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Tack Attack: Marlow Red Kite Charity Ride Proves a Success Despite Sabotage

by Nick Gregory

GB Flag

Yet another cycling event has been hit by saboteurs this summer as the Marlow Red Kite Ride, a popular charity event in rural Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire became the latest victim on Sunday. 

Dozens of riders were forced off the road with punctures after drawing pins were discovered to have been scattered across the route near the villages of Oakley and Brill. 

"At one point the road to Brill was littered with cyclists with flat tyres," said an Event spokesman for the annual Marlow Red Kite Ride, which each year raises thousands of pounds for charity. 

Organisers acted immediately to remove drawing pins from two stretches of the road as early arrivals tried to dodge the danger. 

"Its incredibly disappointing that a narrow minded individual has attempted to spoil the day for a large group of people. And it could have been considerably worse," said Event director, Steve Tolmie. 

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A stunning day on the Thames as riders approach Marlow Bridge

 "Cyclists could have sustained serious injuries as a result of this attempt. We reported this to Thames Valley Police immediately and they take incidents like this very seriously." 

Tolmie concluded: "Safety to our riders and other road users is our number one concern and we would be very keen for anyone who saw anything suspicious on the B4011 near Oakley to contact police with any information." 

Over the past year cycling events from all over the country have been hit by acts of sabotage, particularly involving the use of tacks and drawing pins.  

Nevertheless, the drawing pin saga failed to dampen the enthusiasm of 700 riders who tackled one of four routes on offer at this year's Marlow Red Kite Ride.

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Event Director Steve Tolmie with some of the drawing pins 

Sixteen year-old Olly Hucks from Radnege nr High Wycombe completed the new 126 mile route in 7hr 24 mins and then revealed that he also cycled the 10 miles from home to the start! 

Olly was part of a family of four who rode the different distances with younger brother Sam delighted to have finished his first 80 mile ride. 

Allard Van Ness travelled from Amsterdam to take part in the 126 mile category. Van Ness, a 49 year-old Tax Advisor, is used to cycling the flat roads of Holland, so found the 6,300ft of climbing quite a challenge. 

He was not the only overseas entrant. Paul Ward swapped his normal route of cycling on the desert tracks of Dubai for the ups and downs of the Chilterns as he took advantage of a visit to England to take on the 50 mile route. 

Organisers were delighted with not only the sell-out field of 700 riders but that so many stayed behind to sample the special atmosphere at the finish. 

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Paralympic gold medallist, Naomi Riches rides a specially adapted bike with 13 year-old Niamh Dunwoody, one of the recipients of support from Cyclists fighting Cancer, the Red Kite Ride's nominated charity

"Not only did we sell-out the entries, we also sold out of beer and burgers!" added Tolmie. "It was quite a day". 

This is the fourth year of the Red Kite Ride organised by volunteers from Marlow Riders. For the second year running the event raised money for Cyclists Fighting Cancer, who help youngsters with cancer to regain their strength, fitness and confidence by supplying adapted bikes and trikes. 

This year organisers are optimistic that the total money raised from the event will exceed £7,000. 

For more information on the Marlow Red Kite Ride visit www.marlowredkiteride.co.uk and to learn more about the work of Cyclists Fighting Cancer visit www.cyclistsfightingcancer.org.uk.





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