised or not they were surely there for intimidation?

Cyclists now seem to be the minority group it's legitimate to vilify and intimidate. Supported by our wonderful media services and the opinions of non entities who sadly have the public eye.

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liam92 [10 posts] 2 weeks ago
4 likes

There's a fair comment i've seen about closing rural roads at this time of year due to the impact it has on farmers being able to complete harvest. Most citing this point also completely miss the overall benefits of cycling and the events to encourage it, but I can appreciate the frustration of being stopped from doing their work nonetheless.

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Dr_Lex [446 posts] 2 weeks ago
8 likes

Never difficult to distinguish between a ray of sunshine and a farmer with a grievance.

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harragan [202 posts] 2 weeks ago
32 likes

A farmer who complains about others holding up traffic, eh...?

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handlebarcam [1034 posts] 2 weeks ago
13 likes

Yet another person who thinks they and their kind are real people, doing ordinary "daily life" things, whereas others are not real people, not ordinary, and not contributing anything to the local economy. Remind anyone of a certain poisonous attitude? They may not have intended to hit anyone with those draining rods, but they definitely wanted to use them to "take back control" of "their" roads.

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Yorkshire wallet [1347 posts] 2 weeks ago
13 likes
harragan wrote:

A farmer who complains about others holding up traffic, eh...?

Beat me to it. Sick of farmers doing 10 mile trips at 15mph whilst spreading mud, shit and potatoes all over the road.

Oh the hilarity of coming round a bend to find the road layered in mud with a piece of cardboard with mud on road written in Biro. We need laws to make farmers mark hazards with proper hazard signs.

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Leviathan [2735 posts] 2 weeks ago
8 likes

Oh the humanity; does this guy not realize that cyclists stimulate the local economy. Those lemon and poppy seed muffins don't eat themselves. When I am out in the country lanes of Cheshire I don't seem to hold up any locals, they all seem very keen to get from Hale to Knutford via a local rat run as quickly as possible.  I guess I am now in the bearded hooligan category, nice to be an out group so you can feel the rage. If some tweedy crusty type with a 'rod' jumped out in front of me I might give him a nudge.

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wellsprop [317 posts] 2 weeks ago
16 likes
harragan wrote:

A farmer who complains about others holding up traffic, eh...?

This X a million.

I regularly get held up on my commute home from work (whether on my bike or in my car) by tractors on a-roads. I also regularly have to stop for tractors and cows etc when out on weekend cycles.

I don't mind. 

They are simply going about their daily business, it can be frustrating, but a little bit of patience goes a long way.

The state of the roads (pot holes, mud, cow shit, crops) after rainy periods with lots of tractors is horrendous. Again, I don't mind so much, that's the countryside.

Just wish those few people who kicked off would have the same attitude towards the occasional cycle...

 

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beverlonian [1 post] 2 weeks ago
15 likes

So, I've just been held up by a tractor, should I attack the driver with a stick as a peaceful protest?

 

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brooksby [2507 posts] 2 weeks ago
14 likes

Dear Mr Marshall, as a cyclist I am heartily sick of the roads being blocked by big motor vehicles carrying only one fifth of their maximum capacity. It holds me up and blocks roads, taking up an unfair proportion of road capacity, sometimes even delaying me on my way to work. How do you suggest that I peaceably protest about this, or try to engage these selfish people in dialogue? Should I go and buy a big stick (but make sure I point it down so it doesn't appear threatening)? Regards, brooksby 

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pockstone [130 posts] 2 weeks ago
12 likes

I expect the drainrods were' needed for their work' just like machete muppet from Bradford. I might take to carrying an AK47 . (International mercenary, coup arranger and adventurer, since you ask.)

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brooksby [2507 posts] 2 weeks ago
3 likes

He may have a point about that whole "it's not a race" thing, but (1) he clearly didn't want "a dialogue ", and (2) I do not believe that any cyclist (not even the most hardened skull-tattooed urban fixed rider) would *deliberately* shoulder charge a pedestrian brandishing a big stick.

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Grahamd [597 posts] 2 weeks ago
8 likes

Have to feel for the farmers, they're stressed about Brexit and loosing their farm subsidies. This is just training for the inevitable protests that will follow...

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Helmut D. Bate [29 posts] 2 weeks ago
2 likes
handlebarcam wrote:

Yet another person who thinks they and their kind are real people, doing ordinary "daily life" things, whereas others are not real people, not ordinary, and not contributing anything to the local economy. Remind anyone of a certain poisonous attitude? They may not have intended to hit anyone with those draining rods, but they definitely wanted to use them to "take back control" of "their" roads.

You need to take back control of your sanity. Some things are nothing to do with Brexit.

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Helmut D. Bate [29 posts] 2 weeks ago
5 likes
Yorkshire wallet wrote:
harragan wrote:

A farmer who complains about others holding up traffic, eh...?

Beat me to it. Sick of farmers doing 10 mile trips at 15mph whilst spreading mud, shit and potatoes all over the road.

Oh the hilarity of coming round a bend to find the road layered in mud with a piece of cardboard with mud on road written in Biro. We need laws to make farmers mark hazards with proper hazard signs.

For about 4 months of the year, you can't do more than a mile in the countryside without getting lungfuls of shit either, smelly bastards.

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Leviathan [2735 posts] 2 weeks ago
6 likes
Helmut D. Bate wrote:
handlebarcam wrote:

Yet another person who thinks they and their kind are real people, doing ordinary "daily life" things, whereas others are not real people, not ordinary, and not contributing anything to the local economy. Remind anyone of a certain poisonous attitude? They may not have intended to hit anyone with those draining rods, but they definitely wanted to use them to "take back control" of "their" roads.

