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This material has been reformatted from its original source:
Erie Times
By Jim Martin


SPARTANSBURG -- Dozens of bicyclists on the Fourth Annual Pennsylvania Greenway Sojourn had their rides cut short Monday by an apparent act of sabotage.

State police at Corry report that someone spread small tacks over a stretch of bicycle trail on Route 89 and Gynden Road in Sparta Township, Crawford County.

Neither police nor organizers believe there was anything random about the act, which came as about 300 bicyclists participating in the trek left Erie on Sunday. The event continues through Friday, ending in Pittsburgh.

"It was done by people who have opposed this bike trail,"said Roger Stranahan, vice president of the Clear Lake Authority, which has been working to improve the trail from Spartansburg to Titusville. "They just resorted to guerrilla tactics to stop (this trip)."

It didn't work, he said.

The three-eighths-inch tacks, which temporarily disabled about 50 bicycles, delayed the ride for many, but it didn't end it.

Organizers contacted Rob Slike, owner of Slike Bicycle in Corry, who rounded up all the tires, tubes and patch kits he had and headed to Titusville.

He worked until almost 10 p.m. that night, when the last tire was holding air and weary riders were headed off to bed.

Stranahan said that while the bikes could be fixed, he worries about the region's reputation.

"It puts a black eye on the area," he said. "We are not just talking Spartansburg. You are talking about Crawford County and Erie County."

He said he worries that some riders won't be back for the event's fifth year -- not after the tacks and not after some directional signs disappeared Monday, confusing participants.

"Some of them were in total disbelief," he said. "They can't understand why people are so mad at us."

Stranahan declined to name names, but acknowledged efforts to expand and improve the trail have met with opposition.

His group won't stray from its mission, Stranahan said.

"They are not intimidated with this lawlessness," he said. "We are more determined than ever to provide this region with a recreational trail we can be proud of."

Katie Magers, national spokeswoman for the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, said she doesn't think participants will blame their hosts.

"It's an unfortunate event that happened," she said. "Unfortunately, this one person or whomever it was kind of spoiled the mood."

As of Tuesday afternoon, she said, the event "is rolling on as planned."

Slike, who spent four hours repairing bikes for free, said he was happy to help.

"You can't take advantage of a situation like that," he said. "Hopefully, that will leave a better impression than what this idiot did."

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