Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive called off after deluge of rain

Controversial New Forest ride is tentatively rescheduled - but some locals will be pleased it didn't happen

by Sarah Barth   April 14, 2013  

New Forest Sportive

The Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive today has been called off following extremely wet weather.

The sportive, now in its fifth year, has been controversial, with complaints from locals and organisers saying that that riders spotted breaching the Highway Code will not be allowed to take part in other events its arranges, following a call from an MP for these types of events to be licenced.

The two-day event was halted halfway through after the hosting marquee and field were submerged following heavy rain.

The organisers, UK Cycling Events, wrote on theie Twitter page: "The Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive has been POSTPONED due to extreme weather flooding the event center & parts of the course."

It followed one rider saying on Saturday: "that car park is only good for planting crops now. Took me 30 mins and four men to push my car out."

UK Cyling Events responded, saying: "The rain has caused major problems with the car park, we will have more information about tomorrow's event asap. Thanks." Later there was confirmation of the cancellation of the ride.

The event is tentatively rescheduled for June 1.

Road.cc has contacted UK Cycling Events for comment but they are yet to respond.

Around 4,000 riders were due to take part in the event this weekend, and as we reported earlier this week, local MP Dr Julian Lewis has called for a licensing system to be introduced for organised mass rides within the New Forest.

Dr Lewis claimed that cyclists posed a risk to livestock in the New Forest, and also accused some of breaking the Highway Code.

However, a Code of Conduct for cyclists in the New Forest already exists, drawn up jointly by Sustrans, New Forest District Council, Hampshire County Council and the Forestry Commission – the latter three, along with bodies such as the Verderers’ Court and the NPA, all being responsible to a greater or lesser degree for aspects of the New Forest, depending on the specific issue in question.

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Whoever booked the event location needs a stern talking to: the New Forest is notorious for being soggy and prone to downpours. I do maybe 3-4 events a year down there, and they always use school gyms or town/village halls as bases and never rely on grass parking. This was asking for trouble.

And the locals against this sort of thing are clearly hypocritical twats. Cars kill hundreds of animals (and a fair few people too) a year in the forest. Best event organisers ignore these loud but small-time single-issue nutters. Don't give them the oxygen of publicity.

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

KiwiMike's picture

posted by KiwiMike [366 posts]
14th April 2013 - 15:53

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Agree about the venue. They used to use Brockenhurst College which had decent parking. New park is 99% grass and the smallest amount of rain turns it into a bog. Add a few hundred cars and it's asking for trouble.

posted by thx1138 [12 posts]
14th April 2013 - 18:14

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thx1138 wrote:
Agree about the venue. They used to use Brockenhurst College which had decent parking. New park is 99% grass and the smallest amount of rain turns it into a bog. Add a few hundred cars and it's asking for trouble.

A few hundred? At an average of two riders per car, it's 1,000. Quite where you find parking for that sort of numbers is the problem. Perhaps the sportive scene nw has events with too many starters, maybe they need to consider a top limit, where parking is not such a major issue. You can understand organisers wanting to maximise numbers for financial reasons, and to allow as mant riders to enjoy their sport, but somewhere there is maybe a compromise, perhaps around 400-500? That might keep some of the sillier one-issue locals quiet.
I know from asking that there is virtually no road racing allowed by the police/BC region on the Forest in the nicer months, simply to avoid clashes with sportives (there are lots, not just the majors) and try to keep everyone local happy. So as numbers of riders increase and some want to go on to actually properly race, opprotunity is reduced. No doubt BC will get criticised for that. You can't win......

Doc

posted by doc [167 posts]
14th April 2013 - 18:27

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It was an extremely well organised event let down by atrocious rain. The chances of getting rain like that on the day you do the event are probably 1 in 20 so that was bad luck. We came across a group of Wellington-wearing protestors who had placards saying "stop mass cycling events in the new forest" and who were walking across the road, plus there was a deluge of course markers that had been turned to point in the wrong direction. The organisers had given us clear instructions at the start though to follow the arrows painted on the roads and not the a4 laminated marker arrows if they pointed in opposite directions to each other. That and a GPS saved us - this little NIMBY trick now makes doing sportives with a GPS almost compulsory. But the protestors are just a minority of numb-skulls. Me and my two mates spanked £500 quid for two nights accommodation and meals/drinks in a wonderful local pub and the young guns working there and gainfully employed were not complaining. Perhaps we should make the NIMBYs contribute more to the social security bill. Tw@ts.

The Claw

posted by The Claw [8 posts]
14th April 2013 - 19:28

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I rode it on Saturday and got really, really wet. The weather was lovely on Sunday, I was wishing I'd signed up for Sunday as I didn't realise it had been cancelled.

posted by qwerky [126 posts]
15th April 2013 - 10:28

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I rode this event on Saturday. I was one of the earlier finishers and given the awful weather I knew the car parking situation would become pretty grim, so glad to have got away when I did.

All in all, it was a well organised event and the very vast majority of riders out on the roads were respectful, safe, and riding single file whenever traffic was looking to pass. I didn't see a single confrontation between cyclist and motorist the whole way round.

That said, this event is now about as big as can be properly managed. Wiggle shouldn't get greedy and try and expand it further, regardless of its popularity.

The picket line of people stood across the road roughly halfway along was pretty pathetic to see. I'd have more respect for these NIMBYS if they just admitted they "don't like cyclists" rather than try and link it to the safety of animals (go and check the official accident stats morons!) and dropping litter (I have never seen a cyclist do this, though frequently see motorists sling things out windows)

Placards and comments about "ruining the national park" where interesting given the gas-guzzling Range Rover parked on the side of the road, and one protester flicking a fag butt into the verge. Surprise

Trying to sabotage the route was also sad to see. Several Wiggle route markers had obviously been ripped off posts and slung onto the road (littering???) by NIMBY protesters.

But overall thousands of cyclists clearly had a good time, and no doubt spent thousands of pounds within the local economy.

posted by loftgroovv [2 posts]
15th April 2013 - 11:21

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I rode this event on Saturday in the pouring rain. I must admit, I did not realise that it was so controversial and did not notice any protests/protesters on the route...possibly due to the weather being so bad (nothing like a bit of bad weather to quell disquiet).

On refelction, I did see some signs thrown into the verge and wondered why someone would do that - my first thought was that I hoped the sweep wagon would pick them up as it was littering! If it was, as it transpires, NIMBYs, then it beggars belief. The only other incident I had en route was with a car, which stopped in front of me and then set off again every time I tried to overtake - forcing me to brake hard or find myself on the wrong side of the road with oncoming traffic. At the time I thought it was just a cyclist hating prick, but if that was a protest too these NIMBYs need to take a long hard look at themselves.

Tacks on the road is quite frankly stupidity beyond belief and dangerous. I don't know where to start with that one, but suffice to say that if it can happen in the Tour de France then idiocy isn't just a disease born in the New Forest.

Oh yes, I was the rider that tweeted about the car park. I was being kind when I said 30 minutes. That was after waiting another 20 for the car in front of me to be pushed out too...car drivers, eh? Mad.

posted by mattanthony [10 posts]
16th April 2013 - 20:58

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