Police warn mountain bikers to stay away from London 2012 MTB course

Health and safety cited as reason for fencing off Hadleigh Farm circuit

by Simon_MacMichael   May 24, 2011  

London 2012 MTB Course credit LOCOG.jpg

Police in Essex have warned mountain bikers to stay away from the venue of the London 2012 MTB race and not to try and pit themselves against the Olympic circuit at Hadleigh Farm Country Park, with security measures put in place to deter anyone who fancies having a go.

While one of the great things about road cycling is the ease of following the same routes ridden by the pros - since the course of the London 2012 road race was announced, keen riders have been testing themselves on the very roads that next year will see Samuel Sanchez and Nicole Cooke defend their Beijing titles - over in the MTB world, things aren’t so simple.

Essex-based newspaper The Enquirer reports that MTB enthusiasts have been told to stay away from the 5 kilometre circuit, completed earlier this year and described by GB rider Liam Killeen as “very physically demanding,” as a result of health and safety concerns.

Fences have been erected around the course and signs put in place warning of the danger of attempting to ride on it, while wooden barriers have also been put in place at certain points on the circuit itself to act as a further deterrent to would-be riders.

Local police say that with the track designed to meet the demands of Olympic competition, it isn’t safe for park users to ride on and that children should be discouraged from going there, with PS Chris Bramhill saying: . "We don't want anyone getting injured in the run up to the Olympics and we will be patrolling the area at regular intervals."

The newspaper adds that plans are still under consideration for a legacy course to be put in place following next summer’s Olympic Games.

17 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Brilliant, world class cycling facility built at huge tax payers expense closed cause of health and safety fears. Make it clear this is a hard route for experienced cyclists on good bikes and build some easier trails for everyone else. Make this into a proper trail centre and let everyone have their fun. This could be a great facility if theyd thought it through.

posted by miffed [168 posts]
24th May 2011 - 12:15


Here's some other issues with it
It's in essex, which is mostly flat.
It's not going to be open to MTBers after
They took away the XC routes on the olympic site for all the buildings and parking

They moved the sailing to Portland, the tennis to wimbledon, so why didn't they do the MTB-ing in wales. it's just down the M4 and we'd have had good tracks after.

Some national sporting heritage

posted by bristoltraffic [14 posts]
24th May 2011 - 12:33


Seems slightly over the top.

The official line is that they will "explore what course will be left in place for future use".
It would be a much better legacy to leave the whole thing, being near to London pleanty of people would want to use it.

posted by thereverent [348 posts]
24th May 2011 - 13:06


There are not many things (and almost none designed for mountain bikes) that are actively dangerous to someone who has a reasonable grasp of their own limitations on a mountainbike.

posted by BigDummy [314 posts]
24th May 2011 - 13:28


Can't really see that it would be more demanding than certain sections of Dalby Forest- open to all- which hosted a round of the MTB World cup at the weekend, and proved too tricky for some of the pros.

It might be fun to be chased round the course by security; you'd feel like you were in a race.

posted by wild man [292 posts]
24th May 2011 - 14:52


I've read that as dont go on with a mountain bike, go for a cyclocross bike Devil its certainly smooth enough to!

posted by Stefan [60 posts]
25th May 2011 - 12:03


bristoltraffic, yes Essex is mostly flat (no mountains) but the idea of an Olympic MTB is Cross Country not Downhill and as a cross country course it's good, its a hilly area I've biked round there for 20 years. I've ridden this course many times already all through the building process and before you say I'm just a local rider I'm not. I've biked in north and south Wales many times along with the Lake District and whilst yes it is nothing like those places it is good on its own merit.


posted by GrooveRidar [11 posts]
25th May 2011 - 13:19


From what I was told by the Hadleigh Park wardens over there the Salvation army will open a visitor centre and open the trails. They have a 10 year legacy commitment on the site


posted by GrooveRidar [11 posts]
25th May 2011 - 13:23


I hadn't thought of going but since the cops have said no mountain bikers should use it I'm half tempted to turn up with my BMX.


posted by OldRidgeback [2535 posts]
25th May 2011 - 22:52


I live in Canvey and I can almost see that from my window, what we need are similar warning signs near any main road down here, warning any cyclist that several motorists will attempt to kill them rather than give way.

posted by pmr [191 posts]
25th May 2011 - 23:41


I'm assuming a local bobby had a go on his Smith & Wesson and scared himself stupid.

-- Hey, how many gears have you got? .. Just one! ... Mate, your bike sucks! --

brylonscamel's picture

posted by brylonscamel [21 posts]
26th May 2011 - 8:40


I bet it's a good bit more dangerous now they've had wooden barriers dotted around the course, especially as people that sneak in would probably wait until after dark.

The course is said to be physically demanding so the average biker might be quite tired after riding the whole circuit, but it's also relatively open, clean and clinical and purpose built for mountain bikes, so arguably safer than riding your local woods.
I bet the no trespassing stance has a lot to do with not wanting the course damaged before the event by 12 months of heavy use by amateurs, and not wanting to spend the run-up to the games cleaning rude graffiti off the rocks.
Sounds like another missed opportunity to benefit the community that paid for it to be built.

posted by Chris [121 posts]
26th May 2011 - 10:10


Bunch of Jessies. Who'd have thought the Bizzies were a lot of lily-livered dirt-dodgers.

Shame on you.

I'll have a go on a Barbie bike in a mini skirt. Streamers and all. Big Grin

posted by MrsK [40 posts]
26th May 2011 - 14:50


Wooden barriers eh? They've turned it into a cyclo-cross course for us then! Nice one.

Vin Cox

posted by Vin Cox [51 posts]
26th May 2011 - 15:49


I haven't seen the course but the bit in the picture doesn't look that hard.


posted by OldRidgeback [2535 posts]
26th May 2011 - 17:06


OldRidgeback wrote:
I haven't seen the course but the bit in the picture doesn't look that hard.

Try the trail underpass in the New Forest at Picket Post by marker 8. Now that's challenging! Much steeper, loads more cow s**t and a lot darker too!

posted by batch [60 posts]
27th May 2011 - 0:48


Sad Usual situation where public money is spent promising value for money and legacy to benefit The People. No it won't. When will authorities stop underestimating people and allow them to expand their horizons. The road course is open to the public and readily ridden when mincing it with 60mph traffic on some sections..........Do the authorities deem that too dangerous? No. Then why is this off road course???

posted by Posh [47 posts]
4th June 2011 - 12:18