Monday 18 May 2009

Closing the roads

On the last weekend there were two events in Assen which required roads to be closed. There was a run in one part of the city, and a continuation of the series of "Dikkebandenraces" - "wide tyre races" (this refers not to mountain bikes but road racing on normal bikes for children to take part as an introduction to road racing). The latter is one of number of such races run one after another each year. Many competitors in the Tour de France started with the dikkebandenraces here in Assen.

Anyway, that's just a normal weekend. Also in the year we have two triathlons (winter and summer), the jeugdtour (the largest youth cycle race in the world), the Vuelta a Espana (Spanish tour, starting this year in Assen), the Fietsvierdaagse (a four day non racing cycling event with 15000 participants - there are over 60 of these across the country during the summer), a walking vierdaagse event (there are probably more of these than of the cycling four day events), and many others. Also, just a few km down the road are the Ronde van Drenthe, the Erik Dekker Classic (famous local cycle racer's own event), and many more which I've forgotten to list all of which require roads to be closed. Across the country there are hundreds, if not thousands, of events each year which involve closing the roads.

So why mention this ? I was reminded of its significance by reading about the Etape Caledonia held in a remote and relatively unpopulated part of Britain yesterday. It's the only mass participation cycle event in the UK for which roads are closed, and yesterday it was sabotaged by people putting tacks all over the road. A pressure group calling themselves "Anti Closed Road Event" claims to have nothing to do with this.

What can I say about this stupidity ? Sometimes it's embarrassing to be British.

The photo is from the winter triathlon in Assen last year


WestfieldWanderer said...

I'll second that.

Anonymous said...

Same here

Sometimes I wonder if I should just get a German passport and have done with it.

Gareth Rees said...

The sabotaged cycle race in Scotland took place the same day as the Great Manchester Run, in which large sections of Manchester city centre were closed to traffic.

Nick said...

Actually, David, I know quite a few Dutchmen who moan like hell about this perpetual closing of the roads in NL - and not just car users; public transport users get sick of being diverted from their normal route too. So maybe it ain't quite all roses for everyone here in NL after all.

David Hembrow said...

Nick: Given that roads are closed so often here it'd be a miracle if no-one ever got upset about it. It must inconvenience some people some of the time. However, what happens here is lots of road closures regularly.

On the other hand, the case with the tacks involves just one event on one Sunday, announced many months in advance. Quite why the residents of Royston Vasey (or wherever it is that incident occurred) are so upset about it is beyond me.

"Local roads for local people," I guess...

John said...

we had a half marathon in leeds the other sunday, of course i did not know about it and there was no information on planned closing or whatever. turns out i was going to a conservation project out in Otley and while i have cycled the rout in the past, time commitments due to finals week pressured me to take the bus with everybody else. needless to say the buses were not running anywhere on time, instead of catching it near me i had to go to the city centre, anyway we were suppose to get there by 9, didn't get there until 11:30. and i could have cycled the entire thing in 1-1.5 hours, sigh. it was annoying due to the lack of information given to students that live in and around the rout, and also lack of information on the bus diversion rout.

Nick said...

True David, I'd rather have it the way it is here than the way it seems to be in Bonny(?) Scotland.

Kevin Love said...

Toronto roads, including major expressways, are routinely closed for events. On June 7, the only north-south expressway into Toronto is becoming a "bicycle only" road for a special event.

Not to mention the recent Tamil protests that shut major roads to car traffic for several days.

l' homme au velo said...

That was Sick up in Scotland really Nasty.

In Ireland we have various Events throughout the Year and no problems ,the People are overjoyed when anything Happens like a Parade or Cycle Event.

We have the Ras Tailteann Cycle Race going on in Waterford and Cork at this time. We have The Tour of Ireland Cycle Race and we will have a Collection of Cycling Events in May and June to Promote the Joy of Cycling in various Parts of the Country. These are Tours for the Public with Different Degrees of Travel ,20k, 60 k,160k . Then we have the Dublin City Marathon and all the other mini Marathons and Motorcycle Rallies in Skerries.

We never ever have any trouble with Road Closures ,the Locals in these Areas are glad of the Business that these events Attract.

We are not the Netherlands but Car Centric Ireland and yet there is no trouble.

The People in that Area of Scotland are Shooting themselves in the Foot especially in the Recession when they need the Tourists very badly to boost the Economy.