Fort mountain bike event sees warnings over theft risk and traffic

World downhill champion Aaron Gwin who had his Intense M29 Large mountain bike stolen in Edinburgh while on his way to this weekend's world cup event in Fort William. Photograph: Intense Factory Racing. NO F22 Aaron Gwin in action on his Large M29 bike

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Police have issued a warning on the potential threat from bike thieves during this weekend’s UCI Mountain Bike World Cup at Fort William.

With just hours to go until some of the world’s top riders take to the slopes of Aonach Mor, there have already been anecdotal reports of local bikes being stolen, with two said to have been taken and then found stripped of parts.

Thieves have also struck at one of the world’s best riders during his journey to Fort William for the event.

Californian downhill world champion Aaron Gwin, 31, (pictured above) had his Intense M29 Large bike, worth £7,000 stolen, during a stopover in Edinburgh on Monday  while on his way to Fort William.

Lochaber Area Police Inspector Isla Campbell commented: ‘We are aware of recent concerns about bicycle thefts in the Fort William area and will monitor this during the championships.

‘It is worth taking steps to ensure your bicycle is secure against thieves. Simple steps such as storing your bicycle in a locked building, shed or vehicle when not in use or securing it with an approved lock in a public well-lit space while left outdoors will deter most thieves.’

And with the event expected to see traffic delays due to an increased number of vehicles on and around the A82 near Fort William, police are also urging visitors to use the park and ride bus system that will be in operation to help minimise disruption.

Inspector Campbell added: ‘I would advise the public to allow little extra time for their journeys as we are expecting the area to be busy with increased traffic.

‘I would encourage people to follow the travel advice of the event organisers, making use of the park and ride system, which is well established and has worked well in previous years.

‘We will be policing the event and surrounding area and ask that vehicles are parked sensibly as illegally or inconsiderately parked vehicles will be removed if necessary to ensure the event runs smoothly.’