Tour de Whitemans sabotaged with tacks, graffiti

Last updated 15:16 04/11/2012

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Somebody with a grudge against cyclists scattered tacks in the path of a cycle race in Upper Hutt today.

''Die road bikers [expletive]'' and other offensive graffiti was also sprayed on signs and roadside barriers on Blue Mountains Rd in Silverstream.

About 40 of 250 entrants in the Tour de Whitemans charity fundraising event suffered punctures and one rider picked up five tacks.

Event organiser John Beere of the Silverstream Lions Club said he was very disappointed that one or two individuals had gone out of their way to try to spoil the race.

Lions committee member Mike Fisher said marshalls spotted the tacks and graffiti when they checked the circuit before the event started.

They picked up a lot of tacks but it appeared more had been spread on the road after the cyclists went up Blue Mountains Rd on the first of three 33km circuits.

The Tour de Whitemans was a popular event which had been run for the past seven years and there had been no problems before.

Notices had gone out to the local community ahead of the event and about 40 marshalls were posted around the course to ensure it was run safely and cyclists were all advised to obey road rules and be considerate to other road users.

A complaint had been laid with police and some information provided to them.

Sergeant Quentin Ward said the actions could have put people's lives at risk.

Cyclists had just as much right to use the roads as anybody else, he said.

Hutt South MP Trevor Mallard, who was riding with two cyclists who punctured, said "the people who did this are idiots and scumbags who are undermining the reputation of Upper Hutt and Whitemans Valley".

"If these people are caught the first thing I'd do is get them to clean off the graffiti - preferably with a toothbrush -and dress them up with bright colours so everybody can see who they are."

Fortunately it did not spoil the well-run event, Mr Mallard said.

Cyclist Graham Hall of Wadestown said it was obvious a local did not like cyclists.

"You would have to think it was good for the area and the Lions - I paid $50 to enter and my wife and I have both spent money in the local supermarket," Mr Hall said.

Mr Hall's wife Helene said she was appalled by the graffiti and it was sad to see.

Cyclist Andrea Vance agreed saying "it was seriously offensive."

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- The Dominion Post

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