Summer is most certainly trying to be in the air this week. Despite a few defiant spatterings of rain, more typical of April climes, cheerful sunny outbursts, balmy evenings and glorious sunsets have made up the bulk of May so far, bringing cyclists out in hordes and filling me with anticipation for the summer biking potential in the months ahead.
With cycling becoming ever more popular among the British, it’s unsurprising that bike events are popping up left, right and centre. Whether it’s charity cycle rides, professional races, or bike festivals, there is something for everyone coming up this summer.
Here’s our pick of the ones not to miss in and around London.
25th May – Kingston Cycling Campaign Bread Pudding Ride
This is a monthly event offering a friendly, easy-paced ride, with a midway tea-stop and a slice of bread pudding(!), before ending at the best place any ride can – the local pub.
10:30am meet under the Queen Anne Statue in Kingston Market Place
30th May – Critical Mass Ride
These monthly cycle get-togethers happen on the last Friday of the month. Described as an ‘unorganised coincidence’, the critical mass ride occurs when a whole load of cyclists happen to be in the same place (under Waterloo bridge) at the same time (around 6:30pm) and decide to cycle the same way together for a while.
There is often a sound-system involved and always some drinks at the end (or during!) For anyone that wants to be involved in a movement to outnumber cars on the road with bikes, this one’s for you!
(Photo courtesy of http://www.urban75.org/blog/critical-mass-celebrates-its-20th-anniversary-with-a-huge-central-london-ride/. Check it out for more photos of the last Critical Mass ride)
7th June – London Nocturne
This is the bike event to attend in my humble opinion. Smithfields Market becomes the playground for bike lovers and racers alike. This is bike-perving paradise, but good luck trying to find a place to park your own bike!
Over 15,000 spectators line the streets to watch 12 events of cycling excellence. The less serious races come first. Penny farthings are a sight to be seen, feeling at home racing on the cobbled streets surrounding the market. The Brompton bike races are a delight with their riders, all dressed in suits from the waist up, making a mad dash to unfold their bikes before peddling it out on the racecourse. Then come the big guns.
The elite races occur around nightfall (hence the “Nocturne” element) and the atmosphere is electric The corners are tight, the course is narrow and the speed is intense. Crashes are unavoidable and cheering compulsory.
7th June – Nightrider London
If you’d rather be on the bike than watching this 7th of June, it’s worth joining this 100km moonlit cycle ride past 50 of London’s most iconic landmarks. Starting late on Saturday night and taking you right through to the next morning, this ride is for the night owls among us, or for those wanting to see our city in a different (read: dark!) light.
14-15th June - Open Garden Squares weekend rides
Explore some of London’s secret gardens that are open to the public for this weekend only. There are rides on both days, starting at 10.15am. Easy route for all levels and bicycles.
Sat 5th July Box Hill to the Hague
This 5-day ride crossing 4 borders is full-supported and raises money for The Lifetrain Trust, a charity for disadvantaged young people. With 50 -80 miles a day on the agenda this isn’t for the faint-hearted, but the spectacular sea views will most certainly be worth it.
Mon 6th July – London hosts stage 3 of the Tour de France!
After setting off in Yorkshire on the 5th July, the world’s top cyclists will be hurtling through the streets of London, ticking off all the main sights along the way. They’ll cross Tower Bridge, glide by the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey before sending a royal wave to Buckingham Palace as they cross the finish line at The Mall. You can also catch the cyclists in many parts of Greater London, from Woodford Green, Chingford, Walthamstow and Snaresbrook to Leyton, Stratford, West Ham and Wapping. For full route information check this out
Jess Monson - LBTC blogger.