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“Luckily I saw it in time”: Cyclist narrowly avoids rope and bramble trap on popular bridleway

The cyclist was riding at 30kph on a fast section of the trail when he spotted the act of sabotage

A cyclist riding on a popular bridle path in Berkshire narrowly avoided disaster this week, stopping just in time to avoid a booby trap made up of rope and brambles strung across the path.

The act of sabotage was spotted by cyclist John on the Knowl Hill Bridleway Circuit, a roughly 30 mile loop around Maidenhead, Hurley, and the surrounding villages, which is popular with horse riders and off-road cyclists.

John told road.cc that he was riding his gravel bike on a part of the route just south of the Broadmoor Road, near Waltham Saint Lawrence, when he spotted the act of deliberate sabotage.

“This bit is a fairly smooth, flowy section and I was up to about 30kph,” he says. “Luckily I saw it in time to stop, but I easily could’ve hit it as it was a sunny day and this bit was in the shade.”

Thanks to a knife from his repair kit (a benefit, he noted, of riding tubeless), John was able to cut through the rope and dismantle the trap.

He continued: “From what I could figure it was possibly in some way linked to the adjacent field as there was similar rope within that. I think it may be occupied by cattle or horses, so it may be a disgruntled landowner?”

John added that he has reported the trap to the local authority, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, who confirmed that the matter has been passed on to their Highways and Public Rights of Way departments.

> “I could have been paralysed” – Top Irish cyclo-cross racer sustains broken bones due to trap on mountain bike trail

Unfortunately, John’s near miss on the Knowl Hill Bridleway isn’t the first time this year that cyclists have encountered Machiavellian acts of sabotage on popular trails and bike paths.

In February, police in Staffordshire issued a warning after a cyclist found a wire stretched across a trail at Brocton Coppice, in the popular Cannock Chase forest in Staffordshire.

Officers said they received a report from a cyclist riding in Cannock Chase, a popular haunt for mountain bikers just north of Birmingham, concerning a wire that had been tied between a tree and a post, at “adult waist height”, across one of the forest’s paths.

Staffordshire Police said the apparent attempt at sabotage “could cause serious injury to walkers, cyclists, children, horse riders, or wildlife”.

Later that month, a cyclist from North Wales was seriously injured after he crashed into a similar length of wire stretched across a cycle path.

41-year-old Ian Davies was knocked out as a result of the crash, which saw him being thrown over the handlebars on his bike, hitting the ground head-first. The impact left him concussed, and he also sustained a broken collarbone and three fractured ribs in the incident, which happened on the Chester Millennium Greenway near Deeside Industrial Park.

The trap, which was at waist height, was made from wire from an adjacent fence and according to Mr Davies followed a similar hazard in the same location three weeks before, with no-one injured on that occasion.

Wire trap (via Ian Davies on Twitter)

> Cyclist seriously injured after wire stretched across bike path

This unsettling phenomena of cyclists being targeted by locals unhappy at them using forest trails or paths rose sharply during the initial stages of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In June 2021, a nine-year-old boy sustained a neck injury after cycling into a rope stretched across a path in woodlands in Kent, causing him to fall off his bike, while a year earlier a mountain biker suffered a nasty wrist injury after riding into a metal wire strung across a West Yorkshire trail.

In May 2020, a cyclist riding in woods in Cleveland had both his tyres punctured after he rode across a wooden board with nails hammered into it that had been left as a trap for cyclists.

And later that month, two women in their sixties were spoken to by police after admitting placing rocks and branches on a path in North Yorkshire to stop cyclists from using it.

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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18 comments

Avatar
Secret_squirrel | 10 months ago
1 like

I think its worthwhile bearing in mind that this wasnt just targeted at cyclists.

Its local to me and far more used by horse riders than cyclists afaik.

Its pretty clear that the perp wanted blood regardless of who or what it came from.

Sick twisted individual.

Avatar
ChrisB200SX replied to Secret_squirrel | 10 months ago
2 likes
Secret_squirrel wrote:

I think its worthwhile bearing in mind that this wasnt just targeted at cyclists.

Its local to me and far more used by horse riders than cyclists afaik.

Its pretty clear that the perp wanted blood regardless of who or what it came from.

Sick twisted individual.

It's aimed at people, I don't really see what method of transport has to do with this act of terrorism.

Avatar
Rome73 | 10 months ago
3 likes

"Unfortunately, John’s near miss on the Knowl Hill Bridleway isn’t the first time this year that cyclists have encountered Machiavellian acts of sabotage on popular trails and bike paths."

I suspect Machiavelli would be a lot more subtle and  more astute than just knocking up a crude and obvious trap such as this. 

Avatar
brooksby replied to Rome73 | 10 months ago
0 likes
BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP wrote:

I suspect Machiavelli would be a lot more subtle and  more astute than just knocking up a crude and obvious trap such as this. 

Quietly whispering in the ear of local councillors and "stakeholders"...

Avatar
Wheelywheelygood | 10 months ago
3 likes

I've not heard of trapping cyclists before , so any suggestions on how to cook them do they need a marinade and can unfreeze them 

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giff77 replied to Wheelywheelygood | 10 months ago
6 likes

Lost your bridge? 

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chrisonabike replied to Wheelywheelygood | 10 months ago
5 likes
Wheelywheelygood wrote:

I've not heard of trapping cyclists before , ...

Yet you're putting out a lot of bait?

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Clem Fandango replied to Wheelywheelygood | 10 months ago
6 likes

Trapping Cyclists were an Indie band that had a modicum of success in the mid 90s.

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hawkinspeter | 10 months ago
4 likes

Surely laying these kinds of indiscriminate traps is an act of terrorism. I would expect a more robust reaction the police.

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momove replied to hawkinspeter | 10 months ago
10 likes

Imagine the response if this sort of thing was done on a road, targeting motor traffic?

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HLaB replied to momove | 10 months ago
6 likes

Things have maybe change but when the Etape Caledonia got sabotaged some of the police motorbike's got damaged too.  The perp wasn't charged with risking the safety of 100s of cyclists but doing damage to crown property! Although IIRC they let him away with a slap on the wrists in the end sad

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ktache | 10 months ago
14 likes

I understand from "others" that the hatred towards cyclists is caused solely by the use of cameras catching lawbreaking motorists by CyclingMikey and Jeremy Vine.

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polainm replied to ktache | 10 months ago
9 likes

It's caused by toxic media whipping up tribalism to sell advertising. 

This is reinforced by arrogance in government and ignorant judges. 

 

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chrisonabike replied to ktache | 10 months ago
2 likes

Correct - because of them even Karl Freiherr von Drais was accused of being an entitled* idiot on his "hobby horse" after he objected to being close-passed by a carriage.

*Which admittedly was factually correct.

Avatar
HLaB replied to ktache | 10 months ago
1 like

Nonsense!  Unfortunately people have been treating cyclists as an outgroup (closet racism) since way before Helmet Cams were ever invented and its not been helped by the media constanly whipping it up!

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Hirsute replied to HLaB | 10 months ago
1 like

You missed the subtlety of the op ( although not that subtle given recent news items ).

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HLaB replied to Hirsute | 10 months ago
0 likes

Duplicate reply deleted!

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HLaB replied to Hirsute | 10 months ago
0 likes

I hope there was, they didn't comunicate it very well; a sarcastic smiley would have helped  sad

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