As if mountain biking wasn’t risky enough recent incidents of tail sabotage have highlighted just how dangerous it can be thanks to the brainless acts of others!
cyclists tend to get a raw deal, if they’re on the road motorists claim “they take up the road”, “they should have to take a test” or my favourite (and utterly wrong) statement “they should pay road tax”. Off road, walkers and other members of the public claim cyclists “get in the way”, “go too fast” and “go where they’re not allowed”.
Now it seems some of these people have decided to try and take the law into their own hands to try and stop cyclists, especially on the trails. The following incidents and photos demonstrate just how stupid and dangerous some people are as the sabotage wont only stop someone cycling but potentially kill them.
Recently in south Wales a rider was tangled in Barbed wire strung across the trail. The rider, who posted as Afan Valley Bike Shed on Facebook said: “I was riding on Saturday in the Ton Pentre area, down a trail I’ve ridden many times, and was almost beheaded by barbed wire strung up across the trail between two trees. Thank god I’m a big bloke as it cut across my chest and shoulders before sliding up to my neck. Seriously thought I was a goner as had to unwrap the wire from round my throat.”
If this one wasn’t bad enough check out this next one from 01st November when Cheshire based twelve50 bikes came across this in Delamere forest…
This isn’t the bog standard sabotage. As the photo shows, seven large spikes put at an angle were stuck into the ground. Whoever put these there were aiming to either seriously injure and/or kill any rider who would be unlucky enough to ride into it.
These two recent incidents arent the only ones and havent just come out the blue. Trails nationwaide have had problems of sabotage over the years. This includes obstacles put across trails, nails laid along routes and line tied across trails.
In September this year Wales Online reported on how the trails in Caerphilly were being sabotaged resulting in riders fearing for their safety.
The report highlighted the problems riders were having with the locals. It stated there were a number of incidents over the last 18 months with “stones, rocks, logs and even large trees laid across with no warning to mountain bike riders.”
Nathan Manning from the South Wales MTB club said: ““The majority are supportive of the trails and use them in harmony with us mountain bikers, but some have recently taken to laying obstacles – mostly logs and rocks across them in order to prevent the use of them to mountain biker”.
So what can we do as cyclists to stop this?
There’s nothing we can do to 100% put a stop to this but there’s a few things we can do the reduce the chance of this and reduce the risk for others.
Firstly, abide the laws. Only ride on Public Bridleways, roads etc. Don’t ride on public footpaths. This just generates conflict and will make walkers ‘sick’ of unruly cyclists.
Secondly, share the space. When on bridleways or trails where walkers, horse riders etc might be go a little slower and be prepared to slow down/stop to allow others space and time to pass.
Thirdly, look out for your fellow riders. If you think you see an example of sabotage or something that could cause harm stop and if appropriate move the risk (before taking a photo and reporting it). If moving the risk is not an option contact the relevant people (forestry commison, police etc) to move it and stay there to warn others.
Stay safe out there guys!