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New Forest sportive base moves to Dorset to escape NIMBYs

"No disruption" to residents thanks to new venue, says organiser...

UK Cycling Events, the organiser of two annual sportives in the New Forest, has found a new base for the rides that should put them out of the reach of New Forest NIMBYs.

Vociferous criticism from a small number of New Forest residents and councillors last year led UK Cycling Events to look for a new venue for the start of the ride.

There have been attempts to sabotage the rides, including tacks being dumped on the routes and signs being torn down.

After talking to other venues, including Gang Warily recreation centre in Blackfield, the rides will now start at Matchams Leisure Park, just outside the western edge of the New Forest and across the River Avon in Dorset.

The first New Forest event of the year organised by UK Cycling Events is the Wiggle New Forest Spring sportive on April 12-13.

A statement from UK Cycling Events said: “The route incorporates the same spectacular scenery of the New Forest National Park, combined with wild animals grazing and picturesque villages.”

Martin Barden, director of UK Cycling Events, said the new venue meant there would be “no disruption” to New Forest residents as a result of the ride.

He added: “We have moved to Matchams as the venue offers hard standing parking for all the riders.

“We chose to withdraw from Gang Warily as the decision-making process was taking too long and we wanted to ensure we had enough time to inform residents of our planned route.”

Opponents of the rides have been lobbying Hampshire County Council to impose restrictions on the events, and had hoped that persuading the larger venues in and around the park not to host the rides would lead to a reduction in the number of participants.

In November last year, Hampshire County Council leader Roy Perry said that the council has no power to regulate sportive rides in the New Forest.

Earlier this year, UK Cycling Events voluntarily reduced the number of entries to its new Forest events by 20 percent. Nevertheless, Tony Hockley, chairman of the New Forest Equestrian Association told the Southern Daily Echo’s Chris Yandell: “Matchams can accommodate a couple of thousand cars, so we could be facing events on the same scale as before.”

Peter Roberts, chairman of the New Forest Association, said: “Cyclists will still ride across the Forest in rather large numbers, causing the potential to disrupt working practices.”

In October last year, the New Forest Verderers cancelled a planned ‘drift’ — an exercise in the care and maintenance of the semi-wild pony stock — blaming UK Cycling events for refusing to change the date of an event.

Martin Barden said that due notice had been given of the event, which was planned the previous year.

He said: “Despite offers of altering our event and working with the drift to ensure it was safe and could continue, the Verderers made the decision to move it to another day.”

The danger from cyclists to livestock and wildlife is often cited by opponents of the rides but according to the New Forest National Park Authority there have been no incidents involving animals and cyclists since records began to be kept in 2008. The majority of animal accidents in the park are caused by drivers, and after many years of improving safety on New Forest roads, 2013 saw an increase in incidents.

Events such as the Wiggle New Forest Sportive organised by UK Cycling Events also bring substantial economic benefits to the area, according to Martin Barden.

“The last event alone provided a financial benefit of £325,000  to the local economy,” he said. “We also wish to continue promoting cycling in the National Park which is in line with its aims of providing enjoyment for all.”

If you're wondering what all the fuss is about, here's the organiser's video from last year's Wiggle Spring Sportive:

John 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 Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for 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 before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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oozaveared replied to Forester | 10 years ago

Mr Troll "from the forest" I presume?

P3t3 replied to Forester | 10 years ago
Forester wrote:

Most of the New Forest stock is very docile, for various reasons including chronic ill health; foals are very easily startled. There was no sign of anyone slowing down for the riders.

I know its a selectively, shot video but the cyclists really don't seem to be scaring the horses!

David Portland replied to Forester | 10 years ago
Forester wrote:

It's totally unrealistic that the only cars seen on the video are in the event car park- highly selective editing. A foal is seen very near the riders, and two horse riders also near bikes doing 20mph; these are really not suitable roads for Wiggle events, and I speak as a regular rider in the New Forest. Purbecks are much more suitable, and actually have some hills.

