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Cease Fire in the New Forest? 6,000 Cyclists - Across Two Separate Events - Enjoy Incident-Free Weekend

by Nick Gregory

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This weekend saw two events - the CTC Gridiron Ride and the Wiggle New Forest 100 - both take to the roads of the National Park, an area that has been a hotbed of sabotage and ill-feeling towards cyclists over the past couple of years. 

Recent incidents - which have affected both spring and autumn events - have included the spreading of mud and tacks on the route, as well as the removal of directional signs. 

However, despite nearly 6,000 cyclists being involved across the weekend, it seems that there were no reported incidents; and in fact, one driver ended up being glad of the additional numbers out on the road. The Southern Daily Echo reported that Hazel Platt, from Basingstoke, got her Nissan Micra stuck in a ditch and was helped by six passing cyclists. 

She said: "They were so kind. I didn't know what to do and suddenly these six men turned up. It's great that people are able to enjoy the Forest like this." 

Martin Barden, head of UK Cycling Events - the organisers of the Wiggle New Forest 100 - told Road.CC: "We had no interference from any anti-cycling locals and it was great to see so many cheering the riders and showing their support. The changes we have made to take into account local concerns seems to have worked. The riders' behaviour during the event was the best I have seen." 

NF1

Although visitors in cars said their journeys were slowed by cyclists, fears of widespread chaos and pandemonium on the roads were not realised. 

Mary Richards from East Wellow, said: "If you live in the middle of a national park you expect people to come for the leisure activities. It's been very well organised and stewarded." 

Those taking part in the events all seemed to have a great time, despite the weather which turned decidedly wet and windy by the end of Sunday afternoon. 

Debbie Mackenzie from Pimperne, near Blandford, who took part in the Gridiron, said: "You see some of the faster riders pass you but apart from that there hasn't been too much congestion and it hasn't caused us any problem. It's very beautiful going through the New Forest." 

The Wiggle New Forest 100 was based out of Matchams Leisure Park near Ringwood, whilst the Girdiron riders set off from Lymington Community Centre.





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