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Two years of electric shocks for Iwade cyclist Laura Pike as cables on Sheppey Way spark strange phenomenon explained by National Grid

By Hayley Robinson

Riding along a quiet country road has become a shocking experience for one cyclist.

For the last two years, every time Laura Pike has travelled under an overhead powerline along Sheppey Way, Iwade, she has got an electric shock.

Now it has been revealed she has fallen victim of a strange phenomenon.

Cyclist Laura Pike has a shock from a pylon along Sheppey Way every time she leaves the village

The 37-year-old, of Sanderling Way, took up cycling after she broke her kneecap and was forced to stop running.

She said: "It's when I leave the village and head towards the bridge.

"It's a shock through my whole body. It starts at the back of the top of my legs, around the saddle area, and makes me jump out of my seat.

"I must be charged for about five seconds. The only way I can describe it is, it feels like your body is being pinched between two bars of metal.

"It's a shock through my whole body. It starts at the back of the top of my legs, around the saddle area, and makes me jump out of my seat..." - cyclist Laura Pike

"I thought it was weird when it first happened. Then I thought I needed to lose weight as it was because my bottom kept getting caught in my suspension saddle.

"It was only recently I realised it was happening at the same point every time so last Saturday when I went under it I turned my head at the last minute and noticed the pylon and the cables overhead and put two and two together."

The married mother-of-two posted a message on the Iwade Does Facebook group asking if it happens to anyone else.

It led to a number of responses that others had been shocked.

Mother Sharon Naylar, 44, of Kingfisher Close, said: "I used to walk the dogs in the field on the left as you travel along the road towards Sheppey.

"Because I was walking, it took me longer to get through it so I would be hopping like a wally. When it rained it was worse.

"It's like pins and needles around the ankle area or a bee sting, but lots at the same time.

"It was getting too much so I stopped going there about six months ago. The dogs never showed any signs of being affected by it but I was worried it wasn't safe. Now I walk them down by the river."

The mum of two described the feeling as being pinched between two bars of metal

A National Grid spokesman said: "High-voltage power lines produce electric fields underneath them.

"Those electric fields can charge up objects and people, and when they touch each other or the ground, they can discharge through a tiny spark, very much like the static shock you can get after walking on a nylon carpet.

"They are not regarded as harmful but can certainly be disconcerting.

"They do not indicate that there is any safety problem or hazard with the power line but just to be absolutely sure, we sent an engineer on June 10 to inspect the pylons in question to check there are no problems.

"Sometimes, there are easy ways of eliminating these discharges.

"For cyclists: as you cycle under the line, just keep your fingers firmly touching a metal brake lever, or the bare metal of the handlebars inboard of the handlebar grip.

"That way, you and your bike will be in electrical contact the whole time, there will be no charge build-up, and no discharges."

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