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
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