November’s Wiggle Bitter Beast sportive in Dorset has been cancelled – because it falls on Remembrance Sunday, and therefore clashes with villages commemorating their wartime dead.
The event, on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, is the autumnal counterpart to the Wiggle Jurassic Beast, the next edition of which takes place on 17 May 2017.
Both are organised by UK Cycling Events, which organises some 50 sportives and mountain bike events in Great Britain, the vast majority in the south of England, most of them carrying Wiggle branding.
According to a report in The Daily Express, the Wiggle Bitter Beast was cancelled after local residents as well as Dorset Police and the Purbeck District Council raised objections because of the planned date.
Retired Merchant Navy member Malcolm Shakesby said: "If the riders taking part in this event try and steam through these villages while Remembrance services are taking place there's going to be a riot.”
Councillor Peter Wharfe of Purbeck District Council apologised for “the inconvenience this may cause" cyclists who have registered for the event.
But he said, “It would have been entirely wrong for the event to go ahead on Remembrance Sunday.”
He added: "I'm so pleased that the event organisers have decided to cancel it. I think they realised it would not have been a very popular decision had they chosen to go ahead with the ride.”
A Wiggle spokesman, quoted in the Express, commented: "It has come to our attention that many of the small villages within the Purbeck region are holding formal and informal Remembrance Sunday parades and services, which could affect our event.
"We have an obligation to respect the activities of the local communities we operate in and as such have made the decision to cancel this event following recommendations from the police and local authorities, despite our best efforts to find a solution.”
Bought last year by publishers Time, Inc, events organised by UK Cycling Events – and in particular, ones that carry the Wiggle branding – do tend to come under close scrutiny in Dorset and Hampshire, with some locals in the New Forest trying to sabotage them by moving signs or spreading tacks.
UK Cycling Events has published its 2017 calendar – but while the Wiggle Jurassic Beast appears there, the Wiggle Bitter Beast does not, and no events are planned for Remembrance Sunday, which next year falls on 12 November.
For this year, a search on the events page of the British Cycling website returns only one sportive scheduled to take place on Remembrance Sunday – the The "Keep It Growing" Movember Ride based in Ellerker, East Yorkshire.
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.