Last Saturday saw folding bikes and penny-farthing cyclists race around the streets of Smithfield Market as the IG London Nocturne came to town for its 6th year running. The Schwalbe Longest Skid competition got the crowd going prior to the main event where strong fields took to the start for the men’s and women’s elite road crit races.
The Nocturne is without doubt one of the coolest and most enjoyable cycling events around, with its diverse format attracting some 13,000 spectators. The crowds congregated throughout the afternoon as the atmosphere built towards the floodlit elite race.
The first of the afternoon’s action was the heats of the Tern Folding Bike Race, and with 5 riders competing on Tern’s (myself included), hopes were high for a few finalists. Coming around to the idea of participating a few days earlier and having never really ridden a folding bike, I was apprehensive of what to expect.
At the drop of the Union Jack we sprinted for our bikes and then it was 3 laps around the markets mile loop. My compactable steed was a Tern P9, with 9 gears, plus a rear rack and mudguards it was certainly kitted-out for the most demanding commute.
This didn’t affect its performance, unfolding rapidly, corning reassuringly and holding surprising speed on the straights with a great gear ratio. I qualified for the final along with the other Tern riders, and after a shandy was ready to go again. This time it was 5 laps of the circuit and again I got a good start but couldn’t match the pace of the seasoned pro commuters, coming home in 25th. The best-placed Tern rider was previous champion Keith Henderson, riding his Verge onto the podium in 3rd place.
Stannard from Team Sky gave a strong and deserving performance to claim victory in the mens elite race, with National Champ Hannah Barnes winning the women’s. If you missed the highlights on Channel 4 last Sunday then watch all of the action on 4OD here.