Not my description of Perthshire’s actions, nor that of someone with a dislike of cyclists, but the words of an experienced local road cyclist who took part in last year’s event but will boycott this year’s as a protest against the “personal distress and disadvantage” the Etape Caledonia creates for local residents and businesses (see 18th May).
Kevin Proctor is a keen competitive cyclist and one of the few local participants in last year’s Etape Caledonia. Instead, this year he will be taking part in the Drumlanrig Tearfund Challenge Cyclosportif event which is held on open roads.
The Drumlanrig event is raising funds for a Christian charity, a particularly relevant point given that Kevin is especially conscious of the “upset and dismay that the Etape Caledonia road closures create for the local church communities around Tummel, Rannoch & Foss, and Fortingall, Weem & Strathtay”.
In addition to the pain inflicted on church goers, Perthshire’s backing of the Etape Caledonia is also a point of concern for Kevin, who believes that the Council is ignoring the wishes of local people and imposing the closed roads event on residents against their will.
And Kevin is not the only one to think the local Council’s tactics are nothing more than bullying. Comment (The Newsmagazine of Highland Perthshire) questions the following points relating to the Council’s blind support for the event:
• its cosy relationship with the event organisers;
• its lack of any advance or genuine public consultation in spite of that being made a clear condition of the P&K support for the event;
• its apparently poor understanding of the legal process required for the road closures (over which there is still great uncertainty); and
• attempts to obfuscate and deny the genuine feeling of public anger being expressed,
What a truly horrible combination…cyclists and the local stasis. But the last word really should be left to the admirable Kevin Proctor (despite his status as a keen pedal pusher):
“Of course, practically all of the participants in the Etape Caledonia are totally unaware of the problems they are creating locally, and that ‘road cycling’ has been brought into disrepute by this event in this region.”