Posted on Friday 28 July 2017 by Nick Bloom
I’ve always liked cycling at night. After midnight, as even the clubbers drift home, the streets go silent. Riding into the countryside, the wildlife appears, shocked at a silent intruder gliding past. It’s rarely that dark (except in the woods). Our eyes acclimatise, our hearing sharpens. There’s activity all around. Distant glow from industry, the passing hubbub of a late party. Reflective eyes from a fox disturbed. A break after a few hours at some lonesome service station, then the early chill and tiredness. A glimmer, then, almost rudely, dawn. The early, early crowd rushing to their shift, perplexed. And rest, avoid the rush hour, eat, recover. Snooze on the train home.
Tempted? The Friday Night Ride to the Coast is an easy introduction. Sort of once a month, from early spring to late autumn, The Fridays have a monthly ride which usually starts at Southbank. And goes, as you might expect, to a coast, arriving for breakfast for 08.00. About 100km, with a long and leisurely stop halfway. Expect 40-50 riders on all sorts of bike (and even trikes), all ages, a high proportion of women. This is a friendly group ride – social rather than sporting. The front end can get brisk, the back end can be very relaxed, but nobody gets dropped. It would be suitable for any Central London rider who can manage one of my ‘slower 3*’ rides.
The next ride , to Whitstable on Friday August 25th into Saturday 26th, is a nice taster – a popular ride, not demanding, with plenty of sights. Village Hall at half-way, plus a couple of full-service comfort stops. Breakfast by the beach and plenty of trains back to London. If you’re interested, Have a look at the website.
You must sign-up in advance using the form on the ride page. £2 fee per year (there’s also the Xmas night ride round London), CTC membership required after one ‘taster’ – details on their site.
- check your bike thoroughly before you set off, especially tyres – pick out any flints, etc.
- bring two tubes and pump / levers.
- you need a decent ‘see by’ front light which will last six hours on a suitable beam. If you’re on a dynamo, bring a back-up or torch for emergencies. Your back light needs to last six hours on constant – no flashing lights please. Most USB rear lights don’t last this long.
- it will feel chilly when you leave the village hall, but it soon warms up – a shell should do, but each to their own.
- you don’t need to bring the kitchen sink. Bikes are not left unattended, there’s food and drink at 50km, plenty of mechanics. The only spare clothing I carry is my waterproof (and I don’t always take that).
- turn up well before the start to meet people and hear the briefing.
If you’ve any questions or concerns, you can ask me – firstname.lastname@example.org / 07768 354010