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“No one has consulted me," says clay-pigeon biz owner, complaining about noisy "lycra louts" with RideLondon in his sights...

A Surrey resident has launched a campaign demanding that the county council not run closed-road events such as the RideLondon 100 sportive, which, he says, turns Surrey roads into a “cycle track”.

An online petition, Stop Surrey Being Turned Into a Cycle Track, was launched by Ian Huggins, 68, from Esher four days before the August 3 RideLondon-Surrey 100. Two weeks later it has garnered 826 signatures. In 2011 the population of Surrey was estimated to be 1,135,500.

Mr Higgins’ primary concern appears to be the effect on local businesses, including his own weekend clay pigeon shooting set-up. He also complained that "lycra louts" rode the route in advance of the event, making lots of noise.

He said: “Last year we were confined to barracks for two days and now I have been told I can’t leave my home unless I leave before 5am or after 7pm.

“No one has consulted me, no one has asked if I mind.”

In a story on GetSurrey.com several other residents voice their objections to the event. They accuse Surrey County Council and the RideLondon organisers of running the event without public consultation and without formal assessment of the impact on individuals and businesses.

Council and organisers were “riding roughshod” over those affected by turning the ride into an annual event, said one objector, Ian Mason, 59, from West Byfleet.

Former county councillor Ian Lake said: “I am incensed by the whole thing. The consultation has been poor, it is a vanity project.”

“People didn’t really mind last year when it was the Olympics and roads were only closed for a short time. This year, the barriers have been up for the last few days and caused a huge amount of inconvenience.”

A spokesman for Surrey County Council told GetSurrey: “We’ve been working with the organisers to ensure everything is done to minimise disruption, with the help of leaflets, drop-in events and the GoSurrey.info website, and to make sure vulnerable people are looked after and emergency services aren’t hampered.”

Event organiser Hugh Brasher of London Marathon Limited was unavailable for comment at the time of writing, but his office have has said he will respond as soon as he’s able.

Here’s the unedited full text of Mr Huggins’s petition:

Apart from the obvious dangers to cyclists,Surrey roads are not suitable.Surrey County Council have, without consultation,decided it would be a great idea to use Surrey as a race track. This in it's self is a thoughtless act but far more importantly residents and numerous businesses are being effected by road closures. This prevents residents of Surrey from leaving their own property and going about their normal business. The road closures were a necessary inconvenience during the Olympic Games but now it looks like Surrey County Council are to make this an annual event. This is all very well but residents of Surrey are pestered and annoyed by cyclists ( practising months in advance of the event ) who ride the route in very large numbers from very early in the morning shouting at each other (have you tried talking whilst riding your bike?) and riding in large groups sometimes three and four abreast or in strings of riders making it virtually impossible for the poor old motorist, many of whom are elderly, to overtake.Traffic violations are common and it is only a matter of time before there is a major accident with the possibility of the loss of life. It will of course be the motorists fault. Have Surrey County Council considered the number of heavy goods vehicles using the roads. The route chosen is all enclosing and no provision has been made for vehicular crossing points. So to facilitate a bike ride many Surrey residents are to be confined to their homes from 5 am until 9 pm.

Surrey versus cyclists

The popularity of the Surrey hills with cyclists has become a source of complaints for locals in the last couple of years. In July Councillor David Preedy told the BBC that local councils were exploring ways in which events could be regulated.

Councillor Preedy, who leads the Lib-Dem group on Mole Valley District Council, said the main problem was the “sheer number” of cyclists.

“Every weekend there are hundreds and hundreds of cyclists and then on top of that, big organised events,” he said. “The pressure on residents is just getting too much, they’re feeling imprisoned, they can’t get out.

“A lot of them, particularly in Box Hill, are older people who feel intimidated driving through large numbers of cyclists.”

In April, Mark Davis, chief executive of Vachery Triathlon organiser Brave Events, said that a meeting he called to discuss road closures for the event was hijacked by protesters.

