Around 50 riders taking part in the Marlow Red Kite charity bike ride suffered punctures this weekend after the event was targeted by a saboteur. The Bucks Herald reports that drawing pins were found spread across the road near the villages of Oakley and Brill.
Media officer for the ride, Jamie Baker said:
“I was based at the first feeding station in Brill and I became aware that a lot of cyclists were stopping because of punctures. The lads were not happy having to change wheels and we got a broom to sweep up a pile that we found near to the village.
“There were about 50 punctures, although we cleared up the pins before the rest of the field came through. Some people did ride with pins in their tyres. It is the fourth year we have held the race but the first time we have had anything like this.”
Event director Steve Tolmie described the incident as ‘incredibly disappointing’ and added that it could have been a lot worse if a puncture had caused someone to crash. “We reported this to Thames Valley Police immediately and they take incidents like this very seriously.”
The drawing pins were found on the B4011 near Oakley and anyone with information has been asked to pass it on to police.
Sadly, bike events and cycle routes are regularly targeted in this manner. In June, a large volume of drawing pins was found on a towpath alongside the River Cam, while last year a number of riders suffered punctures in the Valleys Velo sportive in South Wales following a similar attack. One rider who punctured at 80km/h in that event told road.cc that he believed the person responsible had put them on a fast descent aiming to inflict serious injury.
Baker said he too had experienced similar attempts prior to the Marlow Red Kite Ride being affected.
“When I was taking part in a ride in Scotland lots of carpet tacks were put on the road going up a climb. There were hundreds of punctures and people had to carry their bikes.
“It turned out that it was the chairman of the local parish council who did it and he was ostracised by the community for what he had done.”