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Weather warnings force cancellation of Vélo South closed road sportive

Met Office yellow weather warning predicts gale force winds and heavy rain – organisers promise full refunds of entry and car parking fees

Vélo South the much anticipated closed road sportive which was scheduled to take place in Sussex this weekend has been cancelled on safety grounds with a Met Office yellow weather warning of gale force winds and heavy rain still in effect for West Sussex and surrounding parts of South East England for the duration of the time the event was scheduled to take place on Sunday. 

In a statement on the Vélo South website the organisers, CSM Events, say that the summary of all the different wether forecasts they consulted was:

“– Constant wind speeds as high as 38mph

– Wind gusts as high as 53mph

– Heavy rain throughout the event”

In addition they say that the sources they have consulted conclude that winds are like to be blowing at a constant 40mph for the duration of the event which will pose a significant risk not only to those taking part but to the volunteers, marshals, and staff helping to run the event. The statement summarises the main risks as:

“– Gusts blowing cyclists over or causing collisions

– Trees/branches/infrastructure damaged or falling

– Key event infrastructure (eg, safety barriers, feed stations, etc) compromised or unable to be constructed

– Increased pressure on medical and blue light services supporting the event

– Greatly increased risk of participants not being able to complete the event

– Exposure of stewards/volunteers/event staff to adverse conditions for long periods”

Given the severe nature of the weather conditions forecast Vélo South say they have taken the decision to cancel now so as to save people making the journey to West Sussex and incurring further costs. the event had attracted 15,000 entries for the 100 mile closed road ride. 

Vélo South say they hope to reschedule the event for some time in 2019 and will be working with the local authority to identify an alternative date as quickly as possible. CSM then went on to address the issue of refunds in a sentence highlighted in their statement: “In the meantime, all participants will be entitled to a full refund of their event entry fees & car-parking fees. Please bear with us and we will be in touch very soon to communicate the exact process for this.” 

“The entire Vélo South team are devastated that the event will not take place on Sunday and we know this is extremely disappointing news for all of our cyclists, stakeholders and supporters but the weather forecasts have left us with no alternative.”

Participants with any queries are encouraged to email hello [at] velosouth.com

No word yet as to whether the threatened walking protest against the event will still take place or if protesters will instead focus their attention on marching against the disruption to travel for local residents and drivers caused by the adverse weather instead.

We will update this story with any further developments as and when we get them in the coming days.

road.cc's founder and first editor, nowadays to be found riding a spreadsheet. Tony's journey in cycling media started in 1997 as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - finally handing on the reins in 2021 to Jack Sexty. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes, though he'd like to own a carbon bike one day.

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50 comments

Avatar
Fishpastesarnie | 5 years ago
1 like

I went and did the ride on Saturday. Heavens opened at about 1pm which made the last 30 miles rather grim. Glad I did it though. 

 

 

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BehindTheBikesheds | 5 years ago
7 likes

Beecho, apologies, in my haste to retort back to a a certain poster I name dropped you in error. It was in fact Prosper0 who had banged on about matters being made a fuss off.

I accept derision on the chin for my stupidity. 

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brooksby | 5 years ago
4 likes

So what was the actual weather like there today? Were Velo South right to cancel?

Were the roads full of farmers and waxed jacketed locals going to hospital, church, etc, freed from the depredations of hordes of sportivers?

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Zigster replied to brooksby | 5 years ago
1 like
brooksby wrote:

So what was the actual weather like there today? Were Velo South right to cancel?

Were the roads full of farmers and waxed jacketed locals going to hospital, church, etc, freed from the depredations of hordes of sportivers?

I didn't spot any church-going locals in their 4x4s, but I did go out for a ride in Sussex on Sunday morning and it was pretty awful.  I set off a bit earlier (6.30) than usual so avoided the worst of it but it was very heavy rain by about 9.00 and I wouldn't have fancied being out in that all morning. It would have been at best a miserable experience and at worst downright dangerous as the roads were so full of water (and hiding all the potholes to which Sussex is unfortunately prone).

Against the forecasts, It did turn out pretty nice in the afternoon.

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Daveyraveygravey replied to brooksby | 5 years ago
1 like
brooksby wrote:

So what was the actual weather like there today? Were Velo South right to cancel?

Were the roads full of farmers and waxed jacketed locals going to hospital, church, etc, freed from the depredations of hordes of sportivers?

 

Personally, I think they were.  I live about 2 miles away from the south east corner of the route, it rained Saturday afternoon, all night, and til about 1 pm.  The gale force winds didn't show up though.  I walked to the local shops mid-morning and it was wet and cold, and I was glad I hadn't had to get up at 5 am and stand around in a pen in the drizzle thinking whether I wanted to risk it.  The roads were wet and some of the quiet country lanes would have been very suspect for 15000 riders to try and negoatiate.

