The End?

Presumably, by now, everyone who has a racing licence has seen the ill rumblings coming out of North Wales and, more specifically, It’s constabulary.

Brought to my attention on bike radar it would seem that after the shambles of the Bikeline 2 Day, the Police have set their stall out that no road racing will be permitted on roads that fall under their ward. Dig a little deeper and it would seem that this has been slightly sensationalised by the TLI… However this should serve as a warning to us all.

The race I wrote up at the weekend, for example, has an excellent course. It had the British champion on it’s start sheet and it had the national escort group on motorbikes. It had a full risk assessment, it had everything a well organised event needs to run safely and enjoyably and yet there were still problems, organisers scrambling around for somebody to drive a lead car and for people to marshal corners and there was still a complaint to the police. Despite the local HQ being informed, the information had not been passed down to the town’s station.

British Cycling, organisers, clubs and riders need to get their act together to ensure that the goodwill and attention brought to the sport by the Olympics is not squandered if real gains are to be made in the growth of bike racing as an organised participation sport in the UK. Races are dying out and people are unwilling to take on the responsibility of replacing them, insurance fears put clubs off and there seems to be no clear guidance regarding how to go about organising events. The onus is also on riders to follow the rules and ride safely. For me moving up the outside before trying to bully your way back in on pain of being hit by the car coming the other way is not a valid or sustainable tactic.

As far as Joe Public goes, education has to be the priority. If your sunday-driver knows that bike races happen and what they entail, he is far more likely to know how to react when he comes across one. One poster on a message board I looked at said that the Bikeline wasn’t publicised at all in the local area and evidently the complainant at the CDNW race on sunday hadn’t got the message either.

The fact is that road racing in this country needs to do something to assert itself, in outsiders eyes, as a valid use of the roads. The fact that messageboard rumour about it’s death was so readily believed speaks volumes as to it’s health and it’s reliance on the goodwill of a number of bodies.