Monday 25 June 2012

London Velonotte

On Saturday night I participated in the first London Velonotte. This is a bicycle ride with a difference. The difference is it is at night and it focuses on the architecture you pass along route.

The event started at 23:30 and participants assembled at Brushfield Street near Spitalfields Market. I was late! For some reason my iPhone took me to Smithfield Market and I relived part of the route of the IG Nocturne before heading to the correct location. iCrazyBee was also attending and I fired off a text to say I'd be late.

Luckily they didn't start going going just after midnight and consequently I just about made it. iCrazyBee greeted me and took it very well when I realised that I had forgotten to bring some tyres I had promised him.

The weather was terrible the whole night and early morning! A constant drizzle and heavier rain now and then. Even with waterproofs I did get a little wet in places and made a mental note to self that I must buy some newer wet weather gear!

We cycled at a fairly sedate pace, passing people who were either ending a night out or just about to start. It seemed every where we went the mass of cyclists taking part created a traffic jam. some onlookers and motorists viewed the sight of dozens of cyclists happily travelling in the rain with amusement or curiosity. Others found us a great inconvenience and angrily hooted their horns or reported to a verbal tirade at anyone they thought as listening.

Participants were asked to bring a radio as there was a broadcast to coincide with the Velonotte. I didn't bring one but lots of riders had theirs on speaker so that the lazy amount us cold listen to the commentary about the locations we had stopped at.

Quite a bit the route took us along narrow toll paths along the Grand Union Canal (I think). I must confess to hating cycling anywhere near water. I hate it during the day but doing so at night certainly concentrated my mind and banished any thoughts of tiredness!

Eventually we reached Canary Wharf and had the chance to rest. The Trinity Laben String Orchestra played for 50 minutes and were pretty good.

For some reason I had got it in to my head that we would also get a cream tea at dawn? The cream tea must have been a figment of my imagination as there wasn't so much of a cup of tea let along anything else. I was glad that I brought some of the Red Bull I had got when doing the Nocturne.

At about 05:30ish we left and iCrazyBee said our goodbyes until next time. The Velonotte was a very interesting event. I suspect better weather would have brought out many more cyclists rather than the truly hardcore or mad who laughed in the face of over four hours of contact rain!

I managed to cycle back to central London within 50 minutes after a few wrong turns. Going through Canary Wharf made me think that it might be a good location to return in order to take photos.

Would I do this again? I suspect I will probably do this all again next year - if it is on but hope for better weather.

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