Summer is a wonderful time to cycle around the city. It is also a great time to check out some excellent cycling and bike-based events. Luckily, as Londoners we are spoilt for choice. Here is but a selection, as always please contribute your own suggestions in the comments (sharing is caring!).
Ever fancied cycling around the outskirts of London? Yes? Well, this event is for you. We have covered this event in the past and although we won’t be going again this year, it is bound to be awesome. The ride is 185 miles around the outskirts of London, with a scheduled overnight camp in a field full of pop-up tents. It makes for a great first long ride and is really social.
This will be the 4th year for the Tweed Run. It is a vintage inspired bike ride though central London where all participants wear tweed clothing. It is quite a sight, particularly if you are not expecting to see it (although not as much of a shock as stumbling upon a naked bike ride, which I have managed twice in different cities!). Unlike Eroica, you don’t have to ride a vintage bike, although a lot of people do.
Spin is an urban bike show and this year it is happening in London and Manchester. It showcases the best urban cycling bikes, accessories and services. This year, the London event is being held in the old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch.
There are all manner of products on display and there is a great test track. On this you can try out all kinds of bikes, last year I spotted Bromptons, recumbents, single speeds and even a tall bike. Of course no urban bike show is complete with out a DJ, copious coffee and beer. Good times!
For the 10th iteration of this urban race the Nocturne is changing it’s course. Traditionally held around Smithfield market, this year it has a longer course around the City. The alteration is done to improve the experience for both riders and spectators – a great reason to go out and watch some of the races.
There are a variety of races throughout the late afternoon and evening, culminating in elite races at the end of the night. There is even a folding bike specific race. The Nocturne has a really fun atmosphere and it is certainly worth popping down to watch, or even entering a race, the applications are still open.
Originating in Red Hook in Brooklyn, the Red Hook Crit is a pretty hard core fixed gear bike race. The course involves lots of tight turns and high speeds. It is really impressive to watch and the thought of taking part is terrifying.
There are 4 races this year, the London one is the second. It is certainly entered by some hardcore athletes, but it has not lost its urban, gritty hipster vibe so it makes for a fun night out.
30th – 31st July
This is a great event that we have mentioned before. Whether you are entered for the 100 mile ride, the Freecycle or are just going along to watch it is awesome. It basically takes over the whole area around Buckingham Palace for the weekend and the photo opportunities are endless. I was there last year and the riders in the Freecycle looked like they were having a ball.
It is too late to ballot for the main ride, but there are plenty of charities looking for riders still, people like Bikeworks, the London Air Ambulance, Unicef and more. Entering to ride for a charity is a great thing to do and should make the event even better.
There is also professional racing, with this year being the first one where the women’s race prize is the same as the mens, hurrah!
Brompton run a series of championship races around the world throughout the year. The World Championship final is the culmination of these, with the winner of each regional event winning a ticket to the final. It is also possible to ballot for entry, although it is tough to get in and entry closed a few months ago. Last year was its first year as part of the RideLondon weekend. It was so successful that it’s coming back.
The Brompton races are certainly worth watching. Lycra is banned, all participants have to be in jacket and tie for men and smart dress for women. A lot of effort is put into the costumes and there are prizes for the best dressed man and woman. The race begins with the bikes folded, so part of the challenge is unfolding your bike at speed and under pressure. People really take this thing seriously and it is great fun to watch – I was there last year.
What cycling events in London are you looking forward to this summer? Let us know!
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.