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Tacks painted black to make them harder to see

Sunday’s Valleys Velo sportive in Wales was targeted by someone distributing drawing pins along a section of the route. The event was also targeted in 2014 when tacks were spread on the descent of the Bwlch causing dozens of cyclists to puncture.

On both occasions the drawing pins were painted black in an apparent attempt to camouflage them.

Organiser Jamie Rowland of The Bike Doctor told us that despite precautions around 22 riders punctured out of the 400 riders taking part. As in 2014, he said that the tacks had been left on the Bwlch descent.

“Having been targeted in previous years we made every effort to reduce the risk of this happening,” he said.

“The police were notified on the lead up to the event and we even sent patrols and foot officers to the area to check before the riders got to that part of the course.

“We also had marshals present on the descent, each with a track pump and a box of inner tubes which we handed out free to riders.

“Despite this we had just a few riders pick up tacks on the descent. The tacks seemed to be strung out randomly over a distance of around four miles on that part of the course.

“Riders that unfortunately did puncture were almost immediately helped by the quick acting marshals and back on the bike in no time to continue with what was certainly the best Valleys Velo yet.”

Mark Deacon, who rode the event, told road.cc that his friend Matt had been one of those affected.

“We were heading down the Bwlch descent and he’d only gone about 500m when he felt and heard this ‘tick tick tick tick’ coming from the back tyre – it was a drawing pin, painted black. 

“We were going a fair pace so it’s a good job he didn’t just blow out else it would have been a bit dicey to say the least. It happened near the first hairpin bend so we’d have ended up on the other side of the road and with it not being a closed road event… well, it doesn’t bear thinking about.”

Deacon added that race organisers had been “brilliantly organised” and had done all they could to prevent and minimise problems.

“There was a chap with a big brush sweeping the road and within about five minutes the van pulled up with a track pump.  Another chap fell unlucky on the same spot just as we were putting Matt’s bike back together.

“I can’t understand why a few individuals would do something like this purely to ruin other people’s fun.  Makes me cross, but it wouldn’t ever stop me from entering another sportive… just have to be on the ball and not forget to pack your spare inner tubes.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.