Chris Boardman has signed a petition begun by a road.cc user calling for Surrey County Council to better communicate with those affected by organised rides in the area, so that the future of mass rides in the area is not compromised.
Almost 3,000 people have now signed the petition, begun by Keith McRae (aka Gkam84 on the site), and another user, gedward, approached Boardman to ask for his support.
The petition is a direct counter to Ian Huggins’ ‘Stop Surrey being turned into a cycle track’ campaign, which claims that 'residents of Surrey are pestered and annoyed by cyclists' training and riding in sportives, 'in very large numbers from very early in the morning shouting at each other.'
Boardman said of his signature: "With 35,000 deaths a year in the UK linked directly to obesity related illness and 5 billion spent on treating said conditions, I want to see cycling and walking encouraged wherever possible as the preferred means of transport.
"Our country's current use of cars for even short journeys is killing us.
"These events offer a safe and attractive method for families to experience cycling, often for the first time and whilst it should be kept to a minimum, inconvenience to residence for a few hours a year would seem a small price to pay.
"Finally, those complaining should consider what increasing car usage will make their communities like to live in as opposed to increasing use of bicycles as an alternative and ask themselves: 'Which place would I prefer my children to grow up in...'"
One of the most-heard local complaints about the RideLondon 100 was a lack of consultation and notification. Keith McRae writes: “Residents should be informed and brought into discussions about routes and road closures that may come into effect during such high profile events.”
In the comments of Ian Huggins’ petition, many people claim that cyclists don’t pay road tax - one even refers to it as ‘Road Fund Licence’, an official term that disappeared in 1937. Keith McRae takes the opportunity to point out that “the people of Surrey seem to think that their tax is solely spent on the roads of their county for the sole purpose of using their cars to get about” and of course that there is no such thing as road tax.
Mr McRae then dissects Mr Huggins’ original petition point by point, in particular explaining that the RideLondon 100 was not a race, but a challenge event; that all roads are suitable for cycling except motorways; and that a full road closure is the only way to safely run such a large event.
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.