Bike riding dentist left filling holes in inner tubes on way to surgery suspects foul play

A Bournemouth cyclist believes that sabotage is the likely explanation for a series of punctures he has suffered while riding along the seaside town’s promenade.

Michael Atkinson, a 49-year-old dentist, told the Bournemouth Echo that he had suffered three punctures in five days, all caused by unusually shaped tacks that cut through the Kevlar tyres fitted to his mountain bike.

“It’s like they have been designed specifically to take tyres out,” said Mr Atkinson, who comes from Lytchett Matravers. “When you touch them they roll up with the points sticking up.

“To have three of exactly the same type is just too much of a coincidence,” he continued, adding, “This isn’t good news either for dogs or people out walking.”

Mr Atkinson says that the tacks are around 8mm in length and are shaped like a crescent moon, and although he is not sure of the exact location where they have been placed, he believes it is close to Bournemouth Pier.

“I’ve been cycling along the seafront for at least five years and only had two other punctures in that time,” said Mr Atkinson, who picks his bike up at Parkstone Yacht Club every day and ridses from Shore Road to Southbourne, where he works at Tuckton Medical Practice.

Bournemouth Borough Council told the newspaper that none of its own vehicles had encountered problems with punctures in the area, not had it heard of other cyclists experiencing problems there - not sure how many bicycle Bournemouth Council has in its fleet, but if you are a Bournemouth cyclist have you suffered an unusually large number of punctures lately? Or have you noticed some unusual shaped tacks on the carriageway? Let us know.

The South Coast resort’s seafront has been featured regularly on road.cc as a result of so-called ‘Prom Wars’ – previously, we’ve covered police speed traps aimed at catching riders cycling at above 10mph, plus the case of a cyclist found guilty of assaulting a PCSO and a council worker.

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.