He alleged he was threatened outside and said others there reported incidents to the police - despite the council agreeing to the road closures. He also said that the event would bring £10 million to the local economy over the next three years.

Mr Davis said: “How many events bring top sports people and that sort of money into the area? You can’t believe how selfish people are because they don’t like cycling. Nobody is going to be trapped. People aren’t going to be stranded on an island.”

Brave Events subsequently changed the event to have partially-closed rather than fully-closed roads.

Fortunately, not everyone in Surrey fails to recognise the money visiting cyclists spend in the local economy. In July, the National Trust painted three logos on the Box Hill climb, reading  ‘I love cycling’; ‘I love amazing views’; and ‘I love tea and cakes’.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

113 comments

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Gizmo_ [1332 posts] 2 years ago
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Don't worry Mr Huggins. With blood pressure like yours I expect you'll be dead soon. How did your petitions to stop young folk playing loud music and resisting the "occupation" of your village by John E Foreigner go?

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aslongasicycle [380 posts] 2 years ago
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If the petition had been put in balanced terms, with concise argument, it would be a worry.
But the overly emotive hyperbole just serves to make him look like an angry and selfish nutter, and distances middle-ground policy makers.

Which is good.

Haters gonna hate.

Nice people gonna run huge mass participation events with consequent smiles.
 103

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lolol [181 posts] 2 years ago
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I particularly like the complaints about noise, from someone running a weekend clay pigeon shooting business. That wouldn't be annoying to live near at all, oh yes, it would drive you insane.

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TheHatter [770 posts] 2 years ago
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This is a reasonable case put badly - I particularly like the complaint about noise from a clay pigeon shooting company owner.

The tone of this guys argument notwithstanding I'm not fond of closed road sportives as they understandbly inconvenience a lot of people and also propogate the idea that cars and bikes shouldn't mix.

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LondonCalling [149 posts] 2 years ago
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I saw this petition on the very same day of the Ride London (which I did) and decided not to tweet it or put it on Facebook, so as not to give it publicity. Because they don't deserve it, and there are lots of haters out there that don't even live in Surrey and will sign up just for the sake of it.

So, it's better to ignore it, just let it die. NOt worth the aggro, really.

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andyp [1436 posts] 2 years ago
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'Stop Surrey Being Turned Into a Cycle Track'

Dear Ian. Surrey isn't going to be turned into a cycle track. It will remain as a county.

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workhard [397 posts] 2 years ago
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He possibly has a reasonable case. But he put it as an angry rant. FAIL.

Long may his rants continue. Long may they fail.

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Nick T [913 posts] 2 years ago
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Well, the constant banging of rifles from his clay pigeon business spoils my peaceful enjoyment of the general Surrey area every weekend.

I urge you to sign my petition in response.

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Saratoga [32 posts] 2 years ago
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Oh the irony of motorists being intimidated by cyclists...

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zanf [758 posts] 2 years ago
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TheHatter wrote:

The tone of this guys argument notwithstanding I'm not fond of closed road sportives as they understandbly inconvenience a lot of people and also propogate the idea that cars and bikes shouldn't mix.

So you would be against Ciclovia because they are closed road events?

Do you also think that we should increase/improve cycling infrastructure but not at the cost of causing vehicular disruption?

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gazpacho [94 posts] 2 years ago
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68 years old? Time to retire Mr Huggins to your back garden to do some pottering where you won't be bothered by cyclists anymore...

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mrmo [2013 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

Traffic violations are common and it is only a matter of time before there is a major accident with the possibility of the loss of life. It will of course be the motorists fault

no **** sherlock, i guess he has seen all the cars speeding, parking on double yellow lines, using phones, must have been reading about the cyclists being killed in London by lorries. How many surrey residents COMMUTE to london? how inconsiderate to those around them. I don't want their car polluting the air i breath! etc etc etc

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robert_obrien [118 posts] 2 years ago
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The caption for the photo says 'Surrey residents fume as closed roads trap them during RideLondon 100'. Shouldn't that say 'Hardly any Surrey residents fume as closed roads trap them during RideLondon 100'.

