Cyclists to the rescue as driver gets stuck in New Forest ditch

Peace breaks out as 6,000 riders enjoy problem-free day

Around 6,000 cyclists took part in two rides in the new Forest yesterday, and both events seem to have gone off with no reported problems. Indeed, one driver visiting the forest was very happy that the roads were full of fit people.

Traffic chaos had been predicted as a result of the Wiggle 100 sportive and CTC Gridiron ride taking place on the same day.

The Southern Daily Echo's Maxwell Kusi-Obodum reports that Hazel Platt from Basingstoke got her Nissan Micra stuck in a ditch and was rescued by six passing riders.

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 of Wiggle sportive organisers UK Cycling Events told road.cc: "We had no interference from any anti cycling locals and it was great to see so many locals 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."

The Echo reports that forest visitors in cars said their journeys were made slower by cyclists, but were taking it in good humour.

Mary Richards, 65, from Whinwhistle Road, 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."

Rider Debbie Mackenzie, 51, 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 Echo reported that he main pinch point on the two rides was Ornamental Drive. This is a section of road where the New Forest National Park Authority controversially plans to spend cycling funding to repair road damage caused by motor vehicles. Even on this narrow section, though, cars were able to easily pass riders without problem.

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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