I don't think the antis got out of bed.  Of course, they would all have been at church thanking their god for helping them out...

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Anthony.C | 5 years ago
1 like

I did the Ride London in worse weather, the tailend of a hurricane it was. Can't say I enjoyed it too much though. 

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Rapha Nadal | 5 years ago
1 like

See you when you get here, mate!

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Crampy | 5 years ago
1 like

Fags. I rode home yesterday in a red weather warning (storm knud, as the Norwegian met office called it). Did me no harm.

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Deeferdonk replied to Crampy | 5 years ago
6 likes
Crampy wrote:

Fags. I rode home yesterday in a red weather warning (storm knud, as the Norwegian met office called it). Did me no harm.

It might have made you homophobic by the looks of it.

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David9694 | 5 years ago
0 likes

Well, it looks like the piddling rain turned up on time this weekend. High winds seem to be a bit late on parade...

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Kadinkski replied to David9694 | 5 years ago
3 likes
David9694 wrote:

Well, it looks like the piddling rain turned up on time this weekend. High winds seem to be a bit late on parade...

The high winds are forecast for tomorrow, you know, the day of the actual event. Why would they cancel the event if the high winds were forecast for the day before?

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mattsccm | 5 years ago
0 likes

Surely the antis can't go out either as, according to most posts above, it's too dangerous.

Valid points from all side but that never matters on Roadcc does it?

The weather is not the organisers fault and should a rider ride and get hurt it is in no way the responsibility of the organisers. However the need to protect awnings etc is valid and the sooner the warning the better I would assume.

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Jetmans Dad replied to mattsccm | 5 years ago
0 likes
mattsccm wrote:

The weather is not the organisers fault and should a rider ride and get hurt it is in no way the responsibility of the organisers. 

Whilst I agree with you, given the people that crawl out of the woodwork to demand RideLondon be banned every time a rider is injured in a major crash or dies of a medical emergency suffered on the course, I think they are right to err on the side of caution and react to anything that would be classified as a forseeable risk. 

Imagine what the reaction would be if VeloSouth went ahead, and a rider was hurt due to something being blown across a wet course on which braking was more tricky. Protestations that they can't be held responsible for the weather would fall on pretty deaf ears. 

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nniff | 5 years ago
0 likes

There are 17 of us from a local-ish club booked on it (about an hour away by car).  We have hired a group of cottages, so the majority are still going down to make a weekend of it and ride a bit before the weather kicks in.  That was a worthwhile end of season boost for the owner of the cottages, I'd say.

As far as the walking protest is concerned, it is an ideal opportunity for them to demonstrate how unnecessary closed roads are by conducting their protest as intended.  They are of course entitled to use the public highway, a fact that motorists will, I am sure, be all too pleased to recognise.

 

Finally, the antis had also declared their intention to organise an alternative event that was more 'inclusive' etc.  Well, the principle's established, the money will be back in 15,000 people's pockets - that's what the armed forces would call a 'target-rich environment'.  Go to it antis and show us what you've got.

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ktache | 5 years ago
3 likes

a bit of wind and rain, constant wind at 40mph and gusts to 60mph, I might do the commute but a going out for a proper ride, no thanks.

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Jem PT | 5 years ago
0 likes

You really want nice weather for these sort of events - so why did they time it with the autumn equinoxe when the winds and rain are often at their worse? 

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Joe Totale replied to Jem PT | 5 years ago
0 likes
Jem PT wrote:

You really want nice weather for these sort of events - so why did they time it with the autumn equinoxe when the winds and rain are often at their worse? 

 

Pure speculation on my part but perhaps this was a request from the council? 

Closing roads at this time of year is less disruptive than the holiday season and also it would provide a welcome financial boost to local businesses such as hotels and restaurants which could do with some extra trade at this time of year. 

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SecretSam | 5 years ago
2 likes

The Howler event in Haddenham (Bucks) also binned.

 

Velo South was risky given its timing, late in season.  Plus it was expensive, but a real shame for those who'd signed up.

As for the NIMBYs, if it had been some naff old car rally they'd not have made a peep.  Am sure the local bike shops, hotels, etc were actually quite positive about the event and the additional late season income.

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PRSboy | 5 years ago
3 likes

Road CC wrote- "No word yet as to whether the threatened walking protest against the event will still take place or if protesters will instead focus their attention on marching against the disruption to travel for local residents and drivers caused by the adverse weather instead."

