The company behind the Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive and other events in the national park says it is banning 18 riders from its events for breaking rules such as urinating by the roadside rather than in the portable toilets it provides.
The decision by UK Cycling Events was revealed at a recent meeting of the New Forest Association of Local Councils, reports the Daily Echo.
During the past couple of years, mass participation cycling events in the New Forest have attracted vocal opposition from some locals.
Earlier this month the Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive was the target of sabotage attempts, as it had been in 2013, with 15 riders suffering punctures as a result of tacks being spread on the road. At some events, signs put up by organisers, often to do with safety issues, have been removed.
The riders banned for urinating in public were caught outside the Forest Park Hotel in Brockenhurst, with Martin Barden from UK Cycling Events saying: “The hotel had eight portaloos and our marshals told all riders stopping at the hotel to ensure they used the toilets provided.
“Anyone who decided not to was instantly banned from the event as this is not something we condone.”
He did not reveal why other riders had been banned, although he did tell participants prior to the event a fortnight ago that any cyclists blocking the road by riding more than two abreast, or seen dropping litter, would be barred from entry to future sportives organised by the company.
According to district councillor Maureen Holding, the Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive led to “pandemonium” in Brockenhurst.
She told the Daily Echo: “The road was blocked by people who had abandoned their cycles in the middle of the road. And some of them were urinating in full view of families – even though there were toilets only a few feet away.
“I hope the ban sends out a clear message that we expect people to behave,” she added.
Criticism of cyclists relieving themselves in public on such events isn’t limited to those who urinate.
In December, it was alleged at a meeting of the New Forest National Park Authority that some riders had defecated on village greens while taking part in sportive rides.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.