Tacks were thrown on the road and route signs removed from a Surrey sportive last weekend, in an act of sabotage denounced by organisers for placing lives at risk.
Organisers of the Kelly’s Summer Cycle sportive, which started in Effingham last Sunday and headed out into the Surrey Hills, were forced to shorten the 75 mile route to 55 miles after some anti-cycling protesters took some of the event signs down overnight.
Although no-one was injured the event, all of the proceeds from which went to a local children’s charity, Cherry Trees, the sabotage was a disappointment for riders, and local people, who questioned such “extreme” behaviour.
Moira Martin, director of Kelly’s Storage Charity Events, which organised the event, and has raised more than £7,000 for charity so far, told Get Surrey: “People put lives at risk by doing such things.
"Kelly’s Storage Charity Events are completely non-profit making.
"Every penny donated, including entries, goes directly to charity.
“We all get annoyed if we are held up by cyclists while driving, but we are privileged to live in an area of outstanding natural beauty and should be prepared to share it with others, especially if they are raising money for our own local charities.”
Jamie Chisholm, of local cycling café and club, Bike Beans in Ashtead, told road.cc relations with cyclists and drivers on local roads had improved in recent years and the sabotage was an act of a minority of individuals.
He said: “It was really disappointing; I just can’t believe that people don’t have better things to do on their Saturday nights. At the end of the day it was really nicely-organised family run event. It’s not a commercially run sportive… all the money goes to charity.”
He said although thankfully no-one was injured, and relations between drivers and cyclists has improved in recent years, sabotage has become more common on the local mountain bike trails.
“I think certainly there has been a big improvement in Surrey, we get far less aggression and witness far less dangerous driving and people just generally seem to be more patient.”
“There seems to be a better understanding between cyclists and cars and we work hard to make sure our rides aren’t too big and there are riding in an appropriate way to make life for car drivers as easy as possible.
“There’s sabotage on our local trails, either putting big branches across the trail at head or neck height or wire, or just laying branches across the trail to try to ruin the mountain bike experience
“There is a body of people a small minority that just can’t stand cyclists and they will go out of their way to disrupt what they are doing as much as possible.”
“Otherwise why would you go around in the middle of the night taking signs down? It’s pretty extreme.”
Helen Naisby, events and community manager at Cherry Trees, told Get Surrey: “It was fantastic to see so many smiling faces as the cyclists returned from enjoying the scenic countryside of the Surrey Hills.
“We are delighted to have been chosen by Kelly’s to receive all of the proceeds from this event, including entry donations, and are very grateful to them for paying for and organising such a fun event."