Organisers of UK Cycling’s New Forest Spring Sportive were forced to take drastic action at the start of the two-day event when the participants were put in jeopardy by the reckless actions of the vandals.
Marshals had to sweep up the tacks off the road in Boldre – but some tyres were still punctured. And event organisers also found that more than 1,000 direction and safety signs had been removed or defaced, forcing safety teams to replace them before the 1,850 cyclists set off.Even the weather set its face against the two-wheeled menace:
Heavy rain added to the organisers’ problems, forcing them to cancel the second day as the hosting field in Brockenhurst became waterlogged.You’d have to have a heart of stone, wouldn't you? Luckily, I do.
Martin Barden, director of UK Cycling, said there were no injuries but he was “appalled” at the action of the vandals.
He said: “A small minority of people have taken to vigilante lengths to stop the events. Their behaviour is unacceptable. “And yet your behaviour is also deemed ‘unacceptable’ by, well, rather more people:
The event had attracted criticism in the week leading up to it, with some residents of the New Forest claiming that cyclists were an increasing nuisance as they flocked to the park to enjoy its breathtaking views.
Mr Barden said that the number of participants had been kept low out of respect to those living there.
“We could have had 10,000 people here but we reduced the figures. We did it consciously to be considerate to the local residents. The same courtesy has not been extended the other way, in some parts,” he added.Yes, well, claiming that you only inflicted a mild beating instead of the more violent one you could have inflicted isn't the best way to endear yourself to the residents, now is it?
Before the weekend’s event, a spokesman for the New Forest Equestrian Association said that there was a big risk to horses and riders from such events, especially when cyclists came up quickly and silently from behind.Train your horses to kick. That should solve it.