You need to take back control of your sanity. Some things are nothing to do with Brexit.

Nazis, he is talking about nazis and dehumanization [moron*] no one mentioned Brexit, just you.

*ironic

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arowland [163 posts] 2 weeks ago
6 likes
Yorkshire wallet wrote:
harragan wrote:

A farmer who complains about others holding up traffic, eh...?

Beat me to it. Sick of farmers doing 10 mile trips at 15mph whilst spreading mud, shit and potatoes all over the road. Oh the hilarity of coming round a bend to find the road layered in mud with a piece of cardboard with mud on road written in Biro. We need laws to make farmers mark hazards with proper hazard signs.

Cardboard hazard signs are OK for cyclists usually. Don't need to see them several miles off. But how about a law to make farmers (well, anyone) sweep up after hedge trimming rather than effectively close a whole road to cyclists for days until enough motor traffic has passed to pick up all the thorns in their tyres?

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wycombewheeler [1164 posts] 2 weeks ago
5 likes
Yorkshire wallet wrote:
harragan wrote:

A farmer who complains about others holding up traffic, eh...?

Beat me to it. Sick of farmers doing 10 mile trips at 15mph whilst spreading mud, shit and potatoes all over the road.

Oh the hilarity of coming round a bend to find the road layered in mud with a piece of cardboard with mud on road written in Biro. We need laws to make farmers mark hazards with proper hazard signs.

Or perhaps to clean the roads behind them as construction companies are obliged to.

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jobro [1 post] 2 weeks ago
5 likes
Helmut D. Bate wrote:
handlebarcam wrote:

Yet another person who thinks they and their kind are real people, doing ordinary "daily life" things, whereas others are not real people, not ordinary, and not contributing anything to the local economy. Remind anyone of a certain poisonous attitude? They may not have intended to hit anyone with those draining rods, but they definitely wanted to use them to "take back control" of "their" roads.

You need to take back control of your sanity. Some things are nothing to do with Brexit.

 

Am I missing something, when did he mention Brexit?

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WillRod [226 posts] 2 weeks ago
4 likes

I'm sure sportive are fun, but I am always conscious that several hundred cyclists might cause a bit of a traffic jam which isn't going to help relations between cyclists and the general public.

But to block a road holding sticks is pretty damned aggressive, and is hardly going to lead to any positive form of dialogue. They are more likely to get a smack with a D-lock.

The hatred of cyclists has gone out of control (mostly because more people cycle, which is good) but how do we sort it out? Obviously, rolling over and agreeing to small events or off-road events is pointless, but how do we calm the hysteria?

 

Also, do the farmers stand in the road when there are on-road sections of motor racing? I can hardly imagine them standing in the way of a Rally car!

 

 

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burtthebike [1037 posts] 2 weeks ago
0 likes
arowland wrote:

But how about a law to make farmers (well, anyone) sweep up after hedge trimming rather than effectively close a whole road to cyclists for days until enough motor traffic has passed to pick up all the thorns in their tyres?

I'm pretty sure there is a law saying that hedge clippings have to be removed, but don't ask me to quote it.  Can anyone confirm?

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zanf [950 posts] 2 weeks ago
12 likes
liam92 wrote:

There's a fair comment i've seen about closing rural roads at this time of year due to the impact it has on farmers being able to complete harvest. Most citing this point also completely miss the overall benefits of cycling and the events to encourage it, but I can appreciate the frustration of being stopped from doing their work nonetheless.

Organising to stand at a particular point of the sportive armed with sticks with the intent of obstructing the highway and to intimidate its users, is not "being stopped from doing your work".

The guy is a fucking arsehole and should be prosecuted

 

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OldRidgeback [2786 posts] 2 weeks ago
5 likes

Was the farmer charged for obstructing the highway or carrying an offensive weapon? If not, why not?

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Bmblbzzz [150 posts] 2 weeks ago
2 likes
Grahamd wrote:

Have to feel for the farmers, they're stressed about Brexit and loosing their farm subsidies. This is just training for the inevitable protests that will follow...

Farmers the new leppers!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrzej_Lepper

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Bmblbzzz [150 posts] 2 weeks ago
5 likes

He's got a point though that events like this on closed roads are "an indignity". It's an indignity to everyone that even rural lanes are so busy, it's not possible to hold an event like this without closing them. 

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KiwiMike [1303 posts] 2 weeks ago
5 likes

People. Ride with video. Do it. It doesn't cost much, and will possibly make the difference between a lifetime paralysed in penury vs. being able to take your motorised assailant's insurance firm to the fucking cleaners.  

 

And, as a bonus, road bigots will get the evidence-backed drubbing they rightly deserve. 

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Mungecrundle [866 posts] 2 weeks ago
3 likes

This one should be easy enough for the Police to act upon and for the CPS to prosecute.

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Rich_cb [354 posts] 2 weeks ago
2 likes

I don't support their actions in any way but if this event did genuinely disrupt their harvest then the farmers do have a legitimate grievance.

You sometimes only have a very narrow window to get your crops in and any disruption to that can be very costly.

Given that harvest dates can't be predicted exactly I'm not sure how this could be avoided without changing the time of year that the sportive takes place.

On an unrelated point if a poster uses the phrase "take back control" it's a Brexit reference until proven otherwise. It was the main slogan of Vote Leave.

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Helmut D. Bate [29 posts] 2 weeks ago
1 like
Rich_cb wrote:

On an unrelated point if a poster uses the phrase "take back control" it's a Brexit reference until proven otherwise. It was the main slogan of Vote Leave.

Thank you.

It's not like handlebarcam hasn't got form in turning threads into Brexitballs.

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