Ben from Afan Valley Bike Shed has posted on the Bike Shed Facebook page to warn riders in the Rhonda Valley to be on the lookout for trail sabotage, following a close shave with some barbed wire stretched across a trail at Ton Pentre.
The post says:
A Warning to anyone riding back country in the Welsh Valleys!
I was riding on Saturday in the Ton Pentre area, down a trail I’ve ridden many times, and was almost beheaded by barbed wire strung up across the trail between two trees. Thank god I’m a big bloke as it cut across my chest and shoulders before sliding up to my neck. Seriously thought I was a goner as had to unwrap the wire from round my throat. Completely trashed my jacket but thankfully just scrapes and one small puncture on my arm. I have no idea what the complete twat who put the wire there was thinking but had it been a shorter rider, they might well have killed someone. This was an area of trail where you clearly ride at speed. What could they possibly hope to achieve through this action? I’ll be passing the attached photos and this information to the Police.
Ride safely out there.
The pictures he’s posted show just how lucky he was. This was a remote section of trail, and getting first aid help to this area would have been very difficult indeed.
Look at the damage to the tree, try not to think about that round your neck:
Did the person setting this up think through the potential consequences of their actions? Ben is in no doubt that this was a deliberate attempt to seriously injure a rider – placed at head height on a remote section of trail where riders would be going at speed, Ben thinks it’s only due to his height that he’s alive. His chest and shoulders took the main force of the wire, although he still ended up with it round his throat.
Ben was very very lucky to get away with just a ripped jacket and some of scratches. Lying on the ground with the wire on his throat, he initially thought he’d severed an artery – luckily the squirting we stuff proved to be tyre sealant.
As Ben says, he’s reported it to the police, and we’d encourage anyone else encountering trail sabotage to do the same. It’s sometimes difficult to know whether sharing this kind of dangerous sabotage gives profile to this idiocy which might just encourage the kind of person that does this kind of thing – but in instances where sabotage represents such a danger to riders, on balance we think it’s important to make riders aware. This appears to be an escalation of other trail sabotage in the area – riders have previously reported nails being positioned on trails to puncture tyres – but it’s hard to see this instance as anything other than an attempt to seriously injure a rider, rather than one to damage a bike or inconvenience a ride.
Especially at this time of year, when many riders will be out at night and won’t have the visibility to see something like this in advance, it’s worth reminding everyone to stay safe on the trails.
Trail sabotage is alarmingly common these days and this is not the first case we have reported. A few weeks ago, giant spikes were spotted in Delamere Forest, while further back in the year a former MP was found to be setting traps on popular trails. How can we protect ourselves and our trails from saboteurs? Should there be a minimum criminal charge for people committing this offense? Let’s hear your views in the comments below.
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