Newsletter – April 2022

“white boxers”

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newsletter no 2 – april 2022

  top dog cycling events

this not really the news i thought i would have to share in only our second newsletter – but by now you will be aware that we have taken the painful decision to cancel our 4 x 2022 sportives – that were good to go, and everyone was looking forward to

when starting our business 4 years ago – little did we know of the hostility we would encounter in this area (where we live and work) to anyone trying to start a new enterprise, to organised events and cyclists in general

we knew that to place and remove unobtrusive plastic arrows at every junction along each 60 – 100+ mile route would take a big effort – a couple of long days, driving round, jumping in and out of cars several hundred times, but one we were willing to undertake to create enjoyable and safe events

we failed to envisage that any of these signs would continually be tampered with or removed all together – making it necessary to drive round again, several times to check and replace them before event day – receiving abuse and enduring heated discussions with various residents – as we did so.

or the fact that lynn, who has used 4 weeks of her annual leave from the nhs each year to help set each event up – would need to drive round the routes at 4am on the morning of each sportive to ensure the signage was still in place for our participants.

this came as a shock to us, we have been talking to folk we meet along the routes whenever possible and created small postcards with the events details on along with our contact details on, to post through letter boxes of houses near any signs we put out. we displayed the same cards on village notice boards, and really believed that we were making progress as the years went by, stressing that we are a local company and were concerned that our events created as little inconvenience as possible.

 we took great pride in the fact that all signage was inconspicuous as possible, removed by chris the day after each event, and was designed to be reused on the next event, our signs have done 15 x events and are going strong

having survived 15 events, what we have encountered on our travels are mostly really pleasant and supportive local residents, however, there also seems to be several different categories of people objecting to events like ours –

  • remote villagers and hill farmers – who have been used to living and working undisturbed in the nw countryside and object to, or can’t cope with people visiting these areas for pleasure, and possibly obstructing their daily work / life / routines
  • incomers – people who are lucky enough to buy their dream property in amazing places, and then refuse to allow anyone else to visit and enjoy the same places. they fail to embrace the way of life that maybe attracted them to the area in the first place, the incredible scenery, in locations that people will want to, and traditionally have, walked, run, climbed, paddled, and ridden in long before they moved there
  • drivers – who see cyclists as a nuisance, riding slowly in big groups along remote country roads, preventing vehicles from making “normal” progress
  • countryside lovers – who rightly object to the damage done and litter left behind by any visitors as they pass through these special areas

we can see some of their points as local to this area ourselves, we see the riders jumping red lights, riding in large noisy groups with little regard for other road users, abandoned signs from long gone events, been diverted by road closures when a race is on, litter and empty gel packaging in the verges, and have patiently driven behind many a rider along remote narrow lanes

cyclists are an easy target to blame, and sometimes don’t help create the best public relations, while we at top dog events have become an easy target for folk to vent some of their anger regarding this situation, being as we are, highly visible and traceable.

however, we have always aimed to be more respectful and believe we really encouraged our riders and team of helpers to help us promote cycling in a more positive way, and in many ways believed we have been making steady progress towards achieving this

chris’s clash with our friend at dent head was really the final straw that has deflated us to such a degree that we can no longer face spending any more precious time and energy in setting up brilliant cycling events, only to find that various faceless people have taken it upon themselves to remove the signs again, potentially ruining not only the event and riding experience of our guests, but also our hard-earned good reputation

we are deeply sorry it has come to this, we know how much folk have enjoyed our past events, and will have trained hard to be able to complete them.  by now all entry fees and purchases (some £7000) will have been fully refunded by our friends at si entries

although we are down we are far from out ! we are heading up north for a week’s mountain biking in the peebles / glentress area, next week to recharge our batteries and let the dust settle on the last few weeks trials and tribulations.

we remain passionate about helping fellow enthusiasts experience the great rides that abound in the nw of england, and mikes question about his son’s recent experience of taking part in an unsigned cycling challenge got us thinking about how we can replicate this in our business.

therefore, we plan to come back bigger and better asap by running our future events using modern information technology like online entries and purchases, gpx, excel spreadsheets and strava to organise sportives along audax / randonneuring lines and our virtual covid challenges.  so, they can be done cheaply, anytime and with as little impact on local communities and areas as possible

we have been deeply touched by the many kind and supportive messages we have received since we announced that our events would not be happening this season.  our initial decision to set up top dog events was to spend our time being among people we liked and respected, which are basically fellow cyclists, this is still our guiding principle, and we look forward to continuing to do so.

thank you for supporting us and our events thus far –

chris, lynn and team @ top dog events limited