CHANGES have been made to a New Forest cycle ride, days after safety bosses raised fears over a clash.

And the safety warning has been criticised by one organiser, who slammed the advisory group for increasing tensions over New Forest cycling.

Last week, the New Forest Safety Advisory Group called for organisers of the Wiggle New Forest 100 Sportive and the New Forest Gridiron 100 to change their routes and times over safety fears.

Both events, which are expected to attract nearly 3,000 cyclists, will take place on Sunday.

New Forest Gridiron organisers said they had been “forced” to change their route and direction for safety reasons.

A statement on the CTC Wessex website said it was only on September 23 that they fully realised the extent of the clash despite previous reassurances the route had been changed.

“We have been in regular communication with UK Cycling Events since then, unfortunately they are unwilling to make any changes to the Wiggle event.

“So, as we could not agree any sort of compromise, we (with the help and cooperation of the village halls and WI's who make our event possible) have agreed to change our route in the interests of safety.

“The revised route now runs in the same direction of the Wiggle route and you may share part of your ride with some of their riders.

“Our revised route is not a simple reverse of the original, as sight lines at busy road junctions need to be considered and we have taken out as much of the road section we previously 'shared' with Wiggle by changing our route.”

The Gridiron event, which is in its 22nd year and has always taken place on the same weekend, has clashed with the sportive once before with efforts made since to ensure the rides were on separate weekends.

Martin Barden, director of UK Cycling events who run the Wiggle New Forest Sportive thanked the Gridiron organisers for changing their route.

“Although we would have liked to have adjusted our route, it was unsafe for us to match the direction of the original Gridiron route”, he said.

“This route was in a clockwise direction meaning the majority of turns would have been right hand turns across a lane of oncoming traffic which is not as safe in our opinion.”

He added: “The only shame is that the Safety Advisory Group issued a premature press statement last week further heightening the tensions in the New Forest towards cycling.”


Officials say they were acting on concerns from Hampshire Police and Hampshire County Council Highways.

Chairman of the New Forest Safety Advisory Group, James Knight, said: “We’re pleased that the organisers have acted on our recommendations to ensure that their events can take place as safely as possible.

"The SAG has an important role in advising event organisers regarding the safety of their event in the interest of everyone taking part, as well as the local community.

"Our concerns have been lessened although the public should still be aware that congestion may occur and should take extra care when travelling in the area.”

The SAG is chaired by New Forest District Council and coordinates the efforts of relevant agencies including the council, Hampshire County Council as the highways authority, Police, Fire and Rescue, and Ambulance Service, to provide advice to anyone who wishes to organise a public event within the area.