Page last updated at 14:28 GMT, Wednesday, 16 September 2009 15:28 UK

Martin sorry over cycling article

James Martin
James Martin has presented Saturday Kitchen since 2006

Chef James Martin has apologised for "any offence caused" by a newspaper article he wrote about forcing cyclists off the road as he test drove a car.

Martin, host of BBC One's Saturday Kitchen, said in the Mail on Sunday he had intentionally forced the group into a hedge causing them "sheer terror".

It was the best thing he had "ever seen in my rear-view mirror", he said.

The article provoked an angry reaction from cycling groups. He apologised in a statement for his "misjudged" piece.

Knowing they wouldn't hear me coming, I stepped on the gas, waited until the split-second before I overtook them, then gave them an almighty blast on the horn at the exact same time I passed them at speed
James Martin

Martin, 37, spoke of his "hate" for cyclists in the column in the newspaper's Live magazine.

"That's one of the reasons I live in the countryside, where birds tweet, horses roam, pigs grunt and Lycra-clad buttocks are miles away," he wrote.

He said he had spotted the group dressed in "fluorescent Spider-Man outfits, shades, bum bags and stupid cleated shoes".

"Twenty minutes into my test drive I pulled round a leafy bend, enjoying the bird song - and spotted those damned Spider-Man cyclists.

"Knowing they wouldn't hear me coming, I stepped on the gas, waited until the split-second before I overtook them, then gave them an almighty blast on the horn at the exact same time I passed them at speed."

He added: "The look of sheer terror as they tottered into the hedge was the best thing I've ever seen in my rear-view mirror."

'Legal team'

Campaign group the Cyclists' Touring Club (CTC) said it had been inundated with complaints from angry members.

It was never my intention to offend the many cyclists who share our roads across the country
James Martin

Campaigns and policy manager Roger Geffen said: "James Martin's comments and actions are both offensive and dangerous to cyclists.

"We urge the group of cyclists who James Martin attempted to run off the road to get in touch with CTC's accident helpline - our legal team would be only too happy to take the matter further."

Martin said in his statement on Tuesday: "It was never my intention to offend the many cyclists who share our roads across the country.

"What was intended to be a humorous piece was clearly misjudged."

He said he did not condone "any form of reckless driving".

"Once again, I am sincerely sorry for any upset caused in relation to this article," he added.



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