Balding writes: "I was deeply disappointed that in a widely respected broadsheet such as The Sunday Times, you would condone AA Gill’s use of the phrase “dyke on a bike” in relation to my series Britain by Bike (“Humping in tents: a great British tradition”, Culture, last week).
"It is well known that I am gay and I am happy to be openly so, but my sexuality is irrelevant to this programme. You must surely be aware that the term “dyke” is rarely used by straight people in anything other than an insulting or pejorative way.
"I would be very surprised if you used a comparable word that related to race or religion. Allowing this sort of anti-gay language contributes to rising levels of homophobic bullying. By printing it, you suggest that the sneering use of the term “dyke” is acceptable. It is not."