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paulfg42 [382 posts] 2 years ago
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Cars and bikes shouldn't mix. Our pathetic transport infrastructure means we're forced to share the roads with cars etc and are regarded as at best an inconvenience.

Maybe some car users should realise that they don't always need to use their cars.

Events like RideLondon should happen more frequently and all round the country.

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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Noisy lycra louts? LOL nothing like a daily mail headline phrase to try and gain yourselves some attention it seems.

It's quite amusing really as the noise when i was watching both events was all caused by the motor vehicles being used to support the event, oh the irony.

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vasgko2 [23 posts] 2 years ago
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Looks like the people of Surrey have run out of important matters

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John Stevenson [249 posts] 2 years ago
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robert_obrien wrote:

The caption for the photo says 'Surrey residents fume as closed roads trap them during RideLondon 100'. Shouldn't that say 'Hardly any Surrey residents fume as closed roads trap them during RideLondon 100'.

It was a small, clearly weak, attempt at irony. IGMC

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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TheHatter wrote:

This is a reasonable case put badly - I particularly like the complaint about noise from a clay pigeon shooting company owner.

The tone of this guys argument notwithstanding I'm not fond of closed road sportives as they understandbly inconvenience a lot of people and also propogate the idea that cars and bikes shouldn't mix.

He does not have a reasonable case, the events with a large number of people entering have to be on closed roads because of attitudes of drivers who feel they should be able to drive where they like whenever they like and would harrass the people taking part in the event because they do not want to share the road.

Surrey is nimby central and has no cycling only dedicated infrastructure in the areas i have been.

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jacknorell [942 posts] 2 years ago
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Hmm, hundreds of cyclists on a weekend obviously making life hell for the poor souls.

How many cars on the same roads during the same time periods? I bet a lot more!

Dangerous metal boxes being driven at high speeds on narrow roads. Loud engine and tyre noises. Causing obesity and pollution.

Which should be limited on Surrey roads again?

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LondonCalling [149 posts] 2 years ago
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Ok, this little sh*t called Ian Huggins is trying to reach 1000 signatures in order to "present his anger" to Surey County Council. At the moment, he reached 750 signatures.

Anybody here a hacker...?  3

This is his latest update:

"Thank you all for taking the time to sign my petition. Please go to the Prudential Ride London website and look at the FAQ's. This will show just how little respect SCC have for you and your views.
I have been interviewed by Eagle Radio and hope to have this aired soon.
I would like to thank Steve from Richmond in Yorkshire for his comments but have to ask him "what makes you think that your pass-time/sport is more important than those of residents of Surrey?" He feels we are being selfish by objecting to his bike ride!!
There now appears to be two separate issues 1. The disruption caused by the road closures and 2.The staggering increase in numbers of racing cyclists using the roads of Surrey as their own private road race circuit. When my petition reaches 1000 signatures I will present it to SCC. so please keep your comments coming.
Once again thank you all (and yes that even means those who disagree with me)."

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AlexM [8 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm kind of with TheHatter on this - a reasonable case made very badly indeed. Having your road sealed off and your business shut down in the middle of summer must be a real pain in the arse, and people taking part in closed-road events should remember that their fun causes a lot of inconvenience for some other people. The future of such events does depend on the goodwill of local people, local councils and so on.

So wishing him an early death from high blood pressure isn't especially helpful.

But Mr Huggins shoots himself in the foot by complaining about noisy bicycles and cyclists having the bare-faced cheek to ride on public roads and "intimidate" car drivers. He also seems to be complaining about cyclists using the roads when they're closed AND using them when they're not closed, which rather suggests that he's just an anti-cycling numpty who's looking for any excuse to shout "pay road tax" at anything on two-wheels.

