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Cyclists in Wivenhoe Wood

Last week, and unfortunately not for the first time, we had an unpleasant encounter with a group of cyclists in Wivenhoe Wood. About six in number they were quite aggressive when we pointed out that Wivenhoe Wood is NOT a cycle path, and we blocked their attempts to push past us in order to protect out three-year old granddaughter who was tottering about happily on the path in front of us.

The cyclists argued that they were using a bridleway, and that cycling is permitted. This is of course not true. There are no routes through Wivenhoe Wood (other than the shared used Trail) where it is permissible to ride a bicycle. And of course, even on shared use routes, it is not permissible to cycle in a way that endangers other users.

We refused to make way for them in the narrow path. They declined to deny they were part of a cycling club, but refused to give the name of the club. So we wrote to all Colchester district clubs we could find, and had a very helpful and understanding response from Colchester Cycling-UK, explaining that it would not have been their club, but concerned that the illegal/antisocial actions of a minority of cyclists give all cyclists a bad name. Their advice, if it happens again, was to to photograph them and tell the police and/or put them on social media. This we will do.

And in anticipation of the inevitable accusations I will get, I would rather be called a 'killjoy' than you be accused of being a 'killsmallchild' or 'killdog'.


  • Not gonna call you a killjoy, but why did you block their path? Why not firmly ask them to mind your child, which I am almost certain they would have done. Smh some people.

    Speaking of illegal actions of a minority giving the rest a bad name, try checking with other car drivers (if you are one). Considering a minority drive in a way that actually has the potential to cause death (and a significant number do exactly that, every year), your “killasmallchild” / “killadog” would be laughable if it wasn’t such a serious issue on our roads.

  • edited September 2020

    First para. We did. They tried to push past. So we were not risking her.

    Second para. Nonsequiteur whatiffery.

  • Hadn’t walked along the quay for weeks but yesterday I walked the length of it, three bikes, at different points rushed past me, if I hadn’t jumped out of the way one would have knocked me over, the other two were no more than 4 inches away from me. No warning, don’t they have bells anymore.

  • edited September 2020

    Not going to comment on your experience Chris as I am sure it is a lot more complicated than can be discussed properly on a messageboard.

    But just so you're aware, cycling on a footpath is trespass and therefore not illegal, the police won't be interested. You'd need to take it up with the landowner who would have to identify and press charges against them which as i'm sure you're aware is a costly process that usually isn't worth the bother.

    Were they wearing club kit? If so, they shouldn't be behaving badly as they're ambassadors for the club and i'm sure the club would be happy to remind members about their behaviour. If not, they weren't representing a cycle club so it's a matter between you and the individuals involved.

  • Indeed Mike. Cycling in the wrong place = landowner (CBC); but cycling dangerously is criminal and a police matter. And I was simply repeating the words of the club secretary....

    They certainly appeared to us to be acting as a club - some at least had 'uniform' kit- and they refused to deny they were from a club, when challenged, albeit also refusing to name the club.

  • My children and i enjoy cycling and often do the descent from the carpark at the top to the station. Cycling for my kids keeps them off the xbox, is good exercise, builds confidence and introduces them to nature.

    I hope if any ban is made in the woods there is some distinction between a MAMIL middle aged man in lycra and children with a spiderman helmet and a butterfly one

  • I have referred this to WTC as one of the co-owners of the wood in the hope of their being able to come back re the actual legal situation re cycling in the woods (does it say anything on the notices at the car park entrance?). Although if they try to get anything currently out of their fellow co-owner CBC it may take a long time!

    The reference in the initial post to it 'not being a cyclepath' is as if one were talking about public rights of way ,i.e. as if it were a 'cycling on a public footpath' issue, but there are no public rights of way as such in the woods. It is, like any park, a property to which public access is allowed in any part of it (not just on specified paths / routes), and (presumably?) it is for the owners to decide what exactly is permitted. And hopefully make that clear!

  • There are no signs regarding cycling at the car park entrance or anywhere else, as far as I am aware. If there were I suspect they would be given as much head as the "Keep dogs on lead" ones, which are clearly on display and widely ignored. It's a shame that people can't use a bit of common sense and courtesy but as @ChrisGibson highlights this is clearly not always the case.

    Given that the woods fall partly under CBC and partly under WTC I feel that any proposed ban would be virtually unenforceable. Maybe a bit of education, common sense and courtesy might help though.

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