We’ve often reported on saboteurs spreading tacks for races and sportives, but the Birmingham Mail reports that someone has taken similar action in the leafy Shropshire village of Badger, which sees a steady stream of cyclists passing through on most weekends.
The village authority’s newsletter, the Badger Bulletin, states: “On two occasions recently before weekends, drawing pins have been scattered across the lane in the village.
“They are presumably aimed at cyclists who come through the village, often in groups and sometimes (but certainly not always) far too fast.
“However, this is disgraceful, not to mention criminal, behaviour.
“Apart from cyclists, locals have found many pins in their tyres which, if the heads break off, could be hidden until they cause a puncture at speed. Let’s hope it’s not anybody from the village who is behaving in such a mindless way.”
The newspaper spoke to one anonymous angry resident, who said they were involved in an argument with a cyclist last weekend.
“They won’t move over and go one abreast,” they said. “Sunday was awful. One was really abusive and shouted and swore. I told him his language was appalling and he replied ‘Not as appalling as your fucking driving’.”
Riding two abreast is of course perfectly legal and frequently advisable. Nick Jeggo, chairman of Newport Cycling Club, defended the practice and said that the spreading tacks was dangerous and irresponsible.
“There are irresponsible drivers, but I don’t blame all drivers. We set out a guide for group riding – what you do, and what you don’t do. Sometimes it’s safer not to ‘single out’. If you single out on a narrow country lane you are inviting motorists to attempt to overtake. You have to make the call.”
Jeggo added: “Cycle tyres are expensive, they can be £30 each. If you’re down to the rim it can be dangerous. But, remember, it only takes one idiot to do something like this and suddenly it’s a big issue and people are blaming the whole village. It could easily be just one person or kids.”
Andrew Davies, head of Bridgnorth Cycling Club, said that none of the group’s members had reported damage from drawing pins.
“Cycling is like everything else, you have the good and bad,” he said. “Can they be sure they’re targeting cyclists? It is irresponsible because you have cars and horses as well. It could be one person or two people – you can’t blame a whole village.”