Cycling sportives cause complaints in the New Forest

  • Cycling “sportives” are causing further problems for the horseworld.

    Riders in the New Forest are urging the New Forest Agricultural Show Society to stop renting its Brockenhurst showground for use as a car park for these events, which can involve thousands of cyclists.

    Earlier this month, the Verderers of the New Forest, who protect the common land and ponies, were forced to cancel a drift (rounding up of Forest ponies) for safety reasons.
    The New Forest Equestrian Association has written to the Society to complain.

    Sportives — large, organised events that are not official races — are an increasing problem for riders due to the speed and volume of the bikes. In July, H&H reported two accidents linked to sportives.

    The New Forest rides often start and finish at the showground in New Park, Brockenhurst. The Wiggle New Forest 100 Sportive, organised by UK Cycle Events, was due to take place on the same day (6 October) as the drift.

    “We only discovered a week before they were using both entrances to the showground, and we couldn’t safely run both events,” said Sue Westwood of Verderers of the New Forest.

    “It was an unfortunate lack of communication. There has been a lot of unrest about sportives in the forest.”

    The New Forest Agricultural Show Society has said it will consider the request at its board meeting on 20 November.

    “We have received a letter from the New Forest Equestrian Association about the identity and size of future events held at New Park and will look into these concerns,” said a spokesman.

    A UK Cycle Event spokesman told H&H: “We hope with better communication about the 2014 drifts from the Verderers, future clashes can be avoided. After a positive meeting with them we are optimistic this will be possible.”

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