DENVER (AP) – Colorado authorities are warning cyclists that tacks, box cutters and broken glass have been found strewn along popular bike routes that are part of course plans for major races next week — including the inaugural USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

The objects are being purposely placed on trails and roads, Jefferson County sheriff’s spokeswoman Jacki Kelley said Tuesday.

“We’ve had five or six incidents where things were put along popular bicycle roads,” Kelley said. She said the incidents have caused several flat tires but no injuries.

The 100-mile Deer Creek Challenge, which takes place in a canyon south of Denver that is one of the most widely-used riding routes in the area, is scheduled for Sunday.

And a day later, elite cyclists from around the world will begin competing in the weeklong, 510-mile Pro Cycling Challenge, which culminates in a final stage that takes riders from Golden’s Lookout Mountain in Jefferson County into downtown Denver.

Crews will be sweeping the roads before the races, Kelley said.

She said authorities found broken glass that “appears to have been purposely placed on the shoulder” of Lookout Mountain Road — a scenic, winding site that figures to be one of the more challenging climbs of the professional race.

Kelley said there has been a history of tension between motorists and bicyclists, especially in Deer Creek, where box cutters were found. She said a meeting was held last year between riders and the homeowners association in an effort to negotiate a truce.

Dan Grunig, the executive director of Bicycle Colorado, said bikes sometimes outnumber cars on the shoulderless roadway in the area, causing congestion.

Grunig said bike races in Colorado attract riders — and their dollars — from around the world and it’s a shame to have routes sabotaged just as the state’s cycling opportunities are about to be highlighted.

“To try to intimidate or endanger those visitors paints Colorado in a bad light,” Grunig said.

Deer Creek Challenge organizers don’t believe their race was targeted.

“Long before our event was on the drawing board, there were individuals who would protest people riding bikes on their roads by putting tacks down,” said Patrick Downing of Downing Events, which stages the Deer Creek Challenge.

Downing said his company would do everything it could to protect riders, noting that he pays “tens of thousands of dollars” for security service from the Colorado Patrol and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department for the event.

He praised the sheriff’s department for being even-handed, ticketing both cyclists and drivers who speed or cross the center line.

Pro Cycling Challenge said it is monitoring the situation.

“As a preventative measure for the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge, the roads included in our race will be monitored throughout the day, swept by CDOT or another agency prior to the arrival of the race caravan and course marshals will be monitoring the roads as well,” the organization said in a statement.

– By Steven K. Paulson, AP Writer

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

Comments (5)
  1. Dan says:

    THANK GOD I now live in Europe and not Colorado where here vehicle drivers share the road with cyclists. While it’s still the law in the US, motorists can’t seem to understand the road is shared. And judging by the size of the arse of the biggest complainers I’ve met, they should be on a bike, not me. If cyclist break the law they should be cited, as a vehicle driver should be. But the rage that I’ve witnessed drivers use is appaling and just, if not more, dangerous than the cyclist. As far as the spandex comments go. Just goes to naivety of the red neck that posted it.

  2. JG says:

    Encouraging to see the comment thread batting 1,000 for hate.

    1. Outermostsoup says:

      I don’t see much hate, what I do see is motorists frustrated with cyclists who break the law to prove a point. I see cyclists run red lights daily in the Denver area, literally. I definitely don’t agree with the tactics of littering harmful trash on the ground to make a point to cyclists, but I definitely think we are well past the time where we should be enacting legislation which protects cars and drivers. For instance, if a road is unsafe for a car to pass a cyclist (only two lanes and no shoulder) then cyclists should not be allowed on them. We don’t allow cyclists on interstates because it is dangerous for themselves and motorists, a two-lane shoulder-less road is JUST as dangerous, if not more, especially with the new 3-feet to pass law.

  3. Tara says:

    People are getting so sick of our roads being littered with bicycles that this is what is happening. Just last week I was in a car two different times where a bicyclist suddenly came out of his lane and right in front of the car. One was out of control and the other one looked back and saw us coming and chose to go around these two bikes who were riding together. This guy had a 2 ton car coming at him and thought that he would come out the winner? This is not an isolated event either! Everyone thinks that this is the “bike capital” so they all come here and think that everyone loves them here. There are so many other places in our country to ride bikes. One great place would be Kansas where there are lots of roads and few people driving on them. I can’t tell you how many people I know who are totally fed up, and some of them ride bikes too but on a path. We moved to the Boulder area about 10 years ago from Lafayette, Colorado and we have seen it explode. I wish I had never bought a house here in Boulder County because there are either too many bikes or a “Special Event” happening all of the time. On top of that there are some who think they should act like a pedestrian when it’s convenient and a vehicle when it is tool I know one thing, I’m about to the point where I need to take a valium just to calm down while being in the car dodging bicyclist who think they are another Lance Armstrong.

  4. Laura says:

    I hope they find who is doing this and shove the tacks and glass up their a**. Bet that might solve the problem of them doing this again. No shortage of self-important sociopaths around, as usual!

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