Brilliant last para!

 

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cptlik | 5 years ago
2 likes

I was due to ride this and though I am dissapointed I know its the correct decision to make considering the information they have to hand.  They can't just let it go ahead and "hope" that the weather passess or improves.  Unfortunately its just a risk that you take when you enter anything like this and I guess even when you go on holiday.  Its not just cylcing either; Reading half marathon got called off for example, same problems with people travelling etc but its just one of those things.

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Miller replied to cptlik | 5 years ago
0 likes
cptlik wrote:

Its not just cylcing either; Reading half marathon got called off for example, same problems with people travelling etc but its just one of those things.

Reading half-marathon was not exactly the same thing, there was about 10cm of new snow on the ground on the morning of that event! This is a bit of wind and rain - we do live in Britain.

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cptlik replied to Miller | 5 years ago
0 likes
Miller wrote:
cptlik wrote:

Its not just cylcing either; Reading half marathon got called off for example, same problems with people travelling etc but its just one of those things.

Reading half-marathon was not exactly the same thing, there was about 10cm of new snow on the ground on the morning of that event! This is a bit of wind and rain - we do live in Britain.

 

I meant the problem with travelling and having events in general, not the reaons for the cancellation.

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Miller | 5 years ago
0 likes

After this, I'd be surprised if this event is scheduled for next year.

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Philip Whiteman | 5 years ago
1 like

Audaxes -  a lot less hassle and lot less expense.  

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il sole replied to Philip Whiteman | 5 years ago
0 likes
Philip Whiteman wrote:

Audaxes -  a lot less hassle and lot less expense.  

and a lot more traffic!

on velo south, I'm gutted. was really looking forward to it, even if the weather had been rubbish. Ride London was pretty appalling this year too, but winds forecast for sunday are over 40mph and from a direction which would have been pretty crap for the route. You should see the gloating and glee from the local NIMBYs though - OMG, it makes you sick!

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David9694 replied to il sole | 5 years ago
0 likes
il sole wrote:
Philip Whiteman wrote:

Audaxes -  a lot less hassle and lot less expense.  

and a lot more traffic!

on velo south, I'm gutted. was really looking forward to it, even if the weather had been rubbish. Ride London was pretty appalling this year too, but winds forecast for sunday are over 40mph and from a direction which would have been pretty crap for the route. You should see the gloating and glee from the local NIMBYs though - OMG, it makes you sick!

I’m of a mood to hoover me up some NIMBY gloating - where might I access this?

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Yorkshire wallet | 5 years ago
1 like

Here's to all the Strava PRs that now won't happen. I just had my mate email me asking if I'm up for some PR hunting over the weekend as we could be looking at 40mph in places.

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Luv2ride | 5 years ago
2 likes

Friend of mine was doing this, but it sounded that due to the registration process most non-local riders would most likely need to travel down the night before.  All very well getting refunds for the event, but doubt many would get refunds for cancelled accommodation?  Not great, and may make a lot of people think twice before booking on any re-organised event for 2019.  Especially given the local minority who clearly want to close the event down entirely.  Wonder off this gives the "anti's" more time to regroup to mount a more substancial challenge for next time?

Gutted for those who booked to ride it...and a decision probably had to be communicated by event organisers today to allow those likely to be travelling down tomorrow to change plans.  Given the forecast, I'm not sure they had much choice.

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tulip_girl100 replied to Luv2ride | 5 years ago
1 like
Luv2ride wrote:

Friend of mine was doing this, but it sounded that due to the registration process most non-local riders would most likely need to travel down the night before.  All very well getting refunds for the event, but doubt many would get refunds for cancelled accommodation?  Not great, and may make a lot of people think twice before booking on any re-organised event for 2019.  Especially given the local minority who clearly want to close the event down entirely.  Wonder off this gives the "anti's" more time to regroup to mount a more substancial challenge for next time?

Gutted for those who booked to ride it...and a decision probably had to be communicated by event organisers today to allow those likely to be travelling down tomorrow to change plans.  Given the forecast, I'm not sure they had much choice.

 

Yeah, i've lost my accommodation fee which was £80. It was the cheapest I could find and was still not cheap! I've saved on train fairs of course but still a bit frustrating. To be honest, it's very unlikely i'll sign up next year for the simple fact that it's more expensive than Ride London, accommodation is expensive and there was no bag drop at the site (only communicated after booking). I will be riding in my club's annual crit race instead.

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Chris Hayes | 5 years ago
0 likes

I think it would have been worth waiting until Friday evening. Bad weather often subsides or passes quickly and 1000s have made their plans already

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