Cllr Graham Down admits his thoughts on "pesky cyclists" are generalisations and jokes about having a bag of tacks to throw at Velothon

While organisers of Velothon Wales hailed the event a success, a local councillor took the opportunity on Twitter to call for “pesky cyclists” to stay off the roads for the rest of the summer.

The sportive and elite race took place on Sunday on closed roads around south Wales, with concerns raised by local MPs and businesses that the excessive closures would affect business.

>>> Local MP bemoans ‘massive inconvenience’ caused by upcoming Velothon Wales race

But Councillor Graham Down, of Monmouthshire County Council, tweeted the day before the event joking that he had a bag of tacks to throw on the road and then called on cyclists to stay off the road for the rest of the summer.

When questioned online as to why he classified cyclists as “pesky”, Cllr Down offered a list of what even he admitted were generalised stereotypes.

A series of tweets read: “Blocking the carriageway so other road users can’t pass safely, riding in groups several abreast so that the road’s blocked…

“.. riding on FOOTpaths, pavements and pedestrian areas, using PEDESTRIAN crossings as though they were cyclists’ crossings ..

” .. ignoring red lights, cycling the wrong way up one way streets, chaining bikes to railings and blocking pavements ..

“.. not using lights or wearing reflective tops at night, believing they are above the law and generally acting in a way which is inconsiderate, arrogant, & self-righteous. That do for starters?”

>>> Chris Boardman explains why cyclists ride two abreast in new safety video

Cllr Down says these are things he sees on a regular basis and offered to talk to those who disagreed with his views.

Matt Newman, chief executive of Run4Wales, which assisted in delivering Velothon, told the Abergavenny Chronicle after the event: “The success of today’s event is testament to the hard work of all the stakeholders involved in the planning and delivery of the event and more than 1,500 staff and volunteers working on the day.

“Initial feedback from those who took part has been overwhelmingly positive and the increased communication to residents and businesses prior to the event helped to reduce disruption on the day.

“We will continue to make improvements to all aspects of the race for next year and we are already looking forward to the third Velothon Wales in 2017.”

  • Rupert the Super Bear

    I know. I’m a humble southern jessie, but in my book the good folks of Yorkshire are exactly that. The backbone of Britain, real people!

    As for Cllr Down, perhaps we could mince him up and feed him to the pigs. A suitable fate for Mr Fatty don’t you think?.

  • Simon Clarke

    Must be becaused you obscured it so well.

  • jeffity

    Worthy of a criminal investigation, perhaps?

  • Paul Walters

    Because the good folk of Yorkshire along with Councillors, The Yorkshire Tourist board realized that cyclist’s have money and wanted to tap into that and why not.. If you watched the TDF last year or the Tour of Yorkshire last month you will see everyone celebrating the event and coming out supporting cycling.. If you ever cycle in the dales you can often go for hours and only see a few cars, It’s wonderful

  • Jack Thurston

    The same councillor who ‘joked’ about having a bag of tacks to sabotage the course. Not funny, especially considering the injury caused by saboteurs at last year’s Velothon.

  • Dale Lindsay

    confirmation bias… is a tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions, leading to statistical errors.

  • Declan Bowler

    Well said.

  • kevv

    USK. Not at the beginning nor at the end of the route. Read on…

    Simon Key of the Nag’s Head public house in Usk disagreed however saying that he had benefitted from the Velothon passing his front door.

    “The Velothon has been a great event and I’ve enjoyed welcoming cyclists and spectators into the pub today. We’ve benefited from increased business in recent weeks as many cyclists have been visiting Usk as part of their training. Some riders shouted out to us that they didn’t have time for coffee and tea cakes today! Next year, I think we can make even more of the opportunity by selling hot dogs and creating a party atmosphere in the streets as cyclists go past,” he said.

  • John ONeill

    I believe thats Cameron is saving the big scare for last with the Brexit campaign. If we vote to leave then everyone will have to ride a bike. With all the cycle haters out there surely that’s the biggest scare and a guaranteed vote for staying in!

  • Rupert the Super Bear

    Leaving aside the observation that Councillor Down is obviously a bit of a twit – and a tubby one at that – how is it that Yorkshire is so welcoming to cycling and Wales… isn’t?

