An attempt to sabotage the Marlow Red Kite charity bike ride in rural Oxfordshire proved unsuccessful on Sunday.
Dozens of riders were forced off the road with punctures after drawing pins were discovered to have been scattered across the ride route near the villages of Oakley and Brill.
“At one point the road to Brill was littered with cyclists with flat tyres,” said an Event spokesman for the annual Marlow Red Kite Ride, which each year raises thousands of pounds for their chosen charity.
Organisers acted immediately to remove handfuls of drawing pins from two stretches of road as early arrivals tried to dodge the danger.
“Its incredibly disappointing that a narrow minded individual has attempted to spoil the day for a large group of people. And it could have been considerably worse,” said Event director Steve Tolmie.
“A cyclist could have received a serious injury as a result of this attempt. We reported this to Thames Valley Police immediately and they take incidents like this very seriously.
Tolmie added: “Safety to our riders and other road users is our number one concern and we would be very keen for anyone who saw anything suspicious on the main B4011 near Oakley to contact police with any information.”
The drawing pin saga failed to dampen the enthusiasm of 700 riders who tackled four differing routes of this year’s Red Kite Ride.
Sixteen year-old Olly Hucks from Radnage near High Wycombe completed the new 126 mile route in 7hr 24 mins and then revealed that he also cycled the 10 miles from home to the start!
Olly was part of a family of four who rode the different distances with younger brother Sam delighted to have finished his first 80 mile ride.
There were a number of entrants from further afield too. Paul Ward swapped his normal route of cycling on the desert tracks of Dubai, for the ups and downs of the Chilterns as he took advantage of a visit to England to take on the 50 mile route.
Allard Van Ness traveled from Amsterdam to take part in the much tougher 126 mile category. Van Ness, a 49 year-old Tax Advisor, is used to cycling the flat roads of Holland, so found the 6,300ft of climbing quite a challenge.
Organisers were delighted with not only the sellout entry of 700 riders but that so many stayed behind to sample the special atmosphere at the finish.
“Not only did we sell out our entry, we also sold out of beer and burgers!” added Tolmie. “It was quite a day”.
This is the fourth year of the Red Kite Ride organised by volunteers from Marlow Riders. For the second year running the event raised money for Cyclists Fighting Cancer, who help youngsters with cancer to regain their strength, fitness and confidence by supplying adapted bikes and trikes.
This year organisers are optimistic that the total money raised from the event will exceed £7,000.