How is riding bikes at 20mph (can you read their computers from there?) past horses worse than driving cars or trucks past them at 40mph? The numbers don't lie -- no forest livestock has ever been killed by a bicycle.

oozaveared replied to Forester | 10 years ago
Forester wrote:

It's totally unrealistic that the only cars seen on the video are in the event car park- highly selective editing. A foal is seen very near the riders, and two horse riders also near bikes doing 20mph; these are really not suitable roads for Wiggle events, and I speak as a regular rider in the New Forest. Purbecks are much more suitable, and actually have some hills.

I think you are a troll. In was born on the New Forest and my early cycling days were spent there. My brother still lives in the forest and we have taken part in Wiggle events together along with my son.

If you were genuinely concerned about the danger to the ponies then you would be spending your time trying to restrict the motorised vehicles that kill and injure them.

The Forest Verderers' own figures for last year reported 2012 can be seen here.

51 Ponies killed
13 Ponies injured

7 Cattle killed
5 Cattle injured

6 donkeys killed

Deer are not counted as they are not counted as livestock.

The percentage of these killed or injured by cyclists was 0%
The percentage of these killed and injured by motor vehicles was 100%

2 of the 82 deaths or injuries to these particular animals were caused by motorcycles. 1 by a tractor. The remainder by cars.

I would add that the thousands of other animals that die on the roads in the forest: badgers, foxes, squirrels and birds are also all killed by motorised vehicles not by cyclists.

I also ask any person to consider the outcome of an unlikely scenario if a cyclist ever did collide with a pony or a cow. The outcome would be a scared pony or cow and an injured cyclist.

As for cyclists whizzing by at 20mph. I refer you to "O" Level physics and the equation for force. In this case the amount of energy transferred on impact. The equation is E = 1/2 m v2 (energy = mass x velocity squared divided by two)

Let's take a cyclist then a heavy one just for arguments sake. 13 1/2 stone and a reasonable bike weighing 30 lbs odd that's around 100kg.

And they are travelling nicely along at ~22mph. That's a nice round 10 meters per second.

Now let's do the equation. 100 x 10 squared divided by 2. so 100 x 100 over 2
that's 5000 joules of energy. if a big old cyclist on a heavy old bike travelling decently quickly for a big fellah hits something.

Remember 5000.

Now let's take a car. This time we'll take a little one. I have a Smart Car it weighs. 750 Kg. Add a small 8 st person and that's roughly 50Kg and all in we have 800 Kg Let's say that's also doing only ~22 mph. I won't go through the same equation with you but the answer is 40,000 joules. So that's a small person in a very light car going slowly for a car having 8 times more force of impact than a really heavy cyclist on a heavy-ish bike going at a decent clip.

Oh alright then. ....

My son is 18 and he weighs ~50 because he is a fit lad and cyclist. On his nice bike he's around 60Kg and at 22mph the answer is 3000 joules of impact energy. Remember 3000.

But what if it wasn't a smart car with a small driver we compared a cyclist to? What if it was a range rover with four big fellahs in it? Well now you have 2200 kg + four blokes 300 kg 2500 Kg and let's say it's doing 44mph not 22mph. (cos there's precious few cars doing just 22mph round the forest). That's 20 m/s squared so 400.

2500 X 400 = 1,000,000 divided by 2 so half a million joules.

The impact of a very small car is 8 times that of a heavyweight cyclist at the same speed. But it could be up to 140 times the impact force for a big car travelling at normal speed for a car. That's why its motor vehicles that kill the animals and not cyclists. See?

And that Mister Troll from the Forest is why cyclists and anyone with common sense or an O level in physics laughs their socks off when you say that cyclists pose a danger to wildlife.

farrell replied to Forester | 10 years ago
Forester wrote:

A foal is seen very near the riders

I can't shift this out of my head after reading that:

Markcw | 10 years ago

This sounds like a loose, loose for the New forest. Loss of business from people staying overnight, who will now most likely stay near, or in Bournemouth. And they still get 4000 cyclists "speeding" around "their" forest over a weekend. Serves them right!

andylul | 10 years ago

Western edge, surely?

therevokid | 10 years ago

locals loss then ...  1


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