  • dayle

    I checked the councilor out. Would you believe he is a bit tubby – Shock.

  • kevv

    Yes. Many people do. I have already sent out emails to my cycling friends about a summer trip to Abergavenny and the Brecon Beacons. I also intend to return to Cardiff soon too. The villages the Velothon route went through we’re all packed with people lining the streets. I guess some of them managed to spend money whilst there…. Most businesses will have benefited from Velothon – there will always be a few that don’t. The big picture is that the Welsh economy overall will benefit in the long run with tourists returning and spreading the word to their loved ones and friends.

  • Eric Blais

    Funny I can ride 1hour and never see a cyclist do what is mentionned, but walk or ride 15 minutes and you see cars running red lights, blocking traffic, parked on pavements blocking pedestrians…. I forgot, it so much more dangerous when a cyclist runs a red light or crosses on a pedestrian light because they could end up scratching the so beloved car

  • Paul Jakma

    And have you ever done so? More generally, is there evidence for significant return traffic and wider economic benefit generally for these sportives?

  • Dan Kenyon

    Im a resident of Monmouthshire and have sent all the tweets to them asking what they are going to do about it. Someone like that shouldnt be in a position of authority. Shame really as the area he represents has some lovely pubs to stop in whilst out riding, there are also very few footpaths there to….

  • Pedro Nogo

    …and I would have got away with it (driving like I own the road) if it wasn’t for you pesky cyclists

  • Mark Jones

    That’s a really good point. I was thinking about making the trip over from Bristol to Monmouthshire with my wife on Sunday for a day’s walking. Obviously our trade is not welcome in the local pubs and cafes around Tintern, Chepstow, Abergavenny, Monmouth, etc, so perhaps we will just stay over this side of the river and leave Monmouthshire for the locals to enjoy, as that seems to be what Cllr Down wants.

    It’s a real pity that Monmouthshire is discouraging tourism, as it is a beautiful part of the country for cycling and walking. Hopefully Powys will be more welcoming if we come back again to stay for the weekend to watch the GP of Wales.

  • David Simons

    Wonder what thinks Geraint Thomas of this councillor chap……

  • kevv

    yet you continue to miss the point…

  • Simon Clarke

    Narrow, maybe your assumption about me is off…

    A business runs on cash flow, a lost days trading over a weekend for many of these guys represents a huge loss of income, it could be the difference between a £500 and £5000 day if you’re a pub. That stings.

    So a tiny % of riders go back over a period of time and spend some money in a couple of locations, do you think that equals the lost trade from the wider public?

    More importantly, if the business doesn’t recognise the source of later business as being a ‘come back’ from the cycling event then you can spend all you like, the perception that it was bad for overall business remains. And in this case, where the event is held by the good graces of the council who shut the roads- perception is everything.

    Laugh on.

  • Ian Carter

    Ah yes, because we all ride on the footpath whilst blocking the carriageway. Hey, at least we’re trying to avoid getting in their way by jumping red lights, no doubt these are at the pedestrian crossing we’re also trying to use.
    Seriously, I very, very rarely see any of these things but all these cyclist haters see them all the time. Apparently.

    I did Velothon last year, I paid just under £100 for a hotel room for the night and had two meals whilst I was in Cardiff. Some businesses will miss out, others will benefit. I’m sure some people will find they would be much happier if they embraced the positives, rather than always focusing on the negatives.

  • kevv

    You are sadly missing the point. I (as an entrant) passed through lovely countryside and villages along the way. I will return in the future and spend money in these places. Your view is so narrow it is laughable.

  • Simon Clarke

    There were a few business owners on who said they would lose money based on previous similar events, the influx of people for the event overall doesn’t cover the loss in local trade due to roads being closed. If your business is at the end or start- bingo, otherwise you’re f-ed.

  • Paul Walters

    Maybe the cyclists, supporters, organizers, Friends, Family who went to Monmouthshire and spent there money in local businesses should take that revenue elsewhere and let Cllr Graham Down explain himself to the numerous, pubs, hotels, b&b’s, shops, traders why they will no longer be receiving the much needed income in the future.. This is why Yorkshire and Cumbria and making themselves so successful and attractive to cyclists as they welcome and support them and the Councillors even take part in some of the events to show such support..