ROAD-RACING: It’s a question of tolerance and respect

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I write in response to Mr Elson’s letter Cyclists should be banned, and wish to put the record straight about road racing.

I was very disappointed to read Mr Elson’s letter about cyclists. I was not one of those cyclists that Mr Elson refers to nor do I know anyone who was riding on that day.

Not wishing to comment on the specifics of the actual incident as I was not witness to this, I can only point out that there are poor cyclists as well as good, as there are motorists.

However, being stuck behind a group of cyclists is not too dissimilar to being stuck behind a slow-moving tractor, lorry or bus that one often encounters on our rural roads.

It is about everyone, regardless of what form of transport they use, tolerating and respecting one another.

This is probably more imperative as far as motorists are concerned when encountering cyclists for the obvious reasons given the size of their vehicles and the damage they can cause compared to a push bike.

As the person who is responsible for issuing race permits on behalf of British Cycling, I can assure your readers that this was not an official race.

British Cycling have exacting standards with regards to road racing including conducting risk assessments to ensure the safety of the cyclists and other road users. The section of road which this letter refers to would not meet such standards as it is too dangerous and we would not have road racing on the B6341 at this point for that reason.

I can only presume that this was a club run and as they negotiate the hills, due to different fitness levels there will be occasions when the cyclists will have to overtake one another.

Cycling is one of, if not the most, successful sports that we have in this country. We have had two recent British winners of the most prestigious race in the world, the Tour de France, world champions both on the track and road and have a plethora of gold medals at the last few Olympics.

Such success has paved the way for British Cycling to use the increased revenue and raised profile that such success brings in order to campaign for better cycling provision in our country.

However, we need to get more people on board, and letters such as Mr Elson’s which are factually incorrect about road racing, do nothing to enhance the sport of road racing and potentially cause a lot of damage to all the good work we are doing at British Cycling to keep road racing on our roads.

In a year that we see Britain’s biggest cycle race, the Tour of Britain, return to Northumberland roads, showcasing our fantastic region and the sport to millions around the world on TV and by the roadside, it is time we all started to respect one another more and embrace the pastime and sport of cycling regardless of what form of transport we use.

Rothbury,

British Cycling North East

Regional Competition Administrator/Coordinator