Broadcaster and presenter Noel Edmonds has continued his campaign against a cycleway close to properties he owns in New Zealand, now doubling down on a furious rant about the infrastructure in a move that has seen him accused of a "PR masterstroke" by some locals.
Edmonds last month lashed out at the suggestion the Great Taste Trail cycleway should be routed through his land, Stuff.co.nz reporting the TV presenter owns property worth NZ$30 million in and around the village of Ngātīmoti in the Motueka Valley. The news site also reported hearing recorded footage of Edmonds launching into a rant aimed at the route's developer, in which he accused her of being "our enemies" and bizarrely of threatening to "bring down this wonderful country" and needing her "head cut off an brain replaced".
Instead the trail is now to be built alongside the public highway, something Edmonds has once again addressed in a video uploaded to YouTube in which he declares he is "a very keen cyclist", but claims the proposed route is "incomprehensible" and an "accident waiting to happen".
He also ends the monologue by expressing his desire to campaign for the speed limit on the road to be reduced from 100km/h (62mph) to 60 or 50km/h (37-31mph) in a move that some locals have accused of being a "PR masterstroke".
"He's trying to take the moral high ground and say he's not against cyclists, but that the cycle trail is unsafe," one local told Stuff.co.nz.
"The bicycle: one of the greatest transportation inventions of all time and probably the most controversial," Edmonds began his latest cycling comments in a YouTube video that has drawn comparisons online to Steve Coogan's parody broadcast personality Alan Partridge.
"People are still arguing about who actually invented the bicycle and who could have imagined all those years ago that in the 21st century the bicycle would be a symbol of social discord. People are arguing about bikes and cyclists. Now, there are unreasonable cyclists. I'm a very keen cyclist, not unreasonable but there are some dodgy ones.
"But hang on, there are some very unreasonable pedestrians and certainly some very unreasonable drivers, so how has the bicycle got itself into the very heart of so many arguments? Rows? Politicians getting so heated and taxpayers getting very angry?"
It is, Edmonds suggests, all down to "hundred-million dollar pledges" for "incomplete" urban cycle lanes.
"And of course there are a lot of people who are finding life quite hard financially who will never ever ride a bike who go: 'Why am I paying for all this?'," he continued, going on to argue the Great Taste Trail is unsafe, "utterly incomprehensible" and an "accident waiting to happen".
"There are features of the new route, which to my mind and to the cycle groups I talk to, are utterly incomprehensible," he said. "Rather than go along this beautiful area on the far side of the river someone decided to come across Peninsula Bridge and route it along this main road where cyclists will be cycling against traffic travelling at up to 100km/h.
"There sections of the cycleway that your head is the same height as the road. There are regular trucks coming from the quarry and on a wet day the spray is unbelievable. Is that cycling heaven? I don't think so. In a couple of places cyclists are going to be within a metre of these trucks that can travel at up to 100km/h. Well, on the Great Taste Trail they've already had a fatality, injuries and I'm concerned there's gonna be a fatality."
However, presenting himself as a road safety campaigner, Edmonds later confidently asserts "I'm going to succeed" in getting the speed limit on the road reduced.
"So what am I going to do about it?" he asked the camera. "I'm going to get the speed reduced on this road because I've talked to the people who live in the area and they've tried for decades to get the speed past the school reduced from 100km/h hopefully down to 60 or 50.
"We have to look after cyclists but you know what worries more? We've got to look after the children at the school. So I'm going to succeed. I'm going to get the speed limit reduced and hopefully cyclists will be safer."
The comments come a month after Edmonds' row with the route's developer was published in the local press, the former Deal or No Deal presenter telling Belinda Crisp, who manages the Nelson Tasman Cycle Trail Trust, she is one of "our enemies" during a visit to Edmonds' River Haven estate.
In the recording, Edmonds could reportedly be heard telling Crisp: "All hell's gonna break loose, right. And while you still have this attitude you are not welcome here.
"You are our enemies. You have to be defeated otherwise you're gonna bring down this wonderful country. Yes you are, because you're so proud. Anyway, good luck with it. As we say in Britain, 'on yer bike'."
Crisp said she was left "shaking afterwards" and described the confrontation as "unpleasant".
At a River Haven community meeting Edmonds suggested that instead of building cycleways the local council should be supporting local businesses such as his, which he says employs 30 people, saying that those jobs "didn't exist until we came to Ngātīmoti."
According to Edmonds, his business venture is "costing me a fortune", and that if it continues to lose money a year from now, he may need to reconsider whether it is worth continuing to invest in it.
Responding to a request to comment from the local press about the recorded rant, Edmonds replied: "Please don't tell me you’re just doing your job because that's what Belinda [Crisp] said and that's what the Nazis said. You can judge me how you want, I'm very comfortable, at nearly 75, with the person I am, the place that I've found and the way I conduct myself."
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.