A cyclist who complained about the resurfacing of the Scottish National Cycle Network has won an apology from the Forestry Commission for the work.
Donald Baddon, 55, from Broughty Ferry, said the NCN Route 1 between Tayport and Tentsmuir was now comprised of large stones, which made his route “treacherous”.
He told the Evening Telegraph: “My wife and I were coming along the route the other day and it was like the bedding of a railway line.
“I think it runs for about five or six miles — it’s a fairly substantial stretch.
“It was much better before — I can’t believe they did this and thought it looked right.”
He added: “I ride a road bike so it was treacherous for me. My wife has a commuter bike with wider tyres but even she was really struggling to use the path.
“Other cyclists and runners have been complaining as well. It’s part of the NCN route so you really need to be able to pass it by bike.”
NCN Route 1 is one of the UK’s longest cycling routes, stretching from Dover to the Shetland Islands.
Hamish Murray, of Forest Enterprise Scotland’s team in Tayside, said: “The route through the forest has for a long time been made up of soft sand that hampered access for our vehicle and for the emergency vehicles which are called out to incidents.
“The design of the upgrade did initially provide a smooth rolling surface but unusually dry and windy conditions in spring prevented the surface from consolidating properly.
“Unfortunately, our recent attempts to correct this have not been successful.
“We are working with Sustrans to come up with a solution for this problem, and it is our intention to create the smooth quality expected for a multi-use path.
“We would like to apologise for any inconvenience that this has caused.”
Last month we reported how a fresh petition was launched highlighting the danger posed to cyclists by so-called ‘scraping’ – the practice by some local authorities of dressing road surfaces with gravel chippings, rather than resurfacing them.
The charity Cycling UK, however, says it is unaware of any increase in its use, but has asked cyclists to let them know if that has happened in their own areas.
The petition was launched by Danny Shafrir on the website 38 degrees (link is external), where he wrote:
Over the last few months and weeks, local roads and lanes around the country have been scraped instead of resurfaced.
The government claims, it is more cost-effective way to maintaining roads. This policy has created highly dangerous conditions for thousands of cyclists who uses these roads and lanes, whether commuting to work, leisure rides or staying fit.
The loose gravely surface is highly slippery and damn right dangerous, especially in rain, during descents and while turning.
How is this policy compatible with policies such as, cycle to work, reducing air pollution, safe space for cycling?
This could lead most cyclists on to using main roads with fast moving traffic or avoid riding all together. This policy must be reversed!
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.