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Nightrider 2017

23 Jun 2017 09:56 | Deleted user
By Graham Anderson

So, what is Nightrider.....?

It's an annual overnight charity cycling event which takes place in 3 UK cities, London, Bristol & Liverpool.
After several years I'd finally persuaded someone to do Nightrider with me, so here I was on a humid Saturday evening at the Olympic Park with my sister-in-law, Mandy & her friend, Sue ready to set off with around 3000 other mad people to cycle around the streets of London. We'd done our training, bikes were prep'd and we'd selected what to wear, taking Alan's advice to take our wet weather jackets as there was a chance of rain in the early hours of Sunday morning - thanks Alan for the use of your rack by the way!

We'd opted for 100km distance so we're following the yellow route (not pink which was the 50km route), and were told "it's not a race" at the briefing 2 mins before 11pmwhich was our start time. Yeah, like that phrase exists in the mind of a triathlete !!
We quickly set off on the count of 3,2,1 go….. knowing the next group were only a couple of minutes behind, in an array of white and red flashing lights, proudly wearing our green hi-vis Nightrider vest tops. The first 4km was around the Velo Park, long sweeping corners, sprints, hairpins, bridges and no traffic, a perfect start to get us going before hitting the roads. And then we were off to Hackney, following the yellow & pink routes signs at this stage ....but where are those signs? a quick retrace & we found a lamp post where the signs had been spun around, we should have taken a left turn. So after rearranging the sign we were back of course and off to Highbury, then Holloway where the routes split so it was yellow signs from now and on and we were off towards Hampstead Heath, our first hill and first of the organised stops. We'd completed the first section, 16km and 535 ft of climbing.

Off we set again after a quick tour of the facilities, toilets, snacks, with water bottles filled up, all very organised, there was even a first-aid tent & bike mechanics too. Next stop was the Imperial War Museum in Southwark. The route took us through Camden, followed by a short stretch along the canal (on the road) by Little Venice & then we weaved our way down to Kensington & Chelsea, passing the Royal Albert Hall, Victoria & Albert museum, around Sloane Square over Lambeth Bridge & finally reaching stop no2. We'd completed 25km and 444 ft of climbing in this section. 

Another quick stop & we were off again looping back across Westminster bridge, past Big Ben up to Buckingham Place, cycling along the Mall under the union jacks at at 3am on a Sunday morning was quite surreal. At Trafalgar square we looped back along Pall Mall across to the Ritz and then off to Piccadilly Circus along Shaftesbury Avenue, Covent Garden, Smithfields, Cannon Street and over Blackfriars bridge and to Southwark for stop 3 where we exchanged our first voucher for a hot drink and cake!

Feeling suitably refreshed, with another 19km & 488 ft of climbing under our belt we set off on the fourth of the five sections which would take us to Dulwich park. This was the hilliest section, taking us briefly along the Thames and then a sharp right up maze hill with Greenwich park on our right and then on down to Lewisham, before the long climb up through Sydenham and almost down to Crystal Palace, phew this was almost on par with some of our Thursday night climbs! And then as always, what goes up comes down, and we enjoyed a lovely (apart from the speed bumps) decent to Dulwich Park. Another 18km & 674 ft of climbing this time.

For the final section, 22km & 425ft of climbing, we decided to go at our own pace and meet at the finish. The thought of a bacon butte, medal and "it's not a race" resounding in my ears, I'm afraid got the better of me and the weariness of the long night disappeared as I sped off. Passing through Camberwell and Bermondsey and then crossing the Thames a fourth time, I should have stopped and taken a photo of Tower Bridge, ah well! I was catching many tired nightriders during this section until I linked up with another equally competitive cyclist and we ended up draughting off each other for the final 10km, bouncing over the Wapping cobbles, ah those cobbles! Through Canary Wharf, no green signs here, far too posh! just a few security guards waving us directions! Docklands across the A13 up to Bow & finally into the Olympic park to be met with a cheer as we passed under the start/finish arch again.

A great evening & over £700 raised for charity.
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