Police in Surrey say that they are taking the sabotage of cycling events seriously and are also trying to foster better understanding between cyclists and motorists on the county’s roads.
The number of people riding bikes in the county has boomed in recent years, particularly after the 2012 Olympic road races took in a route including sites such as Box Hill, and there has also been growth in the number of cycling events.
However, some locals have voiced strong opposition to the rise in cycling and as we reported last month, events such as Redhill Cycling Club’s Anniversary Race have been targeted by saboteurs who have sprinkled drawing pins on the route.
Now, Mole Valley neighbourhood Inspector Richard Hamlin, referring to that incident and another one that took place during June, has warned of the potential consequences of people attempting to disrupt events.
"On one of those occasions at least five cyclists were sabotaged,” he told the Dorking & Leatherhead Advertiser.
"The inconvenience factor is significant but there is also the danger factor. For most road bikes the pressure in the tyres is incredibly high. So the risk is that a tyre bursts and a cyclist can hit somebody.
"If we were to find anyone responsible for that we would be looking at a charge related to endangering road users and we would take it very seriously.
"My message is that if you are frustrated by cyclists then by all means contact your local residents' association, contact Mole Valley District Council and contact us and let us know what those frustrations are.
“We are working with cycling groups and they are keen to know what they can do to help.”
Inspector Hamlin insisted that police were taking the issue seriously, saying: "We are dealing with these incidents and if we catch those who choose to try to take the law into their own hands we will deal with them robustly."
He also said that in his experience, the vast majority of cyclists were riding responsibly.
"On Saturday morning I spent an hour in Newdigate and saw about 200 cyclists," he explained.
"199 of them were cycling in the correct manner. They were in good humour, they were in single file and they were respectful.
"There was one idiot who tried to overtake a car and I stopped him in the middle of the road and gave him some advice about the standard of his cycling. This wasn't an organised event but he told me I had spoilt his race.
"The message there is that we are aware of these issues and we do address them if we can.
"We don't want to deter cyclists, we just want to improve the relationship between them and other road users," he added.
It is not just in Surrey that some locals have taken to targeting cycling events in recent years, with events in Wales and the New Forest also seeing attempts at sabotage.
Anti-cyclist sentiment by a small but vociferous minority isn’t just affecting those taking part in events – as highlighted in the following post to Twitter by Sportive Photo Ltd this morning.
I'm gutted that two of our photographers no longer want to work in The New Forest, the hassle from irate car drivers has finished them off.
— SportivePhoto Ltd (@sportivephoto) July 14, 2015
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.