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New Forest Spring Sportive Subject To Attempted Sabotage

by Henry Peacock

The New Forest Sportive (13th April) has been subject to attempted sabotage by a few people intent on causing damage to both property and person.

The UK Cycling Events New Forest Sportive now attracts up to 7000 riders across the two days, the Sunday of the event this year being cancelled due to heavy rainfall meaning the car parks were left unusableand parts of the course were not fit to be ridden on.

A Chance To take In A National Park

The opposition to the New Forest Spring Sportive started when 'locals' from the New Forest area said that cyclists were ruining the environment in the New Forest. They claimed that cyclists were speeding through the forest, casuing disruption and damaging the delicate balance of life. Every year there are around 70 ponies or livestock killed every year in the New Forest and so far not one cyclist riding a bicycle has caused a single death.

The event, which was first run in 2010, was subject to difficulties on the Saturday. Organiser Martin Barden of UK Cycling Events commented on what happened: "The event was unaffected by the actions of a small group of local people who are opposed to cycling in the new forest. There were deliberate attempts to sabotage the cycling event none of which affected those riding. All the signs along the route had been taken down that we had erected the day before and our staff were out from 3am putting all the signs back up. Some of these signs had been strewn into the road by whoever had taken them down which is at odds with the protection of the New Forest."

Barden continued: "A small protest group of around 35 people who called themselves 'No cycling in the new forest' on one part of the course had tried to intimidate a few riders as they passed through, the police were on hand and are aware of who these people. Unfortunately an individual had strewn tacks on the road in a possibly unrelated matter, probably to cause punctures to those cycling, the UK Cycling Events staff and those patrolling the course spotted this and cleared them away as best as they could. All but one rider passed through without a puncture. A similar incident in the same are ended with a local man cycling on his way to work unfortunately punctured due to carpet tacks at speed and fell, breaking his collarbone.


The taking down of signs and laying of tacks on the road is irresponsible and extremely dangerous, although due to the UK Cycling Events professional methods there was no change to the event due to the actions of a few.

The Safety Advisory Group was in attendance at the event and were very impressed by how well the whole situation was dealt with. The opposition to cycling in the New Forest is at odds with what the New Forest is all about, it is after all a National Park.

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1 Comment

18th April 2013 6:35pm Ken Yates wrote:

Yep it was great flooded car park and campsite and no refund