Sunday 19 June 2011

Urban Cycle Racing in London

It's that time of year when various towns up and down the UK put on circuit races around their main shopping centres. From Jersey to Beverley, Ixworth to Abergavenny all these places provide their share of cycle racing action.

London, the great metropole, doesn't want to miss out on the action either.

With a stage of September's Tour of Britain being held on a circuit around Westminster, and the London 2012 preparation bike race finishing on a route around Buckingham Palace, not to mention the bike racing in the ITU triathlon at Hyde Park there's plenty to look forward to.

In the meantime I was treated to two other urban cycle races in London.
Last Saturday week the Smithfield Nocturne provided a great evening of pedalling action. There were road races for higher and lower category male racers, as well as a women's race.

In the spirit of representing the eclectic mix of cycling done in London there were other competitions - Penny Farthing races, the longest fixed wheel skid, and the ever popular folding bike race. So there was something to keep everyone entertained.

The women's race was of particular interest to me as it was included in the London Women's Cycle racing series. It was great to see so many women out racing in front of huge crowds. The vast difference in ability between the lead riders and the backmarkers was quite noticeable and made it a little challenging to count laps, as I found while in the commissaire's box.
It's a real credit to Bob and his commissairing team that they managed to keep the lapped riders in the race and produce results for the 40 women who raced.

Once my work for the women's race was done I was able to relax and enjoy a beer in one of the nearby bars while pressing the flesh.
Smithfield really was the place to be last Saturday. Thanks go to James and his team at the Face Partnership for putting on a fun packed evening.

A few days after that, I went down to Canary Wharf to watch the finale of the Halfords Tour Series - a 3-week long circuit racing team league with races in different parts of England.

I had no involvement in this event, but it was great to watch the race and see how the semi-pros do it, especially in the damp and rather windy conditions encountered when sandwiched between tall buildings!

The bad weather didn't deter the crowds and so, as with these events it was another chance to say hello to cycling folks I hadn't seen in a while, as well as to meet new people.

It was good to see the team prize go to Rapha Condor Sharp, which I consider to be a local team - even if their riders are based in various places outside of London!
Anyway, another good night. Thanks to Ryan for organising me a guest pass.

photos by Dave Hayward

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