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qwerky [184 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

A lot of them, particularly in Box Hill, are older people who feel intimidated driving through large numbers of cyclists.

I feel intimidated cycling through large numbers of cars. So we should ban cars no?

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Leviathan [1773 posts] 2 years ago
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Ppffffw, good luck with that...

"Two weeks later it has garnered 826 signatures."
Well the London100 2014 website has already passed the 55,000 entries from last year in TWO DAYS.
The phrase pissing into the wind comes to mind. Perhaps he doesn't want the £250 I spent on entry, food, accommodation, train tickets and reservations, and bit for my bike going into the local economy or charity.

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thereverent [386 posts] 2 years ago
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He could have made it sound more reasonable, but it really is just big ill informed rant.
All over a few hours one sunday a year!

He could always have a weekend away that particular weekend.

I live not far from the Ride London route in SW London and it made the area so much nicer that day with less traffic.

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swelbo [33 posts] 2 years ago
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"Richard Doran TADWORTH, UNITED KINGDOM 8 days ago
Liked 4
Hugely congested roads made worse by cyclists, who pay no road taxes and continually break the law. Many accidents will ensue."

 37

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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AlexM wrote:

I'm kind of with TheHatter on this - a reasonable case made very badly indeed. Having your road sealed off and your business shut down in the middle of summer must be a real pain in the arse, and people taking part in closed-road events should remember that their fun causes a lot of inconvenience for some other people. The future of such events does depend on the goodwill of local people, local councils and so on.

So wishing him an early death from high blood pressure isn't especially helpful.

But Mr Huggins shoots himself in the foot by complaining about noisy bicycles and cyclists having the bare-faced cheek to ride on public roads and "intimidate" car drivers. He also seems to be complaining about cyclists using the roads when they're closed AND using them when they're not closed, which rather suggests that he's just an anti-cycling numpty who's looking for any excuse to shout "pay road tax" at anything on two-wheels.

Once again, he has no case whatsoever, these closures are essential for the event to go ahead safely otherwise the events could not be held with drivers on the same roads causing chaos.

A main road was opened an hour after the event and all the peace and quiet and the chance for people to walk and cycle on it without fear of drivers hitting them was lost.

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AlexM [8 posts] 2 years ago
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northstar wrote:

Once again, he has no case whatsoever, these closures are essential for the event to go ahead safely otherwise the events could not be held with drivers on the same roads causing chaos.

I'm not disputing that the closures were essential for the event to go ahead. I'm saying that running the event and closing roads obviously has a big impact on people who live and work along the route, that the impact needs to be taken into account when planning and staging such events. Is that so unreasonable?

For all we know, the first Sunday in August might traditionally be Huggins' biggest, most lucrative weekend of the year, the day on which he makes the money that sees him through the quiet winter months. If that's the case, you can see why he'd be unhappy - especially if there was a lack of consultation with local residents and businesses, as he suggests.

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HKCambridge [215 posts] 2 years ago
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It's not entirely clear from the rant, but I'm assuming that rather than being imprisoned in his house he is, in fact, just not able to drive out of it? That, in fact, he has two bits of equipment attached to his torso that would enable him to circumvent this terrible limitation?

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georgee [160 posts] 2 years ago
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Why not share your comments:

Mr Ian Huggins

[address etc redacted. Let's not do that eh? - Admin]

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Dog72 [106 posts] 2 years ago
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qwerky wrote:
Quote:

A lot of them, particularly in Box Hill, are older people who feel intimidated driving through large numbers of cyclists.

I feel intimidated cycling through large numbers of cars. So we should ban cars no?

I'm regularly intimidated by old people in cars... Now what?

I rode this event and felt privileged to ride on the closed roads. I've thought about how I'd feel if I was closed in by something like this and came to the view that you either stick around and support events like this or Go away for the wknd. Its 24 hours once a year, that's all.
On the Flip I don't think it would be to unreasonable to change the route each year so it doesn't effect the same set of people.

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