Wednesday 16 June 2021

So, what is it about Brompton night rides that you like so much?

I don't really pay too much attention to how many pages views I get on this blog but when I did have a look the other day to see how things were going, the number of views per day, week and month were probably at their highest level for years and years. I think I have gained lots of new readers, perhaps with new Brompton bikes (welcome by the way and keep reading) and one question that I have been asked more times than any other are versions of the title to this blog post.

If you read by back catalogue as it were, you will find countless post for various night rides - mainly to the coast - and I suppose I must like them a great deal as I keep going on them. I have been here before but I will try to explain why.

A night ride is rarely a spur of the moment decision and usually planned a little  in advance. This build up and anticipation is something I actually enjoy too. Planning what to wear/take with you, charging the lights, making sure that the bike is match fit, all add up to making the day the ride is on different and special.  

Travelling to the start location can in itself be an adventure and cycling past people, you wonder whether they would believe you if you told them you are about to cycle 60 - 70 miles starting at midnight, to return to London the next day by train. 

I rarely tell people I am going on one of these rides but will do so if asked what plans I have for the weekend. Their face when I explain what I am going to do if often quite the picture. I suspect this is also part of their appeal. 

The actual ride itself rarely disappoints. Cycling in the city, then the outskirts and finally the countryside is special. Often you find yourself cycling on empty, narrow country lanes, illuminated by whatever your front lights can muster. 

If on a group ride you get to speak to old friends, acquaintances and people you have never met before. If you want to chat you can and if not you can enjoy your own thoughts, mulling things over, putting the world to rights or simply thinking about what you might have for breakfast? Often I go with my dear friend Dr John and the simple pleasures of a friends company is special in its own right. 

On these rides you experience the transition from darkness into dawn into sunrise. The dawn chorus sounds can be like a symphony with few equals. The sun rising and casting beautiful colours can be breathtaking and experiencing them without any other external interference - apart from the sound your bicycle makes - is a huge part as to why people do this sort of thing time and time again. 

I rarely stay for breakfast when I reach end of the ride, preferring to get back, but when I do even the simplest of food is transformed into that fit for he Gods. 

Yes, there is something addictive about these rides. They are not of course for everyone. Some people go on one to see what the fuss is about but do not return for a second. After my first I signed up for another and have been doing so ever since. 

Living in London I am only 55 - 75 miles away from some of the most famous seaside resorts and the whole notion of cycling from central London to the seaside is doable. Wherever you live you might want to give it a go. (It does not have to be to the coast. In fact some fo the best night rides have been near Christmas where participants have cycled around central London taking photos of the Christmas lights). 

Let me know if you have given a night ride a go, tell me what you thought and where you went. I would love to hear from you.

Stay safe out there people!!

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